During his first outing on Earth, Spock meets a young man with more going on than he first realizes. This story contains mpreg and eventual K/S.
Works in Progress Characters:
Amanda, Gary Mitchell, McCoy, Uhura
Kirk-Spock Friendship, Kirk/Spock Pre-Slash, Kirk/Spock SlashOther Languages:
First Time, MPREG, RomanceTrope (OPTIONAL):
This is something that came to me a while back. It took me a long time to start writing it, since I don’t know much about real-life pregnancies, let alone sci-fi mpreg. This is my first attempt at it. So, obviously this fic contains mpreg. It also contains eventual K/S, and a somewhat sneaky Spock. I’ll try to do weekly updates, but I promise nothing. I don’t own anything. I hope you enjoy the story! And be ready for an even longer after-chapter message. Rating may change later on.
1. I Like Him, I Like Him Not by Vulcan Pearl
2. The Wisdom of Cookies (Part 1) by Vulcan Pearl
3. The Wisdom of Cookies (Part 2) by Vulcan Pearl
4. Friends First by Vulcan Pearl
5. The Merits of Art and Windmills by Vulcan Pearl
6. Like Cats and Dogs by Vulcan Pearl
7. Of Farms and Deserts by Vulcan Pearl
8. Decisions and Distractions by Vulcan Pearl
9. Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder by Vulcan Pearl
10. Dating Preferences by Vulcan Pearl
11. First Time Blunders by Vulcan Pearl
12. Apology Accepted by Vulcan Pearl
13. A Change of Scenery by Vulcan Pearl
14. Meet the Family by Vulcan Pearl
15. Chess and Chatting by Vulcan Pearl
16. Christmas and New Year's by Vulcan Pearl
17. Peace Medals and Ceremonies by Vulcan Pearl
18. Roomates by Vulcan Pearl
19. Slip Up by Vulcan Pearl
20. Finally Here by Vulcan Pearl
21. Epilogue: Three Years Later by Vulcan Pearl
I Like Him, I Like Him Not by Vulcan Pearl
Spock meets someone while he's out exploring.
Spock looked at the tall trees and other plants around him with fascination. It was his first day really exploring his surroundings on Earth. He’d arrived in San Francisco over six months ago and had immediately immersed himself in establishing an excellent GPA at Starfleet Academy. His goal was to go on to become a scientist. He might stay here on Earth, or go on to another planet, starbase, or even a ship. So far, this goal had been his only focus. Things were a little different today.
His mentor, Captain Christopher Pike, had insisted that he get out a bit. He had to admit to himself as he walked through the Golden Gate Recreation Area that it was an ideal day for him to be out. It was mid-July, and while the humans in the park were sweating and fanning themselves, Spock was quite comfortable in his dark civilian clothing and messenger bag draped across his chest. He had his personal padd in hand giving him details on spots of interest in Golden Gate Park. He was going there next. He’d researched Earth’s natural environment before leaving Vulcan, but it was quite another thing to actually be standing amongst all the green bushes and trees and grass, things that were quite rare on his home world. He was especially fascinated by the bodies of water the padd mentioned. He’d hardly been able to contain his surprise when he’d seen the ocean for the first time from a shuttle. He was interested in seeing some of the bodies of water in the park, such as Rainbow Falls or Mallard Lake, but right now he was walking through the San Francisco’s camping grounds. He’d desired solitude so he was keeping somewhat off the trail. He was startled out of his observations a voice suddenly called out to him.
“Hey, you!” It said. “Can you give us a hand here?” Spock looked to where the voice was coming from. It was a young, dark-haired, dark-eyed man in jeans, boots, and a blue t-shirt. He was perhaps in his early twenties. Next to him was a somewhat older blond, blue-eyed man, perhaps in his late twenties, or early thirties even. He was dressed similarly, but with a grey shirt. It took a moment, but he recognized them as first year cadets from the academy. It was the first time he’d seen any of his classmates out of uniform. Without answering, he made his way over to the clearing where they appeared to be setting up a common two person tent, not Starfleet issue. Rather it was for recreational camping. They were also surrounded by more civilian camping gear. As he reached them, they both got a good look at him.
“Oh,” said the blond one, surprised, “aren’t you that new Vulcan cadet?”
“Indeed.” Spock replied calmly. “I am Spock.”
“Right.” Said the dark-haired one. “I’m Gary Mitchell and this,” he waved a hand at his companion, “is Ben Finney. Could you maybe help us with this?”
“Very well.” Said Spock. “How may I be of assistance?”
“Can you drive these stakes into the ground?” Asked Mitchell, holding out one of them. “We forgot the mallet we were going to bring for this.” Mr. Mitchell must have known a thing or two about Vulcan strength. Spock took the stake from him, sliding the padd into his bag as he did so.
“Very well.” He took the corner of the tent, fit the stake through its hole, stretched it far enough, and sent it right into the ground. He repeated the action with the other three stakes. The ground was not too hard or rocky, and he was able to perform the task with relative ease.
“Thanks.” Said Finney, surveying the tent. “I think we can take it from here.” He looked at Spock. “You here to do some camping?”
“No.” Replied Spock. “I was simply using my time off to study some of Earth’s environment that is conveniently close to the Academy. When I am finished here, I plan to visit Golden Gate Park, specifically the California Academy of Sciences.” The museum had originally been at the top of his list, but he had been so curious. He’d never seen a forest before. Plus, he’d purchased a yearlong pass, which gave him plenty of time to see what the park had to offer.
“Really?” Asked Mitchell, with what seemed like only barely polite interest. “I think that’s where Kirk’s going later, isn’t it Kirk?” The last part of his statement was directed at the land vehicle up on the paved road behind them. Spock noticed for the first time that there was a third man present, unloading something from the vehicle.
“No. I mean, I am going to Golden Gate Park, but I’m going to the Botanical Gardens.” Came his reply. Spock felt a strange sensation moving through him at the sound of the man’s voice. The third man, Kirk, stepped out from behind the vehicle carrying a large portable cooler. He appeared to be in his early twenties. He, like the other two, had on hiking boots and jeans, and he wore a white t-shirt. His hair was a golden color the caught the rays of sunlight that peeked through the trees. He was rather fit, standing a few inches shorter than Spock, with more noticeable muscle mass. His skin had the kind of healthy glow brought on by years of outdoor activities. But what really caught Spock’s attention were his eyes. They were a bright, almost electrical blue, and seemed to have a light coming from within them. Spock realized that he was staring and attempted to pull his gaze from Kirk’s. His eyes wandered down his face to his lips, and he was alarmed to find that this did not help matters at all. The man’s lips were full and soft-looking. Spock didn’t dare linger on them, instead focusing on Kirk’s eyes again. He decided to try and break the silence.
“Are you also a cadet?” He asked. The way Kirk’s presence had affected him he would probably have remembered seeing him around campus.
“No,” replied Kirk with a grin, “I’ve just been hanging around the campus for the past few weeks.” Spock was about to ask why non-personnel would be allowed to simply ‘hang around’ the campus when Kirk walked right past him to set the cooler down. As he did, Spock caught his scent, and he felt a yet another strange sensation. On one hand, he felt very compelled to lean toward Kirk’s passing form. On the other hand, he also felt a compulsion to back away, which was accompanied by a strange, almost aggressive feeling. That aggressive feeling intensified as he noticed Mitchell watching Kirk bend over with an almost greedy expression. Spock did not give into either impulse however; he simply remained where he was. Kirk straightened up and turned away from the cooler to face him. “You know, if you want I can drive you over there right now. It’s not too much out of the way, and I’m all done here.” Spock, so focused on analyzing the strange feelings he’d just experienced that Kirk’s offer caught him off guard. He considered the offer. He could control whatever impulses he was feeling for just a short drive. And it was quite logical to drive, considering it would save him more time than walking or waiting around for public transport. He nodded.
“I accept.” Kirk’s friendly grin morphed into a dazzling smile. There were those two warring impulses again.
“Great, let’s go.” Kirk turned and headed back to the car, not seeming to notice the conflict he was causing in Spock. Spock followed him the car. The passenger side was unlocked, and he got in, readjusting his bag so he could put on his seat belt. He noticed that all the windows were down. Kirk seemed to catch on to what he was thinking. “Do you mind if I leave the windows open? I just can’t get enough of this fresh air.”
“I do not mind.” Replied Spock. And he didn’t. Part of him wanted to catch Kirk’s scent again, but the other part wanted to flee because of it. The air circulating through the open windows would help. He was dimly aware of Kirk saying goodbye to Mitchell and Finney, telling them that he would return to assist them in packing up. Then he too got in the car and started it. He backed the vehicle up and turned it around to head back toward the gardens. They drove in silence for a time. Then, after a while, Kirk suddenly spoke.
“So Spock, how long have you been on Earth?” Spock, feeling a little more clear-headed as a result of the fresh air blowing in his face answered easily.
“I arrived approximately six months ago and began classes at the Academy immediately. This is my first time outside of Academy grounds.”
“Really?” Asked Jim, glancing at him but otherwise keeping his attention on the road.
“Yes.” Spock answered simply. He still couldn’t understand why humans often said ‘really’ after someone stated something. He wouldn’t have said it if it wasn’t the truth. He returned his attention to Kirk, who had started speaking again.
“This is my first time to the park too. I’ve wanted to come here for years now, but I just got to San Francisco about seven weeks ago, and I’ve been too busy for anything so far. I’m lucky I even got to look around the Academy at all.”
“Are you interested in attending, Mr. Kirk?” Asked Spock. Kirk shook his head.
“Call me Jim. And no, I don’t think so. I’m just visiting. I met Gary and Ben right after I got here and we just kind of hit it off.” Spock had to resist the urge to bristle as he heard Kirk, no Jim, refer to Mitchell in such a familiar way. He turned his face toward the open window for more direct fresh air and saw that they were inside Golden Gate Park and almost at the museum. Jim pulled into an empty spot and parked. “Here we are.” Spock started to reach for the door handle, then turned back to Jim.
“Thank you for your assistance, Jim. I apologize if you wished to stay with your friends.”
“It’s fine.” Said Jim with another bright smile. “They were just gonna have a few beers, kick back, and try to forget about classes for a while.”
“Did you not wish to join them in this?” Asked Spock. “I understand that this is a typical example of adult human male recreational activity.” He knew it really wasn’t any of his business, but the memory of Mitchell’s eyes following Jim’s form was still fresh in his mind, and he found himself wanting to hear that Jim wasn’t interested in spending too much time with him.
“No. I might have a couple months ago, but I’ve got to start taking really good care of myself now.”
“Why is that?” Asked Spock. He just couldn’t seem to mind his own business where this human was concerned.
“Uh,” Jim ran a hand through his hair, a common gesture of self-consciousness, “I’m pregnant.” Spock just blinked.
“I see.” He grabbed he handle and opened the door, stepping out quickly and shutting it behind him. “Thank you for your assistance Mr. Kirk.” Without waiting for a reply, he turned, missing the bewildered look on Jim’s face, and made his way inside the museum. Once he was inside the doors, he turned back and looked out at the parking lot. He saw Jim’s car leaving the area. He turned away again and went further into the museum.
Several hours later, Spock was still reeling from what he had heard. He was now in his single room quarters on campus. He had been in one of America’s most famous museums, and he’d found himself ignoring the aquariums and other exhibits he had been looking forward to seeing in favor of the ones relating to the history of human male pregnancy.
In the mid twenty-first century, wars had taken severe tolls on the human population. Scientists had begun looking into the possibility of male pregnancy as a way of rebuilding their nation’s numbers at a faster rate. At first, they had simply created an artificial womb in human men, and it had about sixty percent success. Later, they had been also been successful in genetically engineering males who possessed a natural womb and female gonads as well as the male ones. These males were able to produce ovum as well as sperm, though they only ovulated a handful of times in a year irregularly as opposed to once a month like females. They did not possess a birth canal like females, but it was unnecessary with the technology available to them, and the babies would be removed with a cesarean section. They were also unable to lactate and breastfeed. These engineered traits were passed along, making it possible for many human’s male offspring to have the ability to carry children, even to become pregnant naturally through intercourse with another male. These men currently made up about one fifth of the earth’s male population. Such things were no longer considered strange or abnormal. Indeed they weren’t really even all that uncommon anymore. Spock himself had never, to his knowledge, seen a pregnant human male. At least, not until today.
His attention turned to the information on his personal padd. He had felt compelled to look into the strange feelings Jim Kirk had caused him to experience. Since peace through meditation was proving elusive, he’d gone ahead and accessed the Vulcan Historical Database. Looking into ancient Vulcan history, he found an answer. Vulcan’s, despite having chosen to follow logic, could still be manipulated by their senses. A pregnant female gave of a scent that was tolerable to her mate, but compelled other males, even family members, to stay away from her, a territorial marker or sorts. If today was anything to go by, this biological marker wasn’t limited to Vulcan females. It was one of the reasons why pregnant females were often limited to remaining at home during their pregnancy. That and because Vulcan, with all its advances in technology and civilized lifestyle could still a very dangerous planet to call home.
In addition to this information, he’d come across a piece of fictitious pre-reform literature, a tragedy about a Vulcan warrior who pined for a female he was instinctively drawn to by their great compatibility, who was sadly bound to another. She returned his feelings, but was determined to maintain her family’s honor and stay true to her husband, a decision fortified by the fact that she was carrying his child, which she already loved more than anything. This warrior had been instinctively repulsed by the scent that came from her being pregnant by another male, but was unable to forget his feelings for her. It came to the point where his personal conflict, his desperation to have her for himself, had grown so strong that he plotted to slip a potion into her tea that would kill the child growing inside her. His plan had been a success and a failure. Her child died and, after many days of suffering, so did she. He told her what he’d done as she lay dying, and she rejected his love, cursing him with her last breath. A servant listening to the conversation had alerted the husband. The warrior was executed by him, after being disowned by his family.
Spock turned off his padd and began processing what he’d learned. For Vulcans, marriage had not been a treaty between houses for centuries. They still paired children up at a young age, but it was becoming less and less tradition and was done more and more out of practicality. After a Vulcan male reached a certain level of maturity and entered his time of mating, he needed a female available immediately. This practice ensured that the male would not die waiting for a mate, and it gave time for the future spouses to grow accustomed to each other’s mental presence. Sometimes bonds were broken, such as his own had been when he’d chosen to leave Vulcan to pursue a career in Starfleet. Mostly it occurred when one mate-to-be found someone he or she was more compatible with. That was the most logical reason for terminating the link and, depending in the timing, leaving one party to almost certain death. As children, it was up to the parents to assess compatibility, but once Vulcans were old enough to participate in sexual intercourse their instincts could lead them elsewhere.
Spock knew from what his research told him that what he’d felt was a natural pull to Jim. While the majority of Vulcans were heterosexual, it was accepted as a natural occurrence for one to be homo or bi-sexual. That wasn’t what was bothering him. What did bother him was the immediate effect that Jim had on his senses and, more importantly, the incredibly aggressive feelings he’d experienced in Jim’s presence. According to what his research had turned up, his response came from being exposed to a very compatible being who was marked by the most unquestionable proof of a relationship with another.
Jim was human, a member of a species known for being sexually adventurous and, at times, dangerously emotional. He’d only known the man for less than an hour. He really knew nothing about him aside from his name and his current physical state. It was illogical to feel disappointed by the fact that he was involved with another. Perhaps he was married and happily anticipating the birth of his child. Then again, Spock hadn’t noticed a wedding band on his finger, or any other visible sign of commitment. Perhaps he was not married, but still in a relationship with the child’s other father. It might have been one of the men at the campsite. The off-putting scent only told him that the baby wasn’t his, not whose it was.
The other father might have been upset to learn of the pregnancy, and had left Jim to deal with it alone. The pregnancy might be the result a badly planned ‘one night stand,’ as humans called them. Simply a misuse of contraceptives and bad timing would have easily resulted in such a thing. Perhaps he was promiscuous and didn’t even know who the other father of his child was. And if that was the case, the other father was probably not aware of the pregnancy at all. There were plenty of such cases in Earth’s history. There were plenty of explanations for Jim’s condition.
Whatever the circumstances behind Jim’s pregnancy, a relationship with him would likely prove to have undesirable effects on Spock’s life. He pulled the covers over himself and told the computer to turn off the lights. It would be in his best interests if he simply forgot about Jim Kirk. But even as he lay in the dark waiting for sleep to come, thoughts of the blue-eyed, blond haired man continued to plague him.
First, I want to mention that this may, at this point, bear some similarity to Scraplove's Development. My heart actually sank when I first saw it, because I thought I might have missed my chance to post this without drawing any negative attention. However, the stories really only have one detail in common. We discussed it and decided that since I was already planning this story for a while before, and because they’re different enough, I should be able post without fear of any negative consequences.
So I had them meet right away, though a big portion of it was Spock obsessing over his feelings. The whole story will likely be from his POV. I don’t know a lot about Golden Gate Park, so some of my descriptions may be incorrect or lacking. I hope you’ll forgive me for it. I can’t say how long this will be, but the K/S won’t be coming until much later. I never thought I’d write anything that remotely resembles a slow-building love story since I consider them to be their own form of torture, but that’s how it happened in my head and that’s how it’s being written. There are some things I didn’t mention before. Some characters from the movie won’t have very big roles here, if they appear at all. Also, they’ll be appearing at different times than in the movie. You’ve already seen an example of this with Jim meeting Spock as a new student rather than a teacher.
I was kind of inspired to make up some of the male pregnancy stuff by the movie Junior.
By the way, was my Vulcan tragedy tragic enough? I never thought I’d write anything about a dead baby, and I feel kind of bad. It’s fictitious fiction, but it still kind of stings.
The Wisdom of Cookies (Part 1) by Vulcan Pearl
It's a little earlier than I planned, but I'm in a good mood. Spock runs into Jim again.
It had been seven days before Spock had ventured out and away from the Academy grounds again. His typical routine consisted of going to classes, the occasional trip to the library in search of research materials, taking meals in the mess hall, and spending any additional time in his quarters working, studying, sleeping, and meditating. It was Saturday again, and he had the weekend off as usual. He was back in Golden Gate Park, but was now taking the opportunity to visit the Japanese Tea Garden. It was the oldest Japanese tea garden in America. He was curious about the old Earth architecture, as well as the tea aspect. As he was no longer on Vulcan, he was trying to sample the various teas that Earth had to offer. It was only logical, as he would be able to obtain them much more quickly and easily than real Vulcan tea, and they would be less expensive, too. He also wanted to visit the M.H. De Young Memorial Museum, a museum for fine arts. At the moment, he was dining in a local Chinese Restaurant. Fortunately, they had a salad bar, which, he’d found more than satisfactory. He was also interested in sampling his first traditional Earth fortune cookie, something his mother seemed to recall with fondness. As he finished his meal, he called for the bill. A single fortune cookie arrived with it. As he made his payment, he cracked it open and pulled the small strip of paper from the inside.
The time is right to make new a new friend.
Were he human, he might have felt a little hopeful at seeing that. He knew these fortune cookies were random, vague, and general in their advice. But he was Vulcan, and Vulcans had no need for friendship, let alone the random advice of a cookie. He absentmindedly placed the slip of paper in his pocket as he took a cautious nibble. It was somewhat sweet, but nothing particularly wonderful or bad. Rather pleasant. He finished it, got up from his seat, picked up his bag, and left to go meet a public transport. He switched shuttles at the park, getting on one that would take him by the Japanese Tea Garden on its way. Each shuttle had three rows of seats. Spock took an empty seat right next to the outside on the right side. He was so intent on the goings on outside the shuttle that he didn’t notice a familiar scent growing stronger until-
“Spock, right?” He whipped his head around to find none other Jim Kirk standing there, looking much the same as he had one week ago, down to the clothing. The only noticeable difference was the brown messenger bag very similar to his own, though it was rather lumpy, as if the contents were larger that what was in his own bag, or perhaps unevenly placed. “My name’s Jim Kirk? We met like a week ago, at the camping grounds.”
“I recall.” Spock replied quietly. He recalled something else. “Did you return to assist Misters Mitchell and Finney in removing their camping equipment?” Jim seemed to take his acknowledgment as an invitation, waving his hand dismissively as he sat down next to Spock.
“I did that yesterday. I actually came here because of what you mentioned last week. Today, I’m going to visit the Academy of Sciences.” The shuttle began to move, transporting its passengers to various destinations throughout the park. The movement of the vehicle resulted in a breeze going through the inside. It carried the scent of Jim’s pregnancy away from Spock, giving him the opportunity to turn his head toward him for a better look at his profile. His breath caught momentarily at the sight: Jim’s eyes were closed, his face an expression of bliss as he savored the smell of the clean park air. He opened his eyes, saw Spock watching him, and averted his gaze as a small flush rose to his face. “Sorry,” he muttered, “I just can’t get enough of this air.” Spock cocked his head to the side slightly.
“Is fresh air hard to come by in Iowa?” Jim grinned.
“That depends on what you mean by fresh.” He took another deep breath of the air flowing his way. “I’m from Riverside Iowa, home of Starfleet’s Riverside Shipyard. Depending on where you are and which way the wind’s blowing, you can breathe in a lot of fumes. Also, I grew up on a farm. It might not have a lot of chemical smells, at least not when all the machines are put away, but there are plenty of other ones that will bother anyone passing through: sweaty animals, manure-based fertilizers, slaughterhouses. And when you’re living there, right in the middle of it, it doesn’t really matter which way the wind’s blowing.” Jim finished his last sentence with a wry grin. Spock very nearly winced at the last thing Jim mentioned. As a vegetarian, he almost felt nauseated by the thought of having to breathe air tainted with the smell of blood and raw dead meat. And with a Vulcan’s stronger senses, the smell of feces, sweat, or chemical fumes would likely be a significant bother too. He attempted to change the conversation to another subject.
“Do you plan to visit any other parts of the park?”
“Yeah,” replied Jim, “My brother actually got me a year long pass before my first trip, and I want to come back as often as I can, while I can.” He shook his head ruefully. “Before I know it, I’m gonna puff out like a blowfish. I’ve already stopped doing sit-ups and crunches. You know, to let the muscles get soft so the expansion won’t be so difficult. Soon, I’ll probably only be able to walk for exercise. I never thought I would have to just willingly let myself get fat.” Spock tried not to let his tension show at the mention of Jim’s pregnancy. Instead he asked,
“Are you experiencing apprehension at the physical changes your body will go through?”
“A little.” Admitted Jim. “A guy’s pregnancy lasts just as long as a girl’s, but the body changes sooner, probably because of the differences in the male form. You know, slim hips, distribution of weight, and all that.” Spock nodded thoughtfully. He felt himself beginning to move past the discomfort the thought of Jim’s pregnancy had caused him and was letting his curiosity take over.
“Have you experienced any typical symptoms of pregnancy yet?”
“Yeah, I have.” Replied Jim, as the shuttle came to a rather sudden lurching halt. “Two days ago, I-” His reply was cut off as the shuttle stopped. He clapped a hand over his mouth, jumped up, and hurried to the exit. Spock, concerned by his sudden movement, followed him off the shuttle, somewhat cut off by others getting off. He looked around and quickly spotted Jim, who was bent over and vomiting into a garbage receptacle. Some of the other passengers looked concerned.
“Are you alright?” He asked after Jim’s retching had stopped. Jim straightened up.
“Yeah.” He muttered roughly, “Like I was saying just before that happened, two days ago, I started having morning sickness. Though, as you saw just now, it’s not at all limited to mornings.” He looked at Spock, a pained expression on his face. “Do you know if there’s a restroom nearby?” Spock looked around at their surroundings for the first time and saw that they had arrived at the Conservatory of Flowers.
“I believe we will find a restroom inside the Conservatory building.” He said, drawing Jim’s attention to the famous structure.
“Yeah,” agreed Jim, “you’re probably right.” Spock had to resist the urge to place a steadying hand on Jim’s back as they made their way inside. They located the restroom easily. Jim took a couple handfuls of water in his mouth, swished it around, and spit it out before reaching into his messenger bag and pulling out a small travel sized toothbrush and tube of toothpaste. He saw Spock watching him and grinned a bit. “I was worried that I might start puking any time or any place, so I started carrying these with me. Looks like I was right to worry.” He wet the brush, squirted out some toothpaste, and began brushing his teeth and tongue.
After thoroughly scrubbing his mouth out for a couple of minutes, he spat out the toothpaste, then gathered water in his hands once again to rinse. Once he was finished, he rinsed off his toothbrush, then got a paper towel and began to dry it off. He also took a moment to splash some water on his face, and dried it off with another paper towel. He threw the wet paper away and returned the toothbrush and toothpaste to his bag again.
He paused suddenly to check his watch. “It’s about time.” He muttered. He reached into the bag again and pulled out what Spock recognized as a reusable hypospray. He pressed it against the neck and winced a bit as he injected himself. He then returned it to its spot in the bag.
“Vitamin supplements.” He explained, seeing the questioning look on Spock’s face as they moved to leave the bathroom. Spock looked at him, still concerned.
“If you have been experiencing frequent bouts of nausea for more than forty-eight hours you should probably find some water to keep yourself hydrated.” If there was one thing growing up on a desert planet had taught him, it was the importance of knowing where water could be found. Jim grinned at him.
“Way ahead of ya.” He reached back into the bag and pulled out a large bottle of water, still mostly full, and took a few good swallows. It was likely the main source of the lumpiness in the bag. Spock couldn’t help but admire his foresight and preparedness. As he lifted the flap of the bag again to put the water bottle back he snuck a peek and saw the bag also contained a personal padd, as well as an old fashioned paperback book with the title ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting: For Male Pregnancies’ printed on the spine. It was clear that though he wasn’t very far along, he was taking preparation for this pregnancy very seriously.
Just like that, he suddenly became aware of the scent Jim gave off once more, and he had to fight to keep from backing away from him. These thoughts gave him a momentary pause. In his concern for Jim, he’d forgotten all about the scent his pregnancy caused him to give off. Could it be possible that their compatibility was strong enough to withstand the fact that the man was carrying someone else’s child?
“You certainly seem well prepared.” He commented, hoping Jim would not notice his turmoil. Jim smiled and patted the bag.
“My sister-in-law helped me put it together. She calls it my pre-baby baby bag. I actually got the idea from seeing yours last week, and I thought something like that could come in handy.”
As they left, Jim’s stomach gave a small rumble. “Wow.” He said, shaking his head. “As disgusting as this is going to sound, even though I just threw up, I’m kinda hungry.” Spock nodded thoughtfully.
“I was planning on going to go to the Japanese Tea House today. Perhaps you might find something you can eat there, and perhaps they will have some herbal tea to help ease your upset stomach.”
“Maybe.” Said Jim, brightening up. “I was planning a trip to Chinatown later this week for something like that, but it couldn’t hurt to check there first.” Several thoughts flashed through Spock’s head right then. He was alone here. His father had disowned him and his betrothed had rejected him. He hadn’t even had a chance to communicate with his mother. Vulcan or not, a friend sounded like a pretty good thing right now. And with compatibility as strong as theirs, some form of relationship might be possible, especially if Jim’s mate had left him to deal with this pregnancy alone for whatever reason, and that might be a possibility worth exploring. He came to a decision.
“Then, would you care to accompany me to the Japanese Tea Garden now?” Jim looked at him for a moment, clearly surprised, before he smiled in that dazzling way again.
“That’d be great.”
I know this chapter was a lot shorter than the first, but this seemed like a good place to let off. I paraphrased the fortune cookie message from one I found on a fortune cookie quote site. I don’t know if they actually do shuttle rides in Golden Gate Park, but in the Star Trek future I envision, they do.
In the next chapter, they guys will start to learn about each other, and Spock will find out something about Jim’s pregnancy that will be very important for him. I'll be back in five to seven days!
The Wisdom of Cookies (Part 2) by Vulcan Pearl
Spock learns something very important about Jim's pregancy. This is up early because I want people to know what it is. Don't get used to it!
Spock sat with Jim on a bench in surprisingly comfortable silence, awaiting the next shuttle. Spock’s mind was abuzz with activity. He was about to eat dinner in a public place with a human male, one who happened to have another man’s child growing inside him. There were many people, human, Vulcan, or otherwise who would say that this was a terrible idea. Spock himself wasn’t sure what he was thinking by extending the invitation.
The next shuttle finally arrived. Once anyone who wanted to get off did so, he and Jim got on. He made sure to let Jim go first. They immediately took seats on the outer right row again. The shuttle lurched a bit as it started, and Jim grasped at the railing on the seat in front of them, looking a little uneasy. However, it passed. “Are you alright?” Spock asked, wanting to be sure.
“Yeah.” Said Jim. “It’s fine. I’m pretty much on empty right now.” Spock frowned a bit. If he interpreted Jim’s use of the words ‘on empty’ correctly, it probably meant that he hadn’t been able to keep any food down all day or perhaps longer, since the morning sickness started two days ago. He planned to have his padd ready to research the benefits of the teas sold in the tea garden once they arrived there. The shuttle had them there at a relatively quick speed. They found a café, and Jim immediately selected the egg drop soup with udon noodles, probably not wanting to take anything too solid yet. For himself Spock selected the Sōmen salad with sesame oil broth mix and sesame seed garnish. As they waited for their food to arrive, Spock decided to ask a question.
“Should you have perhaps ordered something more…” He trailed off, not sure how to say it.
“Fattening?” Offered Jim with a smirk.
“Substantial.” Amended Spock. Jim shook his head a bit.
“I don’t think it would be a good idea to totally fill up right away after the way the past couple of days have been going for me.” He winced a bit, as if recalling them was a little painful for him. “Besides, that’s what the shot was for. I can’t throw it up if it goes directly into my bloodstream. My new doctor is telling me about all the stuff I should be eating right now, and he gave me the shots for times when eating for to get the nutrients doesn’t quite work out.”
“That is a logical solution.” Stated Spock.
“Yeah.” Agreed Jim. “I hate getting shots, but it’s all for the best.” Their food arrived then. “Do you mind if we move to the outside area?” Asked Jim. “It’ll be quieter, and having all these smells in one room is bothering me a bit.”
“Of course.” Agreed Spock, welcoming the opportunity for some more breathing room. Outside, the smell of Jim’s pregnancy hormones would not overwhelm him. They moved with their food to a table out on a balcony. Spock looked around and realized they were the only ones out there. It was still hot summer weather, but a gentle breeze kept it from being too much by human standards. They sat down and began to eat.
Spock found his salad to be quite palatable. Jim also seemed to enjoy his soup. Spock found himself at a bit of a loss for what to say next. What did humans talk about while they dined together? He decided to ask Jim about his meal.
“Are you enjoying the soup?”
“Yeah.” Said Jim. “I’ve never had Japanese egg drop soup before, I guess it’s not too different.”
“What kind have you had?” Asked Spock curiously. He didn’t know there was more than one kind.
“I’ve had the Chinese kind. Or,” he amended, “I’ve had some American versions of the Chinese kind. I don’t know how they actually make it in China.” Spock nodded.
“Perhaps I will sample it sometime.” Jim frowned at that.
“Aren’t Vulcan’s vegetarians?”
“Yes,” replied Spock, “but we only do not eat products that are an actual part of the animal, like the flesh and other organs. Foods that contain animal byproducts such as milk or eggs are acceptable. As are products created by animals, like honey.”
“It’s not the egg part that I meant, though that would be a problem if Vulcan’s were total vegans.” Said Jim. “But egg drop soup, at least the kind I’ve had, has chicken broth in it. I think some recipes I’ve tried had gelatin in them, too.” Spock understood about the chicken broth, but not the gelatin. Why would a vegetarian be opposed to eating gelatin, a common and simple desert on Earth? Seeing his confusion, Jim explained. “Gelatin is made from collagen, the protein found in animal bones and skin.” Spock’s eyes widened a bit.
“I did not know that.” He managed. He’d been offered Jell-O, something he knew to contain gelatin, once before. He’d declined because its constant wriggling had made it rather unappetizing to him. He hadn’t known until just now how close he’d come to eating part of an animal. “I will be certain to remember it.”
“I learned that in high school.” Said Jim. “A classmate of mine who was a pretty hardcore vegetarian told me. She told me a lot about food, vegetarian and more. Like that French fries are cooked in animal fat, so those were off limits to her too.” Spock was so focused on what Jim was saying that he almost missed the fact that Jim had mentioned something relating to his childhood. “I think the worst one was veal. I had no idea it was made from baby cows. I can’t stand the thought of eating it.”
“I must confess an interest in human vegetarianism.” Spock admitted. “On Vulcan, many of the animals are inedible to us. After Surak’s reformation came about, it was considered illogical to kill them if they can simply be avoided, as it would serve no purpose. As our dietary needs can be met through a vegetarian diet, we abstain from eating any product that comes from killing an animal. Humans, however, have no reason to avoid eating most of the animals found on Earth.” Jim nodded.
“For one thing, we only breed specific animals to be eaten, just like we do for other purposes. Some are just off limits due to endangered species laws from a couple hundred years ago. Poaching is still a problem even in this day and age. Plus, we’re more than capable of maintaining a healthy diet without meat in it.” Spock looked at him curiously.
“Have you ever sampled any vegetarian food?” Jim’s nose wrinkled.
“Yeah, I’ve tried tofu and soy products.” He grinned. “That’s how I learned that I hate tofu and I’m allergic to soy. But anyway, with humans, vegetarianism tends to be a lot about animal rights, or sometimes, religious tradition. Some people just can’t stand the thought of killing and consuming a living creature. They think it’s wrong. And I can kind of understand why. There are still a lot of facilities that are inhumane to animals. I mean, yes, they’re going to die, but that doesn’t mean they have to suffer though what life they have. I grew up on a farm. If an animal couldn’t really be helped it was put down, because it couldn’t do its job anymore and to let it go on in pain would just be senseless, not to mention cruel.” Spock actually felt his throat tighten when Jim said that. Jim must have noticed something in his expression because he looked concerned as he asked, “Are you okay?” Spock hesitated before answering.
“When I was a child, I attempted to undertake a rite of passage prematurely. I went out into the desert alone, as is the custom. I was followed by my family’s pet sehlat, I-Chaya. I was attacked by a le’matya, a vicious desert animal, and I-Chaya fought it to protect me. Because of I-Chaya, and a cousin of mine who also followed us, the le’matya was incapacitated. We all began to make our way back to the city when it became apparent that I-Chaya was injured. He was poisoned by the le’matya’s claws. My cousin remained with him while I made my way back to the city to fetch a healer. We returned, but it was too late to restore him to full health. The healer gave me two options. I had to choose whether or not to give him a painful, prolonged life, or to release him from his pain. I chose the latter, more logical option. In doing so, I chose to be Vulcan.” Jim, who’d been listening intently the whole time, looked at him sympathetically.
“That’s a pretty rough thing to deal with as a kid, especially if the animal is special to you. A lot of humans would have said it was the more merciful thing to do.” He remarked. Then he frowned, confused. “What do mean you chose to be Vulcan? I thought this was a rite of passage for Vulcans.”
“It was.” Agreed Spock. “However, I am half human. I was instructed to choose one way of life over another and adapt suitably.” Jim’s eyes widened.
“You’re half human?”
“Indeed. My mother is a schoolteacher from Canada.” Jim smiled and nodded a little.
“In that case, I think I’ve heard of you.” Spock was surprised.
“Have you?” Jim nodded.
“Yeah, in school we learned about the First Contact and how humans and Vulcans have been interacting together since. We learned that one of their ambassadors married a human and they had a baby together. That’s you, right?”
“You are correct.” Said Spock, encouraged by Jim’s positive reaction to his admission. “My father encouraged me my entire life to be completely Vulcan. I was under constant scrutiny from everyone I met. They were all looking for traces of human characteristics in me. My father was greatly disappointed when I chose to enlist in Starfleet instead of attending the Vulcan Science Academy.”
“I know what you mean.” Remarked Jim. “For as long as I can remember, people have told me how much I remind them of my father, because I look like him and everything. Everyone’s always expected me to be just like him, and for a long time, I wanted to be. But then I started getting into trouble. It wasn’t anything too serious, I didn’t steal or do drugs, but I got into fights, I destroyed some property, and I spent a few nights in jail. After that, people kept saying how disappointed in me my father would be if he was alive, how I take his sacrifice for granted by acting the way I do, and how George Kirk’s son should just be better than that.”
“George Kirk?” Repeated Spock, surprised.
“Yeah.” Replied Jim. Spock took a moment to process this piece of information. There had to be very few Federation people who had not heard of George Kirk, the man who’d been forced to take command of the science vessel Kelvin after his captain was killed by rogue Romulans. Equally famous was the story of his son, the Kelvin baby. Kirk had stayed behind after the surviving crew had left in escape pods and attempted to take on the enemy ship. His wife, who’d gone into labor prematurely, had been in one of the pods, giving birth to their second child as he did this. Then, in order to secure his family’s escape, he’d set the Kelvin on a collision course with the other ship. The impact had destroyed both ships, a considerable feat given their different sizes. The only explanation for this was that the Kelvin must have struck a specific point on the enemy vessel, a fuel point perhaps. According to the story, the last thing he would have heard before the crash was his new son’s first cries. George Kirk was immortalized as a hero, and his two children grew up without a father. Spock realized that Jim was waiting for him to say something.
“In that case,” he said, “I believe I have heard of you as well.” Jim just nodded. They continued to eat in an easy silence, until Jim’s comm rang. He pulled it out of his pocket and looked at the caller I.D.
“Sorry,” he said, standing up, “I need to take this.”
“Of course.” Said Spock, watching Jim head inside to the restroom. As he waited, he thought about the information he and Jim had exchanged. They had both grown up in the shadow of great, or perhaps even unreasonable expectations. Spock was the son of an ambassador, expected to have perfect behavior that would reflect well on his family. Jim was the son of a hero, expected to grow up and do great things, whether he wanted to or not. Both of them had rebelled against that idea and were considered less because of it. He couldn’t believe how easy it was to open up to Jim. Perhaps it was an effect of the mental compatibility between them. It was about ten minutes before Jim returned.
“Sorry,” he said again, “that was my sister-in-law. She wanted to check up on me. She, or my brother, calls once every few hours. I would have been back sooner if I’d thought to forego mentioning the morning sickness.”
“Are they the ones you are here visiting?” Asked Spock. Jim had mentioned before that he was just visiting San Francisco.
“Yeah,” replied Jim, ‘though visiting may not be the right word. I’m staying with them until the baby’s born. I may look for some kind of temporary job that doesn’t involve physical labor, something in computers maybe, but they want to keep me right there with them.” Spock’s mind raced. Jim was staying here for the duration of his pregnancy. Perhaps he didn’t want anyone back home to know? He knew that hundreds of years ago on Earth, unmarried young women who found themselves pregnant from a pre-marital affair were forced to conceal it to keep from shaming their families. Was that the case with Jim?
“What are your plans for after your pregnancy is finished?” He asked, hoping for some clue about Jim’s thoughts on his situation.
“I’ll go home. Keep working on improving my life. I work in a garage, and my boss said he’d try to hold my job for me, but he didn’t make any promises.”
“And what arrangements are you making for the child?” Asked Spock. Jim shrugged.
“I just have to keep it healthy until it’s born. Sam and Aurelan, my brother and his wife, are gonna take care of everything else.” Spock’s lips twitched downward in a barely perceptible frown. Jim seemed like an intelligent, caring, sympathetic individual, yet he was planning to leave his child behind in the care of relatives. Even though Spock felt an instinctive animosity toward the child, he still couldn’t help but disapprove of Jim’s plan. Perhaps he’d initially planned to terminate the pregnancy, and his relatives had persuaded him to have the child and leave it with them. He couldn’t resist asking about it.
“You do not wish to raise your child?” Jim’s eyes widened a bit.
“My-you think-I’m-” he cut himself off before he stuttered anymore and took a deep breath. “Oh my God, I know what you’re thinking. I’m sorry, this is my fault, this whole thing is still pretty new to me. I’m not used to explaining it to other people yet.” He paused a moment. “Sam and Aurelan are the baby’s parents. I’m just carrying it for them.” He registered the look of unmasked surprise on Spock’s face and smiled sheepishly. “I probably should have mentioned that before.” Spock had to take a moment to come up with a steady reply.
“You are acting as a surrogate?”
“Pretty much.” Answered Jim. He looked down at the table. “Oh man, we still need to finish our food.” He began to eat again. Spock watched him for a moment before he returned his attention to his own bowl. As he did, Spock could only think one thing.
This changes everything.
Spock didn't mention the pregnancy again immediately. They paid for their food (Jim insited on paying for his dish) gathered up their things and left to find the tea shop. There were many teas, and their aroma’s mingled in the room. Unfortunately, that didn’t seem to agree with Jim.
“Excuse me.” He said, and quickly left the room. Spock followed him and found him outside, on a small stone bench, bent over with his head between his knees, breathing deeply.
“Are you alright?” He asked, concerned.
“I’m fine.” Said Jim. “Just all those different smells getting to me again.” He stood up, a little unsteady. I think maybe I should be getting home.”
“Would you perhaps like me to accompany you?” Offered Spock.
“Nah, I’ll be fine.” Replied Jim with a smile. “Thanks, though.” Spock did insist on walking with him back to the shuttle station. As they walked, Spock thought fast. Given what he heard, he was very interested in seeing Jim again. But he didn’t want to ‘spook’ him, as the saying went. He listened with ‘half an ear’ as the saying went, while Jim spoke. “I’m sorry if I threw you with the whole surrogacy thing, I just didn’t expect to have to explain it to someone I just met, you know.” Spock nodded, absently, too lost in thought to really respond. Then, he had an idea. As they neared the shuttle station Spock looked at him and said,
“Jim, as an aspiring scientist, I am very interested in becoming more familiar with certain aspects of non-Vulcan anatomy. Human male pregnancy is something I have not been able to study extensively. I can easily acquire all the necessary scientific data, but I would also be interested in hearing about your unique firsthand personal experiences, as well as your opinions. Would you perhaps be willing to meet with me occasionally and share them with me?” It wasn’t a total lie, and it would give him an excuse to see him again without hoping to just come across him somewhere like their other two meetings. Jim looked at him, startled.
“Uh, maybe. Is this like, for a project or something?”
“No,” Spock assured him, “it is a purely personal interest.” Jim hesitated.
“I should probably ask Sam and Aurelan first, but if they’re cool with it, I don’t see why not.” He reached into his bag and pulled out his personal padd. “Why don’t we exchange information and I’ll let you know after I talk to them?”
“That is acceptable.” Said Spock, getting out his own padd. They exchanged contact information and put the devices away.
“Their apartment isn’t far from the academy since they both work there. I’m also there a lot because that’s where my new doctor is.” Jim told him. “If they’re okay with me talking to you, I could probably meet you there pretty easily. Oh, there’s the shuttle.” Spock watched Jim get on and find a seat. He smiled and waved at Spock as the shuttle started. Spock hesitated, and raised his right hand in acknowledgment. Then, he watched the shuttle until it was out of sight. Once it was, he turned back to the entrance to the tea garden. He had some teas to look through.
Once back in his quarters, Spock’s mind was racing with new possibilities. He now knew that Jim was only acting as a gestational surrogate, carrying a child as a favor to his brother, and that was rather helpful in easing the instinctive jealousy that he felt about it. He hadn’t mentioned anything other than a job waiting for him back in Iowa, so it was likely that he was not in any committed romantic relationship. He was capable of bearing children, which would make him more desirable as a mate in the eyes of Spock’s family. The only real concern to the family of a Vulcan who took another male for a mate was the kind of complications the continuation of the family line would be put through if its heir entered into a sterile union. The fact that Jim might be able to bear him a child someday put the odds more in his favor as far as his Vulcan family members were concerned, should his father ever decide to reclaim him as a son.
However, there were still plenty of factors that could work against him. Jim was a young, attractive, outgoing human male. Spock had seen the way other people’s eyes followed him. It was possible that Jim would not want to be tied down to anyone at his age. He might want to still explore all the possibilities open to him. Not to mention the fact that they were from different species. Spock knew his parents union was a rare one. Individuals from two races like humans and Vulcans were sometimes just too different to work or live together harmoniously. Jim might simply find him too alien to consider romantically, though they seemed to have started off well enough. But there was one very serious possibility that he had yet to consider.
Jim could very easily be heterosexual, or ‘straight’, as humans liked to call it. A person’s reproductive instincts and capabilities did not automatically make them attracted to the gender that would help fulfill them, though if that was the case, Jim would be termed bisexual because of his ability to get pregnant as well as impregnate. He might just be a straight man, capable of bearing children, who was kind, generous, compassionate, and secure enough in his masculinity to be willing to carry a baby for a barren relative.
He gave that last one a fair bit of thought. He and Jim seemed to have found it easy enough to talk about themselves to each other. Maybe, with the right questions and the right timing, he could learn what Jim’s preferences in a romantic partner were. Only time would tell. For now, he was going to meditate, and perhaps try some of the tea he’d bought in the park. And look up all the possible uses of gelatin. Just in case.
Like I said, don't get used to close updates! I just wanted to get this out there. From now on, I'll be updating every Saturday night or Sunday morning. If I give in and post every time I get a good review, I'll run out of stuff, and I'm speaking from experience. Unlike some people, I don't have the creative energy to post every single day!
Friends First by Vulcan Pearl
I want to make it perfectly clear that Jim’s personal theories in this chapter are just that, personal theories. I am in no way qualified to make any kind of diagnosis or professional statement.
Spock offers Jim a sympathetic ear.
It was nearly a full week before Spock heard from Jim again, on a Friday night. During that time, he took an extra hour a day to meditate specifically on the fact that the child Jim was pregnant with was not actually his, and that he was in no way committed to another person, just doing a favor for a family member. The baby was in no way a threat to him. At least, not if Jim was even remotely interested in him. It might be that Jim was simply not interested in him, or any male.
Spock stubbornly tried to push those thoughts aside. He couldn’t assume anything, and he couldn’t form any kind of plan of action without knowing what Jim was interested in. As he tried to banish his worries, his padd beeped, an indication that he had a new message. He picked it up and saw that the message was labeled JKirk wants to chat. Yes or No? Fighting a rising sense of anticipation, he answered Yes. Immediately, a message appeared.
My brother and sister in law are cool with me talking to you about the baby. I’m coming to the Academy for a doctor’s appointment tomorrow. Are you free? Spock immediately typed up his response, making sure to keep his fingers steady.
I have no plans or commitments for tomorrow. When and where would you like to meet? Jim’s reply came very quickly.
My appointment’s at 10:30 a.m. Can we meet at the south quad around 11:00?
That is agreeable.
Okay, see you then! This last message was followed by JKirk has signed off. Spock shut down his padd and went to light his special candles before returning to his meditation mat. He was going to spend another hour meditating on the fact that Jim’s pregnancy wasn’t detrimental to his own chances.
The next day, Spock arrived at the south quad at 10:30. Maybe he was being overly cautious, but he wanted to arrive early so that there was no chance of missing Jim. He was wearing dark civilian clothing similar to what he’d had on the other time he and Jim had met. Vulcan or not, Jim might mistake him for another cadet if he stayed in his red uniform. He settled down and got out his padd, having brought one of his projects to work on. It was nothing that needed to be done immediately; he was actually months ahead of all his classmates, mainly because he had nothing else to do.
As he worked, he glanced about periodically, to see if Jim was coming early. So far, he hadn’t seen anyone, except for two female cadets who were already sitting on the other end of the quad when he arrived. They appeared to be discussing their plans for the weekend. While the intense workload was the only thing that reminded Spock of home, it was a source of great stress to his non-Vulcan classmates. It seemed that the promise of having the weekend off was the only thing that kept even the most dedicated cadets from succumbing to the pressure. Starfleet really wasn’t for everyone.
Spock glanced up again as he noticed movement, but it was only the two cadets leaving to commence their plans. He looked at the clock feature on his padd, linked to the exact time that the Academy ran on. It was already 11:05. He pushed away the first sensations of unease. Jim had not stated that he would arrive at precisely that hour, and it was still within the window of acceptable tardiness. He continued to focus the majority his attention on his programming project, but he couldn’t help but notice every time the minute changed on the clock right in front of him in the corner of his workspace.
11:30 came and went, and now Spock really was concerned. Perhaps Jim had changed his mind about coming. There were no new messages for him, so if he had for some reason changed his mind, there was no way for Spock to know why. Spock resolved to wait a little longer and continued working. Eventually he allowed himself to glance at the clock again and saw that it was now 12:00. He sighed internally. He had no choice but to admit that he’d been ‘stood up’ as humans liked to say. He placed his padd in his bag and stood up to leave. He looked around the quad one last time and began walking back to his dorm room…
…only to nearly collide with Jim as he came rushing around a corner.
“Spock!” Gasped Jim, out of breath. “I’m sorry I’m so late! I was late getting to the doctor because of traffic. I think everyone in San Francisco’s heading to the beach today! Anyway, since I was late getting there, obviously I was late to leave. Again, I’m really sorry.” Spock noticed as Jim was explaining his tardiness that his eyes were a little bloodshot and his breathing rather shaky. This concerned him.
“Jim,” he asked, “are you well?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.” He replied, looking a little uncomfortable now, holding his own bag against the front of his body almost like a shield. Spock didn’t believe him.
“The coloring of your eyes and the shakiness of your voice would suggest that you have been crying.” He remarked, concerned. “Has something occurred?” Jim didn’t answer for a moment, standing there and avoiding eye contact. His eyes met Spock’s briefly and he gave in.
“I was late for the doctor, and when I finally got out I headed straight here. But on the way, I ran into Gary Mitchell. You know, he was one of the guys I was with when we first met at the campgrounds?” He took a deep breath, not noticing as Spock stiffened ever so slightly. “He started coming on to me, asking if I’d want to go get a drink, or maybe just come back to his room. I told him I wasn’t interested. When he wouldn’t let up, I told him about being pregnant, and how it wasn’t even my baby, and he still didn’t care. When he finally figured out he wasn’t going to change my mind, he called me a lab rat freak and left!” Jim huffed angrily and crossed his arms over his chest. Spock thought that they should perhaps move to another location.
“Perhaps you should sit down.” He offered. Jim just nodded. Spock quickly led him to a bench, not the one he’d been waiting on, but one further from the buildings. It was a little more private. As soon as he was seated, Jim crossed his arms again and scowled darkly.
“Son of a bitch didn’t care that I was pregnant, or that I might already be with someone, or even that it wasn’t my kid! As soon as he knew I wasn’t going to give him what he wanted, he called me the worst thing he could think of and left to find someone who would.” He raged. “God I hate these hormones! If he’d talked to me like that just a couple months ago, he’d have been spitting out his teeth by the time I was done with him! Instead I just started crying like a little kid. At least he left before that.” Jim sighed tiredly and rubbed his hands over his eyes. Spock realized that his hands were clenched into fists at the thought of not only Mitchell’s treatment of Jim, but his very obvious lewd intentions. He’d noticed right away how very interested Mitchell was in Jim, or in his body at least.
“If he does not respect your answer,” he said quietly, hoping Jim did not notice his tension, “he is clearly not worth your time.” Jim lowered his hands and looked up at him.
“That’s just the thing. He’s exactly the kind of guy I would’ve been interested in hooking up with just a few months ago.” He appeared to consider something. “Well, maybe just for a one-time thing. He seems like the type of guy who likes to be on top all the time, and when I’m with a guy, I prefer equal opportunity, so to speak.” He seemed to register his own words right then and his eyes widened. “Oh man, I’m sorry! Vulcan’s don’t really talk about those kinds of things with just anyone, do they? I didn’t mean to offend you.”
“I took no offense.” Spock assured him. “I have become quite accustomed to human’s odd need to share details about themselves with people they barely know.” Spock realized how blunt he sounded, and worried briefly that Jim would be offended by his attitude, but Jim smiled a bit and let out a weak chuckle.
“We are a little to open with our dirty laundry, aren’t we?” He asked. Spock could tell it was just a rhetorical question. He also understood the meaning of the human idiom, but he couldn’t resist trying to get a stronger reaction out of Jim.
“I do not understand what soiled articles of clothing have to do with human’s need to share personal details about themselves with unfamiliar people.” Spock’s words had their desired effect; Jim small smile morphed into a huge grin, and the laugh he gave was full and strong.
“Oh my God, that’s hilarious!” He grinned at Spock, all traces of angst gone from his expression. “You know what I meant! I didn’t know Vulcans had a sense of humor.”
“I assure you, we do not.” Replied Spock, no conviction whatsoever in his words.
“Sure they don’t.” Said Jim, a little playfully. He cocked his head to the side a bit. “The last time we talked, you mentioned you wanted to know stuff about my pregnancy.” He grimaced a bit. “I’m still not used to saying that. Anyway, what is it you want to know?” Spock was caught off guard by this. He’d been working so hard to focus on the fact that the baby Jim was carrying wasn’t a threat to him that he hadn’t given any consideration to discussing the pregnancy, the only reason Jim thought he was interested in seeing him.
“You are certain your brother and sister-in-law are comfortable with your speaking to me about this?” He asked, trying to stall for time.
“Yeah, they’re cool with it.” Jim assured him. “They know Vulcans are really good about being discreet with personal stuff. Plus, they think hanging out with a Vulcan will be a good influence on me, what with the new reformed lifestyle I’m trying to adjust to.” He smiled ruefully. “They really need all the reassurance they can get right now.” Spock looked at him, confused.
“Why is that?” Jim shrugged.
“They started planning for this baby the way any typical husband and wife would; thinking that Aury would be carrying it. Now they have to deal with the fact that before it’s even born, it’s with someone who can just walk off anywhere with it. Someone who, unfortunately, was arrested for drunken and disorderly conduct a couple of times.” Spock frowned minutely.
“Surely they trust you enough not to do anything that would be detrimental to the child’s health.”
“Yeah, but they still worry that the second I’m out of their sight, I’ll get hit by a car or have some other kind of freak accident. They always want to know what I’ve got planned for every minute of the day.”
“I suppose it is only logical that they worry.” Spock offered. He didn’t really care for the implications that Jim’s family might be imposing unnecessary restrictions him after everything he’d already done for them because of past offenses.
“Yeah, I know.” Jim replied. “This is just really hard on them, especially Aurelan. She really feels like she’s lacking the kind of special connection that a mother and baby have because it’s not growing inside her. Also, I think it makes her feel like less of a woman because she can’t carry her own baby.”
“That is illogical.” Stated Spock, moving to sit next to Jim. “A person’s gender is not affected by their reproductive capabilities, or lack thereof.”
“I know that,” said Jim, “and so do they. It’s just that when a couple starts trying to have a baby, if they can’t conceive, they both have to get tested for fertility. When that happens, they sometimes secretly hope the problem is with their partner. ‘Cause if it’s them, then they feel guilt, or even blame from their partner, like it’s their fault that it isn’t happening, and they’re preventing their significant other from having something that they both really want. Sometimes, it causes serious relationship problems for them.”
“It would illogical to feel guilt or blame for one’s inability to conceive, especially if it is something both partners desire.” Remarked Spock.
“That’s true.” Agreed Jim. “I kind of have a theory about why that is.”
“Go on.” Prompted Spock.
“Well,” started Jim, “hundreds of years ago, kids were kind of like tools to some parents. People were encouraged to have lots of kids to fill various roles. Sometimes, kids were expected to enter the church, or take care of the parents when they got old. One of the biggest roles though, was continuation of the family line. With all the mortality rates what they were back then, people had to have lots of kids to ensure that at least a couple of them would live long enough to have children of their own. And, a lot of people tried to secure wealth or move up in the world by arranging good marriages for their kids, ones that would benefit them as well as their children.”
“What do you mean?” Asked Spock.
“Well, there were a lot of class restrictions, and a lot of times, rich people would try to arrange marriages to make connections to other rich families. Even if the marriages didn’t work out, a baby might help maintain a connection between them. Another big thing was inheritance. Some people often secured theirs by having kids. A lot of things like that were handed down through firstborns, or at least firstborn sons. So there was a lot of pressure to continue the family line for those reasons too. Sometimes, the kid who would have gotten the best stuff was denied that if they couldn’t produce an heir, and it went to someone who could.” Jim sighed. “After hundreds of years of humans having pressure put on them to be able to have children, people still put a lot of importance in fertility and virility, thinking their manhood or womanhood is defined by it. And because of that, regular people like Sam and Aury, who just want to take the next step in their marriage and start a family together, are made to feel inadequate because nature screwed them out of it and they had to turn to science instead.”
Spock stared at Jim, not quite sure how to respond to everything he’d just said. Finally, he said,
“I did not realize our culture’s had such a thing in common.” Jim studied him, confused.
“What do you mean?”
“In the past on Vulcan, marriages were arranged between children when the parents desired the connection it entailed. Continuation of the family line was also a priority drilled into children. Marriages are still arranged during childhood, but the matches are made based on mental compatibility, though some families will look for a compatible mind from a family closer to theirs in wealth and influence. And continuation of the family line is still something of great importance to my people. Family bonds are very important to us.” Jim nodded.
“I’ve heard that Vulcans get paired up as kids. Does that mean you’re married, or at least engaged?” Spock shook his head slightly.
“My betrothed elected to have our link dissolved when I chose to enter Starfleet.”
“Oh man,” said Jim, looking sympathetic, “I’m sorry.” Spock shook his head again.
“It is of little consequence. We were not well suited to each other. She often found fault with me because of my human blood. My parents had difficulty finding someone in my age group whose parents were willing to bond their child to me, because of my mixed heritage. I believe my parents ‘settled for her’, to borrow the human phrase. I suspected for quite some time that her family only agreed to it for one of the reasons you mentioned before, to have a connection to my father, the ambassador.”
“That’s terrible.” Said Jim, quietly. “I know we don’t know each other all that well, but I can tell you’re a good guy who deserves better than someone who’s just putting up with stuff she doesn’t understand because her family wants to marry up.” Spock didn’t know what to say. It was a shock to hear such a thing from someone who wasn’t his mother. She was a typical human parent, who loved her son and thought he deserved the best. Jim, on the other hand, barely knew him, and already thought better of him than the peers and neighbors who’d known him his entire life. Before he could think of an adequate reply, he noticed that Jim was sweating quite a bit.
“Are you feeling alright?” He asked worriedly. “I realize this temperature can be uncomfortable to humans who are unaccustomed to it.” Jim smiled reassuringly.
“I’m fine. Yeah, it’s hot, but just sitting here in the shade doesn’t compare with doing summer farm work all day long back home. That’ll make you sweat!”
“Still, it might be best to move somewhere cooler.” Reasoned Spock. He had an idea. “Have you been to the library yet?” Jim perked up at that suggestion.
“I have, but I haven’t had much chance to explore it. Sam set it up so I could use his I.D. to check out files, but I haven’t taken any yet.”
“Would you like to go now?” He asked. Jim grinned at him.
“Sounds like a plan.”
They arrived at the library mere minutes later. Jim seemed momentarily entranced by all the file chips, which could be inserted into a padd and read like an electronic book. Then he immediately began going from shelf to shelf, plucking out a seemingly random selection of files here and there. Spock himself selected some files on computer programming. Jim turned to find a table. Before he left though, he said,
“If you’re interested in learning more about Earth’s historical marital chaos, check out King Henry the Eighth. That guy was a dick, even by my standards.” Spock nodded.
“I shall consider it.” Jim turned and went off in search of a table to read at. Spock went to the aisle containing files on Earth’s history. He found what Jim had suggested and was shocked by the amount of material about him. Jim was right about the chaos part. The man was married six times and was the cause of most of the wives’ deaths. He selected a few files about him and his rule before going to sit with Jim. It appeared that his meditation efforts were successful; between that and the feeling of contentment he got just sitting with Jim, reading, over two hours passed by in comfortable silence, disturbed only by Jim occasionally getting up to add more files to his stack. He remembered that he still had yet to ask Jim anything about his pregnancy, having sufficiently distracted him before. He put his padd down. “Jim?” He said softly. Jim looked up from his own padd.
“I have just realized I have yet to ask you about your pregnancy.” Jim looked surprised.
“Oh, yeah. I totally forgot.” He put down the padd and gave Spock his full attention, something he appreciated. “What do you want to know?” Spock thought for a moment.
“How far has your pregnancy progressed?”
“About four weeks.” Replied Jim. “I actually got pregnant about two weeks before that day we first met at the park, July third, I think. That’s what the doctor said on the confirmation visit. It took right away.” He grimaced. “I’ve been there once a week since I took the test. I already went a bunch of times in the five weeks before I was pregnant, getting tested and having the procedure done and everything. They want me to keep going back once a week, even though the doctor says it’s not necessary.”
“Why do they send you to him once a week, then?” Asked Spock, though he suspected why.
“Like I said before, it bugs them that I have to do this for them. I think they feel they lack the same kind of connection they’d have if it was one of them who was pregnant. So they’re trying to make up for it by tracking the baby’s development as closely as they can.” Spock nodded.
“Who is your doctor?”
“Leonard McCoy.” Replied Jim. “He’s fairly new here himself. He already went to medical school, so he’s qualified to treat humans, but he still has to study xenobiology as a cadet.” Jim grinned. “He’s quite a character. He’s grouchy all the time and swears a lot, but he’s a really good doctor.”
“I will take your word for it.” Said Spock, not sure what to make of a swearing doctor. “Has he told you your due date?”
“Yeah, April seventh.”
“Is that the date of your surgery?”
“No,” said Jim, shaking his head, “that’s just the fortieth week. I heard that there’s less than a five percent chance that a baby is actually born on the due date. If it needs more or less time than that, he’ll know closer to the end. Some pregnancies take a couple weeks less or more. My chances of real premature labor are slim, as long as I don’t do anything to cause it.” He smiled and shook his head. “Aurelan’s really latched onto that date. She’s marking off the days on the calendar until then. She’s doing a lot of stuff like that to try and make up for that link she doesn’t feel. I probably won’t be at that point until I’m fat and miserable all the time.” He looked at his padd then frowned. “Oh man, I’ve been here over three hours. I think I need to get going.” He stood up and began gathering his things. Spock tried to reign in his disappointment.
“Do you have other plans?”
“No, but I want to get dinner ready for when Sam and Aury come home and have time to clean up before that.” Replied Jim. Spock frowned minutely.
“Are they reliant on you for this?” Did they have Jim keeping house for them while he was carrying their child? But Jim was already shaking his head.
“I’m the one having the baby, so they don’t get any kind of leave until it’s born. So, right now they’re both working as many extra hours as they can to save up their days off while I’m still able to take care of myself. That way, they can take time off to take turns looking after me in the later months. You know, when I’m all big and off balance and can’t even put my shoes on because I can’t reach my feet.”
“I see.” Said Spock, nodding. “Is that why they wish for you to reside with them?” Jim nodded.
“That’s partly it. I don’t have to stay with them in their apartment, but it doesn’t really make sense to stay in a hotel or something when they’re right here, and it makes them feel better to have me right there for the reasons I mentioned earlier. Plus, they’d probably end up paying for it if I decided to stay somewhere else. They’re paying for everything else. They really don’t need another expense right now.”
“That is logical.” Said Spock simply. It seemed like Jim’s family was taking appropriate steps to help make his surrogacy as comfortable and uncomplicated as possible.
Jim and Spock both checked out a few files before they left the building. Once again, Spock insisted on walking Jim to the shuttle station. Jim accepted his ‘offer’ with a slightly exasperated smile. It seemed he was getting used to being treated like he wasn’t capable of looking out for himself. Once they arrived, they seated themselves and waited for the shuttle. As they did this, Jim turned to him again.
“By the way, thanks for earlier.” Spock looked at him, confused.
“You know, for cheering me up after all that crap Mitchell said to me.” Jim smiled ruefully and shook his head. “I still can’t believe I used to hook up with guys like him.” He paused thoughtfully. “Now that I can’t do a lot of the stuff I’m used to, I’m starting to see that I wasn’t really going anywhere with that lifestyle. It was all impersonal work with the occasional night of bar hopping and a one night stand here and there. Maybe I’ll miss some of it, but I guess that’s just part of growing up. I mean, I may not ever try to be a hero like my dad, but I can do better than where I was.” He laughed. “I don’t think I’ll miss people like Mitchell, though. I’m not sure what I should be looking for in a long term relationship, but I’ll certainly have plenty of time to think about it.” Spock, who’d been mentally agreeing with everything Jim said, was caught off guard by his last remark.
“What do you mean?” He asked. Jim shrugged.
“Well, I know there’s at least one guy out there who doesn’t care if his partner’s pregnant, but I know I’d feel a little weird about having sex with someone who’s not the other parent of the kid I’m carrying. To do it while I’m having a baby that’s not even mine just kind of feels wrong. Plus, even if I met someone who I might want to have sex with at some point, I wouldn’t want to make them wait through the whole pregnancy and recovery. Not to mention however long it’s going to take me to get back into shape. It wouldn’t be fair to just put someone on hold like that and expect them to wait for me.” As he finished speaking, the shuttle pulled up. Jim stood up, waiting as a few cadets stepped off the transport before starting up the stairs. He turned back and waved. “Thanks again!” Then he finished boarding and took a seat. Spock waited, once again, until the shuttle was out of sight before turning to head back to his room.
Once back in his quarters, he took stock of everything he’d learned about Jim in the hours they spent together. Jim was, if he’d interpreted him correctly, bisexual. He preferred a versatile relationship with other men. Spock wasn’t sure what kind of sexual activities he would prefer, but if a bond between them would be as strong as first impressions promised, he would likely enjoy anything Jim would share with him. He also knew that Jim was interested in moving past short term trysts and learning what characteristics would make someone a satisfactory long term partner for him.
He knew that many humans valued the same things a Vulcan would in a mate: Faithfulness, reliability, and equality. Humans were prideful beings whose egos were easily damaged. Jim had already expressed some displeasure at the idea of being ‘supported’ by his family. Humans, ones who were accustomed to providing for themselves at least, were more interested in a partnership. That was just fine with Spock. Vulcan’s did not care for one-sided relationships. However, there was one thing still thing holding him back.
Jim was uninterested in pursuing any kind of relationship while he was pregnant with his niece or nephew, something Spock couldn’t help but admire, in spite of what it might mean for him. While that meant that Jim might not accept his advances, it meant he wouldn’t be accepting anyone else’s either. That reassured him somewhat. Jim was right to want to wait before entering a serious relationship with anyone. He would do well to do the same. The fact that a bond looked promising at this point didn’t mean that he should already be planning the rest of their lives together.
It wasn’t a mate Jim needed right now, it was a friend. Someone who could offer emotional support during the remainder of the pregnancy. Spock could probably say the same for himself. The time when his life would depend on having a mate was years away, if it would ever come at all. Right now, he was in a position where he could be a supportive presence and positive influence in Jim’s life. He could provide the support Jim needed as a friend, while keeping his desire to explore a romantic relationship with him to himself, lest Jim feel pressured or unnerved by it.
For now, he would continue as he was, going about his regular routine and meditating on what he knew about the baby while he waited for Jim to contact him again.
This is the second version of this chapter. The first one was somehow lost from my flash drive, something I’m still very angry about. Obviously I don’t remember every single word as it was before, so this is what you get instead.
Poor Spock! Every time Jim gives him a little hope, he practically takes it right back. I had no idea I could be so mean!
I don’t know anything about the campus of Starfleet Academy, so just bear with me on that. I think I calculated the due date right, but I’m ridiculously bad at even simple math so that may not be the case.
That’s all for now.
The Merits of Art and Windmills by Vulcan Pearl
We’ll be seeing a couple of familiar faces in this installment!
It had already been four days since Spock had last seen Jim. He spent that time gathering every piece of information he could about human male pregnancy. He wanted to learn more about human sexuality as well, but he wasn’t sure how to go about getting that information. Vulcans were extremely private about such matters. He knew humans weren’t quite as private with such information, but he didn’t want it known that he was interested, in case it got back to Jim. The only other option he could think of was to go ask his doctor.
Geoffrey M’Benga specialized in Vulcan physiology, and had studied on Vulcan for five years. Spock was most fortunate to have found him here, knowing he could not likely contact a Vulcan healer after being disowned by his father. Doctor M’Benga would understand not only a Vulcan’s need for discretion, but human curiosity as well. Picking up his padd, he sent a message to him asking when he could meet for a consultation of sorts, off the record. He received a reply shortly that told him the doctor was available tomorrow and could meet him in his office during his lunch period. Spock sent a reply to let him know he’d be there.
The next day, Spock arrived at Doctor M’Benga’s office promptly at twelve noon and knocked on the door. It opened to reveal the man’s good natured smile.
“Ah, Mr. Spock! Right on time, as usual.” He stepped back and gestured for Spock to enter the office. Spock stepped into the familiar room.
“Thank you for agreeing to see me on such short notice, Doctor.” M’Benga shook his head as he closed the door.
“It’s no trouble, Mr. Spock. I must admit that I’m curious about what you want to ask me about.” Spock seated himself in the chair in front of M’Benga’s desk and waited for him to take his place behind it.
“I expect I can trust you to continue to practice your usual discretion with this discussion?” Asked Spock. He already knew he could, but he was still trying to calm his nerves and steel himself for what he was about to ask.
“Of course,” said M’Benga, sounding a little confused, “you know I wouldn’t tell anyone else about this.” He looked at Spock knowingly. “What you want to ask me about, is it serious? Is there something troubling you?” Spock almost sighed. M’Benga was very perceptive.
“I have recently met a human to whom I feel…very strongly drawn.” M’Benga looked surprised, though he controlled it well.
“I see.” He shifted in his seat. “How exactly do you think I can help you with this?”
“You are human.” Replied Spock. “I had hoped you could offer me specific advice about human courting practices.”
“Maybe,” allowed M’Benga, “but I’m a medical doctor, not an expert on human social behavior.” Spock felt his face heating up a bit.
“I had hoped if you could tell me nothing else, that you might advise me on certain points of human sexuality.” M’Benga nodded.
“Ah, yes. Well, I must say I’m glad you came to me about this. I know you’re a very intelligent person, and you can probably acquire all the information you need on your own, but even in this day in age a lot of young people make mistakes that could have been avoided if they’d just asked for professional advice.”
“Indeed,” agreed Spock, “so I am correct in assuming you will help me?”
“Of course.” The doctor assured him. “First though, it might be a good idea to tell me a little bit about her.”
“The human I am interested in is a male.” Corrected Spock.
“Oh,” said M’Benga with a smile, “my apologies. Is it anyone I might know?” He frowned slightly then. “If he’s a patient of mine, or a member of Starfleet, there will be a definite limit to how much I can advise you. I can’t break confidentiality.”
“I am well aware of that.” Replied Spock. “I know for a fact that he is neither a member of Starfleet nor a patient of yours. He is, however, a patient of Doctor McCoy.” M’Benga gave a start at that.
“McCoy?” He looked at Spock, now looking a little perplexed. “What is this man’s name?”
“Jim Kirk. He is staying with his brother and sister-in-law while acting as a surrogate parent for them.” M’Benga didn’t bother to conceal his surprise at that.
“You know about his pregnancy?”
“Indeed, he told me the first time we met. Though,” he added, “I did not know the story behind the child’s paternity until we met a second time.” M’Benga nodded.
“How is it that you’ve been able to cope with sensing his pregnancy?”
“Once I realized what caused the negative sensations I experienced in his presence, I considered several possible explanations behind his pregnancy and concluded it would be unwise to associate with him. I originally sought to avoid him, however on our second meeting I learned why Jim is pregnant and have since focused strongly on that fact during my daily meditations. It has been successful in helping ease the discomfort I feel when he is with me.”
“I see.” Said M’Benga thoughtfully. “Is he aware of your discomfort?” Spock hesitated.
“He is not. I do not wish for him to see this as a reason to distance himself from me.” M’Benga frowned again.
“Spock, I doubt he’ll be very appreciative of the fact that you’re concealing something like this from him. I know if I found out something about me was upsetting someone I was dating, I’d want to know about it.” Spock shifted uncomfortably.
“Jim and I are not romantically involved. We may never be.”
“Ah,” said M’Benga, “are you planning to wait until his pregnancy is over? Are you worried about stressing him out or something?”
“It is Jim who wishes to wait until his pregnancy is finished before pursuing any kind of relationship with anyone. He feels it would be ‘weird and wrong’ to start anything while he is carrying his brother’s child.” He paused a moment before adding, “He knows nothing of my interest in him. I was drawn to him immediately, in spite of his being pregnant, and now that I know more about him and the situation, I wish to get to know him better still. I do not wish for him to know of my interest, lest he feel awkward about it. If, after the child is born, I feel there is a significant enough possibility of a successful relationship between us, I will attempt to initiate it. If there cannot be any romantic relationship between us, we might at least be able to still be friends. I find him very agreeable to be with.” M’Benga listened to his whole speech, and nodded decisively.
“Well, I can give you plenty of information on human sexuality. Do you know whether or not Mr. Kirk is attracted to males?” Spock nodded.
“He has mentioned before that he is.”
“Then I can give you all the best technical information on the subject, though you may find that instinct leads you a little differently. As for the ‘pregnancy smell’,” he reached into a drawer to pull out a prescription padd and began typing, “I’m prescribing you a special nasal numbing agent. It was pretty commonly used in early Vulcan/human interactions when Vulcans had to be kept in close quarters with humans for long periods of time.” He finished typing and hit Send. “It will be ready for you to pick up tomorrow afternoon. A single dose should effectively eliminate your olfactory detection of Mr. Kirk’s pregnancy for up to twenty-four hours. I’ve actually been meaning to mention it to you in the near future, in case you should ever have a problem with a pregnant colleague or something.”
“A logical precaution.” Agreed Spock.
“It should prevent you from registering anything, unless you happen to put your nose right up against him and take a big sniff.” He added with a smile.
“Highly unlikely.” Spock muttered.
“Now,” continued M’Benga, “I’m not a counselor. I suppose the best advice I can give you on the subject of relationships is to be open, though if you don’t want him to know the extent of your interest in him at this point, just be casual with him. Ask him about himself, and let him ask you things. Just get to know each other.”
“I am grateful for your advice. I only ask that this all be kept between us. I do not wish for anyone else to know, not even your fellow doctors. I do not wish for Jim to learn of this and feel uncomfortable because of it.” M’Benga nodded.
“Spock, you have my word as your physician that I won’t tell another person what we discuss on or off the record.” He paused. “I’ll tell you this much. I happen to have met Mr. Kirk, and he seems like a fine young man, very serious about making a better life for himself. He might need to mature a little yet, but he’s very intelligent and I think he’s well on his way. I believe once he does that, he’ll make a good boyfriend, or even bondmate.”
“Thank you again, Doctor.” Said Spock quietly, getting up to leave. I will try to put your advice to good use.” M’Benga smiled and nodded.
“If you ever feel the need to talk about this, you can always call me. I’ll be glad to listen.” Spock nodded.
“Thank you again. Good day, Doctor.”
The next day…
Spock had picked up his doses of the nasal numbing agent along with a reusable hypospray. Each dose They would go into effect immediately after injection. He had enough to last one month, but he wanted to wait until actually needed it, which would be the next time he saw Jim. In the meantime, in addition to his regular studies, he was studying some of the literature on human sexuality that M’Benga had sent him. He was grateful for all the time he’d spent working ahead on his schoolwork; it allowed him to set aside more time with Jim in the near future, and to study this material right now.
He found it rather shocking how straightforward the instructions were. For Vulcans, any education about sexuality was up to the parents. Even the parents were often not helpful. For such a logical species, the total inhibition that sexual intercourse sometimes caused was considered shameful. Spock knew the causes and effects of sex, but the specifics, the positions and sensations it entailed were a mystery to him. In the privacy of his quarters, Spock found himself blushing as he read the detached, clinical guides that detailed the proper precautions and preparations of sexual intercourse between two humanoid males.
Due to Vulcan secrecy, he had to make a lot of guesses for what those instructions meant for him, physically. His hybrid nature gave him even more cause for consideration. The only thing his parent’s union had taught him about sexual relations between Vulcans and humans was that the act was possible, and that they were able to bond as Vulcans did. He couldn’t say with certainty if he’d react in a Vulcan way, or a human way to any kind of sexual contact. He was leaning toward Vulcan, though, as his physiology had been manipulated to be almost completely Vulcan. All he could really do right now was study and wait for Jim to contact him again.
That last thought had barely crossed his mind when his comm sounded, alerting him to a call. He moved over to his desk and picked up his padd. It was Jim. Speak of the devil, as the humans say.
JKirk wants to chat. Yes or No? Spock tapped Yes. A question popped up immediately
Are you free this weekend? Spock typed out his answer.
I have no plans. Are you returning to the Academy grounds?
Yeah, back to the doctor. I was wondering if you wanted to meet again. Spock ignored the automatic anticipation he felt and focused on his response.
Do you wish to meet in the south quad again?
I was actually thinking you could come to Starfleet Medical after my appointment and we could go back to Golden Gate Park, if you want. We both talked about wanting to see the park. Spock’s eyes widened. Why hadn’t he thought of that?
It would be logical to spend our time together acting on a mutual desire. He hit Send, then cursed himself for his wording. It would only be too easy for a human to interpret it as sexual innuendo. Fortunately, Jim replied quickly.
That’s great! My appointment’s at 10:30, same as last time. If you can just get to the waiting area by 11:00, I should be all done.
I will be there.
They both logged off.
The next day found Spock at Starfleet Medical. Before he left, he injected himself with the nasal numbing agent for the first time. It caused a slightly disconcerting feeling. Then, he’d simply asked where Doctor McCoy’s office was and taken a seat in the waiting room. He arrived at 10:45, but was only seated for five minutes before Jim emerged from a side door. He smiled when he saw him there. At the sight of Jim’s smile, the discomfort of having one of his senses impeded melted away. And the fact that he did not smell anything that caused an instinctive negative feeling put him even more at ease.
“Hey, you’re early.” Spock nodded.
“I did not wish to keep you waiting. It would seem I had less time to wait than you would have.” Jim grinned.
“I didn’t think it would take all the way till 11:00, but I wasn’t sure.” He gestured to the door. “Ready to go?” Spock nodded and picked up his bag.
“Have you given any thought to where you would like to go today?” Jim nodded.
“Yeah. I kind of figured that as long as I have the energy for it, I’d like to try and see more than one spot, if you don’t mind.”
“I would not.” Spock assured him. “What places would you like to see?” Jim seemed to consider.
“I want to see it all. I’ve managed to narrow it down to a few places today. For starters, I’d like to see at least one of the windmills, which probably won’t take too long. Also, I didn’t see the Academy of Sciences like I’d planned last week. Also, I wouldn’t mind seeing the De Young Museum.” Spock nodded.
“If we manage our time wisely, I see no reason that we cannot visit all three locations. I myself cut my visit to the Academy of Sciences short as I had to return to the campus prematurely.” That wasn’t exactly true. He’d left prematurely, yes, but it was to return to his dorm to try to forget the man who’d sparked such feelings in him. Jim didn’t need to know that, at least not yet. Oblivious to his thoughts, Jim nodded and said,
“Do you mind if we start with the windmill? It’ll probably take the least amount of time.” Spock nodded.
“That would be the logical choice.” They left the building and headed to the nearest shuttle stop. They barely had to wait two minutes before the next shuttle arrived. Once they boarded and took their seats, Jim by the window, Spock turned to him.
“What was the purpose of your trip to the doctor?” Jim shrugged.
“Just another checkup. I told you, Sam and Aury are pretty paranoid about having their baby grown inside someone else. I think they’ll keep sending me once a week until the end of the first trimester, at least.” He shook his head. “I really don’t mind, cause Doctor McCoy’s a good guy and it gives me a chance to look around a bit, but it’s a little aggravating. But, I want them to feel okay, so I’m not going to fight with them about it.” They remained in silence for a while, when Spock realized something.
“Jim.” Jim turned to him, surprised.
“What is it?” Spock frowned minutely.
“I have just realized that I never asked you your age. You are obviously old enough to be subject to this procedure, but I do not know your actual age.”
“Oh,” said Jim with a smile, “I’m twenty-three. What about you?”
“I am twenty-five Earth years.” Replied Spock.
“So, not much older than me.”
“No.” The rest of the ride was completed in silence. They arrived at a stop outside the park right in time to switch to one of the park shuttles. As agreed, they went to the North Windmill first. Spock was rather fascinated by the human use of wind as a power source and the design of the structure, but other than that, did not find much to be impressed with. Jim seemed look at it for a moment before suggesting that they move on.
“I know it’s not that interesting,” he said after they’d boarded a shuttle once more, “but I’ve always wanted to see a real windmill. Every time I see a picture of one, or hear someone mention one, it reminds me of Don Quixote. It was one of my favorite stories when I was a kid.” Spock cocked his head to the side.
“I am not familiar with that story.” Jim smiled.
“It’s about a guy, Alonso Quixano, who decides to leave his home and life to try to become a hero and convinces some guy named Sancho Panza to go with him. He’s not totally in his right mind, and at one point, he tries to fight a windmill after mistaking it for a giant or something.” Spock’s eyebrow raised.
“I am somewhat familiar with the mythological humanoid creatures known as giants, and I see no resemblance between them and the structure we just viewed.” Jim laughed.
“Like I said, he wasn’t in his right mind. He probably suffered from some mental affliction that could be diagnosed today. Plus, he isn’t exactly young when he goes on his journey.”
“Did you read this story as part of an assignment?” Asked Spock. He knew that human students were often made to read something and then interpret it for school. But Jim shook his head.
“No, I actually saw it on this really old T.V. show from the late twentieth century. You may or may not know it, but humans, especially children, are fascinated by media entertainment that involves talking animals. This show I watched was called Wishbone, and it was about a storytelling dog. He would compare the events going on in the lives of his human owner and friends to a story. And he always played a part in the story. I was introduced to a lot of books that way.”
“Such as?” Asked Spock, genuinely curious.
“Oh, man, some of the works of William Shakespeare and Washington Irving, Frankenstein, A Tale of Two Cities, The Phantom of the Opera, The Time Machine, The Three Musketeers, Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Faust. The show lasted about two seasons, I think. I know I didn’t read every book they mentioned, but I have copies of a lot of them now. The stories were all way more dramatic than showed in the series, but I guess that’s to be expected, since it was a kid’s show.” Spock was familiar with some of the literature Jim mentioned, but some of the names were totally unfamiliar. He made a mental note to look into that some other time.
They arrived at their next stop, the De Young Museum. Spock was rather fascinated by the structure of the building. They got inside and began studying the artwork. Jim seemed only mildly interested. Spock, not wanting for their day to be spoiled, chose his words carefully.
“Are you finding the artwork interesting?” Jim shrugged.
“There’s definitely some interesting stuff here, but art doesn’t always get my attention. I do enjoy history though, and there are pieces here from the 1600’s. And, even if I don’t totally understand the art, it’s still cool to learn the story behind it and its creation.” Spock accepted the explanation. It was simply a case of not loving it, but not hating it either. He focused on some of the textile displays for a while, then turned to find that Jim was no longer in his line of sight. He began searching the nearby rooms quickly. He found him after a few moments in a room filled with displays of African art. He appeared to be questioning a young woman about one of the sculptures. Jim turned his head enough to see Spock in his peripheral vision.
“Oh, hey.” He said. He looked at the woman and gestured behind him. “This is my friend, Spock.” He looked back at Spock. “I was just talking to…” he frowned and turned to the woman again. “I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name.” The woman smiled in a slightly patronizing manner.
“It’s Uhura, Nyota Uhura.” She turned to Spock, looking interested. “Aren’t you the Vulcan cadet who started this year?” Spock was so wrapped up in the fact that Jim had introduced him as his friend that he was a little surprised by the question.
“Indeed.” He replied neutrally. He turned to Jim. “I was wondering where you had gone.” He tried not to let any reproach into his tone, but he must have failed because Jim rolled his eyes.
“Sorry, but I didn’t think it mattered.” He glanced at Uhura briefly, then returned his attention to Spock. “I saw a sign for a bathroom back there. I’ll just come back here when I’m done.”
“Very well.” Replied Spock, watching him leave. Uhura watched as well. As soon as Jim was gone, she turned back to Spock.
“Is he a cadet?”
“Negative,” replied Spock, “he is visiting relatives to assist them with an endeavor.” He wasn’t sure is Jim would be alright with him mentioning the pregnancy to someone not bound by confidentiality. Uhura nodded.
“I didn’t think so; he doesn’t really have the look.” She gazed out the entrance he’d walked through speculatively. “For a second, I thought he was going to start flirting with me or something, but he just asked me if I knew anything about the art. Even then, I still wasn’t sure.”
“I assure you,” said Spock, a little stiffly, “he was not.” He paused, realizing he sounded a little harsh and amended, “I highly doubt he would pursue a relationship here when he will eventually be returning to his home.” Even if Jim wasn’t interested in dating anyone, he still didn’t want Uhura trying to gain his interest. However, it seemed that he’d misread Uhura’s intentions, because her tone implied that she would have not welcomed such attentions from Jim. She seemed to quickly lose interest in the subject.
“So, what are you studying? Science courses?”
“Indeed.” Replied Spock. “And you?” Before she could answer, Jim returned. She almost seemed disappointed as she watched him walk back over to them.
“Hey,” he said cheerfully, “what were you guys talking about?”
“We were discussing our respective focuses.” Replied Spock.
“Oh yeah?” Jim turned back to Uhura. “What’s yours?”
“Xenolinguistics.” She replied, somewhat curtly. “You probably don’t know what that means.” Jim didn’t look fazed at all.
“Study of alien languages, morphology, phonology and syntax.” He shrugged lightly. “Means you’ve got a talented tongue.” In spite of the more salacious meaning the words could have had, Jim’s tone seemed almost careless. Perhaps that convinced Uhura, because her features smoothed out.
“I stand corrected.” She said simply. She looked between them both. “I need to go, but maybe I’ll see you around campus sometime?” The last remark was directed at Spock. He nodded.
“It is possible.” With a nod at them both, she departed. As soon as she was gone, Jim turned to Spock with a grin.
“Did you see that? She was totally into you!” Spock cocked his head to the side.
“Are you implying that she was attracted to me in some way?” Jim’s smile grew.
“Absolutely!” He replied. “Why do you think I left?” Spock stared at him, incredulously.
“You made an excuse to leave so that I would speak to her?”
“Yeah, she wanted to talk to you, and she didn’t want me around. Also, I needed my shot. It looks like you’ll be seeing more of her.”
“It is logical to assume that, given that we both attend the Academy.” Spock said neutrally. He wasn’t interested in pursuing a relationship with Uhura, and he didn’t really care for the way she’d spoken to Jim when he’d drawn Spock’s attention away from her, and how she’d implied he was of lesser intelligence just because he was not a cadet or was unfamiliar with the artwork. “I do not believe she is ‘my type’ as the human saying goes.” Jim shrugged.
“Oh well. Let’s get back to the art.” They went on to admire the art in the various rooms, never staying long. They remained for about an hour and a half before deciding to leave.
They boarded a shuttle once more and traveled to the Academy of Sciences. As they sat there, Jim pulled out a nutritional bar of sorts and began eating.
“These are really good. I haven’t been as sick lately and these are a good way to fill up and take in more nutrients.” He stared out the window for a moment before looking back at Spock. “This whole abstaining thing is different than what I thought it would be.”
“What do you mean?” Asked Spock, curiously. Jim shrugged.
“I don’t know. I mean, I didn’t sleep with just anyone. I tried to make sure my partners were clean, safe, and just interested in a one night thing to blow off some steam, though I wasn’t always so careful in the beginning. But I flirted a lot. It’s sort of what people expect from me back home. It’s kind of just second nature to me now, I guess. I know that girl Uhura thought I was going to try to flirt with her, and if it wasn’t for little Fetus here,” he gestured to his stomach, “I probably would have, and she would have just given me the brush off. I know what she was thinking; that I was just some dumb hick, and probably a manwhore on top of that. She could tell you’re a smart guy, and she liked that. Though, she seems willing enough to admit when she’s wrong. But if I really wanted to get involved someone like her, there’d be at least a few months of dating and the possibility of more down the line. I’m just not ready for that yet.” Finished speaking, Jim went back to his snack, getting out the water bottle Spock had seen before. Spock considered his words.
“I find it somewhat disturbing that she judged you so hastily. In the short time I have known you, I have found you to be neither unintelligent or promiscuous.” Though, he thought guiltily, I had considered it a possibility. Jim smiled at him.
“Thanks, Spock. But you didn’t know me back in Iowa. I might not be all that bad, but I did make some pretty stupid decisions. I did a few things that I’d take back if I could. That includes my choices to ‘socialize’ with some of the people I did.” Jim shrugged. “I guess that’s all in the past now. I just have to try and keep living better and hope that everyone back home understands that I’m serious about turning over a new leaf.” Spock nodded.
“If they truly are your friends, then logically they should have no trouble accepting your choices, especially if they improve your life.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right.” Jim looked out at the scenery again. “Hey, we’re here.”
They stepped off the shuttle and entered the science museum. This took a little longer than the art museum. Spock showed Jim several of the exhibits he’d viewed before and discussed them with him. At one point, they came across the exhibits for artificial and natural male pregnancy.
“I was really surprised you were interested in talking to me about my pregnancy.” Jim said as they stood in front of it. “That first day we met, you walked away from me as soon as I mentioned being pregnant.” Spock hesitated to respond. He didn’t want to lie to Jim, but he didn’t want to make any negative implications either. He decided to tell a portion of the truth.
“On Vulcan,” he began, “there are certain unspoken rules surrounding pregnancies. Vulcans are very protective of their mates, especially if the mate is pregnant. It is considered inappropriate for an unattached male such as myself to share the company of another’s pregnant mate.” It wasn’t entirely untrue. Vulcans were always protective of their mates, but males could sometimes have a difficult time dealing with it, such as shortly after bonding or their Time of Mating, and during their mates pregnancy. Jim nodded.
“So when I said I was pregnant, you thought you were violating some taboo by sitting in the car with me?”
“Essentially.” Replied Spock, trying not to let his guilt show. If he and Jim grew close enough, he might be able to admit the whole truth someday. Jim wanted to know more though.
“So, what made you change your mind? Good old scientific curiosity?”
“I am curious about your condition.” Replied Spock. “And…” he hesitated.
“What is it?” Asked Jim. Spock decided to try for a little more honesty.
“I was intrigued by your behavior toward me. On Vulcan, I was considered too human for my peers’ taste, and here on Earth, I am considered too Vulcan to fit in with humans. There are few people I have met who have been able to see past my genetic heritage without first getting used to my ‘Vulcanness’. You, on the other hand, treated me as you would any new acquaintance you had just met. You were…friendly. I admit I had hoped to experience more interaction like that.” Jim just looked at him for a moment.
“Oh.” He looked around for a moment before looking Spock in the eye again. “Why don’t we keep looking?” They continued to examine exhibits, Jim occasionally asking Spock questions. Spock wondered if this was just his way of changing the subject and trying to ignore Spock’s display of emotionalism. There were some humans who were uncomfortable with emotional expression. After about three hours, Jim announced that he had to get home to get some work done. After they’d boarded their shuttle, Jim suddenly turned to Spock, touching him on the wrist lightly to get his attention.
“I’m coming back onto campus on Wednesday to meet Bones- uh, Doctor McCoy for lunch. Would you maybe want to join us?” Spock might not have been sure of the sincerity of his offer if it wasn’t for the fact that Jim’s fingertips had briefly grazed the skin of his hand right at the edge of his sleeve. Through that tiny, short bit of contact he felt Jim’s sympathy, his desire to help, and his…empathy. He realized that Jim was hoping to help ease his loneliness by including him in other activities and introducing him to other people.
“That would be agreeable.” He said quietly. Jim smiled brightly.
“Great!” The spent the remainder of the trip back outside of the park in silence. They parted ways at the next shuttle station. Jim got on a shuttle that would take him close to his family’s home. Before he got on, he turned back to Spock.
“So I’ll see you Wednesday in the Mess Hall at 12:00?”
“Affirmative.” Replied Spock.
Okay, see you then.” With that, Jim got on the shuttle and Spock watched it until it was out of sight. Once the shuttle that would take him back to the Academy arrived, he boarded. As it began its journey to the campus, Spock was already deep in thought. Jim seemed to have positive thoughts about his doctor, so he wished to make a good first impression on him. If he could get McCoy’s approval, it might help him in the long run in earning Jim’s affection. He was already formulating ways to gain McCoy’s favor when the shuttle reached the campus.
As he prepared himself for bed that night, he thought about what Jim was trying to do for him. Now not only was Jim interested in being his friend, he wanted him to associate with his other friends as well. He still stood by his conviction to wait until Jim was no longer pregnant to pursue anything more with him, but he was becoming more and more determined to do so. Right now, however, he was content to dwell on the fact that for the first time in his life, he had a friend
So, Jim knows a little bit about Spock’s motivation for getting to know him better. How will this change their relationship? Tune in next time!
For those of you who aren’t Star Trek: Enterprise fans, T’Pol used the kind of nasal numbing agent I mentioned to help her deal with the ‘human odor’ that bothered her so much at first.
In case you can’t tell, Wishbone was one of my favorite shows as a child. It introduced me to a lot of stories that I’ve read or seen in other media.
Like Cats and Dogs by Vulcan Pearl
Spock meets McCoy. Enough said.
Wednesday came too soon and not soon enough for Spock’s liking. On the one hand, he was eager to see Jim again. On the other hand, he was going to be meeting a stranger, and first impressions with humans wasn’t exactly his strong suit. He hadn’t met Doctor McCoy before, but if Jim found him agreeable, he must at least be a good person.
When Wednesday afternoon finally came, Spock took the nasal numbing agent and headed to the Mess Hall as usual. The only difference was that for the first time, he was fighting apprehension as well as anticipation every step of the way. Spock entered the room and looked around, blocking out the activity of the other cadets as he searched for Jim. He spotted him at a table on the other side of the room. He immediately headed over.
Jim was sitting by himself when Spock reached him. As he moved closer, he noticed that Jim’s clothing appeared somewhat baggy and loose, specifically around his midsection. The hemline of the front almost seemed a bit longer than in the back, as if it had more material. Just before he reached him, Jim turned and smiled at him.
“Hey, right on time.” He gestured to the seat right next to his, a clear invitation to sit. As Spock did just that, he said, “Bones isn’t here yet, he had to take care of some stuff in his office before he came. He told me to just go ahead.” Jim made a face. “He thinks I just assumed he meant paperwork. I know he’s really updating the diet card he gave me, so the replicator will only give me what he thinks I need right now.” Spock nodded.
“He is your doctor, if anyone would know what you should be eating it will be him.” Jim shrugged.
“I know. Doesn’t mean I’m happy about it.” He looked Spock over for a moment. “Every time I’ve seen you before you were in dark clothes. You almost look like a different person in uniform.” As soon as he said that, another man approached the table, interrupting Spock’s thoughts on how to reply. He seemed to be in his late twenties, possibly his early thirties. While he was cleaned and well groomed in his cadet uniform, there seemed to be a certain…scruffiness about him. His eyes were sharp, as if he was expecting to see something in specific, or assessing everything in front of him. He stopped on the other side of the table, right across from Jim.
“Hey Jim. I figured while I was there, I’d update your diet card.” Jim gave Spock a look that said, What’d I tell you? McCoy looked between the two of them. “You must be Spock. Jim’s talked quite a bit about you. I can honestly say I’ve never heard of somebody actually wanting to associate with a Vulcan, let alone make friends with one.” Spock noticed peripherally that Jim stiffened a bit when McCoy spoke, but Spock ignored it. In spite of his blunt and insensitive words, McCoy’s voice seemed to hold no animosity.
“Obviously your logic is severely flawed if you do not realize the benefits of associating with an intellectually superior race.” He deadpanned in response. McCoy’s eyes widened a bit, and Jim coughed suddenly, trying to stifle a laugh.
“Well, I guess Vulcan pacifism doesn’t extend to verbal disagreements.” He said with a smile. He held out his hand to McCoy. “Come on, give me my card and let’s get something disgustingly healthy.” He and Spock stood up again and followed McCoy to the line to the replicator. As they stood in line waiting, Spock eyed Jim’s slightly baggy clothing again.
“Are you certain you have been eating enough?” He asked. “Your clothes do not seem to fit you correctly.”
“I’m not losing weight.” Jim assured him. “I’ve just started wearing some of the new clothes Sam and Aury got me for when I really start packing it on. I found out that at the rate it’s developing, I probably won’t really start to show until the second trimester, as is usually the case with women.”
“I see.” Said Spock, feeling a little foolish for voicing his concern. They arrived at the replicator and began ordering their meals. McCoy ordered what he believed to be some kind of Asian dish with a small bowl of sliced peaches and some water. Spock ordered a salad and a small bowl of plomeek soup, along with some tea. Jim got a slightly larger dish, something with meat in it. It looked like beef and pasta. It came with vegetables and a bowl of assorted fruits which Spock realized to be rich in Vitamin C. It came with a large glass of milk. They returned to their table. Spock looked over Jim’s food with a critical eye.
The meat and milk were both good sources of protein, and the fruits and vegetables were nutritionally sound. The helpings seemed appropriate as well. It seemed that McCoy, for all his seeming lack of subtlety and manners, was competent in the task of adjusting Jim’s diet. It looked like a very good meal for Jim at this time. He returned his attention to his own meal.
The meal passed in surprising comfort. They discussed their various classes and activities. Jim had considerably less to share, having not much else to do besides exploring the Academy and Park grounds. That, and just being pregnant. McCoy talked (complained) about many things, from the idiocy of some his patients to the replicator’s apparent failure at creating a good imitation of peaches. According to McCoy, there was nothing quite as wonderful as real Georgia peaches. Spock also commented on some of his classes and projects. Jim seemed genuinely interested, but it seemed that non-medical science was one of the many things McCoy did not care for.
“You know Spock,” he commented at one point, “it probably wouldn’t hurt to get some more meat on your bones.” Spock fought the urge to clench his teeth. One of his mother’s more embarrassing habits was expressing her concern over how thin he looked sometimes.
“I assure you, I am of average height and weight for a Vulcan male of my age.”
“If you say so.” Muttered McCoy. Spock didn’t know why, but something about this man made him want very much to formulate a retort for every comment that came out of his mouth.
“Considering the fact that you are here to study medical xenobiology, one might believe that you should already know this.” He may or may not have taken some vindictive pleasure in watching McCoy’s face turn of couple of shades pinker as his mouth worked soundlessly, as well as the apparent amusement on Jim’s face. Finally, good humor gone, he growled,
“I just started earlier this year, and we haven’t got to pointy-eared computers yet.”
“Bones!” Snapped Jim, looking more than a little upset now. Any amusement he’d felt while watching their banter before was gone. McCoy’s anger seemed to lessen as he took in how upset Jim looked.
“Sorry kid, we’ll play nice.” He eyed Spock grudgingly as he spoke, then returned to what was left of his meal. “So,” he said in an obvious attempt to draw Jim’s attention elsewhere, “you’re almost at six weeks. You’re almost halfway done with your first trimester.”
“I know.” Said Jim, latching onto the change of subject. “I hope they change their mind about this once a week thing, because it’s ridiculous.”
“I’m trying to convince them it’s unnecessary, but it may take some doing yet. They’ve both got those first-time parent jitters. No matter how healthy you and the fetus are, they’re gonna keep worrying.”
“I know.” Muttered Jim. “Trust me, I know.” They all went back to their meals. By the time Spock and McCoy finished, Jim still had about a quarter of his meal left. There was still about ten minutes left though, so neither one of them said anything. From what Spock had observed, and from Jim’s complaints about not being able to exercise as much as he usually did, Jim probably wasn’t used to the portions.
“Sorry,” said Jim, seeing Spock watching him, and confirming his suspicions, “I don’t usually eat this much at once.”
“There is plenty of time left in the lunch period.” Stated Spock. “You are eating at a perfectly reasonable pace.”
“He’s right.” Said McCoy, sounding just a little reluctant to agree with him. “You’re already getting sick enough right now without getting it down so fast you throw up.”
Jim continued to eat at a reasonable pace, with both Spock and McCoy watching him. Spock’s eyes left Jim at one point to study Doctor McCoy. The man was watching Jim intently with a minute amount of concern. Spock felt a spark of jealousy that had nothing to do with the baby Jim was carrying. He knew that the man was just a doctor watching over a patient who he happened to be on friendly terms with, but the ancient Vulcan instinct in him only saw a strange male staring the one who he wished to be his mate. He seriously doubted there was a hypo to deal with that.
Under their combined scrutiny, Jim finished his meal. They all stood up from the table, and the two humans stretched.
“Well,” said McCoy, “I’ve gotta get to my next class. I’ll see you at your next appointment Jim.” With that, he took his tray to the disposal window and he moved off toward the exit. Jim looked at Spock.
“Do you have to get back to class too?” Spock tore his eyes away from McCoy’s retreating form to look back at Jim.
“My next class does not start for another 2.5 hours.” He replied. “If you do not need to go straight home, would you care to accompany me to the library?”
“Sure.” Said Jim, looking oddly relieved. “It’ll give me a chance to return some of the stuff I checked out last time.” They both gathered up their things, took their trays to the disposal window, and left the Mess Hall.
Once they arrived at the library, Jim handed over a stack of files he’d checked out and immediately headed back to the astrophysics section. Spock chose to peruse more on Earth’s history. He wondered why he’d waited so long to do this. As with most Federation worlds, Vulcan’s taught their children extensively about their own world and culture and tended to gloss over the other members. And that was usually the history from the moment of first contact. No one seemed to really care about the other Federation member’s histories before they joined.
Spock was half human, and he knew his mother had wanted more of Earth’s history in his education. She’d given in to his father’s will and his own decision to pursue a completely Vulcan lifestyle, and he’d been educated accordingly. Now that he no longer felt constantly pressured to completely ignore his humanity, he had absolutely no qualms about studying whatever subject about his new home caught his attention. Today, he found himself quite drawn to the American Revolution. The whole idea of the smaller, oppressed party winning the war reminded him a bit of Surak’s Reformation. Though, in the case of Surak, the battle was rather one-sided, since his followers were pacifists. He also made selections on human’s who proposed and practiced peaceful ways, such as Gandhi and Buddha.
He found the table Jim had already seated himself at and began looking over the new files in closer detail. He and Jim spent the next two hours engrossed in their reading. It was amazing really, the gratified feeling Spock experienced just sitting next to Jim reading. He was reminded of his parents’ marriage. They often spent many hours simply sitting in the same room together working on projects and paperwork related to their individual duties as ambassador and educator.
He’d grown up being taught that humans were an emotionally needy species who could not be content with Vulcans need for repression. Of course, Vulcans did have some terms of endearment, and most of them were directed at mates. Not for the first time, Spock wondered if his father had been honest with him when he told him the reason he married a human. Perhaps his father had been drawn to his mother the same way he was to Jim.
He chose that moment to glance at Jim…and caught sight of the clock on the wall. He had fifteen minutes to make it to class. It was already later than he usually got to class. He liked to get there first to get a seat on the end of the aisle.
“Jim,” he said, causing Jim to look up in surprise, “I need to leave for class now. I am later than I prefer to be.”
“Oh.” Said Jim, still looking rather uneasy. “I guess you’d better go. You already know I’m coming back on Saturday for another appointment, do want to visit the park again or something?”
“That would be agreeable.” Replied Spock. “Do you mind if I meet you outside Doctor McCoy’s office again?”
“Sure.” Agreed Jim. “It’s the same appointment time as last week, and all the others before it.” He added with a smile. Spock nodded.
“I will be there.” He left, wondering what had caused Jim’s sudden change in mood.
At the end of the day, Spock once again allowed himself to wonder about Jim’s behavior. Jim had suddenly seemed very unsure of himself. He’d felt they were making progress. Was Jim regretting his decision to be friendly to Spock because he had been rude to McCoy? His only option right now would be to wait and try to find out tomorrow.
Spock pulled back the covers on his bed and lay down. He’d never known just how tiring emotions could be until now. He wasn’t even interested in meditating. All he wanted to do was sleep and go back to his routine until Saturday afternoon came. He would meet Jim again in the waiting room after his appointment with McCoy. His appointment being looked at, spoken to, and touched by McCoy.
Spock sat up and pushed the covers off. It looked like he’d need to meditate a bit after all.
On Saturday, Spock found himself still sitting in the waiting room ten minutes after eleven. He couldn’t help but imagine reasons for Jim to be taking so long, and they all ended with the rather childish and insecure thought that Jim liked McCoy better than him. As he was thinking this, the door opened and Jim walked out slowly. Spock stood up.
“Jim…” he started, only to stop when he saw Jim’s face. He had dark circles under his eyes, indicating sleeplessness, and his shoulders were slumped as he made his way over to him. “Are you alright?” He asked, not knowing what else to say.
“Yeah.” Said Jim, smiling at him tiredly. “I had a rough night. And a rough morning. It’s like there’s some kind of Karmic balance to morning sickness. I had a good couple of days, so now I have to make up for it with a couple shitty ones.” He moved out the door, and Spock followed. “Where do you want to go in the park today? I don’t really care, though I think I’d like to see that AIDS memorial.” He kept walking without really paying attention as they made their way out of the building. “Sorry about the wait, by the way. I could barely drag myself out of bed this morning and I was late again.”
“Jim.” Spock cut in, stepping in front of him to make him stop moving. “If you feel ill, perhaps we should forego visiting the park. We could go to the Mess Hall for lunch, and we could go to the library again afterward. There is plenty of time to see the park later on and it would be foolish to endanger yourself and your brother’s child by overexerting yourself.” The dark scowl on Jim’s face shocked him. Apparently he’d overstepped some bounds.
“Just stop, okay!?” He snapped. “I’m already getting enough of that crap from my family and from Bones, and I don’t need it from you!” Spock tried to keep his face blank as waves of disappointment and hurt coursed through him.
“As you wish.” He said quietly. Perhaps his hurt did show, because the anger drained from Jim’s expression.
“I’m sorry.” He mumbled, causing Spock to have to lean close to hear. “I didn’t mean it. It’s just, I feel like crap, with all the puking and the hormones, and I just have to get over it.” Spock shook his head.
“What you are experiencing is perfectly normal.” He told Jim. “I believe under the circumstances, your changes in mood can be forgiven.”
“Thanks.” Mumbled Jim with a weak smile. “I’m glad you’re not upset about that, or about me introducing you to Bones the other day.” Spock cocked his head to the side.
“Why would I be upset about being introduced to your doctor?” Jim shrugged.
“I guess because you two hit it off like a cat and dog. I didn’t know he’d be that rude, he doesn’t really mean anything by it, at least not usually. I think you got under his skin.” Jim paused, then moved over to a bench. Spock followed and sat next to him. “You said you wanted to interact more with people who wouldn’t treat you differently than anybody else, and Bones is pretty much that way with everyone. I like hanging out with you Spock, and I guess I was a little worried that you’d think if I was friends with someone you don’t like, you might not be interested in being friends with me anymore.” He snorted disdainfully. “Can you believe how freaking needy I sound? I never used to care this much about what people thought of me and what I do.” Spock tried to think carefully about what to say.
“You told me before that you were interested in making significant changes to your lifestyle. Perhaps the fact that you wish to have the support and approval of others is simply an indication that you are truly serious about making these changes.” Jim smiled weakly.
“I guess that’s putting a positive spin on it. Still, I’m sorry about Bones. I didn’t know he was going to get mean for real.” Spock took a moment to consider.
“I admit I was unprepared for his…abrasive nature. But from what I have observed, he seems like a competent and serious doctor.”
“He is.” Assured Jim. “He really is a good guy, he’s just going though some rough stuff.” Spock nodded.
“If I may ask, why do you call him Bones? His first name is Leonard, correct?”
“Yeah,” replied Jim, “I just call him that because of something he said to me when we first met. That all he had left was his bones. He got divorced right before he joined Starfleet. He wanted to make a fresh start. That, and his ex took pretty much everything from him. Hence, what he said. She even got full custody of their baby girl.”
“She took his child from him?” Asked Spock, startled.
“Yeah.” Said Jim, sounding sad. Then he froze. “Oh man, I really shouldn’t be talking to you about this. I mean, I know you’re not loose with information or anything, but it’s not my story to tell.”
“I will repeat it to no one.” Assured Spock. “I suppose I can understand why his personality is the way it is.”
“Yeah.” Said Jim, staring at the ground contemplatively. “I may not have met the woman, but I think she’s an idiot. Bones is an awesome guy. He’s smart, nice, and totally hot.” Spock fought the stiffening in his spine when Jim said that. “If I hadn’t stopped flirting with everybody I meet, I might’ve tried to make a move on him.” He grinned. “Even if it’s not what I’m used to, it’s kind of nice not being a player all the time. To just talk to people and make friends the normal way.” He looked at Spock again. “I’m pretty sure you said something earlier about getting some food.” Spock nodded and stood up.
“To the Mess Hall then.”
Later, after eating lunch and spending a good few hours in the library, Spock was seeing Jim onto the shuttle that could take him home.
“Thanks again for putting up with me being all hormonal and needy.” He said before boarding.
“I assure you,” replied Spock, “that my admission for whishing for friendly interaction would be considered ‘freaking needy’ by Vulcan standards.” Jim laughed at his wording.
“Maybe I’ll be up to a park visit next week.” He suggested.
“Perhaps.” Allowed Spock. “If not, there are other things we may do to pass the time.”
“Yeah.” Agreed Jim. “So, same time next week?”
“Agreed.” Replied Spock. Once again, he watched the shuttle until it was out of his sight.
When he returned to his quarters, he thought about some of the things Jim had told him. It seemed that he might actually empathize with McCoy, perhaps for being taken for granted by the people he knew? He knew from last week’s conversation that Jim had a bit of a reputation that he no longer wished to define him. He wanted people to know him for more than just his sexual appeal and, plentiful as it was, it was something he deserved. Spock was more determined than ever to be a positive presence in Jim’s life. He also knew it would be logical to prepare for more outbursts, and that he might have to learn to figure out when it was Jim talking or the hormones.
For now, he was going to continue to meditate on what to do and wait to see what his next visit with Jim would reveal.
So, once again it's a case of hate at first sight! See you all next week!
Of Farms and Deserts by Vulcan Pearl
In order to break up the monotony a little, I decided to take the guys apart for awhile. This will be the first of at least two significant ‘skips’ in the story.
Once again, Spock found himself sitting in the waiting room outside of McCoy’s office. In the week since he’d last seen Jim, he’d continued to meditate on the fact that McCoy’s interest in Jim was strictly friendly and professional, and that even if the doctor did turn out to be romantically interested in Jim, his code of ethics would not allow him to engage in such a relationship with a patient. If for some reason he was interested, he would have the fight of his life to get through before he got Jim.
Also in the past week, Spock’s behavior had made an apparently noticeable change. Pike had invited him to lunch in his office two days ago. It was something the man did every few weeks. Spock knew it was the man’s attempt at making sure the cadet he’d taken under his wing was doing alright. During the meal, Pike had commented on his attitude of late. Apparently he was no longer as cold and unapproachable as he’d been for the first six months of his time at the Academy.
He had to admit, he found he was having an easier time interacting with his peers. Going to his classes and interacting with his non-Vulcan classmates was no longer the necessary discomfort it had been. He went about his routine with new energy. It seemed that knowing Jim was already proving to be beneficial to him. He’d even heard positive comments from his mother when she called him yesterday after his classes were complete. He recalled their conversation via computer the day before.
Spock would not have admitted it out loud, but he felt an almost lighthearted sensation at seeing his mother’s face on the screen. They had not even been able to write to each other since his leaving home, and that was mostly Sarek refused to accept any message from him due to his anger at his leaving.
“Hello Son.” Said Amanda, with her always pleasant smile. She’d learned quite a lot about emotional control, so if anyone had to judge by the look on her face, they would think she was simply having an pleasant conversation with someone she saw regularly rather than speaking to her only child for the first time in roughly seven months. Only the joyful light in her dark brown eyes gave her away. Her eyes, those were the only physical trait he’d inherited, as his genetics had been manipulated to be predominantly Vulcan.
Spock sometimes wondered if they had chosen that deliberately or simply left it up to chance. The fact that he possessed a set of inner eyelids like full-blooded Vulcans was proof of the fact that his eyes had been manipulated to some degree. However, he knew that Sarek would never admit to the kind of sentimentality that it would imply to admit deliberately giving Spock his mother’s eyes. And Spock had never known how to ask Amanda, or if she even had the answer.
“Mother.” He said quietly in acknowledgment. “It is agreeable to speak with you.”
“It’s been quite some time.” She remarked.
“Indeed.” Was his simple reply. “I trust you are well?”
“Of course.” She said with a smile. “I’ve been waiting for months to be able to contact you. I hope you’ve settled in well? What classes have you taken?”
Spock busied himself with describing the various courses and assignments he’d been given since his arrival. He gave her the details of his of his current residence and assured her that yes, he had found a competent doctor, was eating enough, and was overall in good health. She in turn told him of the goings on since he’d left Vulcan. As they talked, Amanda seemed to be watching him carefully, as if trying to determine something that she couldn’t be certain of. She finally asked.
“Spock, is there anything you haven’t told me?” Spock was confused.
“I am not keeping any secrets from you, Mother.” She smiled.
“I know you wouldn’t keep anything important from me, but something about you seems different. You don’t seem like you’re just going through the motions like you did when you were in school here. You seem…content.” Spock nodded slowly.
“I am kept busy with my schedule. I have found many interesting things to study here. And…” he hesitated before adding, “I have made a friend.” Amanda’s smile transformed to match the joy in her eyes.
“That’s wonderful Spock! Is he a cadet as well?”
“He is not. He is in San Francisco visiting family in Starfleet for the next several months.” Replied Spock. No reason to go into too much detail yet. But a little wouldn’t hurt. “His name is Jim.”
“I’m happy for you Spock, really.” She said warmly. “I really had hoped that this would turn out to be a good thing for you. I can’t tell you how proud of you for choosing your own way in life. I hope you’ll tell me more the next time we can speak.”
“I will.” He assured her. He hesitated. “I trust Father is also well?” Amanda smiled at him proudly. He knew she was happy that he was getting past his Vulcan pride enough to ask after his father’s well-being, in spite of their estrangement.
“Your father’s fine. It took him a while, but I managed to convince him to accept my contacting you like this. Not that he had any choice in the matter; I would have done it anyway.” She gave him a conspiratorial smile. “I know he wouldn’t admit it, but he does miss you, and worry about you.”
“I shall take your word for it.” Spock replied dryly. Amanda gave a surprised laugh.
“You’re developing a sense of humor! It looks like your friend is teaching you quite a bit about human ways.” She smiled at him once more. “I have to go now, but I’ll try to arrange another communication soon. Live long and prosper, Son.”
“Peace and long life, Mother.” He replied. Then he signed off.
As he finished replaying the memory in his head, the door leading to the doctor’s office opened, and Jim stepped through. He spotted Spock right away.
“Hey.” He said with a grin. The foul mood he’d had the last time the spoke seemed to be gone. So did the air of sickliness that had surrounded him last week. Spock stood and turned toward the door. Jim seemed to fall into step automatically beside him, as if they’d known each other much longer than just a month or so. As they left the building, Spock spoke to Jim.
“You seem to be in better health than last week.”
“I am.” Replied Jim. “Bones tells me that even though I’ll be getting bigger by then, I’ll start to feel even better after the first trimester’s over. Just four more weeks.” He finished with a smile. “Right now though, I think I might be up for a visit to the Park, maybe one of the lakes.” They left to board a shuttle leaving the Academy. As they sat there, watching the scenery they passed, Jim turned to Spock, looking a little nervous.
“Uh, Spock? There’s something I should tell you.” That got Spock’s attention.
“Is something the matter Jim?” Jim shrugged.
“Not exactly. My great aunt Jenna died two days ago.” He must have seen the impending look of sympathy on Spock’s face because he hastened to continue. “She was a hundred and five; she lived a good long life. But she was the actual owner of the farm where I live. I just rent and take care of it. She and her husband owned it until he died six years ago, and then it was just her. We always knew that eventually, it would go to me or Sam. But as far as we know, she and Mike, my great uncle, never left any will that actually says so. We’ve been the closest living relatives for as long as I can remember, aside from my mom, but she never had any interest in it beyond the fact that it was my dad’s family’s property.”
He paused for a moment make sure Spock was following. “As far as anyone can tell, Sam and I are the only people eligible, or even available, to get the farm. But there’s no documentation stating that, or what’s to be done with Jenna’s other property. So, Sam and I have to go back to Riverside to sort through every single thing in the house. We’ll have to meet with Jenna’s lawyers to sort through all of it, and the mess that they’re dragging in from her home in Des Moines.
He paused once more. “I don’t know how long we’ll be gone. Bones already set me up with a big supply of vitamin hypos for a lengthy stay though. It’ll be at least a few weeks.” Spock finally spoke.
“What exactly needs to be done?” Jim shrugged again.
“Like I said, we need to get all my aunt’s affairs in order. She and Mike weren’t really that great at keeping good records, and they apparently didn’t hire anyone to keep track of it for them. We also have to arrange her funeral. Again, hopefully we’ll find something that tells us what she wanted. We also need to establish who gets ownership of the farm. Since Sam and Aury are in Starfleet, they’ll be staying here in San Francisco for the foreseeable future. If they do ever leave, it’ll probably be for a space station or colony posting. I know they’ve talked about it.”
“Then you will be taking full ownership of the farm.” Concluded Spock.
“Pretty much.” Agreed Jim. “I’ve never owned something this big before. I’ll need to take some time with Sam to put together some records of my own. I need to make it official that Sam and his family will get either the farm or whatever it sells for if anything should happen to me. I don’t want to end up putting someone else through this mess if I get killed or something.” Spock fought against the stiffening of his spine. He didn’t care for the thought of anything bad happening to Jim.
“When do you have to leave?” He asked, trying to cover up his disappointment.
“Tomorrow.” Replied Jim. “I have to admit, it’s going to be weird not doing this for a while. I’ve gotten used to hanging out with someone whose idea of a good time is a park outing and the occasional trip to the library.” Spock wasn’t sure how to interpret that.
“I suppose it is to be expected that you have missed your old recreational activities.” He offered. Jim seemed to realize his uncertainty.
“I didn’t mean it like that. I meant that I’m going to miss talking about this kind of stuff. I never had anyone back home that I could talk to about science or history, or anything like that.” Jim almost seemed to regret his words. Spock realized that Jim, like many human males was uncomfortable with the idea of admitting to an emotional vulnerability. He decided to attempt to take away his discomfort by admitting some of his own feelings.
“I believe I understand your meaning. I too have found you to be exceptionally intelligent and agreeable company. Your absence is regrettable.” He hoped Jim would understand what he was trying to get across, but as a Vulcan could not say out loud. You are my friend and I will miss you while you are gone. From the way Jim smiled, it was a safe guess that he did.
“Well then, let’s make the most of this visit.” He said. He looked out at the scenery. “I love exploring the park. I wish we had something like this near Riverside. Or a library like the Academy has. I’m getting a little too attached to all the history and knowledge available here.” Spock nodded.
“It will still be here when you come back.” Once again, he willed Jim to hear what he meant by it; that he could always come back to San Francisco, even after the baby was born. Jim looked thoughtful, but he didn’t say anything. They finished their ride in silence.
Once they’d arrived at the park, they switched to another shuttle that took them to Stow Lake. Spock had been very interested in visiting the bodies of water in the park. That had actually been his original focus. Then he’d met Jim, and his only real focuses had been learning about him and letting him choose where to go in the park so that he could follow and do everything he could to make a good impression.
As he gazed at the serene lake and the wildlife around it, Jim by his side, he became acutely aware of what his mother had been talking about. He was content. For the first time in his life, he had no significant complaints. There were no bullies making him wish he didn’t have his human blood. There were no instructors who assumed he would have difficulty keeping up because he wasn’t fully Vulcan.
Instead there were teachers and classmates who respected and envied his intellect. There were people who genuinely valued his opinions. There was Jim, who saw him not as half-human or half-Vulcan, but as a person he enjoyed spending time with. He was a friend, an equal, someone who might come to be more later on.
If there was one thing he could change, it would be that his parents could not be here. He wished he could share this contentment he felt with her now. He wished his father could understand that this had been the best thing for him, that he was thriving here instead of working nonstop to ignore the prejudice and disdain he would have continued to labor under if he’d accepted his admission into the Vulcan Science Academy. He brought himself back to the present as Jim spoke up.
“There’s a lake a bit like this on the farm. It’s nowhere near as big, but I used to visit it almost every day in the summer. A lot of my friends did too. It had trees all around just like here, and we’d hang ropes from some of them. Then we’d swing out over the water and let go.”
“That sounds somewhat hazardous.” Commented Spock. Jim laughed.
“It was fine. We didn’t let go until we were good and far out. During the really hot days, if I was alone, I’d go skinny dipping.” That was something Spock had heard of, and it took a great deal of his mental control not to dwell on thoughts of an overheated Jim Kirk taking a refreshing dip in the nude.
Their conversation continued as they strolled about the park. Jim told him about life on a farm, of hard work all year round, of the various crops and animals, and the various machines required to help run a farm. He mentioned, almost off-handedly, that he had won several competitions in which many of the local farmer’s children would race tractors. Spock asked him at one point if he’d ever participated in the activity known as cow tipping, knocking a cow on its side while it stood asleep. Jim told him that cow tipping was just a made up farmland stereotype, and that cows slept on their sides or bellies. Horses apparently did sleep standing, however. But they were not tipped either.
“Tell me about Vulcan.” Said Jim at one point. “What’s it like there?” Spock busied himself with describing the desert planet. He told Jim of the endless sand and mountains and dunes, and how he often climbed the rocks near his home when he was in need of solitude. He told him of the rare oasis’s found deep in the deserts, and the dangerous wildlife. He spoke more of I-Chaya, his beloved pet, and his education. He even told Jim about his mother, who’d always been the only person to not judge or think less of him. Jim seemed not to know how to respond to Spock’s obvious care for his mother.
“Are you alright?” He asked.
“Yeah, fine. My mom and I were just never that close.” He shrugged. “She was really busy when I was little, always working, even when it wasn’t necessary. She wasn’t a bad mom or anything, she just never wanted to stick around for long. I used to think it was me, and my stepdad, who she just dragged home from San Francisco one day, seemed to agree with me. I think he was pretty pissed about getting married and then being left on some farm with his new wife’s kids. He wasn’t into farm work at all. He never contributed at all, and eventually Mom realized that he was letting everything fall apart. She divorced him when I was ten, after Sam ran away. I was furious with him for driving my brother away, and for the fact that he was going to sell my father’s antique car that I was made to care for, so I took the keys and drove it off a cliff. The police got involved and Mom had to come home to kick Frank out and take care of us.”
Jim paused. “I didn’t really make things easier with my newfound bad attitude. I started acting out and before I knew it…” Jim trailed off.
“Yes?” Prompted Spock. Jim shrugged.
“Well, let’s just say it was too late for us to have a normal relationship. She ended up taking an early retirement and lives off-planet now.” Spock just nodded. He had a feeling there was more to it than Jim was saying, but he didn’t want to put pressure on him. He realized that neither one of them had been focusing on the lake that they’d come to see, but had instead been focused on talking to each other. Suddenly, Jim’s comm rang.
“Just a second.” He said. With an apologetic look, he moved off a ways and began speaking into it. Spock could just barely make out the sound of his voice, having chosen to respectfully divert his focus. After a moment, Jim returned.
“I trust everything is alright?” Jim nodded.
“Yeah, that was just Sam. I need to get home and finish packing for the trip. I really just have clothes since I left almost everything else back home, plus I’m not even taking all of it, but we have to leave tomorrow morning and I don’t want to miss the shuttle. So I’m gonna go back and make sure he’s got everything he needs. He’s never been all that good at packing for a trip.”
“It would be logical to have someone else double check.” Admitted Spock. He found himself horribly reluctant to have Jim leave his company knowing that he was going far away.
They returned to the shuttle area where they rode in silence until it was time to switch. Jim got on another shuttle, the one that took him close to his brother’s home. Before he did he turned back to Spock.
“I guess I’ll see you…whenever I get back.” He grinned and, to Spock’s surprise, smacked him lightly on the shoulder, a common friendly gesture he’d seen among male friends at the Academy. To have Jim use such a gesture with him was most heartening. As always, he watched the shuttle until it had left his line of sight.
Poor Spock! But don't worry, Jim will come back eventually.
Decisions and Distractions by Vulcan Pearl
Here’s some of what Spock is up to while Jim is gone.
Spock could not have predicted just how large a void Jim’s absence left in his life. He couldn’t explain, or even try to justify to himself why he felt this way. He could count on two hands the number of times they’d actually seen each other. It was not logical that he found himself feeling so bereft with the knowledge that Jim would not be present for however long. He tried to do what he’d done before he met Jim, throwing himself into his work to try to avoid focusing on the things missing from his life. Before, it had been his mother’s supportive and loving presence. Now it was Jim’s easy companionship.
He continued to do the same things he always did. He went to class, studied in the library, ate in the mess, and spent any remaining time in his quarters, asleep or in meditation. But as he went about his routine in the manner which he had for the first six months of his attendance, he realized that just knowing that he wouldn’t have their weekly visits for an undetermined amount of time had caused this change. In under two months, Jim had caused him to ‘come out of his shell’, as the saying went. Just knowing that he wouldn’t see Jim over the weekend had caused him to go back to his earlier cold and shut off demeanor.
If Pike noticed it, he didn’t say anything, but Spock could feel his concern so it was likely he did. Spock ignored it and the feelings he noticed from his classmates. He threw himself back into his work. But even that couldn’t stop him from thinking about Jim. In the Ethics class he was taking, he received an assignment in which he would have to find an example from a culture not his own of an unethical act from a leader. He was immediately and painfully reminded of the first time he and Jim went to the library together, and he had somewhat jokingly suggested that Spock look up Henry the Eighth for an example of historical marital problems.
Spock found himself using his meditation time to focus on the fact that Jim was in fact returning, and that he would not be staying in Iowa. However, that thought also gave him pause. He had yet to secure any kind of commitment from Jim. He had come to San Francisco with the plan of returning when he was recovered from being pregnant. Being back there, for whatever amount of time, might make him want to return even more. He’d shown some dismay at leaving some of the things that San Francisco had to offer, like the Academy library or Golden Gate Park. And, he’d expressed some discontent in his upbringing. Perhaps the negative aspects of his life there, along with the positive aspects that a life here had to offer would persuade him to permanently relocate.
He knew some of his fears stemmed from the fact that Jim was unattached. Pregnant or not, there were probably still some people who would find him compelling enough to try to charm him while still willing to wait for the baby to be born. Just because Jim wasn’t willing to date or engage in sexual relations with anyone while he was pregnant didn’t mean that he couldn’t consider a potential partner to take up with when it was over. For all Spock knew, there was someone back in Riverside who might be interested in pursuing a serious relationship with him.
Trying to meditate these worries away almost left him more tired than before. Meditation was supposed to rejuvenate, it was one of the reasons Vulcans were able to operate under less sleep than many other species. Eventually, Spock would just give up and go to sleep. And as he waited for sleep to come, he would begin to worry about his own mental health, if what he was feeling was obsession. He’d heard of Vulcans having their mental faculties dissolved by issues pertaining to a mate, or even a potential one. He recalled the pre-reform story of the warrior who’d unintentionally killed his beloved because he could not stand the thought of allowing her to be with another and bearing his child, and how he’d gone to his death knowing that she’d hated him for it as she died.
His only comfort, as he slowly sank into sleep was that even if he could never give Jim a reason to love him romantically or any way at all, he would never ever give him a reason to hate him like that.
Three days after Jim had left, Spock was in the library, trying to think of what he would write about for his ethics assignment. He had four weeks to complete the assignment; his class was mostly lectures and discussions with a few assignments scattered over the course of the class. Since the assignment was to involve the history and politics of a culture not native to the student, they were being given plenty of time to do their research.
As he sat a computer terminal scrolling down a list of some of Earth’s most significant ethical problems (mostly about wars) he failed to notice a presence drawing nearer until…
“It’s Cadet Spock, right?” He turned around to find Cadet Nyota Uhura standing beside him, a small, rather neutral smile on her face. “We met at the De Young Museum a couple of weeks ago?”
“Indeed.” He replied. “You were in a section displaying African art.”
“Yes, your friend was there and started talking to me. I must say, I’m surprised he was with you. He certainly didn’t seem like the type of person a Vulcan would want to associate with.” Spock almost frowned. The way she’d said that made it sound like she couldn’t believe that Jim was Spock’s friend, like she thought he was beneath him and his name wasn’t even worth remembering or mentioning, almost like a gentle reprimand for associating with him.
“You mean Jim.” He stated neutrally, not wanting his irritation to show. He didn’t like that she was speaking of his friendship with Jim in much the same way his father had acted with his childhood emotional outbursts- like it was some kind of unfortunate temporary phase.
“Yes, him.” She said, somewhat dismissively, oblivious to his negative thoughts. “She glanced at his computer screen curiously. “You’re looking up moments in Earth history?” The questioning inflection of her tone as she spoke indicated that she wanted to know why.
“I have and Ethics assignment that requires me to research the laws, social mores, and such of a culture that is not my native one. As the only other two non-human cadets in the class have chosen other Federation worlds, I have decided to use this time to my advantage to learn more about Earth culture and history.”
“A logical idea.” Complimented Uhura. It was the kind of compliment most Vulcans would be glad to accept, and he was a little surprised that she knew to give it. Of course, she’d said her focus of study was xenolinguistics, which meant not just knowing the words of a language, but proper phrasing and cultural slang or niceties. Of course she would know what to say. He decided to try a polite response.
“What has brought you here today?” He asked. Her small smile widened. I’m working on report involving the various dialects of the Andorian language.” She seemed happy that he’d expressed some interest in why she was there. “I want to include the dialects of the Aenar language, since a lot of people tend to focus on the more dominant culture’s language. But the two races have been interacting more and more since the Aenar’s First Contact with humans, with some members even intermarrying, so the languages may start to blend in some ways as time goes on and their interactions increase further.” Spock found her reasoning to be sound.
“That is indeed likely.” He remarked. “I am sure your instructor will be impressed with your work.”
“Thank you.” She said, nodding her head. She seemed to hesitate. “I realize we’re both busy with projects at the moment, but I was wondering if maybe, when we both have more time, if you’d be willing to help me get a head start on learning Vulcan. I won’t be studying it until much later, due to the fact that it’s reserved for the more advanced courses. I’m just a first year cadet but I want to try to get ahead on some of the tougher languages, and the best way to learn would probably be from a native speaker.” Spock nodded slowly.
“I am busy for the time being, and spend most of my free time working, but perhaps once finals are past I will be able to offer you some assistance in studying the Vulcan language.” She nodded.
“I know what you mean, I’m working on extra stuff too, but if you can find time over break, I’d be really grateful for your help.” Spock found himself nodding.
“If we both have sufficient time at a later date, I will gladly tutor you in what I know.” Uhura smiled at him again.
“Thank you. I really appreciate it.” She seemed about to say something else, her eyes lingering on him with an unreadable look, but then she just smiled in a slightly different way. “Why don’t you do your project on human experimentation? It led to the Eugenics Wars, after all. Anything that leads to a war that size has plenty of room for moral debate. Well, I guess I’ll see you around.” With that, she nodded in farewell and moved off in search of research material. He watched her go for a moment before turning back to his computer screen, feeling a little confused.
For a few moments, he simply went back to reading, trying to put the strange assessing look Uhura had aimed at him out of his mind. Then, he abruptly remembered what Jim had said to him after they had first met her at the museum. He’d said she was ‘into’ him. Was it possible that she had asked him for his assistance in order to try to facilitate a romantic relationship between them? He frowned. If that was the case, he might have a problem on his hands.
For all he knew, Uhura was only interested in what she’d mentioned…getting a head start on learning Vulcan. On the other hand, she’d briefly demonstrated some understanding of basic Vulcan customs, and using a productive activity to get to know him was something an unattached adult Vulcan would do. Were she not human, he might have suspected that immediately and allowed his answer to be affected by it. Though, that would be unfair of him, considering he was doing something similar with Jim, spending time with him and gaining his friendship in the hopes of forming something else later on. He could hardly fault her for using similar methods to his own.
His best option at this point would be to observe her behavior during future meetings and try to gently discourage any amorous advances on her part so as not to hurt her. Hopefully if they did start any kind of tutoring sessions, he would be able to do so right away, before she became too serious about any romantic feelings she might have for him. One thing was for certain, he thought as he continued reading about various conflicts on Earth.
One that caught his eye after a while was the tragedy of Tarsus IV. That would certainly be an obvious choice; Federation people had been debating the choices made by Governor Kodos since the massacre had first been discovered. The whole event was often tied into the debates surrounding the Eugenics Wars because of the selection process Kodos had used to determine who would live, and who would die for the sake of the ‘superior’ half of the colony. While there were some people who believed that the actions Kodos had taken were the best possible given the situation, most people had only to see pictures of ruin and starved survivors to say that he was a horrible person for thinking that he could just choose who lived and died.
Spock quickly decided to not even consider that one. Vulcans typically avoided getting involved with moral debates, and this one was too big to avoid being sucked into some kind of classroom disagreement with students who wanted to know his personal opinion on the matter. He had no desire to spark a conflict between classmates.
Perhaps the Eugenics Wars then. He could certainly be more impartial about it. To his knowledge, his people had never tried to enhance themselves in any way, at least not with chemicals and machines. While he could see some logic in such experimentation after humans had made first contact with other life forms, ones that were physically or mentally superior to them, but to do so in order to fight each other almost seemed like overkill. Humans fought their wars more with weapons than manpower at that point in history, so they might have been better served by focusing all their efforts on that.
The experiments that led to the war had also continued to affect future generations. The Augments, as they were called, held one serious flaw, and that was the aggression they possessed that apparently could not be curbed. As a result, the normal humans had been forced to defend themselves against their own creations. The ones who did not die in the war were forced to flee into space in stasis. The embryos of Augments not yet born were also placed in stasis secretly, something that came to light in the early years of human space exploration, after a group of secretly created young Augments who’d been hiding on another planet emerged to try and rebuild an army with the embryos and their illegal creator. The results had been bloody and disastrous. Even more conflict came when the surviving embryos were used by Klingons, who ultimately risked their own ruin by experimenting with their DNA.
Spock was beginning to realize that he might end up getting drawn into a classroom conflict anyway if he used this as his example. Even though genetic enhancement had been banned after the war, there were known supporters of the act. Some claimed that it would ‘even the field’ with the other Federation members, like Vulcans, who were both stronger and smarter than humans. There were others who believed that such enhancement could (and should) be used to ‘assist’ the developmentally disabled. One thing that had not changed throughout Earth’s history was the fact that many parents of children who could not advance far still wanted to try to ‘fix’ them. Spock had heard cases where people who’d tried to illegally enhance their children were forced to confess what they’d done in order to seek help for terrible side effects of the procedures they’d had used.
As Spock considered his options, he couldn’t help but wonder which one Jim would choose, and what he would think of all of them. And just like that, his mind was back on Jim. He almost sighed in frustration. How was he going to function if all the while his mind was consumed with thoughts of Jim, worries for Jim, daydreams of Jim? He took a moment to try to clear his mind. Was this what juvenile humans went through when they first felt romantic interest in someone? Were they unable to think of anything but the object of their affections while the rest of the world went on around them?
And what was it about Jim’s presence that caused him to feel so at ease? He’d noticed in the past that his mother’s presence seemed to soothe his father if he ever came anywhere close to being agitated. Perhaps that was another sign that they were a good match. Perhaps it even meant…
Spock shook his head ever so slightly. It was both illogical and highly improbable that he was in love with Jim. They’d barely known each other for two months. He knew that with his own people couples often bonded and then got to know each other, but humans were mostly psi-null and assessed compatibility though verbal communication and social recreational activities. It was true that he’d observed some very important qualities in Jim, such as his kindness and acceptance, two things he would gladly take in a mate, but plenty of humans had those traits, and he wouldn’t love just any of them. Many humans also had many people who they loved platonically, but what made the difference? How was one to know if what they felt was romantic love instead of friendly or familial love?
The only person he could think to ask about such a thing was his mother, and apart from the fact that it would likely be a premature action to ask, he didn’t want to let her get her hopes up and start planning his wedding, as human mothers seemed prone to do. And again, it was probably too soon to be thinking like that. He didn’t want to go looking for specific signs an read too much into every little thing this early in their association. But he couldn’t help but wonder all the same. He also couldn't help but wonder if he would even recognize romantic love if he felt it for Jim. He'd never felt it before, so how would he even be able to tell?
In the end, Spock’s distracted thoughts prevented him from choosing a subject. He still had plenty of time, far more than any Vulcan required for an assignment, but he still felt disappointed that he was being affected this way. After downloading some information about the various events he’d noticed to his personal padd, he returned to his room. Even though meditation had proved largely ineffective when dealing with thoughts of Jim, he decided to give it another try anyway.
He got undressed, pulled out his mat, and settled into position. Right as he began trying to clear his mind, his padd suddenly let out a tone, indicating that he had a new message. Standing up, he walked over to the desk where he’d set it down. His heart sped up in his side as he read the new addition.
JKirk has sent you a message. There were two files, one attached to another.
He didn’t spare one second in opening the first one. He skimmed over the date and time, something he always did out of habit. Then he settled on the message.
Sam and I went straight to Des Moines after we left. I was right about the whole paperwork situation being a mess. It’s a good thing we packed light because we had to pile it all in the car with us. We’re at the farm now, and I have to admit, I missed it. Everything’s all right; some of the neighbors have been taking care of everything. It’s just a little dusty in the house. I think Sam’s glad to see it again, and that I kept it all in decent shape.
Once everything was cleaned off, I got him set up in the guest bedroom. Our old room still has my bed from elementary school in it. I don’t need it, so Sam’s thinking of taking it back to San Francisco and keeping it in storage until the baby’s big enough for it. I have to say, it felt good to be back in my own bed. There’s nothing wrong with the one at Sam’s place, but sometimes it’s hard to get used to something new.
The next day, we met with a lawyer who started trying to help us sort all the stuff that Jenna and Mike just let pile up around their house. They had some stuff on computer, so we’re starting off just making sure that we have the paper copies of those and sorting everything out. We’re being assured that there’s absolutely no chance of me not getting the farm since no one else will claim it and this lawyer is certain that they specified at one point that it would go to one of us. But, like I said, we need to get it all in order, take care of the funeral, and I need to make sure that I have my own stuff in order before we come back. I really have no idea how long it will take at this point.
On a happier note, Sam and I visited our old swimming spot. We even brought our swim trunks and went for a dip, just like old times. Don’t worry, I didn’t go swinging from any ropes. None of them would be strong enough by this point. Still, it was nice. It’s been a long time since Sam and I did anything like that together, or anything at all. He wants to go around the town and check out all the old hang outs, and see what everyone’s been up to.
What have you been up to? Did you ever talk to that hot girl Uhura again? And what about your classes? I may be bored out of my mind but you must have something interesting going on there. Write back if you have the time. Please, I could use some talk other than funeral details or who’s been getting drunk and starting bar fights in my place.
Spock finished reading the letter with a feeling of warmth. Jim had continued to think about him during his visit home. He’d written to tell him about what he was doing and asked for him to reply. Spock still knew that he hadn’t known Jim long enough to assume too much from this, especially if he was asking if Spock was interested in talking to Uhura. Still, the fact that he wanted to know had to be a good thing, if only for the friendship they were developing.
Spock decided to try meditation again while he still had this feeling of well-being coursing through him. Before he closed the message, he remembered the second file there. He opened it and almost smiled in surprise and delight. It was an image of a small lake surrounded by trees, some of which had old ropes hanging from them. He knew immediately that this was the lake Jim had mentioned when they were at the park. The picture had been taken fairly late in the day, and it everything was awash with a reddish-orange glow. He felt that warmth surge through him anew. Not only was Jim maintaining contact, but he’d chosen to share a piece of his homeland with him.
Once again deciding to meditate, Spock went to close down the files and shut off the padd. Before he did, he had to decide what to do with the files. Having a nearly perfect memory, there was really no need for him to hang on to files unless they might serve a purpose later on, even if they were as sentimentally significant as these. He usually just hit Delete and kept as much padd space available as he could in case he ever needed it.
Spock hit Save. Then, after he finished meditation, he began researching King Henry VIII again. He had a report to work on and a letter to write.
Jim will be gone for at least one more chapter and then he’ll return. What will poor Spock do until then? Tune in next week and please review!
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder by Vulcan Pearl
Sorry about the tardiness! As I said last time, Jim is still gone in this chapter. I don’t know $#*! about legal stuff, so hopefully this doesn’t all sound ridiculously unrealistic. And if it does, please just try to pretend that it’s like that in the future! Enjoy!
Over the course of the next few weeks, Spock wrote back to Jim as soon as he had the chance. After that first letter, he’d meditated for two hours before composing his reply to Jim’s message. He wanted to make sure his mind was in order before he accidently wrote something a little too personal like ‘I miss you’ or ‘I want you to return soon’. Instead, he tried to just add a hint of personal meaning to the message. He ended up rewriting it several times before he was satisfied with his results.
I have not been ‘up to’ much since your leaving. I have been working on various assignments and remain ahead of the other students in my class. I do little else besides work and as a result, I have already completed most of the year’s assignments. I intend to use time between semesters to continue working, but also to explore more of what Earth has to offer. While Science is still my focus, I am planning to use the time I will save working ahead to take several smaller training courses in emergency first aid and engineering. I have also chosen to use the fact that my science courses are advancing so quickly to take extensively study another subject, perhaps xenolinguestics.
On that note, I did encounter Cadet Uhura again. She approached me in the library while I was researching possible topics for an assignment and she requested if I would be willing, if I had the time available, to tutor her in Vulcan to prepare her for her more advanced language classes. We are both fairly busy at the moment, so I agreed to assist her if we both have the time available for such a project.
How are you handling sorting out your family’s legal affairs? How have you been feeling? I am no expert on human pregnancy, but I do not believe that stress is not at all conducive to a healthy one. I hope none of this is detrimental to you or the child. Hopefully your brother is not letting you overwork yourself.
I have yet to return to the park. I find that I prefer the company of someone who also has a curiosity and appreciation for the various sights and exhibits that matches my own. I hope your work is progressing satisfactorily.
Spock observed his final draft carefully before sending it. He’d started and ended the letter the same way Jim had, with no ‘Dear’ or ‘Sincerely’. Perhaps he was being a little too presumptuous about suggesting that Jim would overwork himself without interference, but he did rather seem like the type to go without a healthy amount of rest in order to finish something important. He didn’t want himself to come across as too eager or needy. He also didn’t want to give into the need to describe every single detail of the days since Jim had left. That same part of his mind seemed to hunger for every detail Jim could give him about his absence. For that very reason of not wanting to appear too interested, he left out the fact that Jim’s suggestion for a little free time research for fun was now becoming his ethics project. He might mention it later on, if he could find a way to do so without sounding overly personal about it.
In hindsight, he wasn’t sure why he hadn’t thought of using the multiple marriages of the king as his subject. It was really quite ideal for him as a Vulcan. If there was one subject that Vulcans could become impassioned about, it was fidelity to their mates. To do anything other than cherish one’s life mate, barring a dissolving based on significant incompatibility, was considered reprehensible. He realized that his reason for not seeing what a good subject it would be was probably due to the fact that he’d worked so hard to ignore anything that reminded him of Jim for those first three days he was gone. Now that he had the promise of their correspondence, he had no trouble thinking back on the few times they had actually met with each other.
Indeed, they seemed to speak about just as much while they were writing as they had when they were just meeting on Saturdays with that one lunch as an exception. He found himself eagerly looking forward to messages that came every few days in addition to Jim’s eventual return. Each message was not always very long, but it was still something.
Little Fetus is doing just fine, and so am I. I’m feeling a lot better, actually. Not too much morning sickness going on right now. I’m not too stressed out about anything, since Sam is insisting on doing most of the work. I’m not complaining, since I hate all this legal crap, but I don’t really enjoy being treated like I’m sick or something.
As for the all the paperwork, it’s not going well. We found a document saying that the property would go to one of us, but that’s all. There’s nothing about any conditions that have to be met. They didn’t say anything about how the farm is to be run. I knew what they wanted, since I lived there and kept it going, but now I have to make sure it’s all written down that I knew and that I’ve been carrying out their wishes. We still have to specify that I’m the one getting the farm. And I’ll still have to get some stuff drawn up to show what I want to happen with it if anything happens to me. I may end up hiring a separate lawyer of my own for that.
You talked to Uhura again? And she asked you to tutor her? She’s definitely interested. It’s a pretty big fantasy for some people to get together with someone they like for a ‘tutoring’ session and try to get them interested in more. The only way this could be a bigger deal was if you were her instructor or something! I think you should go for it. She might be a little uptight, but she’s smart and totally hot. I bet she’d be more than happy to go to the park with you!
Well, I have to get back to work. Sam’s thinking of taking some more old childhood stuff back home, some of our old toys, for their place. Most of the old toys are in the attic, so I’ll be helping him sort through some stuff. He only wants to take the ones that could be considered ‘androgynous’ at this point, since we don’t know yet if it’s a boy or a girl. I also offered to let him take some pictures and knickknacks back with him, so he’s trying to decide what to take and if I’ll miss it if he does. Talk to you later!
This message was accompanied by an image of an old farmhouse, which sent a spark of delight thought Spock. Family land was considered very special to Vulcans, almost like a sanctuary from the constant judgment of the rest of the world.
The letters continued to go back and forth. Spock realized that he did not have much to say without being able to tell Jim just how much he wanted him to come back. Still, he tried to let Jim know just what was going on in his life. There was one thing he just couldn’t resist
I admit that Cadet Uhura is an incredibly intelligent and aesthetically pleasing young woman, there are certain factors that prevent me from feeling any interest in her. Vulcans are largely guided by instinct and by mental compatibility when it comes to choosing a partner. And we do not engage in casual relationships. While it may be that she seeks a serious relationship, I feel that there cannot be one between us. Hopefully, if I do not ‘make the first move’ she will understand that. I will make that clear to her if she suggests anything to indicate otherwise.
My studies and projects truly do offer me intellectual satisfaction. I am offered a variety of subjects to study here, more than I would have if I had remained on Vulcan and focused only on science as I had originally planned. It is quite agreeable, though I admit I look forward to the day I am actually making discoveries instead of recycling the work of others.
I am also researching more of Earth’s history. I have begun to study ancient Earth, and the reptilian creatures called dinosaurs that once inhabited the planet. I am going from there down the timeline, studying the emergence of human life on the planet. It is quite fascinating to know that I have emerged from this line as well as the Vulcan one. I never actually considered my connection to human life other than my mother, as I was only taught Vulcan evolution as a child. I have ‘a lot to catch up on’ as you might say. I look forward to your next letter.
Spock worried briefly that saying he was looking forward to Jim’s letter was too personal a thing to mention, but if Jim thought so, he didn’t mention it when he wrote back. It was a little longer than his previous letters.
Well, if you don’t think you can date her, at least try to be gentle when you tell her that. It can be pretty rough finding out that someone you like doesn’t like you back. But it can be worse to try to ignore it then end up leading someone on for a long time, only to have it end badly.
I don’t know if I’ll be able to really write for a little while. I have to go back to Des Moines with Sam to get my Aunt’s funeral set up and put her property up for sale. She left that to whichever of us gets the farm, so I have to oversee some of that process. Luckily, I’ll be able to do most of that from afar, so I just have to let the realtors know what I want. The rest will be done through them and my aunt’s lawyers.
Also, I may have to get that personal lawyer I mentioned that I got to draw up the stuff about the farm to take care of some stuff I want to keep secret from Sam and Aury, at least for now. They’re already planning for future finances for the baby (Starfleet will pay for a lot of stuff since they’re both members, like day care, school, and medical, to mention a few) but I want don’t need the money I might get from the sale of Jenna’s property, so I’m going to use it to set up something of my own for them, just in case. I’m only keeping it secret because I know they’d just say that I’m already doing enough, but I still think it’s a good idea to have something set aside.
Sam may be keeping something secret from me too, or at least he thinks he is. I heard them, before we left, talking about what will happen to the baby if anything happens to them. They talked about it some more over the comm after we arrived here. If they die while still employed by Starfleet, in a work related accident or otherwise, there will of course be payments that will go to help support the kid, but I think what they’re really worried about is who the baby will live with if neither one of them can be there. I know Aury’s got some fairly distant cousins who might be up for it, but I also think that they’re considering me. I think my new responsible lifestyle has impressed them enough make them think that I might be able to raise him or her if anything happens to prevent them from doing it.
I wasn’t totally sure at first, but now I kind of am. Sam told me that another one of the reasons they’re working so many hours right now is so that they can attend a class for first time parents and they’re hoping I’ll take it with them. I think part of it is that they want to use this as an opportunity to show that we’re all in this together, but also to make sure that I’ll be able to take care of a baby if I have to, whether it’s because I’m the backup parent or we’re just having a family visit. I honestly can’t imagine saying no if they ask me to be their backup. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m already acting as their backup by having the baby. If it does come to that, I’ll definitely need that side account, so I will be going through with it, whether Sam agrees or not. Even if the kid doesn’t end up with me, I can still offer it to whoever does get that responsibility as a way of making it easier for them. Whatever ends up happening with the money, it’ll go to good use.
Like I said before, I’ll need to make sure that Sam and Aury or their kid gets the farm if anything happens to me. All of that may take a few weeks yet. I’ll write again as soon as can, though it might not be much. I’m glad I’m getting close to the end of the first trimester, because I need all the energy I can get just to stay awake while those lawyers go on. I know it’s important, and that it’s to honor my Aunt’s wishes, but I hate this. I’d rather be doing farm work again. At least I’d be getting some exercise.
I’ll get back in touch as soon as I can.
Spock felt a warm wave of affection roll through him when he read that Jim planned to set aside something for his niece or nephew, just in case. He was becoming astounded by the level of generosity Jim showed with his family, or even strangers. Though, he thought ruefully, trying to be accommodating of Nyota Uhura’s apparent attraction to him was a misguided effort. He hoped he’d been successful in communicating his lack of romantic interest in her. If there was any chance that Jim could be attracted to him, he didn’t want there to be any doubt that he was available.
He also felt even more impressed with Jim’s character than he had when he first learned why he was pregnant. His brother and sister-in-law would be lucky to have someone like him looking after their child if the need ever arose. Jim was embracing his new responsible lifestyle incredibly well. And he obviously cared very much for his family. He had the potential to be an excellent father.
He turned his attention to the pictures. Jim had sent several images this time. There were images of the farm, and various places in his hometown that he had frequented during his teenage years. Spock saw pictures of chickens and cows, as well a couple of horses. This led him to wonder what else Jim enjoyed doing is his free time. But then, a farm was constant, ongoing work, even this small one that Jim only kept out of tradition. If Jim lived there and participated in its care in addition to working full time as a mechanic, it was unlikely that he had a significant amount of free time.
The pictures that really captured his attention though, were the ones of the inside of Jim’s house. There were some of the kitchen, the living room, and a cozy room with a fireplace that had at some point been turned into a library. Spock could easily visualize Jim curling up with a book in one of the comfortable looking chairs and enjoying the warmth of a fire, perhaps in the wintertime. He wondered briefly what Jim’s bedroom looked like. Were there books in there as well? Pictures of loved ones? What would he look like sleeping in his bed? Once again he wondered if his thoughts bordered on obsessive, because wanting to see the place where the object of his affections slept might seem a little strange to someone who didn’t understand his feelings.
He also saw pictures of the shop where Jim repaired machines, his old school, and some places where he spent time as a teenager. Once again, he was warmed by the way Jim was sharing insight into his current life and childhood. He immediately began composing his reply.
I understand the reason for a lessening in communication. I can only wish you good luck with your aunt’s funeral and handling her property. Nothing of particular interest is currently happening here, at least not in my opinion. I have actually completed most of my assignments for this year. Apparently I cannot be given any assignments for the next year, since they may yet change something in the lesson plan. They made exceptions for me on this year’s assignments because as a Vulcan, I was more than capable of handling the workload, but they will go no further. That is in part due to the fact that it is against Academy policy to give one student so much information about the coming year, and for the reason I mentioned before. I have a few assignments to finish, after which I will begin exploring more of what Earth has to offer, as I stated before.
It is my hope that when you return we will be able to resume our trips to the park. There is still much to see there. I will also continue to research about the history of Earth’s politics, evolution, and customs. I am already studying the ancient supercontinent Pangaea. I find it fascinating that such an event could have occurred. I will also be studying the concept of a superocean. Being a native of a desert planet, such a concept is almost difficult to believe.
Spock sent the letter, knowing it would be the last one, or at least the last fairly detailed one for quite some time. Jim still did not know how long he would be gone, but at least he’d promised to try to write. He realized after he’d sent it that he might have come across as sounding a little conceited in stating that he had worked so far ahead of his classmates. Humans sometimes seemed insulted when Vulcans pointed out their physical or mental superiority. It was simply a fact, but humans found it demeaning to hear it. Hopefully Jim would realize he hadn’t meant anything rude by it.
Spock spent the nearly the next month going to his classes and doing little else. He spent some time in the library, researching points of interest on Earth. At some point, he began to research facts about his mother’s homeland, Canada. At one point, he actually declined to go into the library because he saw Nyota Uhura going inside with an Orion female. He wasn’t sure why, but he was concerned that if she saw him, she’d be inclined to speak to him and he might accidently lead her to believe that he was interested in her romantically, ‘leading her on’ as Jim had warned him about. That, or he might accidently be too cold in his rejection, should the topic of dating come up.
This incident was something he did not mention in his next message to Jim. They came somewhat infrequently and were nothing but updates, really. He mentioned that the funeral had gone smoothly with a nice turnout. His aunt’s home had actually sold immediately after being placed on the market, so Jim was set to start the ‘emergency backup account’ as he called it.
Jim had been gone nearly five weeks when another, slightly letter that was more than just a few sentences appeared on Spock’s padd.
We’re finally coming back the day after tomorrow. Jenna’s house is sold, the farm is in my name, and will be left to Sam’s family if anything should happen to me. I’ve also successfully created my secret account. I’ll definitely keep that to myself for the time being. I may tell them about it later, especially if they ask me to be the kid’s legal guardian in the event of their deaths. Either way, it’s done. I’m not sure if I’d be any good as a parent, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.
I’m a little sad to be leaving again, but the farm was pretty well taken care of, so I’m sure it’ll be fine when I get back. I am glad that I’ll be able to start going to the park again. I have a lot more energy now that the morning sickness is pretty much gone. I’m starting to show, though. Pretty soon people will either be able to look at me and tell I’m pregnant or just think that I’m fat. I want to explore as much as I can while this energetic streak lasts.
I’ll definitely be wearing some of those new clothes Aury bought me. I can’t believe the way I look. I have never in my life had a stomach bulge, so it feels pretty weird. I can’t go to the park this coming weekend, because I’m finally at twelve weeks, and Sam and Aurelan are coming with me to the ultrasound that might be able to show them the sex of the baby. I already heard them debating over the comm last night about whether or not they want to know if it’s a boy or a girl. This ought to be fun!
Spock felt a great feeling of elation. Jim was returning soon! He’d see him again, and they’d start visiting the park together once more, and they’d continue to learn more about each other. Then, something gave him pause.
Jim mentioned in his letter that he was now showing outer signs of being pregnant. Spock wondered if this would have any effect on his more primitive instincts. He knew that the scent of a pregnancy had a negative effect on a male Vulcan who was not the father of the child, but he had no idea how visual evidence of the situation would affect him. He might be able to use the nasal numbing agent to cover up the smell, but there was nothing he could do about seeing it, other than perhaps trying not to look at Jim’s midsection.
Spock resigned himself to the fact that there was really nothing he could do but wait and see, and focused instead on the fact that he was going to see Jim again soon.
Like I said, this was a way to skip forward in his pregnancy a bit. Something else to skip over a few weeks (or a bunch) will happen later down the line.
I noticed that someone put up a review mentioning that the story is complete on another site, which I'm not exactly happy about, but I guess I wouldn't blame everyone for losing patience with me and reading it there. I have a little difficulty getting things the way I want them when I post here, and I was so focused on actually writing the story that I just kind of fell behind on it. Still, I hope you'll read and review here.
Dating Preferences by Vulcan Pearl
Spock's going to learn just what Jim enjoys in a date.
Spock was just getting back to his room Thursday afternoon when his Padd chimed. He immediately set his bag down, pulled the padd out, and looked at it.
JKirk wants to chat. Yes or No? It was Jim. Spock immediately selected yes and waited for more text to appear.
Hey! Are you free this weekend? I’ve been waiting for six weeks to get back to the park. Spock replied quickly replied.
I am available. Is there anywhere in particular that you wish to see?
Not really. I want to see everything there that I haven’t already but I thought maybe we could just go and pick whatever seems best when we get there. Spock’s eyebrow raised. It wasn’t the Vulcan way to just do something spontaneously.
That will be acceptable. Are you returning for another appointment with Doctor McCoy?
Yeah, it looks like I’m still going to do the once a week thing. I still don’t think it’s necessary, but it’s not my kid, so I’m going along with it. It’s the same time, so I guess I’ll see you around 11:00.
I will be there. They both signed off. Spock immediately began researching the parts of Golden Gate Park that they hadn’t seen yet. There were still some bodies of water there that they could see. There was Kezar Stadium, the Music Concourse area, and the Bison Paddock, to name a few. There were still plenty of others. Logically, it would make more sense for them to view te ones that would require more strenuous activity while Jim’s energy level remained high. Then, Spock recalled something that Jim had said some time before he left. He’d said he wanted to see the AIDS Memorial Grove. AIDS had been cured in the mid twenty-first century, right before the events that led to the Eugenics war started happening. The Grove now served as a reminder to people of what life had been like before medicine and the laws were advanced enough to protect them from such a terrible disease and the cruel stigmas attached to it. It was a point of great sentimentality to humans, and even aliens whose races had suffered or were suffering from similar illnesses.
He decided that he would mention it when he and Jim got to the park. Jim had mentioned it the day that they ended up going to the library instead because Jim was exhausted and hormonal. Since he was fairly certain that Jim was not going to the park except on the weekends with him, he would not have had the chance to see it. Maybe Jim would be impressed or flattered that he’d remembered something he said. This made him stop and think for a moment. Just what would flatter or impress Jim? Would he enjoy being complimented and flattered, or would he prefer actions to words? Would he like to receive gifts for no reason? Spock dismissed that notion as highly unlikely. Jim seemed like the type of person who would prefer to give a gift than receive one.
What little Spock knew of courting practices was almost exclusively Vulcan, be they current, ancient, or anytime in between. He knew the odd fact about human customs, such as the fact that they typically made their partner selection based on what they learned through romantic social interaction, also known as ‘dating’. He also knew that many humans (though not all) had no problem being sexually intimate with someone they might not, or had no intention of marrying. He knew more about ancient Vulcan courting practices than modern human ones.
He knew he still had just a little less than two trimesters to figure out how to broach the subject of a relationship, or to learn just what Jim was looking for in a partner. Of course, Jim himself wasn’t certain of what he wanted. He’d only stated that he wanted to begin dating people who suited his more responsible lifestyle. Spock tried to compile a list of traits that might make someone an eligible partner for Jim based on his new outlook on life.
He’d stated that he did not discriminate between sexes, so it didn’t matter if his partner was male. Jim would probably also want someone who would allow him his independence. Spock didn’t care what he did as long as it was legal and he took proper precautions. He was from an old house. For all the talk about how mental compatibility was so important, there were many who preferred to marry within their ‘circle’, much like some of the humans Jim had mentioned in the past. Some might frown on the fact that Jim was a mechanic, and Spock even wondered sometimes when they talked if Jim was living up to his full potential. However, as long as it was honest work, Spock couldn’t bring himself to frown on Jim’s profession. Back to the list.
He wasn’t sure how Jim might feel about being involved with a non-human, or a half non-human, but he did know that Jim had no problem with being friends with one, and that was promising. He might think that Spock had no interest in him, but if allowed them to become close on a personal level, he would hopefully see that Spock was interested and be willing to consider ‘dating’ him. He realized that several of the things they’d done, while very friendly, could be counted as dating. It was amazing how much difference one could find in different gestures all because they had a specific word to define them. They were not considered romantically involved because all the activities they had done together were done in the name of friendship, and not romance.
Spock couldn’t help but wonder how Jim would feel about such activities as dates. As far as he knew, human dating involved two people spending time together in a public place where other people were present. These activities involved movies, dining together in restaurants, and sharing personal information. They had done all of that except for going to see a movie together. And, the information about themselves that they’d shared was acceptable for friends. Perhaps seeing a movie was something Spock could convince Jim to do with him, since it was something he was interested in experiencing as an average activity for humans everywhere.
Spock once more resigned himself to the fact that only time would give him his answers and his patience would be rewarded. He had come to the realization that whatever his true feelings for Jim were, whether he was in love with him or not, Jim was already important to him. Important enough to not want to risk damaging whatever might already be between them. He began lighting his meditation candles and taking his seat on the floor. He always managed to work himself into a mental twist while thinking about Jim. He needed to meditate.
As usual, Spock arrived a little early. He had been seated for no more than five minutes when Jim emerged looking quite healthy. He was wearing a shirt that was a little baggy, like the one he’d seen him wearing the day they’d had lunch with Doctor McCoy. It was likely covering the bulge he’d mentioned in his letters. Other than that, he did not look very different. His weight gain was not quite showing on his face or anywhere else on his body. He knew that the way humans carried pregnancy weight varied between individuals and their preferences for diet and exercise. It was possible that only Jim’s midsection would the evidence of his condition.
Jim’s eyes zeroed in on him immediately after he stepped though the door.
“Spock!” He said with a big grin. He strode over as Spock rose from his seat. “How’ve you been?”
“I have been well.” Said Spock as they moved out of the office and to the outside of the building. “You yourself are looking well.” Jim nodded.
“I am. I’m not throwing up much anymore; I don’t even get nauseous most days. My appetite’s back and I’m eating really well again.”
“I am glad to hear it.” Said Spock sincerely. “As it is nearly lunchtime, perhaps you would like to return to the restaurant in the Japanese Tea Garden. You seemed to enjoy it the last time.” Jim smiled.
“Yeah, that sounds great.” They got on the shuttle that would take them to the park, changing to one of the park’s shuttles once they got there. They arrived at the same restaurant they’d gone to before and ordered new dishes. Spock ordered a salad similar to his own, while Jim ordered some kind of chicken dish. Even though it was meat, Spock was glad to see Jim eating more than he had the first time they had come to this place. Once again, they sat outside, the only people to do so. There was a breeze in the air, but it was still bearable by his standards. As they sat and ate, they began to talk about Jim’s time in Iowa.
“I looked at the pictures you sent me. I saw horses in some of the images. Do you ride them?” Jim shrugged.
“I know how to ride, but those horses aren’t mine. I board them for some people who live in town. They don’t have room for them and even if they did, they just wouldn’t be allowed. Health codes, you know.” Spock nodded.
“So they pay you to care for the horses.” Jim shook his head.
“Sort of. They just pay for the space, really. They also give me money for their food and other supplies. It’s a bit like kenneling a pet while you’re out of town, except they haven’t gone anywhere, so they don’t need anything other than a place to keep them. I do take care of them sometimes. I might exercise, feed, and brush them if their owners are out of town, but it’s mostly them coming out to do it. The horses belong to their two kids, and their parents want them to be responsible with them. The cows are mine, though I once boarded some of a neighbor’s after a fire took down his barn and scorched a lot of the ground in his pasture. A lot of us did, dividing them up until he was able to take them all back. Land takes a long time to recover from a fire.” Spock nodded.
“Have you boarded other animals in the past?” Jim smiled and nodded.
“Sometimes I’ll have neighbors, if one of their dogs is about to have puppies, pay me to keep the mother and puppies on my property until they’re sold or old trained. We had a few old dog pens that we never actually kept filled. We had a few dogs while I was growing up, but we only ever had one at a time. We never had any reason for those kennels, but we held onto them, in case we could use them for something else.” Spock considered it.
“It is no burden on you?” Jim shook his head.
“No. I feed them and wash them sometimes, but they never stay for too long. Besides, I like dogs. And horses. Sometimes an animal can be one of the most loyal companions you’ll ever have.” Spock remembered I-Chaya and knew Jim was right, at least in his case.
“What about the other animals?”
“The pictures of the chickens and cows were actually old. I don’t have them anymore. My dad’s family kind of followed an old tradition there, keeping enough to provide eggs and milk for ourselves. My doctor always told me that my immune system was a little weak growing up, so if one of the cows picked up something and passed it along through the milk, I’d be the one affected the worst by it. Mom got rid of the cows and the chickens when she went back into space when I was little. It’s just as well; Sam and I were both too young to take care of them, and Frank, my uncle, wasn’t going to do it. Ours is just a small, family farm with no real output. My only real job is as a mechanic. I do grow my own produce, though. Just a fenced in patch of my yard really.” Spock still wanted to know more.
“What about the rest of your land? You seem to have a noticeable amount at your disposal.” Jim shrugged.
“I rent out space for animals. I also rent out space for crops and equipment. What better use for an empty barn and field?” Spock nodded.
“That is a logical solution.” He paused. “Your family did not wish to do much to change the land or house?” Jim shook his head.
“No, tradition was pretty important, at least to my dad’s side. His father’s parents were both history professors. That’s why his name was Tiberius.” Spock raised an eyebrow.
“Your great-grandparents gave your grandfather such an ancient name?” Jim nodded.
“Yup. And now it’s my middle name. My father wasn’t willing to give it to me as my first name, probably thought I’d be bullied within an inch of my life, but my mom picked still added it on.”
“How did she choose your first name?” Asked Spock.
“After my dad said no to calling me Tiberius, he said to use her dad’s name, Jim.” He replied. “And then, like I said, she chose to add Tiberius anyway.” Spock felt his lips twitch a bit in a repressed smile. Jim studied him.
“What about you? How did your parents name you? Do Vulcans ever recycle names?” Spock nodded.
“Yes, actually. I was named after Vulcan named Spock who assisted in the early building of our society. He was one of Surak’s original followers who continued to spread his ideals after he died as a result of nuclear fallout.” Jim grinned.
“That’s cool. I guess I inherited my love of history from my dad’s side. My mom and brother are the complete opposite. As soon as something is considered obsolete, they replace it.”
“My father is not completely dissimilar.” Replied Spock. “If something is still in working order, he will not replace it. However, if it proves inadequate for fulfilling its purpose, he will usually choose a newer model to replace it, whether the same thing is available or not.” Jim just shrugged.
“There’s always something new, right?” Spock just nodded.
“What about Vulcan?” Asked Jim suddenly. “Do you have farms there?” Spock nodded.
“We have certain equivalents of farms.” He replied. “Many of our edible plants were found in caves or close to underground springs, where it was cooler and moist. Once we developed the technology, they were grown in facilities built to meet their needs. We also have moisture farms.” Jim smiled in pleasant surprise.
“Kind of like Star Wars.”
“What?” Asked Spock, surprised and confused.
“Back in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, there were these sets of movies. They all had individual subtitles, but the whole thing was called Star Wars.” Explained Jim. “There were three put out in the late twentieth century, the 1970’s and 80’s. Then, a prequel trilogy was released. The first one came out in the last year of the twentieth century, and then the other two were released in the following five years, I think. Anyway, there was a planet that was shown in some of them, a desert world called Tatooine. Two of the main characters in the story were from there. And in this story, the planet Tatooine had moisture farms, where they used machines called vaporators to draw moisture from the air.” Spock nodded his understanding.
“I see the similarity. However, while we do have similar machines that are used during a certain more humid time of the year, ours are mostly used to extract water from underground. Also, those who live close to an oasis may draw water from there.” He paused, then thought of something.
“I believe I may have heard the name Tatooine before, used by a twenty-first century scientist as an unofficial title for planets orbiting multiple star systems.” Jim grinned.
“You’re right. I’ve heard about that too; he picked it based on a science fiction film. It’s pretty amazing really, how history is full of pieces of fiction from someone’s imagination that turn out to be very realistic.” Spock was intrigued.
“Do you know of any other examples?” Jim shrugged.
“Sure. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, for one. While it’s true that if you tried to do exactly what she wrote, building someone out of different parts of dead bodies, including a brain, you’d probably end up with a brain dead person who couldn’t move even if he wasn’t, at best. But sometimes, if it’s done in time, severed limbs can be reattached. And people can be shocked back to life if their hearts have stopped beating for a short amount of time. And then there’s Jules Verne. His concept of a submarine wasn’t unique (he actually named it after a real one) but the scale of it was something that’s possible now. You’ve probably heard of Nautilus, the underwater station that can be divided by section and moved if it has to.”
“Indeed I have.” Replied Spock. “I did not know that it was named after a fictitious submarine.”
“Well it was. And it was actually named after a real submarine. I think one of my favorites though was one I was really interested in for a long time. It doesn’t just show some odd idea that we now know to be a possibility exactly, it was more of a really bizarre coincidence. It was a book called Futility, or Wreck of the Titan. It was one in a series of novels about the adventures of one particular character, but it’s one of the most famous because of an event that took place about halfway through it. It wasn’t considered very popular at the time it was written because that event was considered impossible at the time. But I guess the author thought it was possible enough, because he wrote it.”
“What happened?” Asked Spock. Jim leaned forward a bit.
“In the story, the main character is on a ship called the Titan. It’s the largest ship of its kind and is believed to be unsinkable. As a result, proper safety protocols aren’t followed. They only carry about the minimum number of lifeboats required by law. So when the ship hits an iceberg and begins to sink, most of the passengers are killed, because no one was prepared for anything like that to happen. Like I said, the story was pretty much dismissed back when it was written, since it was thought that such a ship would in fact be unsinkable, or at least too much for an iceberg to take down.” Spock was becoming more and more curious.
“What happened to change their minds?” Jim sat back.
“Over a decade later, a new ship was built, called the Titanic. She was the largest of her kind, and thought to be unsinkable.” Jim paused to take a sip of his drink, and Spock was given a moment to realize where the story was going.
“What happened to ship?” He asked, though he had a feeling he already knew.
“On her maiden voyage, she hit an iceberg and sank. There weren’t even enough lifeboats for half the passengers, and few of them were actually filled to capacity. Over half the people on board were killed. And that’s not all, the real wreak and the story both happened in April, the same distance from the same country, Newfoundland, I think. The iceberg even struck on the same side. What are the odds of that?”
“Rather slim.” Admitted Spock. It was certainly an intriguing story. Usually, when stories resembled historical events so closely, it was because the author was inspired by them and wrote something similar. Jim continued speaking.
“When people saw the similarities between the story and what happened in real life, they were pretty shocked. Some people went as far as to say the author somehow predicted the sinking.” Jim shrugged. “I don’t know if I believe in that sort of thing, but it’s definitely an amazing coincidence. I mean, the names are even similar. There were plenty of differences, though. Like the way the two ships sank, or the details of their collisions.” Spock nodded.
“It certainly is an astounding coincidence. I believe I would be interested in reading this book, and the others. I would also be interested in learning about the historical events behind them.” Jim grinned.
“It’s good to know someone exists who’s as interested in history as I am. I’ve got bits and pieces of information like that from all over history. Most of my friends back home can’t understand how I can be interested in anything that happened before the inventions of things like air travel, replicators, or toilets.” Spock nodded knowingly.
“They most likely do not anticipate ever finding themselves in a position where they may have to do without those things.”
“You’re probably right.” Agreed Jim. “I used to go camping a lot, so I know what it’s like to have to cook my own food and make…alternate arrangements for certain things. I’ve always been curious about people who really lived off the land, just making use of what nature gave them. When I was a kid, I learned about how a lot of people in the last few centuries talked about how humans would have had less war and crime and violence without technology, that in simpler times they would have found alternate solutions.”
“Do you believe that is true?” Asked Spock. Jim shrugged.
“Maybe. I mean, I think wherever or whenever you look, you’ll find people who deviate from the norm because of impulses based on greed, anger, fear, jealousy, or even mental illness. History’s full of killing, whether it was because of a war, or just a random act of violence. Maybe a lack of tools to kill with would slow things down, but there’ll always be something going on. Can you say with certainty that Vulcan is a crime free world because of Surak’s teachings?” Spock considered it. It was true, most crimes or violent acts were committed by those who chose to ignore Surak’s teachings, or tried to find a balance between logic and emotion, but even some of the most upstanding Vulcan citizens occasionally strayed from the path of logic in ways that could not be excused by duress or biology.
“No.” He replied simply. “I cannot.” They were silent for a moment, just focusing on their food. Jim broke the silence.
“How did we get to this?” Spock looked at him, confused.
“What do you mean?” Jim shrugged.
“A few minutes ago we were talking about my hometown and farm. How did we get to the flaws of society?” Spock was surprised.
“I do not know.” He admitted. “It seems we quickly moved through several different subjects, all quite interesting.” They had gone from Jim’s home to Vulcan agriculture, then science fiction, then literature, then history, and finally murder. Jim’s mind seemed to be eager enough to cause him to jump from subject to subject. But then, he’d said he didn’t discuss some of those things with his other friends; it was possible they did not share his other interests either. Spock knew what that was like. His only discussions with his age-mates were during classroom debates. He had little interaction with them otherwise, unless they were trying to provoke an emotional reaction from him. He’d never had such freedom in discussion before. He noticed then that Jim looked a little uncomfortable. “Is something the matter?”
“It’s just…why didn’t you want to go out with Uhura? I know it’s none of my business, but I don’t know any guy who wouldn’t jump at the chance to have a shot with a girl like her.” Spock wasn’t sure what to say. If he answered too honestly, he’d incriminate himself in his desire to pursue a romantic relationship with Jim. But he also didn’t want to give the impression that he was in any way romantically interested in Uhura.
“I simply do not feel that such a relationship between us is possible. Vulcans can often tell by instinct if someone is a good match. We do not feel the urge to ‘date’ many people.” Jim nodded.
“I guess that makes sense. I’m human, so I can’t tell if someone’s the one just by instinct. We have to do things together to learn about each other, hence ‘dating’.” Spock saw his chance.
“What kinds of activities constitute a date? What would you expect from one?” Jim appeared to consider it.
“A lot of that varies between different people. Some people start off small and work their way up, once they become more and more sure that they want to be with the person they’re dating. Some people aren’t looking for commitment, and they just want to stay casual, at least for the moment. Sometimes people set their dating standards based on how they were raised, their social status and religion, that sort of thing. Everyone has their own idea of when they want to move things to the next level, whatever that is to them.
Myself, I don’t really care about where I’d go on a date. I don’t really date that much to begin with. I did in high school, just a few weeks per relationship, not really strange for that age. When I got older and started working, I didn’t have as much time for that sort of thing. I’d usually just hook up with someone looking for the same thing I was every now and then. But if I were to start dating someone, I’d be more focused on who I was with. It wouldn’t matter if we were in a fast food joint or some ridiculously expensive place. Some people think you can win someone’s love with expensive gifts, but it won’t last if you can’t just enjoy talking to each other.” Spock nodded. Jim’s idea of dating seemed quite practical, and preferable in Spock’s opinion.
They soon finished eating and paid their bill. Spock decided to make a suggestion.
“You stated once before that you wished to see the AIDS Memorial Grove. Would you perhaps like to go there now?” Jim looked surprised.
“Yeah, I remember that, that was the day I was all tired and angry, and we ended up going to the library instead. Sure, let’s go there.” They made their way there via shuttle. Once they were there, they circled it several times for over an hour, studying the many names etched into the stone. They discussed the history of AIDS, and many other subjects that came to mind. Eventually, they decided to leave. As always, they parted ways when Jim got on the shuttle. Before he got on, Jim turned to Spock.
“I’ve got my first parenting class with Sam and Aurelan next weekend, but I’m free again the one after that.” Spock nodded.
“I would be interested in hearing what these classes consist of.” He offered. Jim smiled.
“I’ll tell you in two weeks.” He turned to get on the shuttle when Spock remembered something.
“Did your brother and sister-in-law choose to learn the sex of the child?” Jim shook his head.
“Not exactly. They could have, but at the moment they’d decided not to. It’s even worse now that they know they can find out any time. They keep changing their minds because they can’t tell whether or not they want to know they’re having a son.” Spock looked at him, surprised.
“You learned the sex?” Jim grinned a little sheepishly.
“Yeah, I did. I saw on the monitor screen, and Bones confirmed it for me. They don’t know that I do, and I’m keeping it that way, or else they’ll be bugging me about it nonstop. So, you want to meet at the doctor’s office then, same time?” Spock nodded and he moved toward the shuttle again. “Then I’ll see you in two weeks.” And then he was gone.
Later on, Spock was trying to meditate on what he had learned about Jim’s dating preferences. He hadn’t really dated recently, but his requirements seemed rather simple. For the first time since he’d met Jim, the possibility of a romantic relationship between them was beginning to look promising. He would have two whole weeks to figure out how to use that to his advantage.
This childcare class will cause a few gaps like that, but the second big one is still yet to come. It’s my way of speeding things along a bit. Also, we'll be seeing a little more Uhura in the next chapter, just to let you all know.
First Time Blunders by Vulcan Pearl
Spock makes a mistake while talking to Jim. Uhura acts like a bit of a snob, then redeems herself later on. Some people wanted to see Spock set Uhura straight, so that’s what you’re getting this time.
Spock had meditated extensively on the subject of Jim’s dating preferences. He was glad to find that they seemed so simple and logical, for a human custom. Jim was clearly interested in making a connection with someone, and he didn’t care how much money his date might spend on him, or where they’d go to spend time together. He’d said all that really mattered was how he felt about that person, and that they enjoyed each other’s company. Indeed, his description of his ideal date wasn’t so different than what they already did together. It was as he’d thought before; dating activities could be the same as friendly ones, just with a different title. Spock could work with that.
While Spock very much enjoyed visiting the park or the library with Jim, he still wanted to find other things they might both; otherwise they would soon run out of things to do together. Limiting their visits to the park to one sight per time would probably help buy him some time to think, but Jim might want to do more than just see one place each time. They could re-visit some spots, but again, Jim might not enjoy that. He might also tire of the academy library if they spent too much time there.
All evidence so far indicated that he was very curious and intelligent; perhaps he would enjoy some other parts of the Academy grounds. Of course, with Spock as a student and Jim as a civilian visitor, there was only so much they could see together. Spock could show him some of the experiments he and fellow students worked on in the labs, but he didn’t know much pertaining to Jim’s interest in science. He knew from their discussions and library trips that Jim had a significant interest in history and engineering.
Perhaps he would ask Jim about more of his interests at a later time. It didn’t matter right now, since he wouldn’t see Jim until the next weekend. At the moment, he was using his time to go through the library looking for more information on the history of Canada. He’d originally thought to use the winter holiday break offered to all students. However, once he saw how cold it was going to be there at that point in time, he changed his mind. His summer break had been devoted to working ahead and spending time with Jim. It was nearing the middle of October, and though most of the work that he could do by himself was already completed, he still had some science projects that could only be worked on at the class schedule.
He was also apprehensive about going so far north any time of year so far. He had been on Earth for months, and California’s warmest summer temperatures were comfortable, at best. He wanted to have a chance to become accustomed to his current home’s various year round temperatures before he ventured elsewhere, especially north. If he ended up having to spend his final days on Earth, it would probably be in a desert area. As he was perusing the files on his mother’s native land, he failed to notice the sound of someone approaching him.
“Spock.” He looked away from the shelf to see Nyota Uhura stepping dangerously close to his personal space with a smile. “Hi. I was hoping to run into you again. I have some free time coming up in a few weeks, and I was hoping you might too. I thought if you did, we could make a date to start on the Vulcan language.” She looked at him expectantly, waiting for a reply. His mind had frozen on the word ‘date’. He had no desire to hurt her feelings, but this confirmed what Jim had told him, that she had a romantic interest in him. And he did not reciprocate it. He had to make that clear here and now.
“Miss Uhura, am I correct in guessing that you intend to use the proposed tutoring session as a way of assessing whether or not I would be a suitable romantic partner for you?” She looked shocked, and whether it was because he guessed her intentions or because he stated it so bluntly, he could only guess.
“Um, yes I was.” She said, looking flustered and unsure. “I hoped I was being more subtle than that. I know Vulcans don’t care for very forward behavior.” She studied him carefully. “I suppose you asked me that to make sure you knew what I wanted so you can tell me that you’re not interested. Could you at least tell me why?” Spock nodded.
“I find nothing wrong with you. It is simply the fact that I, as a Vulcan, can sense that you are not the right person for me. Were I lacking this ability, I would have seriously considered attempting such a relationship with you.” He paused. “I hope you are not very disappointed.” She sighed.
“I guess not. I might have been if you’d have waited long enough for me to get my hopes up, so I appreciate your honesty.” She looked at him curiously. “How did you know I was interested in asking you out? I thought I was being subtle enough to bring it up gradually.” Spock nodded.
“You were quite subtle. I only learned of your interest after my friend Jim alerted me to it.” She frowned a little.
“The farm boy from the art museum?” Spock was unable to prevent the stiffening of his posture at what he perceived as a derogatory comment.
“I fail to see what his growing up on a farm has to do with anything.” Uhura seemed to realize that she’d made a mistake.
“I didn’t mean anything by it. I’ve just met small town pretty boys like him who think they can talk anyone into bed. I could tell he wanted to flirt with me.” She sounded almost childish in the way she was trying to defend herself against his indignation.
“I highly doubt that.” He replied coolly. “You may recall that he left to use the restroom briefly? He did so because he noticed your interest in me. A misguided gesture, unfortunately.” Uhura had the good grace to look chastened.
“Oh. I didn’t know that.” She looked at him now with something that rather looked like suspicion. “You’re awfully defensive for a Vulcan. Is there something going on between you two?” Spock attempted to reign in his emotions.
“We are not romantically involved, if that is what you are asking.” She frowned.
“Do you want to be?” He looked away.
“I hardly see how that is relevant to my helping you study the Vulcan language.” He immediately realized that his words had come out colder and harsher than he had intended. Uhura looked taken aback.
“You sound like you’re the one who’s got his hopes up.” She remarked. Now she looked sympathetic. “Is that what it is? You like your friend and he doesn’t return your feelings?” Spock hesitated. Perhaps he could tell her the truth. She was clearly feeling sympathetic because of what she thought, that his feelings were not returned.
“My friend does not know of my feelings, so it is not accurate to say he does not return them.” She studied him.
“Why don’t you tell him how you feel then?”
“Because he has stated that he is not interested in pursuing any kind of relationship with anyone at this time.” Uhura frowned.
“Not that I want to upset you again, but he doesn’t seem the type to turn down an offer. Or at least not every offer.” Spock hesitated again. Jim might not appreciate him being so forthcoming with information about his condition. He’d already spoken to Doctor M’Benga about it, though he wasn’t sure that really counted since he was already aware of Jim’s pregnancy. But, Jim was beginning to show now, and eventually, people would be able to tell just by looking at him. Since he regularly came to see Doctor McCoy, plenty of Academy cadets and personnel would definitely see his expanding midsection. He made up his mind.
“Jim is not interested in pursuing any relationships because he is acting as a surrogate for his brother and his wife.” Uhura’s eyes widened.
“He’s having a baby for them?”
“Affirmative.” Replied Spock.
“Well, that’s a pretty big deal.” She remarked. “Does he think he’ll get dumped because of it or something?”
“He has said that he would not feel right engaging in a relationship with someone while carrying a child that is not theirs, or his for that matter.” Uhura nodded.
“Well, I guess that’s pretty responsible of him.” She shifted. “I’d still like to practice Vulcan. I have some time in the evening, next Saturday, if you’re still interested.” Spock nodded slightly.
“I am meeting Jim after his weekly doctor’s appointment. I do not know what time I will be available.” She nodded.
“Okay, can I give you my number and you call me if you have the time afterward?”
“Very well.” Agreed Spock. He quickly took down her number on his padd and they went their separate ways. Spock made his way back to his quarters to try and meditate away his negative feelings. He’d already known after the incident with Gary Mitchell that he felt an unusual aggression toward anyone who did anything against Jim, but he had not expected to react so strongly to one woman’s somewhat snobbish misconception of him.
He knew it would do him no good to make enemies with any of his classmates, even on a petty, personal level. He definitely didn’t want to give Uhura a reason to target Jim, if that was a possibility. She didn’t seem the type to behave unjustly toward someone just because she didn’t get what she wanted. On the other hand, she seemed to have an almost automatic dislike of Jim. She’d also seemed to easily accept that he was not interested in her. However, he didn’t know her well enough to know for certain. His only choice, as far as he could see, was to agree to meet with her and to try to assess how she might plan to handle the situation. He would wait a while to contact her. He had plenty of time to schedule the meeting.
When the weekend came, he sent her a message asking if she would be amenable to a five p.m. meeting in the library on the next Saturday. She sent a neutral reply in acceptance.
After another week had finally passed, Spock found himself in a waiting room of Starfleet Medical once more. Jim would be finishing soon and they would go on their typical outing. The door opened, and Jim walked out as usual. He smiled when he saw Spock standing up from his chair.
“Hey.” He said. “Ready to go?”
“Of course.” Said Spock, gesturing toward the door. They made their way outside. As they were leaving the building, they were intercepted by an Orion woman on her way out. Spock realized that it was the same Orion female he’d seen in Cadet Uhura’s presence once when he was about to go into the library. He had only seen her at a distance, but her bright red hair, a rare thing for an Orion, made her easily recognizable. She glanced at them briefly, then seemed to do a double take as she locked her eyes on Jim. She smiled at him brightly.
“Hi Jim!” She said, sounding happily surprised. “What are you doing here?” He smiled back at her.
“I’m here for my weekly checkup.” He said, rolling his eyes at the word ‘weekly’. The Orion’s smile widened.
“You’re still doing that?” Jim just nodded with a mixture of amusement and resignation. The Orion then glanced at Spock again and looked at Jim with a question in her eyes.
“Oh,” said Jim, “Gaila, this is Spock. Spock, Gaila.” She smiled at Spock and, to his surprise, held up her hand with her fingers parted in the Ta’al. He automatically returned the gesture.
“Hello Spock.” She said pleasantly. “I’ve heard about you from my roommate, Nyota Uhura.” She added, seeing the surprise on Jim’s face. “She mentioned you two are meeting later today.” She glanced at the doors behind them. “Well, I’ve got some vaccinations to cross off my list. I’ll see you around Jim.” She laid her hand on his arm briefly before smiling at them both and moved past them to go inside. Spock watched her until the doors closed, fighting the urge to maintain his casual stance and not try to forcibly put distance between her and Jim. It was shocking really, how much aggression shot through him at the moment her hand touched Jim’s arm.
“You know her?” He asked, hoping his voice came out sounding neutral. Jim turned to him.
“Yeah, we met at the library a while back.” He grinned, and they started walking in the direction of the shuttle station. “I think she was a little surprised I didn’t turn into a drooling idiot when I saw her. She’s uses pheromone suppressants, but she’s still hot. Even if she didn’t use the suppressants, I think being pregnant somehow makes me immune to the pheromones or something.” Spock relaxed a bit when he heard that. “Anyway, we hit it off pretty fast. I didn’t know she was Uhura’s roommate, though.”
“Neither did I.” Replied Spock. “I saw them together once outside of the library, but that was all.” Jim looked at him curiously.
“She said you have plans with Uhura today?” Spock nodded.
“Correct. I agreed to meet her in the library at five o’clock, to help her begin learning the Vulcan language.” Jim looked surprised.
“Does she know that your study date isn’t a ‘date’ date?”
“I asked her if she was hoping for our meeting to lead to a romantic encounter.” Replied Spock. “She told me she was, and I informed her that I was not interested in such a thing. She accepted that, but still asked for my help. It seems you were right about making myself clear right away. She said my rejection was far more bearable due to the fact that she had not gotten her hopes up beforehand.” Jim nodded.
“Yeah, it’s best to deal with that stuff before it actually turns into something. But you’re still meeting to study?”
“Yes.” Replied Spock. “I see no reason not to assist her in furthering her academic career. It would also serve as a way for me to build good relations with my fellow cadets.”
“Just not the kind of ‘relations’ that she wanted.” Remarked Jim. Then he flushed a little. “Oh, sorry! I guess Vulcans don’t really like that kind of humor.” Spock realized that the relations Jim had been referring to were sexual ones.
“Indeed not.” He replied, though he attempted to soften it by allowing some amusement to show in his voice. “Such talk would be considered quite scandalous on Vulcan.” Jim looked at him again and smiled a little.
“As scandalous as turning down the Vulcan Science Academy to enlist in Starfleet?” Spock inclined his head.
“Perhaps not that scandalous.” Jim laughed and they continued on walking until they boarded the shuttle. Once they were seated Jim turned to Spock again.
“So, you have to be at the library by five. What do we do until then?” Spock hesitated.
“I recalled you mentioning when we first met that you were going to the Botanical Gardens. I have not visited there myself; would you be willing to go back there?”
“Sure.” Replied Jim with an easy smile. “I wouldn’t mind going back.” They switched shuttles and were at the Gardens soon. They began by looking at the exhibit for California’s native plants. They gradually made their way through the various exhibits. Jim warned Spock at one point that some of the areas where quite humid and misty, and that he might not be comfortable. Spock found that he was right; there were some foggy areas that he felt very uncomfortable to be and breathe in. However, his scientific curiosity won out and he pushed his discomfort aside to study the plants. If he could, Spock might have spent all day here. As they studied one plant, Jim spoke up suddenly.
“Gaila told me about a plant on her homeworld like this. These are so exotic compared to what I’m used to, they almost look like they could be from another planet. Is something wrong?” Spock had stiffened up at the mention of Gaila, the Orion woman.
“No.” He replied. “You seem quite friendly with her.” Jim shrugged.
“Yeah. I can kind of relate to her. She’s always got guys hitting on her because she’s an Orion. I sometimes got crap from people in Iowa who think that just because I don’t really date, and flirt a lot, and just have a casual thing here or there means that I’ll jump in bed with anyone.” Spock frowned minutely.
“It is understandable that they would think that about an Orion female, but-” He was cut off by Jim suddenly raising his hand.
“Wait, what do you mean ‘understandable’? You think that it’s okay for people to harass her because she’s Orion?” Spock was confused.
“I imagine she would welcome the attention. Orion women are well known for drawing almost every type of male they come across, and for manipulating them with their sexuality. They rarely turn down offers for sexual intercourse and often use the infatuation and dependency that their pheromones cause to help their men take advantage of the males they mate with.”
“Yeah, because that’s what they’re expected to do! Snapped Jim. Spock couldn’t help but glance around just to make sure that no one was listening. Fortunately, he could see no one standing nearby. “That’s how it’s been for thousands of years. Orion females have a massive libido and incredible sex appeal. And because of that, they’re expected to seduce guys so that their owners can reap the benefits.” Now Spock’s frown was more pronounced.
“They may be slaves in name, but they allow themselves to be used. They can easily manipulate their men if they wish it. The arrangement is to their benefit as well.”
“The only benefit they get from that arrangement is that it gives them a certain amount of control over their situation. The men have ways of diminishing the effects the pheromones have on them. Do you know what happens to Orion females who don’t do what’s expected of them?” Spock just shook his head and Jim continued. “The glands that produce the pheromones are surgically removed and they get sold off to brothels, where they have no power and no options. They have to go along with the so called mutually beneficial arrangement, if only because it’s all they know how to do. The only other option is a lifetime of rape and abuse.” Jim’s eyes, bright and intense, focused on Spock’s. “What would you do?” He asked quietly. “If you had to choose between being raped, or going with it in order to survive and maybe walk away with something to show for it, what would you do?” Spock had to force himself to answer.
“I do not know what I would do such a situation.” He admitted quietly. “I did not intend to upset you. I was only stating what I have been taught.”
“Yeah, well maybe you should consider that there’s two sides to every story.” Muttered Jim. He checked his watch abruptly. “It’s getting late. You don’t want to be late for your study session.” He started walking back toward the shuttle station without waiting for a response. Spock hurried after him. They boarded the shuttle that took them out of the park, making the ride in silence. They came to the place where they would switch shuttles, and Jim started to board. Spock, feeling a little desperate, asked,
“What are your plans for next weekend?” Jim looked back at him with an unreadable expression.
“That’s when the next parenting class is. I’ll be free the weekend after next.” With that, he turned and boarded the shuttle. He hadn’t actually said anything about seeing Spock again.
Spock’s body moved almost on autopilot as he made his way to the academy library. He had no idea what to do. He hadn’t expected the way Jim’s anger, aimed at him, would make him feel like this. He felt terrible, not just in the sense that his feelings were hurt, but in the way that he was considered bad for thinking what he did. He held no animosity toward Orions, couldn’t Jim understand that? But then, he hadn’t said that, only stated his belief that they were carnal beings who had no real agenda but to use their sexuality to gain power.
Jim had said he could relate to Gaila. Spock wondered what he could have meant by that. As an Orion, even without her pheromones she likely drew many who hoped to engage her in sexual congress. And because she was Orion, there were probably many people who assumed, like him, that she would accept almost any request for sex. And that sounded…disturbingly similar to something Jim had said to him once. Jim had said before that his habit of being flirtations with so many people so often had led some to assume that he would have sex with anyone. He had been saying it again right before Spock had made his mistake.
Spock actually stopped in his tracks as he processed this. It made sense that Jim would defend someone against rumors, especially if he had been a victim of them himself. He’d said he could relate to Gaila because he was used to people having certain expectations of him that were fueled by rumors and stereotypes. He was saying that Gaila, like him, might enjoy sex, but not being expected to conform to said stereotypes because of it. Spock realized that what he’d said about Orion females might have actually caused Jim to question Spock’s opinion of him. This was bad. He forced himself to resume walking toward the library. He would have to wait until after his study session with Uhura to figure out how to fix what he’d done.
She was already inside at a table when he arrived. He had to look at the clock on the wall to make sure he wasn’t late. Uhura looked up and saw him as he approached.
“Oh, hi.” She said. “I wasn’t sure when exactly you’d arrive, so I already gathered up some of the materials I think we’ll need.” Spock studied the files on the table before taking a seat.
“I am sure you are adequately prepared.” They began.
After a good hour reviewing what she knew and the Vulcan alphabet, Uhura changed the subject abruptly.
“Are you okay? You seem like your mind wants to be somewhere else.” She remarked. He looked at her, startled.
“I apologize if I seem unfocussed.” She studied him carefully.
“Is something wrong?” He figured he might as well let her know why he couldn’t focus on fulfilling his promise to help her study Vulcan.
“I believe I have made a serious error in communication with a friend of mine.” He admitted.
“You mean that guy Jim?” She asked. He hesitated then said,
“What could you have done wrong?” She asked, confused. Spock hesitated again. He had no desire to anger someone who attended the same facility that he did. Telling her that he’d said such an insulting thing about her roommate would probably do that. On the other hand, Jim seemed to be on very friendly terms with Gaila. He might tell her what Spock had said, and then she might tell Uhura. It might be best if he admitted to it and expressed his regret for it.
“I made what he perceived to be a derogatory comment about another cadet. It was not my intent to be insulting. Vulcans simply state what is, with no emotion or judgment. However, my information may have been incomplete or erroneous. And he found it insulting to hear.”
“Who were you talking about?” Asked Uhura.
“An Orion female named Gaila.” He replied. “She identified herself as your roommate.” Uhura looked a little wary now.
“What did you say about her?” Spock hesitated again before answering.
“I stated that it was understandable that an Orion would have many males behaving in a lewd fashion toward her, and when I tried to explain my statement with what I have learned about Orion women, that they welcome such behavior, he told me some of the things he learned in return. I was not trying to be negative about it, but he was quite upset by what I said.” Spock tried not to let his dejection show. Uhura studied him.
“I admit, I had plenty of negative thoughts about Gaila when we first met, and most of them stemmed from what I’ve heard about Orions. But after I got to know her, and she told me a lot of the facts that most people don’t get to hear, I changed my opinion pretty quickly.” Spock nodded.
“I understand my information was incomplete, but that does not change the fact that Jim was upset by the fact that I stated what I believed.” Uhura shrugged.
“Sometimes, people who know facts that aren’t commonly known, or are ignored in favor of others, get upset when those other facts are referred to as the truth.”
“I still do not know what to do about this situation.” Said Spock. Uhura seemed to hesitate.
“Look, you were upfront about not wanting to date me, and you agreed to tutor me even though I had a little ulterior motive, so let me give you some advice in return.” At his nod, she continued. “Just try letting him know you were wrong. You do believe you were wrong, right?” He nodded again, and she kept speaking. “Then tell him that. And it probably wouldn’t hurt to just apologize for getting him worked up. I don’t really know what to tell you beyond that.” Spock considered her advice.
“Thank you. I will consider it.” She nodded and began gathering her things.
“I think I’d better get going; I’m meeting Gaila for lunch.” She looked at him. “Do you think we could do this again some time? Vulcan can be a really tricky language for non-native speakers, and I’d really like to have some preparation for what I’ll be facing in class.”
“If I have the time, I would be willing to tutor you again.” He replied. She nodded as if satisfied, then departed. Spock also left after gathering his own things together.
Later on, he tried to meditate in order to clear his mind. So far, he wasn’t taking Jim’s being upset with him very well. He knew that eventually, he would do as Uhura suggested, and send an apology. He would probably have to send it, since he had yet to encounter Jim at the Academy outside of their scheduled visits. What he was wondering right now was how he was going to word his apology. He knew Jim had found an insult in his words that reminded him of how some people had treated him in the past. He didn’t know much else though. He wanted to understand the situation a little better before he sent Jim any message. He wanted to be sure he knew as much as he could before telling Jim how sorry he was.
Part of him felt just a little resentful. He hadn’t meant anything negative by his comment, and Jim hadn’t given him a chance to explain that. Of course, that might have something to do with the fact that Jim was pregnant. He’d already displayed uncharacteristic reactions to things people had said to him. He’d stated that he normally would have physically beaten Gary Mitchell for what he’d said to him when he declined to sleep with him, but had started crying instead because of his hormonal imbalance. Perhaps he’d reacted so aggressively because the hormones had prevented him from reacting in a more rational manner.
After meditation proved ineffective, Spock gave up and began to prepare for bed. He got under the sheets and ordered the lights off. In the safe dark and privacy, he sighed and resigned himself to the fact that he would probably not rest easy until he heard with his own ears that Jim was no longer upset with him before falling into a restless sleep.
Poor Spock! He won’t work all this out until the next chapter. I don’t usually leave things quite this unresolved in a chapter, but don’t worry too much.
Apology Accepted by Vulcan Pearl
Today, Jim gives Spock a little surprise. Then, Spock gets some advice from his mom.
After the last chapter, I had to make a list of places in Golden Gate Park and then read every chapter I’ve written so far just to make sure I didn’t accidently send them somewhere twice! And then it occurred to me to send them somewhere else in San Francisco.
Several days later, Spock had yet to try to contact Jim. He’d attended his classes and tried desperately to meditate on the situation. He continued to wonder just how he should apologize to Jim for upsetting him. He was beginning to wonder if sending a message was too impersonal and if he should wait and try to see Jim again. Even though he still had over a week to do it, he was more nervous about what to say than when he was awaiting the decision for the VSA council.
He was currently on his way to Starfleet Medical to see Doctor M’Benga about getting a vaccination that he was due for. He was going in early in the hopes of getting it done ahead of schedule. As he was about to go in, he was startled to see a familiar green face. The cadet who he only knew as Gaila was exiting the building. She looked surprised to see him.
“Oh, Spock!” She smiled, though it didn’t seem quite as bright as it had when they’d met before. “What are you doing back here?”
“I am here to receive a vaccination.” He replied neutrally.
“Ah.” She said. “I just got another one. Apparently there are a lot of minor illnesses here on Earth that I need to protect myself against.” She hesitated briefly. “Have you talked to Jim lately?”
“I have not spoken to Jim since our meeting on Saturday.” Replied Spock. “Have you spoken to him?”
“Yeah.” She said slowly. “He seemed pretty upset about the fact that you thought I was willing to sleep with anyone who asks.” Spock felt his face beginning to heat up.
“He told you that?” She shook her head.
“No, Nyota did, actually. Jim wouldn’t say why he was upset, but after I talked to Ny, I figured it out. I think she feels a little bad that she judged him without actually getting to know him at all.” She must have seen his blush, because she smiled with a little more warmth. “She also told me you were sorry for what you thought, and for making an assumption based on some fairly one-sided facts. And trust me, that’s something I’m very used to.” Spock nodded.'
“I still regret that I spoke so erroneously. I should have known better than to make an assumption about a culture that is not my own, especially one that is not even part of the Federation.” Gaila shrugged.
“It’s not so bad, really. Like I said, it’s nothing I haven’t heard before. You’ll even find that there are a lot of Orions that think like you did, because it’s what we’re used to. It’s only when someone tries to do something different, something unusual by the other’s standards, that we get a reminder of how it really is.” Spock nodded again, his shoulders slumping a bit.
“I still do not completely understand Jim’s anger. I wish to understand before I apologize, so he has no reason to doubt my sincerity. I do not want him to think I am making an empty apology simply to placate him.” He said, hating how helpless he felt. Gaila studied him.
“You really want to know what his problem was?” He nodded, hoping she really knew.
“Yes, most definitely.” She looked at him seriously.
“I don’t know if you know it, but Jim likes to flirt. He doesn’t always mean anything by it, but people sometimes take it the wrong way. They assume he’s interested in sex and act like he’s a great big tease or something when he tells them otherwise. It’s something that we have in common.” She shrugged. “I mean, I probably follow through a lot more often than he does, but our situations are kind of similar. People think I enjoy sex more than most humans because I’m an Orion, and that’s true, but it doesn’t mean I’ll have sex with anyone. Jim seems like a guy who likes sex too, but from what he’s told me, he’s actually pretty selective of his partners. You know, about illnesses, their temperaments, whether or not they’re okay with just having a fling, that sort of thing.” Spock nodded.
“I was given to believe that as well.” He said quietly. He hesitated. “Jim has mentioned that he is in the habit of flirting with many people. Had he mentioned it to you as well?” Gaila smiled again.
“I know it because whenever we see each other, we flirt a lot. Just in a casual way. After all, everyone likes to feel like they’re desirable. But I know he’s not interested in sleeping with anyone, or even dating while he’s pregnant, and I admire him for it. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun with some harmless flirting.” Spock had to resist the urge to stiffen up again. Now he really wanted to reassure himself that there was nothing between Jim and Gaila.
“You are not interested in engaging in sexual intercourse with him?” He asked. Gaila smirked.
“Oh, don’t get me wrong. If he was available, I’d be all over him. You have no idea how rare it is for someone like me to find a guy who’s gorgeous, brilliant, sweet, and not only honestly respects me before sex, but still would after. But he’s not an option for me.” Spock nodded, really needing reassurance now that he knew Gaila considered Jim very attractive.
“Because of his pregnancy, you mean.”
“There’s that.” She agreed. “There’s also the matter of a certain jealous Vulcan he really likes to spend time with.” Spock was startled.
“What do you mean?” She shook her head almost mockingly.
“I’m an Orion. We may have many partners in our lives, but when we find one that we want for more than sex, we’re very territorial about it. I know the signs when I see them. You didn’t like it at all when I touched him.” She smiled wistfully. “I might still be tempted to try if it wasn’t for the fact that I think you have a pretty good shot with him.” Spock looked at her, surprised.
“Why do you believe that?”
“Because of the way he was so upset about what you said. He thought that if you could think about me the way you did, then you might think about him that way too, given the little bit of similarity between our situations. He thought that you might think he was a slut, or manipulative, or both. And he really doesn’t want that. He wants you to have a good opinion of him, just like he does of you. And he already likes you enough to hope that you would think better of him than a lot of people do when they first meet him, people we’ve both dealt with here. I can name one for sure; Gary Mitchell. He’s tried to corner me and tell me off a few times for turning him down, and I know Jim’s had some trouble with him to. Jim’s dealt with plenty of men and women like him, and he hoped that you would be different, that you’d look past stereotypes and just see him for who he really is. He may think of you as just a friend right now, but if you time your moves right, he’ll want more.” Spock nodded slowly.
“Thank you.” He said quietly. “I believe I understand the source of his distress now.” He studied her again, still a little suspicious. “You will not be attempting to engage him in a relationship?”
“No.” She assured him with a smile. “Jim’s great, he’s really fun to spend time with, and I’m sure he’d be fantastic in bed, but I don’t think he’s ‘The One’, as humans like to say. There are plenty of other guys at the academy, there must be a few of them that can see an Orion as a real partner and not just an easy target. And if not, I don’t necessarily need a partner to enjoy myself. One of my favorite things about human beings is the fact that they’re imaginative enough to come up with plenty of perfectly good…substitutes.” She smiled at him brightly, winked, then hurried off. Spock stared after her, ears burning as he realized what she meant when she spoke of having a ‘substitute’. He did his best to shake it off and went inside for his appointment.
Several days more went by before Spock knew what he wanted to say to Jim. He knew there would be plenty of time until he would have a chance to see Jim again, but he didn’t want to give his anger too much time to grow. Even if Jim had already realized that he had spoken based on what he knew, which was not entirely correct, not hearing it directly might cause him to hold on to his anger and let it continue to grow until it couldn’t easily be let go of. After extensive meditation and careful thought, he sat down and composed his message to Jim.
I have given much thought to what you said when we last spoke. I have also been informed that the best course of action I can take at this point is simply to admit that I was wrong, something I definitely believe to be true. I spoke to both Nyota Uhura and Gaila since then, and it has only worked to assure me that what I said was incorrect. I have also realized that it may have been insensitive of me to say what I did.
As a Vulcan, I have been raised to simply state what is, or in this case, what I believed to be what is. I am aware humans often find our blunt and direct way of speaking to be tactless and insensitive. Even if I did not believe that I was wrong in my way of thinking, I should have approached the situation with more consideration.
I would prefer to discuss this more in person. If you are amenable, I would like to meet you after your next visit to Doctor McCoy, and we might resume our trips to the park. I had hoped that we might visit the Conservatory of Flowers. I had intended for us to go there after our visit to the Botanical Gardens, but the opportunity did not arise.
If you are still amenable to meeting with me, then I will meet you outside Doctor McCoy’s office. Please inform me of your wishes.
Spock finally sent the message after deeming that it was the right combination of apologetic and blameless. He had to fight the need to check his padd repeatedly throughout the next couple of days just to see if Jim had sent any kind of reply.
Finally, on Friday morning, Spock heard the sound of his padd ringing just as he emerged from the shower. He pulled on his robe and hurried over to the desk where it sat. There was one message waiting for him, and it was from Jim. He opened it.
I guess I’ll see you there.
Spock could only hope he meant Doctor McCoy’s office.
Spock arrived outside of Doctor McCoy’s office a few minutes early, as always. He spent several minutes sitting somewhat anxiously as he waited for Jim to finish his appointment and come out. As he sat there, it gave him time to wonder about Jim’s reaction to his message. Had he sent his short reply because he had forgiven Spock’s error? Or had he perhaps done it so that he could reject the apology in person? Spock didn’t think that Jim was capable of being that malicious. Then again, if the insult he’d perceived had been very personal, or his hormonal fluctuations continued to magnify his negative responses, that might be the case.
As he was worrying about this, the doors slid open and Jim stepped out. He saw Spock where he was sitting…and smiled slightly. Spock tried to let himself relax. That had to be a good sign, right? Jim walked over, and he stood up.
“Hi.” He said, sounding perfectly calm. “You ready to go?” Spock nodded.
“Yes.” They made their way outside and got on the shuttle, as they always did. While they were riding, Jim turned to Spock.
“Do you know where you want to go today?” He asked. Spock realized he hadn’t given any thought to what they would do, other than his apology, of course.
“I have given thought to the Bison Paddock. I have not seen many animals on Earth yet, and I am interested in seeing what kinds of animals live in this planet’s various climates. Jim nodded.
“Okay, we’ll go there.”
The rest of the ride was in silence. Spock really wasn’t sure what to make of it. Jim seemed happy enough to see him, but he still hadn’t said if he accepted the apology or not. Then again, he’d also asked in his message to discuss it more in person. Perhaps Jim was waiting for them to arrive somewhere more private before they began speaking of it. They switched transports at the park and got off at the stop closest to the paddock. Spock was momentarily distracted from his worried thoughts by the sight of the massive beasts. He had just a little concern for the fact that they could probably kill a human (or Vulcan) easily, but they were well fenced in and he was too fascinated by them to linger on any troubling thoughts.
It was once they reached an area where no one would be able to hear them speaking normally that Jim turned to him to begin speaking.
“You said you wanted to talk about what happened the last time we were here.” Right to the point then.
“Yes. I stated my wish to apologize to you in my message, and that I wished to do it properly, face to face.” Jim nodded.
“Okay, and I guess I’ll take the opportunity to apologize to you.” That surprised Spock.
“Why would you need to apologize? I unknowingly stated incorrect facts and insulted you and Cadet Gaila as a result. What have you done to warrant making an apology?” Jim shrugged.
“I blew up and yelled stuff at you instead of just calmly explaining it. Then I went home and sulked until you sent that message. I didn’t even reply until the last minute.” He shook his head. “I acted like a stubborn kid, unwilling to let go of a stupid little mistake.” Spock felt a surge of relief as Jim spoke. It sounded like Jim had forgiven him, and was embarrassed by his own behavior.
“I do not see any consequence; you were likely reacting to your hormones once more.” In a way, he was offering Jim a way out by saying that. But Jim was already shaking his head.
“It wasn’t just that, though it was part of it. I got upset because some of what you said reminded me of what some people think of me back home. I thought that you might start to think about me like that too. I’ve told you before; you didn’t know me back in Iowa. I never manipulated anyone with sex, but I did sometimes flirt with people to get them to pay attention to me long enough for me to persuade them to my way of thinking, or to keep myself from getting into as much trouble as I probably should have, and that kind of helped fuel the rumors that I’d trade sex for favors.” He sighed. “I got so used to people thinking of me that way that I just stopped trying to change people’s minds and learned to ignore it, but after I came here and started meeting new people, I really tried to make the most of the opportunity and avoid acting like I did back home. I haven’t really flirted with anyone but Gaila, and she knows I’m just fooling around.” Spock nodded.
“Yes, she clarified that for me. She also explained that you were upset by the thought that I might share the opinion of other people you know.” Jim nodded.
“That’s pretty much it. I guess I turned a mountain into a molehill there.” Spock decided not to comment on the expression. He also decided to confess something to Jim.
“After we first met, I did consider the possibility that you were promiscuous. You said that you were pregnant, and I left before you could give any explanation, I thought of many possible reasons that you might be in that condition. I considered several, one of which was promiscuity, and none of which were the actual reason.” He shifted uncomfortably, hoping that Jim was not too upset by what he was hearing. “I was determined to avoid you in the future because most Vulcans would have found our association distasteful. But, as I mentioned once before, you were friendly to me, and I could not resist experiencing more of your attitude. I began to understand during our second meeting that even if you were promiscuous, you are still a good person, and that is what truly matters.” Jim listened to his speech silently.
“I guess that’s good. Even when you thought I was no good to be around, that didn’t stop you.”
“I did not say I thought you were no good.” Spock replied hastily. “I simply meant that I was reacting as my Vulcan upbringing allowed. By continuing to speak with you, I was breaking many unspoken rules. I had already begun to decide they did not matter. You are a kind, intelligent man, and as far as I am concerned, your sexual habits have no reflection on your character.” Jim just looked at him for a long moment before he spoke again.
“Thanks.” The single word was uttered quietly, and Jim looked far more at ease than he had before. He turned his attention back to the bison. “So, what do think of the bison?” Spock looked at them as well.
“They are intriguing creatures.” He replied. “Though, their smell leaves something to be desired.” Jim grinned.
“The smell of sweaty hides and sun-baked crap. Reminds me of home.” And just like that, everything was fine again.
They spent quite some time simply walking around and observing the Bison Paddock from various angles. Jim brought up the weather, how it was much warmer for October in San Francisco than it was back in Riverside. Spock told him in return that even the warmest days in San Francisco were nothing compared to Vulcan’s cooler season. As they just walked and chatted, Spock remembered something.
“You have been attending parenting classes with your brother and sister-in-law, correct?” Jim nodded.
“Yeah, two classes now. There’s three to go. That’ll be the first half. And then they’re giving out these dolls that simulate what caring for a real baby is like for the half. The parents have to bring it back ‘alive’ in order to graduate the class. It doesn’t really count for much, since they’re all having kids anyway, but it’s good practice. The first class was just an overview of what we’d be learning, and a video about modern families and the possible difficulties, stuff like that. The next class was about medical signs to watch out for, and how to react if there’s some kind of trouble with the baby. There was also some stuff about how much attention the baby needs. It varies though. You pretty much check everything when the baby cries. They’ll be sending some kind of doll home with us for the second half of the class, but that’s not my problem, thank God!” He laughed as he finished.
“What will you be learning in your next class?” Spock asked.
“We’re going to start leaning and practicing feeding, diapering, and cleaning. The classes are all a few hours long since they’re just every other Saturday. Then, like I said, we get the special dolls for a few weeks after.”
“And this doll is programmed to behave like a human child?”
“Sort of. It just cries for various reasons. It also wets itself.”
“What is the purpose of that?” Asked Spock, confused.
“Babies, human ones at least, wake up every few hours or so with some complaint. They might be hungry, or colicky, or need to be changed, but they don’t start to sleep through the night for a couple of years, at least. The doll is supposed to simulate a real baby by crying every few hours and show the parents just how a real baby will act. The dolls get rocked, fed, burped, and changed, and that’s it. With real babies, you need to know how to clean them, and dress them, and how to moisturize their skin. Did you know that a baby’s skin dries out twice as fast as adults?” Spock shook his head, and Jim continued.
“I didn’t know that either, so this class is already teaching me a few things I didn’t expect. I don’t know if I’ll ever have kids, but at least I’ll know how to take care of my nephew if I’m ever in town and they need me to babysit.” Spock had been wondering about that too.
“Do you believe you will never have children of your own?” Jim looked thoughtful.
“I don’t know. I mean, if I ever got married and my wife, or husband, wanted to have kids, I think I’d be open to the idea. I’m not sure if I’d want to do it on my own though. I work pretty much whenever my boss needs me to, and then there’s the work I do at home. I just don’t think I could take care of a kid on my own with the way I’m living now.” Spock nodded.
“It is a sensible concern.” He remarked. They both left it at that. They continued to study the bison for a time, before Spock began to feel more chilled. Jim seemed to take notice of that.
“Maybe we should get going.” Suggested Jim. Spock agreed, and they made their way back to the shuttle station.
They chatted about various different little things about their routines until it was time for them to go their separate ways. Jim left with a wave and a promise to see him again in two weeks.
After Spock returned to his quarters, he thought about some of the things Jim had told him. He was upset whenever people made assumptions about him based on rumors, though he did his best to just ignore them. Still, it didn’t stop Spock from feeling at least a little bad about upsetting him.
What he really wanted to focus on though, was what Jim had said about children. He’d said he wouldn’t likely consider having a child by himself, but if his spouse wanted it, he would at least consider it. That looked promising to Spock. Vulcans were expected to have children at some point, regardless of what their instincts told them. Jim definitely seemed to care about the condition of the child he was carrying. If that was any indication of what kind of parent he might be, the possibility of them becoming bonded and having a family together was looking better and better.
Right now, Spock knew he would rest a little easier knowing that Jim had forgiven him and was feeling better about Spock’s opinion of him. He also knew that the news that Jim would be willing to have children with a partner, a spouse, would help even more.
One thing that he still pondered about was what exactly he felt for Jim. His affection for him grew with every moment they spent together, with every personal fact that about himself that Jim entrusted him with. And he found himself easily giving facts about himself in return. He wasn’t even that open with his mother. Even if it was out of a desire to prevent her from worrying about him, it was still true. But how would he know when friendship and affection turned to love, if it ever did? He knew he loved his mother. He would do anything for her. And, in spite of all the negative moments in the past, he believed he loved his father as well.
Could he say with certainty that he would do anything for Jim? That he would give up everything for him, make any sacrifice? Could he be a perfectly devoted bondmate for Jim, and Jim for him? He didn’t know yet. But he wasn’t going to worry about that yet. He still had plenty of time to figure all that out. Right now, he would just be grateful for the fact that their minor crisis had been averted.
I'm going to do as much as I can tonight, and hopefully get most of the story up. Please be patient with me!
A Change of Scenery by Vulcan Pearl
Today, Jim gives Spock a little surprise. Then, Spock gets some advice from his mom.
After the last chapter, I had to make a list of places in Golden Gate Park and then read every chapter I’ve written so far just to make sure I didn’t accidently send them somewhere twice! And then it occurred to me to send them somewhere else in San Francisco.
After two weeks, Spock was doing his evening meditation when a message came. He checked and opened it when he saw it was from Jim. He wasn’t sure why Jim would send him a message, unless there was some kind of change in plans. Perhaps he wanted to meet somewhere other than the doctor’s office, or was calling to cancel their next outing. Before he could even begin to worry about that though, the message popped up and he began reading
I was wondering if you would mind going somewhere else after I’m done with my appointment. It’s kind of a surprise, so just meet me at Starfleet Medical as usual and we’ll go. Just let me know if you’re okay with that.
That was it. Spock was definitely surprised. Jim wanted to surprise him. No one had wanted to surprise him with anything, other than his mother on his birthdays. Was Jim giving him a gift? The thought both warmed and intrigued him. He decided to reply in the affirmative.
That would be agreeable. He typed in response. I will be there as usual. He sent the message and went back to his meditation, wondering just what Jim’s surprise could be.
Spock was still wondering just what the surprise was when he arrived at Starfleet Medical and sat down in the waiting room. It was probably illogical to think that Jim might be giving him a gift; he could easily do so at the park or here at the Academy. Most likely he wanted to show Spock some different location. He still wasn’t sure why Jim would want to surprise him with it. It was probably just a common human desire to surprise someone with something that they thought they would like.
Jim came through the doors and, as always, Spock felt a certain lightening of his spirit at the sight of him. However, he was puzzled to see that Jim was holding a decent sized umbrella.
“Hey.” He said in greeting. “Ready to go?”
“Of course.” Replied Spock. “Are you anticipating rain today?” Jim shook his head.
“Nope.” That was all he said. They made their way to the shuttle station and boarded. Spock had to remind himself that they were not going to the park, and decided to ask Jim about it.
“Where is it you wished to go today?” He asked. Jim smiled.
“I told you, it’s a surprise. I’ll tell you this much though; I got the idea from something you said when we were at the park a couple weeks ago.” Spock began recalling what they’d talked about. They’d both apologized for their unintended behavior toward each other, and then they’d gone on to talk about the parenting class Jim was taking with his brother and sister-in-law. He didn’t know what kind of place Jim might think of to take him based on those conversations. Jim seemed to realize what he was thinking. “If you haven’t figured it out already, just try to be patient. It won’t take long to get there.”
They continued the ride in silence. Spock was unable to stop himself from speculating on where they were going. After a few more minutes, Jim nudged his shoulder lightly.
“We’re here.” They got off with several other passengers. Spock looked over Jim’s head as he was stepping down and saw a large sign that appeared to be decorated with animals. It read: San Francisco Zoo. Spock looked back at Jim in time to see him smile widely and hold out a ticket for him, which he took silently. “You said you wanted to see Earth animals. There’s a whole bunch of them in there.” Spock was stunned.
“I did not realize you were even paying attention to what I had said about wishing to see Earth’s animals.” Jim grinned at him.
“You’re not the only one who remembers stuff a few weeks later.” He looked at the sign, then back at Spock again. “So, how about it? You wanna check it out?” Spock nodded, having to work hard to contain the smile threatening to appear.
“Yes, I do.”
They entered the zoo.
As a Vulcan, Spock was not overly comfortable with large crowds of people, especially ones in which the people were unable to control what they were projecting to him. However, many of the vague feelings he felt from all around were of awe and excitement, which only added to his own. There were a few moments when he started to feel overwhelmed, but when that happened, he just focused on Jim walking next to him, and the contentment he experienced simply having him nearby.
They agreed that it would be most productive to take a tram to one end of the park and make their way back toward the entrance. Spock found himself fascinated by the animals various shapes, sizes and colors. There was such variety on Earth. They couldn’t stay at the various exhibits long; between the crowds and the time factor, they were somewhat rushed.
“Sorry we can’t stick around long.” Jim had said at one point, when they’d stopped to eat. “We won’t be able to see nearly everything if we take all the time we want to.”
“I am not disappointed by this.” Spock had assured him. “As a Vulcan, I have an eidetic memory. I can easily recall any of what we see here. I would be more concerned about how you feel about being rushed through all the exhibits.” Jim had smiled.
“Who knows, maybe I’ll come back here sometime. The tickets are pretty cheap. We could both come back.”
Spock had been cheered by the thought. Jim was including in his future plans, or at least possible ones. He was planning to involve Spock in his life, at least for the time being. It was another good sign that a relationship would be promising for them.
They’d gone through various exhibits. Jim chatted sometimes, telling him little facts about little things he’d learned about the zoo. He mentioned the fact that there had been a point in time when there were no elephants in the zoo, that they were relocated to other facilities. He said that there had been attacks, one tiger that got loose and actually killed someone before being gunned down by police. It was a shame. Both the elephants and the tigers seemed so amazing in their own ways. The elephants were large, and they commanded total attention when they moved around. The tigers did too, with their effortless grace and wild coloring.
It had to be the coloring of so many of the animals that really drew Spock’s attention. Most of Vulcan’s animals were colored in ways that allowed them to blend in with their surroundings. They were drab, sandy colors. That was the case with many Earth animals as well, but Earth had so many more colors that were not hard to find. Because of that, Spock was fascinated by vividly colored creatures like the tigers, as well as others. It seemed that many Earth birds, especially the males, were vividly colored. That included flamingoes, ostriches, and lorikeets. The ones that stunned him the most though, were the peacocks. A male with his feathers fully elongated was truly a sight to behold.
Plenty of other animals fascinated him as well. He had been particularly curious about the kinds of animals that lived in Earth’s deserts. He wondered if they’d look at all like the animals on Vulcan. It was shocking how different they were. The elephants and rhinos were more what he would have expected, but to see some of the strangely patterned ones like zebra’s and giraffes was unusual.
One kind of animal that particularly drew him though, was the bear. They came in different colors, but many of them were similar enough. His mother had, on occasion, likened I-Chaya’s appearance to that of a large teddy bear with fangs. Looking at the bears here, especially the ones with brown fur, he saw the resemblance. I-Chaya had been somewhat larger, of course. He’d also had long fangs and a long tail. And these creatures were obviously not meant to be kept as pets. Still, it was fascinating to see something so close to something he remembered fondly.
On the other hand, he saw animals called wolves that reminded him somewhat of Le-Matya’s. They were smaller, with less harsh features and no venom, but it was still a noticeable resemblance. He couldn’t deny that it gave him a rather negative feeling to see them, and remember his own personal experiences as a result. Once again, he reached mentally out to Jim, who was always by his side, to almost feed off of his positive mood.
They had been there for nearly three hours when Jim gave Spock a little nudge.
“Come on.” He said. “There’s something we should see while we’re here.” The thing he wanted to see turned out to be a bird show. As they seated themselves on the bleachers, Spock looked around and saw that a few other people had umbrellas as well. Jim opened his up immediately, scooting quite close to Spock so that they were both under it. Having him suddenly move so close was both delightful and unnerving for Spock. Before he could really think about it though, his attention was drawn back to the stage by a person with a microphone, and the show began.
Spock was surprised to learn that some Earth birds could imitate human language, and even be taught to answer questions, or at least say certain words after certain cues. Several birds flew around the enclosed space, and Spock found himself eagerly following the flashes of their colorful feathers. The show only went on for about fifteen minutes, and then it was over. Spock replayed all the bird’s commanded aerial acrobatics and vocal performances. As he stood, he saw the top of the umbrella, which had a few splatters of bird droppings on it.
“I believe I understand your reasoning for bringing the umbrella.” He remarked. Jim lowered it and pulled it shut with a grin.
“I’ve seen a few bird shows at traveling circuses. I learned early on that it’s a good idea to take something to use as a shield.” He set the umbrella down and stood up. As he did, he adjusted his shirt, pulling the back of it down. As he did that, the front pulled taut against his stomach, and Spock got a good look at his expanding midsection for the first time.
He was forced to think for a moment about how he’d allowed himself to forget that his friend was pregnant with a child not his own, as he did surprisingly often. Between the use of his nasal numbing agent, their great compatibility, and the fact that the child was not the offspring of a rival male, it was easy to forget without some kind of constant reminder. And there it was.
Spock knew that it was only going to become more noticeable as time went on, and that he would soon be unable to ignore it. And right as he realized this, he realized something else; it didn’t bother him in the slightest. Today’s outing only served to prove what he’d been realizing the whole time he’d known Jim, that he was a wonderful person.
He watched Jim stand up slowly, stretching his legs. He realized that the bulge was more noticeable than he’d first realized, he just hadn’t been paying attention to it. He was drawn out of his thoughts as Jim grinned at him.
“We’d better get going. It’s getting kind of late, and I still have to get back and try to make up some kind of dinner for Sam and Aurelan. They’re both working late, so I have some time, but I don’t want to push it.”
“Of course.” Replied Spock. Once more, they boarded a park tram that took them back to the entrance. From there, they went back to their usual stop. Jim had to get off first, to switch shuttles, and he said goodbye quickly.
“You want to go back to the park the next time?” He asked with a smile, before they arrived at his stop.
“That is agreeable.” Replied Spock. He hesitated. “Jim, thank you for this. It was quite… considerate of you.” He’d almost said ‘thoughtful’, but that might have implied more of an emotional attachment than Jim felt at this time. Jim just smiled at him.
“Hey, no problem. It was fun.” He grinned. “I’ll see you again in two weeks.” With a wave, he got off the shuttle and quickly boarded another. Spock continued on his way back to the academy.
Late the next day, Spock’s meditation was interrupted by a chime from his console. He opened his eyes and looked toward it, surprised. He wasn’t expecting any messages. He got up and answered it. Immediately, his mother’s face appeared on the screen.
“Mother.” He said, surprised. She smiled at him warmly.
“Hello Spock. I hope I’m not interrupting anything important?”
“Negative. I was simply meditating.” He replied.
“I just wanted to check up on you.” She said in explanation. “I miss having you here, but I am happy to see you doing so well. Tell me, what have you been up to?” Spock proceeded to tell her all about what he had accomplished since she had last called. He told her of his experiments and other school projects, and about how he was in the top percentage of his class.
“What about this friend you mentioned last time?” She asked at one point. Spock decided he could tell her some of what they did together.
“We spend a great deal of time, when we are both available, at Golden Gate Park. That is actually where we met, and we both have an interest in its many features. We also sometimes read in the library or take meals together. Just yesterday, he surprised me with a ticket to the San Francisco Zoo because I mentioned that I wished to see some of Earth’s native animals.” He stopped, feeling his face beginning to heat up as he realized he was focusing too much on the time he spent with Jim. Amanda looked a little puzzled.
“Spock, it almost sounds like you’re dating this man.” She paused, and her eyes widened. “Are you?”
“No.” Replied Spock hastily. “There is no romance in our relationship.”
“Oh.” She replied. “You just seemed so animated when you were talking about him. I’ve never seen you get like that about anyone.” She paused. “You know, I wouldn’t have any problem with it. As long as he treats you well and you’re happy with him, I would support your relationship.” Spock hesitated.
“I do not fear a negative reaction, from you or anyone else. I simply know that a romantic relationship between Jim and myself is not possible at this point.” Amanda frowned on his screen.
“Why do you say that? And what is this Jim even like? I know nothing about him except that he’s your friend.” Spock decided if anyone should know about his situation, it should be his mother. He’d already confirmed his feelings for Jim to Doctor M’Benga and Cadets Uhura and Gaila.
“Jim’s full name is James Tiberius Kirk. He is the younger son of George and Winona Kirk. He is a Caucasian human male with dark blond hair and blue eyes. He is twenty-three years old and approximately seventy-three inches tall. He is naturally capable of bearing children due to the human experimentations of the twenty-first century. His home is in Riverside, Iowa, but he is currently residing in San Francisco while he acts as a gestational surrogate for his brother and sister-in-law, who have been unable to conceive naturally. Based on what he has told me, I calculate that he is now nineteen weeks into his pregnancy. He works in a vehicle repair shop and enjoys reading. He has also stated that he is sexually attracted to males.” Amanda just stared at her son, at a loss for words. She clearly hadn’t expected all that at once, and Spock knew why. It usually took hours, or even days to convince him to give her the details when something was weighing heavily on his mind.
“Well, I wasn’t expecting you to come forward with all of that at once.” She remarked wryly. She seemed to realize something. “Wait, George Kirk? The George Kirk? You’re friend Jim is the famous Kelvin baby?” Spock nodded.
“He is, and he does not care to be defined by it.” She nodded thoughtfully.
“I can understand why; he must get a lot of unwanted attention because of it. But why can’t you have relationship with him? Does he even know that you want one?”
“He does not.” Replied Spock. “I did not have a chance to broach the subject before he mentioned that he does not wish to engage in any kind of relationship while he is pregnant with his nephew. He believes it would be irresponsible to engage in sexual relations while his is pregnant, and that it would be unfair to make anyone who he did wish to have a relationship with wait for him while he is still pregnant. He has also stated that he wishes to use the time to make some changes in his lifestyle, which was somewhat reckless in the past.”
“Well, that’s admirable.” She remarked. She appeared to think of something.
“How does his being pregnant affect you? I know Vulcan women are practically quarantined when they’re pregnant, but does a human male have that same affect on your senses?”
“Yes.” Admitted Spock. “I was able to control it at first by meditating on the fact that he was not pregnant by a rival male. Afterward, I had a discussion with Doctor M’Benga, and he prescribed a nasal numbing agent. I do not notice it now.” Amanda nodded.
“Good, that’s good. So he doesn’t know that you like him at all?”
“No.” Replied Spock. “I believe he is aware that I consider him a friend, but that is all. I did not wish for him to feel awkward or pressured by the truth.”
“Well, I can understand why you would want to avoid that.” She said. “He does sound like a nice young man. If you feel that things would work out for you, I’d be glad to support your relationship. Though,” she added with a smile, “I wouldn’t mind meeting him before you marry him.” Spock felt his face heating up.
“I do not even know for certain if a relationship would work between us.” He said. “I certainly cannot say if I am going to bond with Jim.”
“I know, I’m just teasing you.” She said with a smile. “Do you at least know if you care about him?” Spock considered his answer.
“I believe so. I experience concern for him when he is ill, and I feel…better somehow when I am with him.” Amanda nodded.
“That’s usually a sign that you care about someone. I hope you know more soon.” She glanced at something off-screen, most likely a timepiece. “Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?” He hesitated.
“How did you know you were in love with Father?” She looked surprised.
“I guess that’s a good thing to ask if you think you might get serious about this young man someday. Your father’s position as ambassador to Earth meant that I saw him fairly often. He lived on Earth most of the time, but sometimes he had to go back to Vulcan, and I missed him more and more each time he did. One day it occurred to me that he might return to Vulcan for good, and I might never see him again. That made me realize how much I really loved him, and I told him so. After I admitted it, so did he, and then he asked me to bond with him.” Spock was shocked.
“He actually told you that he loved you?”
“Yes.” She replied, smiling at his surprise. “I know you’ve been taught all your life to try to bury your emotions, Spock, to not let them affect your life or your judgment. But if Jim is the right person to show them to, there’s nothing shameful about it. Are you able to open with Jim?
“We exchange opinions and facts about our lives when we speak to each other. I do not have quite the same urge to restrain myself when I spend time with him.”
“That’s good.” Amanda said. “Just keep getting to know him and you’ll find your way. Live long and proper, Spock.”
“Peace and long life, Mother.” They both signed off.
Spock thought about his mother’s words long into the night. It was true. He could honestly admit to himself that he was fond of Jim. No one had ever been as open with him as Jim had so far, and no one other than his mother had ever gone out of their way to surprise him, certainly not for no reason.
Since he’d admitted his loneliness, Jim had seemed to want to help him feel more at home here. The trips to the park and library seemed like typical gestures of friendship, but introducing him to his other friends, surprising him with the trip to the zoo, those seemed like very thoughtful gestures. Hopefully that meant that Jim returned his seemingly platonic regard. It hadn’t occurred to him until now that Jim might have been so kind to him out of pity, and he truly hoped that wasn’t the case. He didn’t mind Jim feeling sympathy for him, but he would prefer that his motivations be based more on friendship.
This line of thinking wouldn’t do him any good. Spock resolved to try to put it out of his head and just focus on the fact that he would be seeing Jim in another two weeks.
And on to the next chapter!
Meet the Family by Vulcan Pearl
I decided to use this chapter as a way to skip ahead four weeks instead of two.
Two weeks later and Spock was once more in the waiting room at Starfleet Medical, patiently waiting for Jim to emerge from the checkup rooms. He’d given quite a lot of thought to where they might go today, and if Jim was amenable, he had a suggestion. Seeing Jim step through the doorway on the other side of the room brought him quickly to his feet.
“Hey.” Greeted Jim with a smile. As they began walking out, Jim asked, “You know where you want to go today?” Spock nodded.
“I had thought we might visit the Beach Chalet; there is a restaurant there and we may eat before we sightsee.”
“That sounds great!” Said Jim enthusiastically. “I’m pretty hungry; nowadays it seems like I have to have something to munch on every few hours.”
“That is probably because you are…I believe the expression is ‘eating for two’?” Remarked Spock. Jim grinned.
“Yep, that’s it. Let’s go then.”
They made the trip as they usually did, chatting on and off about various things going on for them. Jim described his last pregnancy class and what he’d learned about disturbing phenomena known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, where a child displayed no signs of illness or cause of death that could be found through examination. Apparently even with the medical technology available today, there was very little chance of spotting a child who was susceptible to it, making preventative measures almost impossible to take. There were only signs, like poor prenatal care, that showed a child as having the risk of being susceptible for it. All any parent could do was stay informed and be wary.
Spock in turn told Jim about his science projects, which he seemed to find very interesting. He even offered some advice on one that involved the study of how alien plants might be affected by Earth’s conditions. Having grown up in a farming community probably made him at least a little qualified on the subject.
After finally arriving, they both placed orders and took seats in the outdoor eating area.
“Are you okay out here?” Asked Jim. “This is a lot warmer than I’m used to for this time of year, but it’s kind of chilly for you, isn’t it?” Spock shook his head minutely.
“It is inconsequential. I am wearing adequate clothing, and the food will be quite warm.” He noticed that the tables were rather low setting, and that Jim was unable to move as close as he was due to his expanding belly. “Are you comfortable?” He asked without thinking. Jim followed his glance and smiled.
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
“I trust everything is still going well?” Asked Spock, feeling it would be polite to ask. Jim nodded.
“Yeah, everything’s good. Sam and Aury are thrilled that I’m about halfway through now. Though, the second half will probably seem to drag on a lot longer, if what I heard from the instructor in my class is true. She’s had two kids, so she must know what she’s talking about. There won’t be much more morning sickness, but I already need bigger shoes because my feet are swollen. Soon I’ll be waddling around like some kind of fat duck.” Spock wasn’t sure how to respond to that. He had an odd picture in his head of Jim walking very much like a duck.
Jim smiled a little wistfully. “It’s already dragged on plenty for them. They can’t wait to get this kid.”
“My mother greatly anticipated my birth.” Replied Spock. “My conception was a difficult achievement for them, and it took over a year to do it. It might have taken longer if the doctors who made it possible had not had someone else’s research to start their own.”
“You mean the baby that was created from the stolen DNA of Commanders Charles Tucker and T’Pol?” Asked Jim. “I’ve heard that story.” He hesitated. “I also heard that they were romantically involved for a little while, before and after the baby. Do you think they might have stayed together if she hadn’t died? They got together again after they found out she existed, so maybe it made them hopeful.” Spock was surprised.
“I suppose it is possible, but I have heard instances where two unsuitable partners stayed together because of a child, and everyone suffered emotionally as a result.”
“Well, yeah, that can happen.” Replied Jim. “But sometimes the really good relationships end because one or both partners can’t move past their grief and anger over the situation, and everything just kind of falls apart.”
“You have a good point.” Admitted Spock. “I suppose there may have been a possibility of them resuming their relationship. Neither one of them married or was seriously attached by the end of their mission, when they would have parted ways. But Commander Tucker’s death took away that option.”
“Yeah.” Said Jim, sounding wistful again.
Their food arrived soon and they spent most of their meal in companionable silence, studying the view and enjoying their selected dishes. After they’d finished and paid, they began exploring the house and beach. They did not explore the beach too much; it was crawling with tourists and locals. The house was, however, empty for the most part. As they walked through a corridor, Jim spoke up abruptly.
“I wonder sometimes if my parents would still be together if my dad was alive.”
“What do you mean?” Asked Spock, surprised. Jim shrugged.
“A lot of people tell me that they were so in love, and that they’d have been together forever if it wasn’t for the attack, but do they really know that? A lot of people start off thinking that they’re soulmates, and they wind up splitting after a little while, or even a long time. Sometimes love just seems to fade away, or people even begin to hate each other. I just sometimes can’t help but wonder if that would be the case with my parents. I guess my mom thinks so; she still grieves for him. But maybe he wasn’t really her soulmate, and her real one is still out there but she’s too blinded by her grief to find him. I just don’t know.”
“I cannot predict what would have happened with your parents.” Spock said apologetically. “Perhaps it is simply best to try to focus on the positive aspects of their relationship.”
“Yeah.” Said Jim. “Maybe it’s good that they never had a chance to get tired of each other. At least Mom will always remember him as the man she loved.”
They walked on in silence for a while after that. Spock couldn’t help but keep thinking about what Jim had said. His parents shared a bond, a foolproof way of knowing what they meant to each other. It reminded him of a fear he’d inadvertently voiced to his father as a child.
Sarek had been lecturing him about how he would have to make a choice one day, to be human or Vulcan, and Spock had mistakenly believed that he was also to choose between his parents somehow, to choose to love and favor one and forget the other. Sarek, in a rare display of compassion, had assured him that that no matter what, that was not the case and never would be. For a brief moment, however, Spock had been truly frightened by the possibility of the three of them no longer being together as a family. It was understandable that Jim would wonder such a thing about his family, the outcomes of human relationships being as varied as they were.
The continued to explore, chatting about nothing particularly important until it was time for them to leave again. When they got on their shuttle, Jim turned to say something to Spock.
“I wanted to tell you, Sam and Aury want to invite you to dinner at their place in a couple of weeks, after our last class together. Then they get their baby doll and start simulating childcare.” He paused. “They want to get to know the guy who’s helping keep me out of trouble. They know that Vulcans are vegetarians, so I’m sure we can fix something you can eat. You don’t have to come if you’re busy or anything.” He finished rather hastily.
“I would be glad to attend dinner at your family’s home.” Spock replied. “What time should I arrive?”
“I think 5:30 would be a good time.” Answered Jim, looking relieved. “We should have everything ready by then.”
After Jim had switched shuttles, Spock wondered if Jim was eager for him to meet his family. He’d seemed nervous that Spock might say no, and quite relieved when he’d accepted. He knew that even among humans, there were those whose family’s opinion mattered a great deal to them, whether it was about romantic partners or friends. Was it possible that Jim was looking for his family’s approval on his friendship with Spock?
If that was a real possibility, it meant that Jim’s family was very important to him. If he really wanted them to approve of Spock, it might mean that Spock was becoming important to him as well. If that was the case, it was a promising possibility.
Spock was fine until it occurred to him that if, for some reason, Jim’s brother and sister-in-law did not approve of him, Jim might change his opinions and stop spending time with him. He immediately set up his meditation mat and candles and began trying to center himself. He had to keep himself calm and focus.
As he began his meditation, he swore to himself that he was going to be the perfect dinner guest. He would give Jim’s family no reason to think that he should not be around him. He would go and make the best impression he could.
When two weeks finally rolled around, Spock was caught between nervousness and anticipation. All he could keep thinking was that he knew practically nothing about these people and had no way to impress them. He went over and over in his head how he could try to prove that he was a worthy companion, before reminding himself that he was not there to ask them for permission to court Jim. He was just going for a friendly visit.
He took a shuttle to the address Jim had sent to his padd, not too far from the academy grounds, arriving in front of a typical looking San Francisco apartment building. As he stepped off the shuttle, he saw a few other people he recognized from the academy getting off. He also recognized some people getting on. He realized that this was probably a place that housed mostly Starfleet personnel. There were a few buildings close to the grounds that advertised in the hopes of drawing officers in need of housing. It was a fairly good business, having homes available for Starfleet officers, whether they needed them now, or when they returned from off-planet missions.
He went up to the entrance and pressed a button, buzzing for entry. The only reply was a noise to let him know the door was unlocked. He opened it and entered the lift, going to the right floor. He moved to the door marked 7D. He knocked firmly. The door opened to reveal Jim’s face, which broke into a smile when he saw him.
“Hey, you’re early!” He stood aside, allowing Spock entry. He took a quick look around before turning back to Jim.
“I hope that is not inconvenient.”
“No, not at all.” Assured Jim. “Come on in, not that there’s very far to come! Sam’s finishing up something at the academy and Aurelan’s getting some more orange juice for me to drink. She says it’s good for the baby.” Spock very quickly found himself in a kitchen/living room. There appeared to be three doors that led to other rooms. There had to be a bathroom, and at least one of the others had to be the master bedroom. So unless Jim was sleeping on the couch (a thought he nearly balked at) the third door must lead to his room. He rather wanted to look inside.
“Jim.” He said, getting his attention. “Is there somewhere I may put my bag? Somewhere out of the way?”
“Sure.” Replied Jim. He looked around quickly. “Uh, would you be okay with leaving it in my room? You can just set it next to mine.”
“That would be acceptable.” Said Spock. He followed Jim the short distance to the third door and through it once it opened. It was a fairly simple room. It was not decorated at all; any pictures or ‘knickknacks’ as they were called would be supplied by whoever was staying in the room. There was a simple dresser and chest of drawers, along with a double bed that was neatly made up, a small bedside table with a lamp on it, and a door that most likely led to a closet. It was similar in appearance to a motel room, minus a few things, clearly intended for short term use. Jim’s bag was sitting on the corner of the bed.
“You can just set it there.” He said, gesturing toward it. Spock tentatively stepped into the room and set his bag next to Jim’s. He studied the room once more and stepped back out, followed by Jim who shut the door behind himself. Just as they were going back into the dining area, the door opened and a young, petite, blue-eyed woman with wavy dark brown hair walked through with what appeared to be a gallon of orange juice in hand. She broke into a friendly smile when she saw them.
“You must be Spock.” She set down the juice and held up a hand in greeting. “It’s nice to meet you; Jim’s told us so much about you. I’m Aurelan, as you’ve probably guessed, and George called me on my way back, so he should be here any minute.” Spock looked at Jim, a little confused.
“My brother.” Explained Jim. “His full name’s George Samuel Kirk Jr. I’ve always called him Sam. We needed a way of knowing who we were talking about; him or our dad, and Junior is kind of dorky.” Jim shrugged. “He started going by George after he left home.” Right then, the door opened again to reveal a smiling young man, about three years older than Jim.
“Oh, hey.” He said, noticing Spock. “You must be Spock. I’m George Kirk.” Spock nodded.
“It is a pleasure to meet you both.” Sam noticed the orange juice sitting on the counter. “Oh good, you got it.” He grinned at Spock. “We need to keep Jimmy eating good if we want our little boy to be good and strong when he’s born.” Spock blinked, surprised.
“You are aware that you are having a son?” Jim grinned sheepishly.
“Yeah, that’s my fault. They kept changing their minds about finding out and bugging me for my opinion that I got so frustrated and just sort of…blurted it out.” He glanced at them ruefully. “Now they’re trying to figure out what to name him.”
“Yeah, we were kind of shocked when he just blurted it out.” Said Sam with a grin. “But at least now we can carry pictures of the sonogram with us without having to worry about ruining the surprise.”
“Well,” said Jim, looking around at them all, “why don’t we eat now?”
Spock knew by the end of the night that he’d had absolutely nothing to worry about. The Kirks were friendly and polite, as well as very intelligent. It seemed such things ran in the Kirk family and, if Sam’s marriage was anything to judge by, they found quite attractive. They’d inquired as to his studies and described some of their own work to him, which he found quite interesting. He’d asked plenty of questions and even offered a few suggestions, which they graciously listened to.
After dinner, which included a rather pleasing vegetarian lasagna, was over, Jim gave Spock his bag back and offered to walk him out. As they walked down, Jim spoke.
“I hope you enjoyed this, at least a little. Sam and Aury don’t usually get to talk to someone who can keep up with their work that well.”
“I found the discussion quite stimulating.” Replied Spock.
“Well, maybe you can do it again sometime.” Jim suggested. “I’m sure they’d be glad to have you back.”
“That would be agreeable.” Said Spock, and he meant it.
Jim saw him off at the door and he made his way to the shuttle. The December air was chilly to him, and he wanted to get back to his quarters to turn up the heat and get into bed. His first meeting with Jim’s family had gone quite well. If he continued to gain their favor, they would be far less likely to object to him if he and Jim were able to begin a romantic relationship.
He was honestly looking forward to his next visit to the Kirk home.
Okay, I know this is ridiculously short, and late on top of that, but I’ve been very busy and I wanted to get something up. Hopefully, I’ll be back next week with something else!
Chess and Chatting by Vulcan Pearl
Okay, so this is shorter than my usual output. Trust me, the next one will be longer. If I’m following the calendar I used for this correctly, Jim is now twenty-three weeks along, and it’s December. In order to move things along, they’re not going to the park today; my list of places to send them is getting shorter! Instead, I’m using the old K/S favorite, which I know nothing about so don’t expect too much detail. Also, Mitchell returns briefly and gets a surprise.
One week later, Spock was at Starfleet Medial waiting for Jim outside Doctor McCoy’s office. He looked up in anticipation as the door opened. It dimmed however, as had the light in Jim’s eyes, apparently. He looked awful. There were noticeably dark circles under his eyes. Equally noticeable were the slump in his shoulders and the drag in his step. His eyes fell on Spock, and he smiled tiredly. It seemed rather forced.
“Are you well?” Asked Spock, concerned, as they began to walk out as usual.
“Sure.” Said Jim, even sounding weary. “That stupid baby doll has cried every few hours for the last week. I usually have to get sleep while Sam and Aury are at work, since it doesn’t cry then.” He must have seen the confusion on Spock’s face, because he added, “It’s programmed only to cry while they’re home. A real baby would be with a sitter, or have one parent with it at all times. Since I’m not the one raising the kid, I don’t have to take this portion of the class. Still,” he muttered, “it’s been a real pain getting used to sleeping during the day instead of at night.”
“Adjusting to such a change in schedule must be difficult.” Remarked Spock.'
“Yeah, but it’s only for one more week. We actually had it that week you came over for dinner, but it was off for the moment. Sam and Aury have it way worse. They’re the ones who have to come home after a long day of work and wake up every three hours to figure out what it needs.” Jim shook his head. “I’m pretty tired; I can only imagine what they’re going through.”
Spock realized that if Jim was awake at night, then he was probably more tired than he let on.
“Perhaps we should forego a visit to the park. We can most likely find something else to do here.” Jim was clearly trying to hide his relief at Spock’s words.
“If that’s okay with you. I didn’t want to snap at you like I did the last time I was too tired to go.”
“I believe it is understandable, given what you’re body is being put though.” They exited the building, and Spock automatically began walking toward the classroom buildings. “Perhaps you would like to see some of the experiments that I and my fellow cadets are working on.” Jim looked intrigued.
“That sounds interesting. Is it…safe?” One of his hands rose to rest on his stomach. Spock realized he was worried about what effects some of those experiments might have on his nephew’s health. It was a good concern to have.
“I do not believe any of the experiments will have an adverse effect on your pregnancy. As I am a first year cadet and only have limited access, we will not be near anything that would be considered deadly by any means.” Jim nodded.
“Okay then, let’s go!”
They spent a good two and a half hours looking over everything. They studied each experiment, and afterward, Jim would ask questions or make comments, inviting Spock to answer or reply. Jim seemed particularly impressed by Spock’s own experiments, especially one having to do with a possible energy source that had recently been introduced to the Federation as a gift from a race hoping to gain entry.
“The ones you’re working on seem awfully advanced for a first year cadet.” He remarked as they were leaving.
“As my father was expecting me to one day enter the Vulcan Science Academy, I was well versed in most of the theories and laws that I have been taught here. Though,” he added in a more subdued tone, “I believe that many of my classmates resent me for it. Some of them sometimes accuse me of trying to ‘upstage’ them, of showing off and making them look bad in comparison. I am not trying to do the things they say; I simply do not know how to do any better than my best. It is what I have been expected to do all my life.” Jim looked sympathetic.
“Yeah, but you have to understand, a lot of them have had those expectations from themselves and others for most of their lives too. Some of them are probably used to being the overachievers. They come here to learn and compete against people in their league. Then you come along and leave them all in the dust with only a fraction of the effort they use. That can’t be a very good feeling.”
“Why would they come here to compete with each other?” Asked Spock, confused. “It is the point of the Federation to exist in harmony with other life forms, and Starfleet exists to help protect that harmony. Competition could very likely lead to infighting, and that could eventually lead to serious problems for the entire organization.” Jim shrugged.
“You’re right about all the harmony and protection stuff, but there are a lot fewer command positions than there are subordinate ones. Everyone starts off at the bottom, as a cadet. Everyone has to rise through the ranks over time in order to achieve the one that they dream of having someday. In order to do that, they have to prove that they are the most deserving of the job, that they’re the best qualified, the best and brightest. There’s always going to be some kind of competitive element wherever there’s a possibility for advancement. If I was a cadet, I think I’d avoid being too friendly with others in my focus, or at least ones with obvious ambition and drive. I bet a lot of friendships around here get broken up because friends decided to exploit each other’s weaknesses or go behind their backs to try and gain advancement.”
“I had not thought of it that way.” Said Spock thoughtfully. “I suppose it is understandable that they would feel threatened by someone who easily does better than them, at least it is when you put it like that.” They observed and discussed some more experiments before leaving the building.
As they left, Jim’s eyes focused on something in front of them and lit up with excitement. Spock followed his gaze to see that he was staring at the chess tables set up on the edge of the outdoor recreation area. He looked back to Jim.
“Do you play?” Jim looked at him.
“Yeah, but I haven’t had a real opponent in a long time. I played against classmates when I was a kid and just go against the computer nowadays. Do you play?”
“Yes, my mother taught me. I too have not had much opportunity to play against a real opponent. Most Vulcans only play Vulcan games.” Jim glanced at his watch.
“Well, I’ve gotta be getting back. I need to fix dinner, and maybe catch a nap before Sam and Aury get home and the doll starts going off again. Do you maybe want to play a bit next week after my appointment?”
“That would be agreeable.” Said Spock, trying to hide his excitement. He knew chess was a game of strategy and intelligence. He was looking forward to seeing what kind of strategy Jim would use.
He walked Jim to the shuttle station and saw him off. After returning to his quarters, he began mentally brushing up on his technique. He did not wish to appear out of practice. And, in all honesty, he was hoping to use the opportunity to show off to Jim a bit.
When Spock arrived at Starfleet Medical the next weekend, he did not even have time to sit as Jim came rushing though the door.
“Hey!” He said with a grin. “You ready to go play?” Spock opened his mouth to reply when he noticed the few people waiting in the room with them were staring at them in confusion. Jim looked around as well and saw what Spock had. “Uh, we’re just playing chess.” Some of them continued to stare at them, so they just walked out.
“Well, that was awkward.” Remarked Jim.
“Indeed.” Replied Spock. “I do not know what they may have thought when you suggested we ‘go play’.” Jim’s face grew pinker than was typical.
“Uh, no idea.” When they reached the tables, they chose one farthest from the athletic fields and took their seats.
“Do you want black or white?” Asked Jim.
“As I am Vulcan and possess superior intellect, I believe it would be most beneficial to you to take white.” Said Spock, graciously. Jim shrugged.
“You may regret that.” He remarked as he rotated the board until the white pieces were on his side. Spock realized he had inferred that Jim was of lesser intelligence and would need an advantage to beat him. He had spoken bluntly and without thought, something he knew humans did not always care for in Vulcans.
“I did not mean to insinuate that you are lacking in intelligence; I simply…” He trailed off, not knowing how to finish the sentence. Jim was already grinning and shaking his head.
“I know you didn’t mean any insult, Vulcan’s are smarter than humans. That’s just the plain truth. I said what I did because I happen to consider myself pretty good at this game and who knows, I just might beat you. Then you’ll regret giving me any kind of advantage.” He focused on the board, preparing to make his first move. Spock felt a familiar sensation building inside him. It was the kind of feeling he got when he was about to begin a new study or experiment. It was the feeling of anticipation for the challenge ahead.
Jim did win the round, a little over an hour after they’d started playing. Spock was dumbfounded. Jim’s strategy had been, essentially, to have none. He’d baffled Spock for nearly half of the game with illogical moves. Eventually, Spock had tried to settle on one strategy, which Jim promptly countered. Jim seemed amused by his gaze affixed on the chess board.
“You’re staring at it like you’re expecting the pieces to start talking to you.” He remarked with a grin. Spock snapped his gaze back up.
“I do not expect anything impossible. I was simply trying to determine where I erred, allowing you to beat me.”
“You really want to know?” Asked Jim. At Spock’s nod, he leaned forward almost conspiratorially. “You messed up because I made you. I didn’t follow any pattern, and as a result, you didn’t know how to respond.” Spock almost frowned.
“I gathered as much. I still do not understand how you could beat me by mixing your strategy so. Why not settle on one strategy? Surely the risk of losing outweighs the possibility of victory.” Jim just smiled.
“Why does it matter? It’s just a game.” Spock nodded.
“That is true, but I am still rather curious. You could have easily lost if you had randomly chosen the wrong strategy.” Jim seemed to think for a moment.
“It’s true that that’s a risky strategy. But a lot of times, battles are won because people do the exact opposite of what their enemies expect. I think it was a guy named Heraclitus who said, ‘If you do not expect the unexpected, you will not find it; for it is hard to be sought out, and difficult’.
Oscar Wiled sort of re-quoted it as, ‘To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.’ Nowadays, a lot of people just have it shortened it down to, ‘expect the unexpected’. Try to think what your opponents won’t do. Take the more illogical possibilities into consideration, and sometimes, just be illogical. It’s the last thing anyone would expect from someone like you, who relies on logic for every decision. It just might save your life one day.” Spock, seeing the seriousness in Jim’s eyes, realized that Jim was talking about more than chess games or any other competition. He was talking about the very real dangers he could encounter as a result of being a Starfleet officer. He nodded slowly.
“I will endeavor to remember that.” Jim nodded as well.
“Good. Now, how about a rematch?”
They played again twice, taking roughly the same amount of time as with the first game. Spock managed to win the second round, but lost again on the third.
“I will have to study your technique more for the future.” Spock remarked as he and Jim got up to leave after the last game. He assumed/hoped that there would be other games. Jim grinned almost mockingly.
“You’re free to try.” Spock was about to try to make a clever retort when another mocking voice cut him off. This one, however, was far from friendly.
“Well well well. If it isn’t the poster couple for freaks.” Sneered Gary Mitchell. “The half-breed and the she-male. You planning on popping one out for him next, Kirk?” Spock started to open his mouth, either to tell Mitchell that the term she-male was incorrect as it applied to transsexual women, which Jim was not, or to simply tell him to leave. He wasn’t sure which. Before he could say anything, however, Jim spoke up loudly.
“Oh, fuck off Mitchell! Go bother someone who’s actually willing to put up with your shit. Last I checked, that kind of conduct from a Starfleet Cadet is worthy of a demerit or two. I wonder how many strikes you can take before they bounce you out of here, especially ones for harassment of a non-human or a civilian.” Mitchell just stared at Jim, his mouth working silently as his face grew red. Finally, he stormed off toward the dorms, cursing under his breath. Spock looked at Jim, surprised.
“I did not expect you to threaten him, or even speak to him like that.” Jim shrugged.
“Did you think I’d start crying again? My hormones are a little more under control now. Besides, I had a fun time and I wasn’t about to let him ruin it by being such an ass.” Spock nodded approvingly.
“That is a positive outlook to have.” Jim checked his watch.
“I’d better get going. This was great though. I’d love to do it again sometime.” Spock did not reply, but he acknowledged the feeling of relief he always felt after hearing that Jim wanted to see him again.
As usual, he walked with Jim to the shuttle station. Before he boarded, Jim turned back to Spock, looking a little nervous.
“I guess you know that next weekend is Christmas.” After Spock nodded, he continued. “I realize you probably don’t celebrate or anything. I was just thinking, if you don’t have anywhere to, if you’re not going home for break, you could come over to our place for dinner or something. Saturday or Sunday. Or both. Whatever you want. The doll will be gone by then and Sam and Aury would be happy to have you back. After that is New Year’s and there’s going to be this party for whoever’s here then. I’m going, and I bet you’d have fun.” He paused. “You don’t have to or anything. I just thought if you weren’t doing anything…” he trailed off. Spock nodded, unable to find the right words at first.
“I would be honored to be a guest of your family for Christmas.” He said quietly. Jim’s nervousness disappeared and he smiled brightly.
“Great!” I’ll send you a message about the time. I guess I’ll see you then.” With a last wave, he boarded the shuttle.
Later that evening, Spock realized that he had no idea if he was expected to bring a gift to the Kirk home for Christmas. He knew such gift giving was typically done among close friends and family. He knew Jim considered him a friend, but did he consider him a good enough friend to get a gift for? Then, he had an idea.
Intending to work out the rest of his plan later, Spock began to ready himself for bed. He had a full week to accomplish what he needed to do. He had little else with most of his assignments done and many of his classmates gone for the holidays. He believed he could find something suitable. He would meditate on it later.
The next chapter will contain Christmas and New Year’s, so hopefully it will be a little longer. I know I only brought Mitchell back for like, a minute, but I hope it was liked!
Christmas and New Year's by Vulcan Pearl
This is a little longer than usual to make up for the last couple chapters being so short, so don’t get used to this.
Spock knew he’d put off his trip for too long. The mall he had chosen was not too terribly full, given the amount of last minute shopping going on. He had to admit, he was nervous again. He didn’t want to seem overly presumptuous by bringing gifts, not only to Jim but to his brother and sister-in-law as well. But he was going through with it.
He entered the store in the shopping mall and looked around. It wasn’t overly crowded. It was three days until Christmas Eve, and most people were looking at items that were probably considered luxuries instead of necessities. For Vulcans, any gifts given were logical; objects that could serve a purpose. That was what he was trying to do here.
The store he’d entered contained shelves and racks filled with clothing, designed in range from humans beginning to show their pregnancy to a child’s toddler years. He focused on the ones intended for baby’s first few months, knowing that human children grew quite rapidly compared to Vulcans. He found a selection of articles of clothing known as ‘onesies’ and chose three of them, a blue, a yellow, and a green, colors that were typically chosen for baby boys or for either sex. He hesitated for a moment, before also selecting a stuffed animal colored with light green, blue, pink and orange all over with loose limbs hanging beneath it. An octopus, he believed.
He purchased the items and left the store. He knew that it was a human tradition on most of Earth for parents to receive gifts to help them care for their child during a party called a ‘baby shower’. He didn’t know if his contribution would be necessary, or even welcome, but if what his mother always said, that it was the thought that counted, applied to other humans, the clothes would be appreciated. Now he had to focus on the task of finding a gift for Jim.
Jim’s interests might help him determine what would make a good gift for him. He enjoyed chess, history, and old literature, to name a few things. Perhaps an antique store? They were a little difficult to find, but they were out there. First, though, he found a place in the mall that boxed and wrapped up the clothes and the toy together for him. He placed the package safely in his bag, found a public computer terminal, and pulled up a digital address book in order to search for an antique store.
He finally found the address of one where he might find something Jim would like. Upon entering the building, he immediately began looking around, assessing the condition of the objects being sold. The furniture seemed relatively unmarked and sturdy. There were many little ‘knickknacks’ set on top of said furniture and various shelves, and they too seemed to be in good condition. What quickly drew his eye though, was a series of shelved cases lined against the wall. They were crammed full of old fashioned paper books both paperback and hardback.
He made his way over to them quickly. He looked at the long rows of volumes and began looking for familiar titles. He recalled some of the ones that Jim had mentioned to him, but he didn’t see any with those ones. He also realized that Jim said he already had some of the titles he’d mentioned, so it was possible Spock might mistakenly give him one he already had.
As he continued to study the books, he tried to think about Jim’s interests in literature. He’d shown an interest in history, as well as both fiction and nonfiction. It seemed possible, from his mention of the Star Wars film saga, that Jim might have an interest in science fiction as well. Right as he was thinking this, his eyes lit on a title: The War of the Worlds. He did not recognize the title; however he did recognize the name of the author: H.G. Wells. He had come across the name when researching some of the titles Jim had mentioned learning about from a children’s educational program. He was the author of The Time Machine, a surprisingly well thought out story. While it was impossible to call it accurate due to the lack of real proven scientific fact, it was definitely interesting.
Intrigued, he pulled the book off the shelf. Studying the slightly battered, tan colored hard cover and initial pages, he realized it was a first edition, very well kept and reasonably priced. He skimmed through the contents of the story, surprised by the reality of it; a technologically superior race almost defeating humanity, only to be beaten back by the most natural of defenses a planet could offer, germs and bacteria that they, unlike humans, were not immune to. While in reality, an invading army might have checked into and been aware of such a thing first, it was still an impressive story for its time. The invasion itself was incredibly well thought out.
There was one line near the beginning that almost troubled Spock. ‘Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded our planet with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.’ He was clearly describing superior intelligence and ruthless control. Cool and unsympathetic. The words could have almost described the Vulcan race. It would have been a perfect match if Vulcans were still the conquerors they had been before Surak’s Reformation. Had it not been for that, their eventual discovery of space travel might have led them to battle with and enslave worlds instead of simply studying them and sometimes making contact. Earth was rich in certain natural resources compared to Vulcan, so it would not have been a surprise if they were attacked for it by a race in need of said resources that was willing to take them by force.
He decided to purchase the book. He didn’t know how serious a collector Jim was, but a first edition of a paper book in such good condition for such a low price was probably a rarity. Spock knew that on Vulcan, many important old paper books were kept hidden away or kept on display in museums, only used when their words needed to be copied and converted to a digital source. And even though it might be considered illogical to hold onto something after its use was complete, books were kept safe. They were a part of the history and culture of the world, and that was something Vulcans had no shame of revering.
Spock had his purchase wrapped in the store. He was still interested in the story and wanted to read it more slowly and completely, but he could download it to his padd for that. He didn’t want to risk damaging the book before he had a chance to give it to Jim. He tucked it safely into his bag and quickly boarded a shuttle that would take him back to the Academy.
On Christmas Eve, Spock nervously tried to meditate in his quarters. He had a few hours left before he had to depart for the Kirk home. He opened his eyes yet again to look at the packages sitting on a chair in his room. He’d labeled them quite simply. One of them said ‘Sam and Aurelan Kirk.’ The other simply read ‘Jim.’ His gaze was pulled away from them by the sound of his console ringing. He realized he’d forgotten all about the fact that his mother had planned to call him today.
He stood up and moved to sit in his chair. He opened the channel and saw his mother’s gently smiling face before him.
“Greetings, Mother.” He said quietly.
“Hello Spock.” She replied. “Merry Christmas.” He accepted her greeting with a nod.
“I trust you and Father are both well?” She inclined her head.
“We’re both fine.” She looked at him curiously. “How are you doing? I imagine it’s very cold there from your point of view.”
Spock told her of the changes in the season. He also had to assure her that he was dressing warmly enough when he went outside, and that he was eating enough and not burying himself alive in his schoolwork.
“What about your friend, Jim?” She asked later on.
“Jim invited me to have dinner with his family three weeks ago. He has also invited me to dinner tonight and tomorrow night.” Amanda blinked at him, clearly surprised.
“He invited you to dinner on Christmas?”
“Yes.” Replied Spock, uncertain as to why she was so surprised.
“Spock, even inviting someone you think of as just a friend to your house on Christmas can be a pretty big deal for humans. It means that he already considers you a good friend, or at least likes you enough to not want you to be alone on the holiday.” Spock nodded.
“I had considered as much. However I cannot be too presumptuous. I may already be presuming too much by bringing gifts with me.” Amanda looked surprised again.
“You’re bringing them gifts?”
“Yes.” Said Spock. “I purchased some items that Mr. and Mrs. Kirk can use when their son is born, and I found a book that I believe Jim will enjoy. He is quite fond of literature and printed paper books.” Amanda nodded.
“Alright, the first things sound like good gifts for people you don’t know very well yet. I’m sure they’ll be appreciated. As for Jim, that sounds like something that’s just the right amount of personal; not too little and not too much. I’m sure he’ll enjoy it.” She smiled at him again. “I really hope this works out well for you, sweetheart.” Spock felt some of the tension go out of him at his mother’s use of the term.
“I appreciate your well-wishes.” He said quietly. “Please pass my regards on to Father.”
“I will.” She promised. “Now, go to your friend’s house and have a good time.”
“Yes, Mother.” He replied, ever the obedient son. Well, mostly. With a gesture of farewell, she closed the link, Spock doing the same. He glanced at the time on the computer console and realized he should be getting ready to depart. Fixing his clothing and gathering his packages, he left to catch the shuttle to the Kirk home.
He was welcomed into the building the same way as last time. He was buzzed up and greeted at the door by Jim.
“Hey!” He said with a big grin. He almost seemed to be vibrating with excitement. “Come on in.” Spock followed him inside and looked around again. The apartment was unchanged from the last time he came over, with one exception. There was a large artificial evergreen tree in the corner of the living room area. It was covered with small colorful lights, golden beads, and ornaments of various shapes, sizes, and colors. Fastened to the top was a multi-colored star, glowing brightly in the somewhat dim lighting of the room. Under the tree were a four wrapped parcels, varying in size, and one large brightly colored bag with tissue paper hiding whatever was inside. Something about the whole picture was rather warm and captivating. He looked around the room again.
“Where are Sam and Aurelan?”
“They’re in their room.” Replied Jim. “They got home later than they meant to, so they didn’t bother changing before getting dinner cooked. They’re just finishing getting ready now. Do you want to sit down?”
“Yes, please.” Replied Spock. They sat at the table, close to the tree. Spock started to put his bag down and remembered the packages.
“These are for you and your family.” He said, pulling them out and handing them to Jim. Jim took them, surprised.
“Wow, thanks. You didn’t have to do that.”
“It is only logical to comply with someone’s traditions when you are a guest in their home.” Replied Spock. Jim smiled.
“Okay then. Let me just put these under the tree.” Jim started to get up, and Spock noticed that he seemed to be having a little trouble standing, put off balance by his large midsection.
“Allow me.” He said quickly, taking the packages from Jim before he could protest and placing them under the tree with the others. As he was doing that, the door to the master bedroom opened and Sam and Aurelan walked out. Aurelan was fastening a necklace and Sam was smoothing his hair down into place.
“Hold on a second honey.” She said, reaching up and brushing a few strands out of his face. He simply stood there and let her. Spock had to fight the urge to look away. He was not being inappropriate by watching them together; they were not doing anything that would have been considered private by human standards. However, it seemed Spock’s Vulcan upbringing made him uncomfortable watching such an innocently intimate act.
That’s exactly what it seemed to be. While the act itself was simple and not particularly remarkable, the fact that they behaved that way together spoke of a trusting, comfortable existence together. Spock wondered if he and Jim might have a relationship like that someday. It looked…nice.
Both of their gazed seemed to follow him to the packages he’d just placed under the tree.
“Oh, Spock,” said Aurelan softly, “you didn’t have to go to any trouble.”
“It was no trouble, I assure you.” He replied. She smiled warmly.
“Alright then, we’ll open them tomorrow with the others.” Sam clapped his hands together.
“Well, now that we’re all here, let’s eat!”
This dinner was as pleasant as the last one. Spock asked and answered many questions, some more personal than last time. Rather than simply discussing experiments, they all asked questions about things in the past. They all discussed their past education and goals for the future. Jim, he learned, was a high ranking online chess player, something he hadn’t mentioned before. Sam and Aurelan did indeed hope to go off-world someday, though it would have to wait until their son was old enough, school age at least. Jim seemed to have a contemplative look on his face when they said that, but he made no comment.
Too soon for Spock’s liking, dinner was over. He rose from his seat feeling something very much like reluctance. The talk around the table reminded him somewhat of his childhood. His parents always exchanged details of their day. He wondered if that was common with Vulcan families, or if it was one of several human rituals that Sarek indulged Amanda in. He’d often contributed very little to the discussions, mostly due to his classmate’s treatment of him. He hadn’t wanted his mother to know they’d made him feel sad. And he hadn’t wanted his father to know they’d made him feel.
“You’ll be back tomorrow, right?” Asked Jim expectantly as he saw Spock to the door. He nodded.
“Of course. Will it be acceptable for me to return at the same hour?”
“Sure.” Said Jim brightly. “Goodnight Spock, and Merry Christmas.” Spock felt his inner being warmed by the sincerity in Jim’s words.
“Merry Christmas Jim.” He forced himself to turn away and begin walking down the hall, and heard the sound of the door shutting behind him.
Spock spent most of Christmas Day eagerly awaiting his chance to return to the Kirk home. He tried to meditate to keep himself calm, but he found he couldn’t focus over the excitement. He wondered if part of it was an effect of being around humans who were so happy about it being Christmas, but he knew truthfully that he would always be a little excited by the chance to see Jim.
Another thing he tried to do to pass the time was read. He’d purchased a digital copy of The War of the Worlds and downloaded it to his padd. He wanted to be able to discuss it with Jim if he felt so inclined.
Once again, he’d admired the author’s realism for the fictitious invasion. The aliens were quite…well, alien. Their physical forms were physically inferior to that of humans, but they were more advanced intellectually. Their vehicles were incredibly unique, bearing no resemblance to anything on Earth at the time. Wells had included some very realistic elements to his story as well, describing deaths and corpses quite bluntly, almost heartbreakingly so, not shying away from details many might consider to gruesome. The only lack of imagination Spock could find with the story was the fact that the invading aliens were Martians. Aside from knowing that it had been proven over a century ago that there was never any life on Mars, and the term ‘Martians’ had been used many times in fiction. Though, he allowed, that had not been the case when the book was written.
All in all, it was a rather compelling story. Spock managed to keep himself distracted with it long enough so that he was not simply waiting for the hours to go by. Finally, it was time to go back to the Kirk home.
He arrived at the building just a little early, anticipation having quickened his steps from the shuttle drop-off. Once again, he was buzzed inside.
“Hey!” Said Jim with a big smile, standing in the open door already as he exited the lift. “Come in!” Spock stepped inside, a little surprised.
“I was under the impression I was early. How did you know I would be here?” Jim grinned as he lowered himself into a chair at the table, a flush rising on his face. Excitement, perhaps?
“I was looking out the window and I saw you step off the shuttle.” Spock glanced at the window and realized that Jim would indeed be able to see the approaching shuttle from there. His attention was brought back to Jim when he spoke again. “Do you want to just stick your bag in my room?” He asked. Spock nodded.
“Of course.” He noticed that Jim made no attempt to get up from his seat and realized that he had permission to go inside by himself, something that excited him a little more than it probably should have. The room itself was unchanged. He set his bag on the bed next to Jim’s and went back into the kitchen/living room. He turned his attention to the Christmas tree. All the gifts under the tree had been left untouched. He felt a wave of nervousness again, wondering how his gifts would be received. They’d seemed glad to accept them, but how would they react knowing what they were? Just then, Sam and Aurelan stepped out of their room.
“Spock.” Said Sam, looking surprised. “You’re early. I should have known; Vulcan’s do tend to be punctual.”
“Indeed.” Replied Spock, inclining his head.
“Well,” said Aurelan, “Jim’s really impatient to get to the gifts, so let’s eat.” Jim gave her a teasing grin.
“You know you want to get to them just as bad.” He turned to Spock, still grinning. “I saw her shaking one of the boxes, trying to figure out what was inside.” Spock felt a spike of amusement.
“Illogical.” That was all he could think of to stay. Jim, Sam, and Aurelan just laughed, and everybody settled down to start eating.
Once dinner was finished, Sam and Aurelan stood up immediately. Jim took a little more time to rise, and Spock could not bring himself to move over to the tree until he’d risen. He looked over to the tree and saw that Sam and Aurelan were seated on the floor by it. Realizing that Jim would have difficulty going down and getting up, Spock quickly dragged one of the chairs over to the tree and gestured to it.
“Thanks.” Jim said with a grateful smile. Spock, not entirely comfortable with sitting on the floor, perched himself on the couch a meter away from the tree. It also set him apart from them, since he was not part of the family. The gifts were quickly distributed. Jim received something from his brother and sister in law, they received something from him, and they exchanged gifts with each other.
Aurelan opened the smallest box quickly and nearly squealed with delight. Inside was a pair of shining silver earrings with a pair of rubies sparkling from them.
“My birthstone.” She explained to Spock, seeing his curiosity. “My birthday was last week, but they couldn’t get here in time.” Sam opened his gift from Aurelan, which turned out to be a very nice looking pair of cufflinks with his birthstone, sapphire, which he thanked her for sincerely. Even more sincere was the thanks they gave Jim when they opened his gift. There were actually separate gifts for them. Aurelan let out another excited squeal when she opened a box with a necklace with what appeared to be a small humanoid figure on it. The space of the head was filled with a small round diamond and the body space had a slightly larger oval shaped one. Spock realized it was a mother’s necklace, for their child due in April.
Sam’s gift was quite similar. He received a tiepin with a small diamond on it. It could have passed for something else, but his family would know its meaning. Both of the gifts had space available on them for their son’s name to be engraved after they chose it. From his brother and sister-in-law, Jim received a new, state-or-the-art padd with all the latest ‘bells and whistles’ as a human might say. He seemed quite excited to receive it.
After watching them open their gifts to each other and seeing their reactions, Spock was a little nervous about seeing them open his. He couldn’t help but move a little closer as Aurelan reached for the larger of the two and started to open it.
“Oh!” She breathed, looking at the clothes and the toy with it. “Thank you so much Spock! You don’t know what this means to us.” Sam nodded in agreement.
“We’re very grateful, for this, and for the fact that you’re looking out for Jimmy.” Spock just nodded in response, a little too embarrassed to speak. To try to cover it up, he handed Jim his gift. He wasn’t sure how it would compare to the new device, but hopefully the gesture would mean something. Jim’s eyes widened as the paper fell away to reveal the first edition copy of The War of the Worlds.
“Oh my God!” He exclaimed, looking through the pages. “Where did you find this? It must have cost you a lot.” Spock shook his head.
“I came across it in a small, local antique shop. It was priced rather low for its rarity and condition.” He paused. “I recognized the author as one who had written a story you mentioned before, so I thought it a logical choice.”
“It’s perfect!” Said Jim with a big grin. “I’ve seen a bunch of the different movies they made about this, but I’ve never really read the book. I’ve already got a first edition copy of The Time Machine, so this is fantastic!” His smile became quite warm as he looked back at Spock. “Thank you.” Spock wondered if he could feel any warmer inside than he did right now.
“You are welcome.” He replied. Jim looked down at his book again before suddenly snapping his head up.
“Oh, before I forget…” He gestured toward the large bag under the tree. Sam quickly handed it to Jim, who held it out to Spock. “This one’s for you.” Spock took it, startled.
“You did not need to get me a gift.” He said, a little helplessly.
“You didn’t have to get us anything either.” Reminded Aurelan. “Open it.” Spock pushed aside the tissue paper and saw fabric of some kind.
“I hope they fit okay.” Said Jim as he was pulling the paper out. “Aury guessed the size, she has a pretty good eye for that sort of thing.” Spock was taken aback. Folded neatly inside the bag were five sweaters. They were all solid colors: Plain black, charcoal grey, maroon red, navy blue, and myrtle green. They appeared to be very good quality. He looked around at them all, startled.
“I hope that’s okay.” Said Jim a little hastily. “I know it’s a lot chillier here than what you’re used to, especially this time of year, so this seemed like a good, logical idea.”
“Yes, it is.” Murmured Spock, rubbing the sleeve of one of the sweaters. The wool was very soft against his skin. “Thank you.” Jim looked incredibly relieved. Sam and Aurelan looked rather amused.
They all stayed together and made small talk for a time, Jim contributing distractedly while he focused on his book. However, it got late, and Spock said that he needed to return to his campus quarters. To his surprise, Jim stood up slowly from his chair.
“Let’s get your bag out of my room.” He led the way to the door and, to Spock’s surprise, shut it behind them. He reached into his own bag and pulled out another package. “Here.” He said, handing it to Spock. “You can open it when you get back to your room. You can do it in private and not worry about how to react in front of us. The receipt is in there, in case you don’t want or need it, or anything.” He said this all very quickly, and Spock realized Sam and Aurelan didn’t know about this additional gift. He quickly slipped it into his own bag and nodded. They walked out to the front door together and Jim stopped just outside it. Spock turned to him once more.
“Thank you, Jim.” He said softly. Jim smiled at him brightly.
“You’re welcome. Merry Christmas, Spock.” Spock nodded and turned to leave.
Later on, in the privacy of his room, he pulled the package out and opened it up. When he saw what was inside, he felt warm enough to do without the warmest sweater on a snowy day.
It was a small, two-dimensional, wooden chess set.
Spock knew he wouldn’t see any of the Kirk family again until the New Year’s Eve party that Jim had mentioned to him. He had resolved to go. Most of the people he knew at the Academy were gone for the break, so there was little else to do but work and meditate. Doctor M’Benga was gone, as was Nyota Uhura, who he’d given the odd lesson to whenever they both had free time. Even Gaila, the Orion cadet seemed to have found somewhere else to be, though she might be back by now. A few cadets had planned to return to celebrate the New Year together.
Finally, New Year’s Eve rolled around. Spock debated for a time before selecting the navy blue sweater. It fit him perfectly. Aurelan Kirk was indeed an excellent judge of size.
He arrived at the hall that was typically reserved for diplomatic functions to see that several people had already arrived. He saw Captain Christopher Pike, who’d been very considerate about helping him adjust to living on Earth. Standing with him was his First Officer, Number One. Standing close to them was none other than Ben Finney, the cadet who’d been camping with Gary Mitchell when Spock first met Jim. Looking over to the other side of the room, he saw Jim with Sam and Aurelan. Jim caught sight of him, grinned, and waved him over.
“You made it!” He said happily as Spock reached him. By then, Sam and Aurelan had gone off to speak to someone, a colleague by the looks of it. Jim looked at the sweater he was wearing. “So they fit, that’s good to see.”
“Indeed they do.” Replied Spock. “They are quite comfortable as well.”
“Good.” Said Jim. He hesitated briefly. “How did you feel about the chess set? It’s just a little one you can take with you when you go somewhere. I know that a padd is probably a better choice when traveling, but-”
“Jim.” Interrupted Spock. “I greatly appreciate the gift. I did not have a set of my own, and I look forward to using it in the future.”
“Good.” Said Jim, looking relieved. “That’s really good.” He looked like he was about to say something else, but something behind Spock caught his eye. Spock turned around to see that Ben Finney and his female companion had drawn near.
“Hey Jim.” He said, looking a little uncomfortable. He gave a nod to Spock as well. “Spock.” Spock nodded in return.
“Mr. Finney.” Jim gave him an amiable smile.
“Hey Ben.” He glanced downward for a moment. “I see you popped the question.” Spock looked downward in confusion, trying to see what Jim was looking at. On the young woman’s left hand sparkled a diamond engagement ring. He realized she was Finney’s fiancé.
“Yeah, I did.” He replied, his tension seeming to ease. Looking back at Spock, he added for his benefit, “This is Liz Sterns.”
“Hello.” Said Cadet Sterns, with a friendly smile. Finney turned back to Jim.
“Look, Jim, I heard about what Mitchell said to you, last week and back in July. I just wanted to say, I think he was wrong. A lot of people do, and he’s not making any friends for himself by saying things like that.”
“We both think what you’re doing is just wonderful, Jamie.” Added Liz. Jim raised a hand.
“Thanks for that, but please don’t ever call me Jamie. Jim, James, or even Jimmy works for me, but never Jamie.” Liz smiled at him.
“That’s too bad. I really love that name.” She glanced over her shoulder at the refreshment table. “I’m going to go get a drink.” She said as a way of excusing herself.
“I’ll join you in a minute.” Promised Finney. As she left, he turned back to them. “You know,” he said to Spock, “you should consider going on the trip they have coming up. Pike’s probably going to ask you sometime tonight.”
“Trip?” Asked Spock, confused. Finney nodded.
“Yeah, there’s going to be a kind of field trip for advanced cadets. It’s just a simple thing really; it’s to the Axanar planet to meet and transport their delegates back here for negotiations. It’ll really look good as a reference. I got an offer, but I’m not going because, well…” he trailed off for a moment, looking at Jim’s rounded belly. “Liz and I have been thinking about getting married sooner rather than later. We both want to have kids, you see, and seeing what George and Aurelan have been going through, we both agreed that it might be for the best if we prioritize that. We’re both thinking of applying for teaching positions in tactics and science after we graduate, instead of shipping right out.” He looked back at Spock. “Seriously, you should consider it.” With a farewell wave, he moved off to join his fiancé. Jim looked at Spock.
“Wow, that sounds like a pretty big deal. You must be doing well if they’re going to offer you something like that. Do you think you’ll do it?”
“I do not believe I can make such a decision so soon. I do not even know if I am invited on this trip.”
“Oh come on.” Said Jim. “You’re like, the smartest person here. They have to invite you.” Spock couldn’t help but feel a small flash of pleasure as Jim referred to him as the smartest person there. In old times, a Vulcan attracted his mate by proving that he was better than the others, though it was usually at skills like hunting or fighting. Still, it was nice to hear.
As though he knew what they’d been talking about, Christopher Pike himself showed up at Spock’s side.
“Spock, nice to see you here.” He nodded a greeting in Jim’s direction. “Jim.”
“Hey, Pike.” Replied Jim, his smile suddenly looking a little tight. Pike turned his complete attention to Spock.
“I suppose Finney told you about the peace mission to the Axanar homeworld?” At Spock’s nod, he continued. “Spock, I think this would be a good opportunity for you. You’ve been on Earth for about a year now, and you’ve progressed incredibly well. This kind of advancement so early in your academic career could prove to be a real asset later on. You’re doing an experiment with the power source they volunteered, so if anything, you might find it interesting to speak with some of them. It will also be a good way for you to see just how you cope with even light duties on a starship. You may never realize your full potential,” he glanced at Jim as he spoke, “if you let chances like this pass you by.” He glanced back at Spock. “Well, I hope you’ll at least think about it. “We’ll be departing next week, and they trip there and back will be about eight weeks long. I’ll just get back to Majel now.” Spock exchanged a confused glance with Jim.
“Majel?” He asked.
“My first officer.” Pike explained. “Please think about what I said.” With that, he left. Jim still looked puzzled.
“Majel? What kind of name is that?”
“I do not know.” Replied Spock. “I have never heard it before.” Jim shrugged.
“So, are you going to think about it?”
“I am not certain.” Admitted Spock. “It seems to have merit, and I do have a lull in my studies at this point.” He hesitated. “It almost seemed as if he was speaking to you at one point, when he mentioned potential.” Jim frowned.
“Yeah, he wants me to join Starfleet. It’s not gonna happen.” Spock was puzzled.
“Why not? If you possess the intelligence and drive for it, why not join?” Jim shrugged.
“I don’t know. My dad was in Starfleet, and it got him killed. It messed up my mom for a long time, and that wasn’t exactly fun for me and Sam growing up. Plus,” he added with a small smile, “I don’t exactly respond well to being told what to do.” He looked at Spock seriously. “You really should think about going though. With that experiment of yours, and how fast you’re getting through your classes, I bet it’d be good for you.”
“You truly believe so?”
“Yeah.” Said Jim, looking completely serious now. “It’ll be good for your career, and you’ll probably learn a lot.” Spock nodded slowly.
“I will consider it then.”
“Good.” Said Jim, looking satisfied. Suddenly, he frowned, one hand grasping at his stomach.
“Is everything alright?” Asked Spock, concerned.
“Yeah.” Said Jim with a grimace. “I think he just kicked me in my bladder. I’ll be back; I just have to go to the bathroom.” With that, he headed off. As Spock stood there, waiting for him to come back, yet another voice spoke up behind him.
“Well, what do you know. A Vulcan at a party.” He turned to see Doctor McCoy standing behind him. “Now I’ve seen it all.”
“Doctor McCoy.” Said Spock neutrally. He wasn’t going to let this man irritate him right now.
“Where’s Jim?” Asked McCoy. “I promised him we’d talk when I got back from Georgia. I went down to visit my daughter for Christmas.” He added in explanation.
“I see.” Replied Spock, not wanting his jealously to show. This man was a doctor and a human. He was permitted to speak to Jim and touch him with no suspicions or cultural restrictions. It was difficult to keep in mind that there was no romantic interest between him and Jim. McCoy seemed to sense his unease, because his next words were a reassurance.
“Don’t worry, it can wait. He’s still got the weekly appointments.” Seeing the surprise on Spock’s face he added. “Oh come on, even a blind man could see you’re totally jealous over anyone else who comes near Jim, Vulcan or not.” Spock didn’t bother to deny it. Instead, he asked,
“You are not concerned that I as a Vulcan am not a suitable companion for him?” McCoy rolled his eyes.
“Jim’s a grown man; he can decide what he wants for himself. Besides,” he softened a bit, “you obviously care about his health, and the baby’s, and you haven’t done anything to jeopardize either one, so I’m pretty sure that should count in your favor.” He glanced across the room at something. “I’m gonna get back to my date now. Tell Jim I’ll see him at his next appointment.” Without waiting for a reply, he turned and strode off. Spock heard the sound of someone approaching and turned to see Jim, back from the restroom.
“Was that Bones?” Without waiting for an answer, he looked after McCoy’s retreating form. “Oh hey, it looks like he’s with Gaila. I’m glad she finally went for it.” Spock followed Jim’s gaze and, as he said, it appeared that McCoy’s date was Gaila the Orion. “I heard she was back; she spent Christmas with her foster moms.” Spock looked at him, confused.
“Yeah, she said she was only sixteen when she came to Earth, and they put her in foster care with these two ladies. I think they were nervous about putting her in a family with a man in it, what with her being an Orion and all. Even with hormone suppressants, they tend to be tempting, and men shouldn’t always be trusted around them. Anyway, she loves them both, and still keeps in touch with them and visits sometimes. Did Bones say anything?”
Just that he will speak to you at your next appointment.” Spock replied honestly. Knowing that the two people he’d seen as serious possible threats to a relationship with Jim were occupied with each other made it feel like a weight had been lifted off of his shoulders.
For the next few hours, they just talked about various subjects. He spoke with Sam and Aurelan, thanking them once more for the sweaters. As it drew closer to midnight, people began to gather around a large screen at one end of the hall. There appeared to be a large ball that was going to be dropped, and a countdown. As it came down to the final ten seconds, the entire crowd chanted with it.
“Five, four, three, two, one, Happy New Year!” As Spock looked on many couples, including Pike and his first officer, McCoy and Gaila, and Sam and Aurelan all kissed each other. He vaguely recalled his mother saying something about that being a New Year’s tradition. He and Jim were standing right next to each other, and he noticed that Jim made no move to kiss anyone.
“Well,” said Jim with a rather tired smile, “I think I’m gonna be heading back soon. I’m a little worn out.”
“Of course.” Said Spock. They stopped by Sam and Aurelan briefly to let them know that Jim was going home to rest. Spock followed him out to the shuttle station. Before he boarded, Jim appealed to Spock once more.
“Seriously, you should think about going on that mission. I may not like Pike’s nagging, but I think he’s right about this being a good opportunity for you.”
“What about you?” Asked Spock, without thinking. “What will you do while I am gone?” He regretted asking that almost immediately. He and Jim typically only saw each other once a week. Jim had plenty of time without him already. It was unlikely that not seeing him for a few weeks would affect him negatively. However, Jim answered without any kind of negative inflection in his voice.
“I actually got a job a couple weeks ago, a computer repair and programming gig. Ironically, they need me because one of their employees is on maternity leave and can’t do any work from home. I can work from home, especially with that new padd Sam and Aury got me. I’ll have plenty to keep me busy. Plus, there’s always the library. Once you get back, maybe we can go back to Golden Gate Park. There’s still a few sights to see.” Spock nodded.
“Very well. I will think about Pike’s offer and send you a message soon.” Jim smiled, said good night, and boarded the shuttle. Spock returned to his quarters.
Two days later, he was still thinking about what Jim and Pike had said. It did seem like a good opportunity for him, as a future scientist and Fleet officer. And Jim seemed to want it for him. He was still troubled by the thought of going away for so long, but Jim had been gone for several weeks previously as well. He didn’t think there was too much harm in going. It was logical to go, not only because of the benefits but because his friend, who wanted what was best for him, believed it would be good for him.
His mind made up, he began composing messages to both Jim and Pike, telling them that he was accepting the offer.
Five days later, Spock stood outside the air shuttle that was going to ferry him and the other cadets up to The Reliant, the ship that was going to Axanar. He was waiting for the others to board, still a little reluctant to get on.
“Hey!” He spun around and saw Jim hurrying over as quickly as his stomach would allow. “I just wanted to see if you were still here to, you know, see you off and wish you luck.”
“Thank you Jim.” Spock said, secretly delighted.
“When you get back, we can play chess again, and go back to the park, and you can tell me all about going to Axanar. Or, you can write. I’d love to hear how everything’s going.”
“I will do that.” Promised Spock.
“Okay.” Said Jim with a smile. “Have a safe trip.”
“I will.” Replied Spock. Just before he boarded, his fingers lightly brushed Jim’s. Then he turned and want inside, finding a seat. Maybe someday, he’d be able to tell Jim he’d just stolen a New Year’s kiss, even if it was a week late. The shuttle soon began to rise, and he let his thoughts clear for the mission ahead.
Okay, some quick notes here. Elizabeth Sterns was the first wife of Richard Webb, the guy who played Finney in TOS. I don’t think Finney’s wife was ever named in the episode about him. Anybody recognize the other TOS reference I threw in? Anybody? I also chose to call Number One ‘Majel’ because of the fact that she was the one Majel Roddenberry character who to my knowledge was left unnamed, at least in canon. So I named her after her actress for this story. And I really never had heard that name before, though I learned after I wrote this that there was a silent film actress with it.
Peace Medals and Ceremonies by Vulcan Pearl
So, now we come to the second big gap in the story. Like I said, this was supposed to be a way to skip ahead a ways in Jim’s pregnancy and break up the monotony. And to everyone who didn’t get the TOS reference I mentioned in the last chapter, it was Finney’s fiancé calling Jim ‘Jamie’ and saying that she loves that name. In TOS, Finney and Kirk were great friends when they were younger, and he named his daughter after him.
Spock soon found that life on a starship was both similar and different from what he was used to. On the one hand, the orderly schedule and activities greatly appealed to him as a Vulcan. However, since meeting Jim, he’d become accustomed to using free time to go elsewhere and enjoy himself. On a starship, there were only so many places to go. The rec room provided all the right equipment for physical exercise, and the computers came with plenty of programs for a good mental workout, but there was something different about just being able to go somewhere and do something that had nothing to do with work or school.
Not that there wasn’t plenty to keep him occupied. In fact, daily life aboard The Reliant rather reminded him of what his life at the Academy had been like before meeting Jim. He’d done very little exploring, shopping, or interacting with his fellow cadets. His mother had been right; Jim’s presence had caused a great improvement in his life, at least as far as life on Earth was concerned. He spent much of the two weeks on the way to the planet studying the briefing on its people and culture. The plan was to take two weeks to get there, spend three weeks in orbit getting to know the locals, and then take another three weeks to guide the Axanar’s ambassadorial ships back to Earth. There would be other Federation ambassadors and delegates waiting to meet the new potential members.
He did attempt to write to Jim, but there wasn’t much to tell, really.
It is remarkably easy to fall into the daily routine of life aboard a starship. I am already automatically fulfilling the tasks issued to me with no reminders. I do not have nearly as much to do as an officer would; my main activities involve continuing and documenting the results of my experiment. The Axanar power source has proven quite adaptable, and will power many of the devices used by Federation worlds well.
I spend the time I am not working engaging in eating, sleeping, meditating, and exercising. On occasion, I speak and study with Nyota Uhura, who was also invited on this mission for her aptitude for xenolinguistics. I seem to have much more free time than the other cadets on this trip, as I do not require as much sleep as they do. I am also downloading and reading some more of the books you mentioned to me in the past. I hope you have enjoyed The War of the Worlds. After reading some of Mr. Wells other works, I believe it is safe to say that he fits into the category of authors you have discussed with me, who wrote of possibility and potential beyond his years.
Many of the other books are fascinating as well. I was somewhat familiar with Shakespeare already, as his works are something my mother greatly enjoys, but I had not read much of him. Poe is also very interesting. Based on my non-professional observation, the man was clearly plagued by disorders for which he was able to receive no help for other than writing to ‘get them out of his system’ somewhat unsuccessfully. Writing as a coping mechanism is an interesting process, certainly.
There was a line in The War of the Worlds that I did not quite understand, in the first chapter, where Mr. Wells refers to the difference in human and Martian intellect to be similar to humans and animals, and he refers to animals as ‘beasts that perish.’ I was uncertain as to his meaning, as he also says that Martians, though superior to humans intellectually, are just as mortal. So why does he refer to the animals as perishing when humans do as well?
I would also like to inquire as to how your new job is going. Do you find the work particularly challenging or satisfying? Have you come across any difficulties in the work? And how is your pregnancy progressing? You told me once you were past your twentieth week that you felt that the second half was going to ‘drag on forever’. I hope that you are not in too much discomfort.
It took Jim a few days to reply, but he did. Spock realized that the distance between them probably made it a little harder to send and receive messages sometimes.
Where to begin? How about the job? No, it’s not particularly challenging or interesting. If I had to choose one word for it, I think I’d pick ‘demanding.’ Almost every customer who sends me something expects their problem to be worked out first. And I am truly amazed at how many people who send me panicked messages over some minor thing that they have no idea how to handle. I guess no matter how advanced the human race becomes there will always be some people who are pretty much just stupid when it comes to computers.
Even worse than the people who don’t know a thing is the number of folks who send me codes to have something erased because of work or whatever. I have seen more porn in the last few days then I could have ever wanted to in my life. Maybe as a teenager, that would have excited me a little, but now it’s just getting annoying!
I’ve heard of Vulcans not needing as much sleep as humans do, and I wish I could stay awake as long as you can. Humans have an expression: There’s just not enough hours in the day. We don’t have nearly enough time spent awake to do all the things that need to get done. We need to prioritize and figure out what can be put off while we do the most important things first. I’d love to be able to go on only a few hours every night.
You’re right about Poe being depressed. He was pretty unlucky on some things in his life, and I’d probably be depressed too if I’d been in his position. A lot of authors who manage to channel negativity into creativity are able to make a profit from it, though, in Mr. Poe’s case, it didn’t do him much good. You said Uhura’s on the ship with you? It’s too bad you’re not interested in her, because that would almost be too perfect; a romantic cruise through the stars on the way to a peace mission. Oh well.
I noticed the line in The War of the Worlds that you asked about. I kind of think that Wells was referring to the fact that animals don’t live as long as humans. The human life expectancy is growing longer with every medical advancement we make, and I don’t think there were many animals that could outlive humans to begin with. A lot of animals, like cats and dogs, only life a fraction of the human life span, and humans can have many of them over the course of their lives. So when Wells refers to perishing, I think he’s talking about the shortness of their lives compared to ours, how many of them live and die one after another in just one of our lifetimes. Either that, or maybe the fact that it’s believed by many that humans, while mortal, have an immortal soul, and animals don’t. I kind of think it’s the first one I said, though. Either way, Mr. Wells can’t tell us what he meant now, can he? We’re just left to speculate.
Me and the kid are doing fine. I think the worst part of it right now is that he’s constantly moving. I’m getting used to it, but it can still be a shock when I almost wet myself because he’s kicking me the wrong way. Every time I complain about it, Aury smiles sympathetically while Sam laughs and says he’ll be the best in little league soccer.
I know you’ll probably be too busy to write after you get to the Axanar homeworld, which will be soon if my guessing is correct, but I hope you’ll tell me something about it. If you can’t, we can always talk about it when you get back. I hope you can though.
Spock felt lightness inside him when he read Jim’s letter. He most enjoyed the part at the end when Jim asked him to write more if he could. He was going to do his best to do it. Uhura seemed to be particularly interested in learning about his letter from Jim, and he’d found himself sharing more details of their activities together with her.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he already likes you a bit.” She remarked over lunch in the mess hall.
“Really?” Asked Spock, hoping he didn’t sound too eager to hear such a thing. He was though. Anytime anyone made a comment about him having a good chance at a relationship with Jim, he took it quite to heart. Hearing his mother, M’Benga, Gaila, and McCoy all tell him that he had a good chance was a significant boost to his confidence.
“Definitely.” Uhura replied, seeming to be oblivious to his thoughts. “You said he got you something for Christmas, and he surprised you with that trip to the zoo. Not to mention the fact that he wants to see all that stuff in Golden Gate Park, but hasn’t gone without you since you started going together. That doesn’t sound like something someone who’s got just friendship on their mind does.”
“That may be true,” admitted Spock, “however he still plans to return to Iowa. I highly doubt we could successfully maintain a relationship over such a distance.” Uhura shrugged.
“That does sound like a problem. But you never know; people do a lot of crazy things for love.” Spock shook his head.
“Jim cannot possibly love me at this time; he does not even know of my interest.” Uhura shrugged again.
“All I can say is that you won’t know until you actually do something about it.”
“I agree, however I do not wish to risk upsetting Jim, especially this late in his pregnancy. He will be thirty-five weeks along by the time we return to Earth, and too much stress could cause him to go into premature labor.” Uhura nodded.
“I agree about not stressing him, but you won’t have a whole lot of time to make your move afterward. He probably won’t stick around for more than a couple of weeks after he’s delivered, unless he finds some other reason to stay.”
Spock continued to think about their conversation as they came closer and closer to Axanar. He knew there was nothing to keep Jim from returning to his farm. And Spock certainly wouldn’t blame him. If he’d put as much work and care as Jim had for most of his life into his property, he’d be reluctant to leave it behind as well. But that was a problem that would have to wait. He and the science officers of the ship were going to be presenting his energy experiment to the Axanar when they arrived, and he had to continue to make sure everything was going well.
When they finally did arrive, Spock could clearly see how nervous his classmates were, though they kept themselves composed enough. The first contact with the Axanar had taken place several decades before, when the then Captain Jonathan Archer had come across them shortly after one of their vessels had been attacked and had a serious misunderstanding about who had attacked them. However, his communications officer, Hoshi Sato, had been able to communicate the truth to an Axanar vessel just in time for him to save them from being destroyed by the same people who’d killed his.
Sato was dead now, but Archer was still alive, now an Admiral, and he was awaiting the delegates from Axanar, one of whom was the very Captain that they’d had their first contact with. The Axanar were a very long-lived species. Their average lifespan was roughly four hundred human years long. As a result of such a long lifespan, they were quite a patient species, hence the long negotiations before they were finally prepared to join the Federation. It might have been even longer if it wasn’t for the fact that they really needed a powerful ally right now.
I am now on the Axanar homeworld. They are noticeably different in appearance from myself and the other crew members on the ship. They are a reptilian species, somewhat like the serpentine creatures on Earth. They have apparently expressed some discomfort over how quickly the negotiations are progressing (they live an average of four hundred years, so they are used to an even slower pace than this), but they are both understanding of other life forms impatience as well in need of the Federation’s assistance.
The Axanar are a very advanced species, but they are constantly preyed upon. Their blood contains properties used as an aphrodisiac, and though the traders who capture them to harvest it try to keep them alive, they often take too much over short periods of time and they die quickly.
They are also disadvantaged by their enemy’s numbers. They are an androgynous, hermaphrodite species, both able to impregnate or become pregnant. Their reproductive process is quite the opposite of humans. For one, they lay eggs, though they are internally fertilized. Also, while their laying process is quick and painless, they have great difficulty with conception. They have a quota for how many births they wish to have within a century.
As they are so long lived, most of them are able to have offspring in their lifetime. However, their numbers are few compared to the races of those who profit from buying and selling them, so coupled with the difficulties they have reproducing, there is a very real danger of their species becoming endangered or even extinct someday. Therefore, they are willing to hurry through the negotiating process. They are eager to begin working with our fertility specialists to find a way to increase their numbers.
The scientists I have encountered here have been most impressed by my experiment. They are glad that their first offering to the Federation can be of good use to us. I believe that though they have had time to get to know about the races of the Federation before it was even proposed, they are wary that they will be rejected if they cannot contribute in a significant way. They seem most comfortable with humans, seeing as they were the first Federation race they dealt with extensively.
The majority of the planet has a tropical climate. There are some ice poles, as well as oceans, but for the most part, this world is a jungle. While I do not find the heat to be taxing on my comfort, the humidity is somewhat of a distraction to me. I am not certain I will have time to write again, as everyone is encouraged to remain alert as we travel back to Earth with the diplomatic party in tow. I will certainly see you again after the ceremony welcoming them is over. Until then, I hope you enjoy the images I have sent. I will gladly tell you more when I return.
Along with his message, Spock had sent several pictures of the Axanar forests and buildings. He also sent a few images of the ship he’d been stationed on. Finally, he also sent pictures of the Axanar themselves. After explaining that he was sending images to a friend back on Earth, they graciously allowed it. Shortly before their departure, he was surprised and pleased to receive a short reply from Jim.
I’d kind of heard about the Axanar kind of looking like snakes, but I don’t think that’ll be a problem. Remind me to tell you about the Harry Potter films sometime. I’d heard about the whole aphrodisiac thing, but I didn’t know that there were too few of them to put up a good fight about it. I also didn’t know that fertility treatments are one of the reasons that they’re wanting to join, though the whole numbers crisis explains a lot about it. I guess I might have something to talk to some of them about if the opportunity comes up.
Yeah, I’m going to be at that ceremony. Sam and Aurelan were invited because they’ve been studying Axanar plant life. They managed to get me an invitation as well, even though I’m a civilian. So, unless something else comes up or I’m just not feeling well, I’ll be there. I shouldn’t be hard to spot; I’ll be the one taking up the space of two or three people.
By the way, thanks for sending the pictures! It looks like a nice place to visit, though I agree with you about the humidity thing. If I have to be hot, I prefer a dry heat. While I’m still glad that I’m not fat and freezing, the heat here can be a little draining sometimes. I just hope I have enough energy to go back to the park once or twice before my due date. Bones says I’m doing pretty good, though.
So, I’ll see you at the party when you get back. At least, I hope so. Until then.
Spock felt some elation at knowing that he would not have to wait an additional week to see Jim again. He shared the letter with Uhura, who was interested to know if he would be doing anything to try to impress Jim.
“Tell him more about how they liked your experiment, or show off the medal they’re giving you for it.”
“They are giving medals to everyone involved in the success of this peace mission.” Spock reminded her. “Are you going to attempt to use yours to impress someone there?” Uhura laughed.
“No, I guess not. Who knows, maybe he doesn’t like guys who show off. I’m sure you’ll think of something.”
They had nearly arrived back to Earth, and Spock was still uncertain as to what he would say to Jim. It was weighing more and more heavily on his mind that Jim would soon be leaving as time went on. He knew that he would have to say something in the first few days after the child had been born. Otherwise, Jim would go back to Iowa. Maybe he would want to keep in touch with Spock at first, but it was very possible that once he’d readjusted back to his old life, he’d forget about everything they’d done together. Spock definitely didn’t want that to happen.
Once they’d finally arrived back on Earth, Spock set himself to preparing for the celebrations. He wanted to mediate in order to get his shields firmly in place for what was bound to be a crowded affair. He also made sure his uniform was the cleanest it had ever been. He did not find the red cadets uniforms to be particularly flattering, but he was still going to try to look his best.
When it came time, he and the other cadets who’d participated in the mission lined up in order so they could receive their medals along with the officers involved. He knew such an award would be both a great honor and an excellent addition to his resume, but all he could think about was trying to spot Jim in the crowd, to see if he had in fact come to the ceremony.
It wasn’t until after the medal had been pinned to his uniform and the celebration began that he finally found Jim. Or rather, Jim found him. The crowd almost seemed to part for him, and Spock could see why. His stomach was fuller than ever now, almost as if he had a basketball or some other rounded object stuck inside his shirt. While Spock had grown accustomed to seeing him like this, coming back after weeks away to see him so changed instead of seeing it happen gradually before his eyes was something of a shock.
“Hey!” He said with a big grin. “I want to hear all about the mission. I already met some of the Axanar, but what all did you do?”
Spock busied himself with giving Jim the details of his role in the mission, however small it was. As they talked, Jim was suddenly called back by Captain Pike. He went to see what Pike wanted, and Spock followed close behind. What he found was Pike, along with the Kirks and Admiral Archer himself talking with a small group of Axanar. Archer was talking with the very Axanar captain who he’d met decades ago. They seemed to be speaking fondly of Hoshi Sato, reminiscing about their first meeting. However, when her death was mentioned, he noticed Jim’s expression darkened slightly. He supposed it was to be expected. No one really seemed to enjoy discussing Tarsus IV.
The talk turned to Jim’s pregnancy. It seemed that he’d become instantly popular with the Axanar after he, Sam, and Aurelan explained why he was pregnant, and how. The Axanar seemed to be impressed by the fact that at least some humans were willing to go so far to help someone else have a child, even if it meant having that child for them. Many of them, Spock noticed, wanted to touch Jim’s belly. They said they had not had much opportunity to deal so closely with a mammalian species, and the fact that the baby was living and growing inside him was truly fascinating to them. They responded with excitement when they felt the baby move. Spock couldn’t help but feel a little jealous of their uninhibited and innocent touching, just like with Doctor McCoy.
Finally, Jim pled exhaustion and managed to get away from the fascinated Axanar. Spock decided to walk him to the shuttle station.
“Will you be able to visit the park with me next weekend?” He asked, hoping he didn’t sound too hopeful.
“Yeah, I think so.” Replied Jim with a tired smile. “Meet me at Starfleet Medical like always.” He paused before getting on the shuttle. “It’s great to have you back, Spock.” Then he boarded and the shuttle pulled away.
Whew, back to my usual chapter length. Next chapter, Jim and Spock will resume their trips to the park, for a while at least. And Jim will start to seriously open up to Spock.
A lot of stuff happens very quickly in this chapter that’s really not big enough to adequately describe all of it. Jim and Spock will both have a little problem to deal with this time, and they’ll help each other work things out.
Spock sat in Starfleet Medical, trying to wait for Jim patiently. It was five minutes after he should have been out. He was considering getting up and asking the receptionist if anything was the matter when the door opened and Jim stepped out. He looked rather tired.
“Are you well?” Asked Spock, concerned.
“Yeah, fine.” Replied Jim. “I’ve just been really busy since last week. It’s not the computer stuff; Pike and Archer asked me to talk some more with some of the Axanar. Apparently, I made a good impression. They really seem to like me.”
“Really?” Asked Spock, surprised.
“Yeah, the higher ups want me to keep hanging out with them to help ensure that they have plenty of good reasons to want to join the Federation. Archer actually suggested that they give me one of those palm leaf medals, can you believe that? So, I’ll be talking to them about some of the human fertility treatments or alternatives.” He looked at the door. “Can we just get going? I don’t want to stay sanding still for too long. It almost feels like I could fall asleep on my feet.”
“Of course.” Said Spock quickly. They got on the shuttle as always, but Spock noticed that Jim seemed to take even longer than usual to carefully lower himself into his seat. “Are you experiencing much discomfort?” Jim shrugged.
“Nothing I’m not already used to. Besides,” he added with a little smile, “it’s just another month. I’ll be having my surgery April seventh after all.”
“Are they not concerned that you will be ready before then?” To him, Jim almost looked ready to burst.
“They want to keep him where he is for as close to forty weeks as possible. You know, to make sure he’s done and everything. But not for much longer than that; there is such a thing as a baby being ‘overdone.’ There are drugs that’ll keep me from going into labor if it starts for whatever reason. I may even have to go on bed rest for the last few days.” He snorted. “All our medical accomplishments and we still use things as old fashioned as bed rest.”
When they arrived at the park, Spock realized that he did not yet know where Jim might want to go today. When he asked, Jim just replied,
“Somewhere quiet would be nice.” They took the next shuttle to Rainbow Falls, a lovely and peaceful area. As they stood just out of reach of the spray, Jim closed his eyes with a relaxed look on his face.
“This is nice.” He murmured. He opened his eyes again. “I can’t believe I almost didn’t come here.” Spock looked at him, puzzled.
“You considered skipping this visit?” Jim seemed to hesitate.
“No. I mean that when Sam asked me to come to San Francisco, I almost didn’t, and when they first asked me to be their surrogate, I said no.” Now Spock was definitely surprised.
“Why?” Jim hesitated again, and he tried to retract the question. “You do not have to tell me.”
“No, it’s okay.” Replied Jim. “Our mom was out in space a lot, and left us with her brother, our uncle Frank. The only reason he was willing to do it was because it gave him a free place to stay. He was a drunk, and a mean one too. Not that he needed to be drunk to be mean. He just loved telling us that our mom needed to feel close to Dad so badly that she was willing to dump us to go back into space. He also liked to hit. Sam would usually act out to draw his attention away from me, and he was a lot better at dodging the punishment. I was kind of clumsy back then, and it didn’t take much to set Frank off, especially when he was drunk, which was pretty much most of the time.
One day, Frank wanted us to wash an antique car that had been Dad’s. Sam started yelling at him, calling him names and stuff, and they just had this huge screaming match. Then he left. Right before he did, he told me that the reason Frank wanted us to wash Dad’s car was so that he could sell it. He hadn’t talked to Mom about it or anything. Sam told me he thought I’d be fine, and he was gone. As bad as I was as a teenager and all that, I wasn’t much trouble as a little kid. But that was the last straw for me. I found the keys, started it up, and drove until I reached a quarry. Then I sent it over the edge. I almost didn’t jump out in time.” Spock was unable to completely mask his alarm at the thought.
“You might have been killed.” He admonished. Jim shrugged.
“Yeah, but I wasn’t. A cop had followed me there, and after he arrested me for speeding, theft, and destroying someone’s stolen property, I managed to tell him about Sam running away. The cop dropped me off at home before going to find Sam. He hadn’t gotten very far; he was still going down the highway when the cops caught up with him. By the time they got back, not only was Frank totally drunk, but I had a broken arm that wasn’t caused by anything involving the car. It was decided that Sam and I would go to foster homes for a while so they could investigate Frank. They told him that we were going to a juvenile corrections facility so he wouldn’t be suspicious and threaten us to keep it quiet or anything. Mom came home when she finally found out what was going on.”
“So she was unaware that your uncle was abusive to you?” Asked Spock for clarity. Jim shrugged.
“I really don’t know. All I know is, she had to come back once the police and social workers asked for her. Sam refused to come home though, and I didn’t see him much again for years. I think part of me still believes that he resented me for having to make himself a target to protect me, and resented Mom for letting it happen. Mom stayed home for the most part until I was fourteen, but we were never very close. I thought that by acting out some again, I’d get her to focus on the fact that things weren’t right between us. She ended up sending me to stay with some relatives on my dad’s side, and that worked out for a while. It didn’t last though.” He stopped here. He seemed to realize that Spock was waiting for him to continue and shrugged apologetically. “I’d rather not talk about that.”
“Of course.” Said Spock. Jim was already opening up quite a bit, so he wasn’t going to press matters. Jim continued after a moment.
“Anyway, one day, out of the blue, Sam calls me and asks if I’d be willing to come to San Francisco to meet him, and his wife. Imagine my shock at finding out that my brother, who I hadn’t seen more than a few times in over thirteen years, was married. I told him I had to think about it. I ended up deciding to go. I wanted to know just what he had to say to me after all those years. He seemed really happy to see me. We talked for hours about everything we’d been up to since he’d left home, and I was happy to just be there with my brother again.
Then, out of nowhere, he tells me that he and his wife can’t get pregnant, and the only way they can have a kid of their own is if they get a surrogate to carry it for them. I knew then that he was going to ask me. I always knew I carried that gene, and I as soon as he said that word, I knew he was going to ask me to do it for them. I called him an asshole and left. I’d rented a hotel room for a few days, and I figured I’d just hide out there if I had to. Sam tracked me down though, and Aurelan came with him. He apologized, and told me that he still wanted us to be brothers again, but begged me to reconsider.
Aurelan did too, and when she talked to me, I realized something. I used to watch this old TV show about a group of friends and their lives together. Two of those friends got married to each other and started trying to have a baby, but couldn’t. They decided to adopt instead, and when the husband was trying to convince this pregnant woman who was considering them, he referred to his wife as ‘a mother without a baby.’ I thought of that when I met Aurelan because I could see that’s what she was. She had a whole lot of love to give and no child to give it to. I think seeing how much she wanted to be a mother helped me see how much Sam wanted to be a father. I didn’t tell them yes right away, but I think that’s when I changed my mind. I went through all kinds of tests and treatments to make sure I’d be able to safely carry the baby, and then had the procedure done.” He shrugged. “You know the rest; we met like two weeks afterward.”
“Indeed.” Replied Spock quietly. It was quite a story. Jim’s entire family had been through a lot over the years. His own family history was complicated in some ways, but at least he had both of his parents, and neither one of them had simply left him to pursue things elsewhere. His father may have been somewhat harsh with him at times, but it was nothing like being beaten and demeaned by someone who was simply using a family member’s grief to their own advantage.
“When I was a child,” he said slowly, almost having to drag the words out, “I was often the target of ridicule from most of the people around me. My classmates in particular constantly attempted to provoke an emotional reaction from me, and on occasion, they succeeded. My father’s response this was to seek disciplinary action…for me. As far as he was concerned, the key to my having a better life was to be more Vulcan. However, I realized eventually that I could not be force myself to pretend that I was wholly Vulcan for the rest of my life. I chose to come here, to attend the Academy, and I have no regrets for my choice.” Jim looked at him thoughtfully.
“Thanks.” He said quietly. Spock knew Jim was thanking him for opening up in return, for exposing himself to the same vulnerability. Anything else that either of them might have said was interrupted by voices from behind.
It was two Axanar, along with a Starfleet appointed guide. They apparently recognized Jim and come over to chat. They mostly seemed interested in talking about his pregnancy, and Jim answered their questions and thanked them for their well-wishes. Eventually, then bade him farewell and went on their way.
“You seem to have become quite the celebrity in their eyes.” Remarked Spock. Jim shrugged.
“I guess so.” He seemed to look around at the view without actually seeing it. “I know I said I’d never want to join Starfleet, but I wonder if I was wrong to just say no. Helping convince these Axanar to join the Federation and help improve their lives has made me wonder if I should have at least considered it.” Spock felt a sliver of hope.
“It is not too late to begin considering it.” He said, trying his best to sound neutral. Jim shrugged again.
“Maybe.” He looked like he might say something else, then checked his watch abruptly. “Oh man, I can’t stay much longer. I have to get back and start packing.” Spock felt oddly like his stomach had somehow dropped to a lower point in his body.
“Why do you need to pack?” He asked, a little too hastily. “You still have one month left; why would you leave before then?”
“I’m not going back to Iowa yet,” explained Jim, “but Sam and Aury put off one really important thing since I was staying with them. They’re going to convert the guest room into a nursery, and I can’t be in there for that. Paint fumes and stuff, you know? Anyway, I need to get packed up in the next week and get a hotel room somewhere until it’s all done and aired out. First, they’ll need to get rid of all the furniture, then they’ll have to paint the room, and then they’ll have to get all the stuff for the baby moved in.” Spock found the idea of Jim being forced to relocate to some random hotel to be rather upsetting.
“Are there no other options?” He asked.
“Not really.” Replied Jim. “The only other thing I could think of is staying at Starfleet Medical, and unless I need to be under constant supervision, I don’t want to take up space that someone might need for an emergency.” Spock thought frantically. Then, he spoke without really thinking.
“You could make use of my room.” He blurted out. Jim looked startled.
“Are you serious?” Spock nodded. “Where would you sleep then? I guess if I slept during the day and you at night…” he trailed off. “I don’t know.”
“As you know, as a Vulcan, I require considerably less sleep than a human. You’re schedule would work, or I could request a cot brought to my room. It would be quiet, private, and you would be closer to Starfleet Medical in case there is an emergency with yours or the baby’s health.” Jim hesitated, but it was clear he was considering it.
“I…guess that sounds like a pretty good deal.” He finally said. “Let me at least call them first to see how they feel about it.” He pulled out his comm and then stepped several feet away to make the call. Spock almost felt as if the ground was spinning under his feet. He’d just offered to house Jim for an undetermined amount of time. Jim, who had never seen his quarters, was going to be bathing in his shower, sleeping in his bed. Suddenly, Spock felt a little lightheaded. He glanced over to where Jim stood, already ending his call. A woman suddenly stopped by him and gestured at his stomach, speaking softly with a smile on her face. Jim looked surprised, and then shook his head, replying something to her. She also looked surprised, then apologetic. She continued on her way, and Jim walked back over to him.
“Is something the matter?” Asked Spock.
“No, she was just congratulating me and my partner on our baby.” Spock must have looked confused, because he added. “She thought we were a couple and having a baby together. I told her I’m a surrogate. Sam and Aury are cool with me staying at your place, especially because of the whole ‘being closer to Starfleet Medical’ part. Are you sure it’s no inconvenience?”
“I am quite certain.” Replied Spock firmly. He couldn’t help but notice Jim hadn’t said anything about correcting the woman’s second erroneous assumption.
They stayed and admired the waterfall for a bit longer. Spock was impressed by how real it looked, considering it was manmade. Finally, the made to leave. Jim was no longer in the same hurry because he had no need to find a hotel for himself. Before they went their separate ways, Spock gave Jim his dorm building and room number, and Jim said,
“I’ll get my stuff there after my next appointment. Do you maybe want to wait there instead of coming to Bone’s office?”
“That is acceptable.” Spock replied.
All the following week, Spock was almost constantly distracted by thoughts of the fact that he and Jim were going to be cohabitating in his room. He’d already gotten permission from all the right higher ups, who thought it would be fine to help Jim, seeing as he was family to two Starfleet members and what he was doing for them. Perhaps if it went well, this would be an excellent addition to his growing list of reasons why a romantic relationship between them would be emotionally fulfilling.
The only real distraction he had from thinking of Jim living with him was his coursework, one assignment in particular: A research paper on Tarsus IV. Spock had no idea how to approach this. He wanted to do well, and live person interviews were the best way to secure a good grade. However, no one could interview the same person if they chose that route. He’d overheard one of his classmates bragging that he’d secured an interview with Captain Pike, who’d been on one of the relief ships sent to aid the colony. He’d heard another classmate mention that her uncle was a survivor of the famine. Spock didn’t know what he could do to top either one of those.
When the next weekend finally came, Spock stayed in his quarters, waiting for Jim’s arrival. Finally, someone requested entry at the door. Spock opened it quickly to see Jim standing there, smiling, with a few bags piled at his feet.
“Hey, roomie!” He said with a grin. Spock immediately set about helping Jim carry the bags inside. “This’ll just be for a few days, four at the most. Most of the time will be used for letting all the paint fumes out of the apartment.” He looked around. “Huh, it kind of looks like a college dorm. But I guess that’s to be expected, since this is a school.” Spock said nothing; he was too engrossed in the sight of Jim looking around his quarters. He was snapped out of it by Jim’s question. “You’re not used to sharing a room, are you?”
“I had a roommate on the ship, however the room was designed for two people, to allow them both their space.” He replied. Jim just nodded.
“Where should I put my stuff? I just brought some clothes, toiletries, and my baby bag.” He said, looking a little worried. No doubt he was concerned about how much space his things would take.
“You may place your clothing in the closet.” Replied Spock. “Your toiletries may go in the bathroom, and your bag may simply rest somewhere out off to the side. Now, were you wanting to go to the park today?” Jim nodded.
“I wouldn’t mind. Where would you want to go.” Spock thought for a moment.
“I believe we had to cancel plans to visit the Conservatory of Flowers previously. I would not be averse to seeing it today.” Jim grinned.
“Deal, just let me unpack first.” He started unpacking and quickly put his clothes into the closet. Then he took one of the other bags and went into the bathroom. After a moment, the sound of something falling and Jim’s cursing sounded from within.
“Crap, I knocked some stuff over!” Spock hurried in, more concerned that Jim would fall over in the small space if he attempted to pick anything up. It seemed that Jim had stumbled and slipped and partially dropped his bag, as well as tried to grab onto the shelf of the medicine cabinet to hold himself up. He saw that Jim’s bag had fallen open and its contents were all over the floor. He also saw a few of his own things mixed with them. He quickly bent down and began retrieving the objects, putting them back into the bag. Jim looked at something he’d placed in there curiously.
“I don’t think this is one of mine.” He held out a hypospray. Spock nearly froze when he saw it was one of his own.
“It is mine.” He said quietly, taking it from Jim. Jim looked at him with clear concern.
“Are you sick or something?” The worried look on his face made it impossible for Spock to even consider lying.
“I am not ill.” He replied softly. “It is a nasal numbing agent.” Now Jim just looked puzzled.
“Why do you need that?” Spock had to force himself to answer.
“It is a natural response for a Vulcan to be repulsed by someone who is carrying a child that is not their own. I felt this at our first meeting. However, as I have stated before, I wished to get to know you better due to your friendly attitude toward me. Not long after, I went to see my doctor, and he prescribed this for me.”
“Jeez, I had no idea you had any kind of problem with me.” Said Jim, clearly surprised. “I mean, when you told me that whole taboo thing about not staying close to a pregnant person, I figured that was the only reason you were uncomfortable at first, but you were really bothered by it, weren’t you?”
“It was a purely natural reaction; something I had absolutely no control over.” Replied Spock. “As I have said, I have no problem with you as a person. The numbing agent was simply a way of eliminating that natural reaction.”
“Wow.” Said Jim, looking thoughtful now. “You must really like me if you went to all that trouble.” Most Vulcans would have said that they did not ‘like’ anything, that it was simply the logical course of action to take.
“Indeed.” Was Spock’s reply. Jim seemed to snap out of his contemplative daze.
“I can finish this when we get back, I don’t want to stay out too late.” He seemed to freeze in place. “I can’t believe I just said that.” He shook his head with a grin. “It’s official, I’m a new man!”
They took their usual trip to Golden Gate Park and got on a shuttle that took them to the Conservatory of Flowers. The building itself was quite a sight to behold. It was by far the largest greenhouse Spock had ever seen, and Vulcan had quite a few of those. They took their time looking at the various plants, and Spock was struck once more by the variety that Earth had, all the different colors, shapes, and sizes of the various flowers and other plants. Spock was fascinated by all of the different plants and their native locations; desert, tropical, oriental, even some of the average houseplants that were displayed somewhat more casually than the ones considered more exotic in this region.
The only plants he found he did not care for were the carnivorous ones. Jim showed him a Venus flytrap, which was ‘tickled’ with a prod in order to demonstrate its closing reflex. The person tending the plant then went on to describe what would have happened had there been an actual insect inside the closed ‘mouth.’ The mouth became a stomach and digested the insect alive. Spock couldn’t help but feel slightly ill listening to the description. Jim seemed to realize that, because he excused them and they moved on.
“You okay?” He asked as they moved away from the exhibit.
“I am well.” Replied Spock. “I simply found the description of a living creature being digested to be somewhat…unnerving.” Jim nodded sympathetically.
“I think that actually creeps a lot of people out. I guess it’s understandable that you don’t like it, being a vegetarian and all.” Spock just nodded in reply. They spent a few hours going through the place. They might have gone faster, but Jim had to stop a few times to rest. Spock nearly suggested they leave more than once out of concern, but Jim seemed to be doing alright.
They left and headed back to the Academy. It was quite strange for Spock to not part ways with Jim before heading home. Instead, they went there together. Spock allowed Jim first use of the bathroom. Jim emerged in a large t-shirt and stretch pants. Spock immediately gestured to the bed.
“Please make yourself comfortable.” Was all he could think of to say. “If you do not mind, I will meditate for a while.” He pulled his mat down beside the bed.
“Okay, but just so you know, I may have to get up to go to the bathroom a few more times. That might bother you a bit.”
“It will be no trouble.” Assured Spock.
“Okay then.” Said Jim. “Goodnight Spock.”
They settled in for the night.
For the next two days, Spock felt a level of contentment that far surpassed the usual one he felt in Jim’s presence. He and Jim didn’t get to see each other too much; they both slept at night and he had classes during the day. But they took meals together and took any additional time they could to talk about whatever came to mind. They discussed his projects, literature, and anything else they could think of. Jim had been quite pleased to hear that Spock’s Ethics report on King Henry VIII had received the top grade in the class.
“That’s fantastic!” He exclaimed. “I bet your instructor didn’t expect you to pick such an emotional subject.”
“I believe you are correct.” Replied Spock. “I do not think she expected a Vulcan to have much of an opinion on ethical matters. My next project may not do so well.”
“Why not? What’s the subject?” Asked Jim.
“I am doing a research paper on Tarsus IV. While I have more than enough sources, the only way to make my story stand out at all is to find someone with whom to do a live interview. I know of at least two classmates who have already secured such an interview with a rescue worker and a survivor. I do not know what I can do to add any noticeable originality to my own paper.” Jim was looking at him in a way that Spock could only describe as…searching.
“Do you really want to get the best grade in the class? I mean, a lot of people might not be willing to talk about something like that.” Spock almost frowned.
“It is not my easiest subject; humans use a great deal of emotion in deciding ethical rules. I do wish to do well, but I would certainly never force someone to relive an unpleasant experience to achieve my goal. I would rather settle for a lesser grade than do such a thing.” Jim nodded, looking almost deathly serious. Then he spoke.
“I know someone you can interview.” Spock looked at him, startled.
“Me.” Pausing for a moment to let Spock digest that. “I was on Tarsus IV.”
Ooh, cliffhanger! What will happen next? Go to the next chapter and find out!
A bunch of emotional stuff happens in this chapter, in not nearly as many words as it really needs to be expressed. That seems to be happening to me a lot lately. I just don’t have the patience.
Spock was stunned by Jim’s admission.
“You were on Tarsus IV?” He asked, barely more than a whisper.
“Yeah.” Said Jim, quietly. “That’s where my mom sent me after I kept getting into trouble to get her attention. My dad had a sister, and she and her husband lived there. They didn’t have any kids of their own, and they were happy to have me visit for a few months. For a while, everything was great. I had a chance to make a fresh start, and I didn’t have to make trouble to get anyone’s attention. But then it all went to hell.” Jim fell silent.
“I meant what I said before.” Said Spock, hesitantly. “I do not wish for a good grade enough to risk injuring you emotionally.”
“I know.” Replied Jim. “I think that’s why I’m willing to do it.” He hesitated.
“Could you record it or something? I don’t think I’ll want to repeat any of it.”
“Of course.” Said Spock, hastily getting his padd out and setting up the recording function. He already had several questions for Jim about the whole event.
“Just a couple things first.” Said Jim, a little more firmly. Spock nodded for him to go on. “Delete that recording when you’re done with it. I don’t want anyone else listening to it. And give me a different name or something when you write it. It’s confidential that I was there, and I don’t want anyone else to know.” Spock frowned a little.
“How will my instructor know that I have not simply forged an interview?” Even as he asked, he felt a little foolish. He had no knowledge of anyone ever accusing a Vulcan of cheating or forgery, and it made him sound like he actually did care too much about his grade. Jim, whether that thought crossed his mind or not, still answered his question.
“You can tell Pike about it. He knows I was there. Then, if your instructor gives you any crap about it, you can tell her to talk to him about it.”
“Very well.” Said Spock. He hesitated. “Shall we begin?”
It took some time, but Jim eventually managed to tell Spock the whole story. He covered everything, from the first signs of trouble, the failing crops and rationing, to the horror of the massacre and the aftermath. Spock realized with a start that Jim’s description of the executions identified him as one of the Tarsus Nine, nine people who had been among the four thousand selected for execution and then managed to escape during the chaos. They were also the only ones who could have identified Kodos, the governor who’d ordered the killing as a way of preserving the half of the colony that he considered ‘superior.’ As he listened, Spock couldn’t help but wonder just what fault Kodos could have found with Jim.
Jim also spoke of other people he’d met there. He talked about Hoshi Sato and her husband, and how she had begun teaching him some Klingon by the time the famine started. He mentioned other survivors who’d escaped the massacre. He spoke of a little boy who he’d kept with him the entire time he hid out waiting for Starfleet to arrive with help. And he spoke of the relief he felt when he learned that Kodos was dead, and the guilt he felt for surviving when his family had not.
When Jim finally stopped talking, he looked completely drained emotionally, just staring down at his hands in his lap. Spock just barely had the presence of mind to shut off the recorder before speaking.
“Are you alright?” He asked uncertainly. Jim looked up at him.
“Just give me a minute.” That was all he said before looking down again. Spock did as he asked and kept his mouth shut. Jim looked back up at him after a while and smiled, but it was a tired, sad smile. “I’ll be fine. I’ve just never really talked about it to anyone. Not the officers who came, or my family, or any of the doctors they sent me to after it was over. I just wanted to forget. But I couldn’t.” He fell silent again. Spock decided to speak up.
“Do you wish for me to leave?” He asked quietly. Jim shook his head.
“No, this is your room.”
“True, but I am more than willing to offer you some time to yourself if you require it.” He replied. Jim smiled again, and this time there was a little more sincerity to it.
“I know what you meant, and I’ll be okay.” He was silent for a few more moments. “Do you want to play chess or something? I’d just like to do something to take my mind off this.”
“Of course.” Replied Spock quickly, getting the set Jim had given him and setting the pieces up. They played a total of three games, and Jim relaxed steadily though them until the tension was practically gone from his form. They didn’t speak of the assignment, or Tarsus again, and when Jim went to sleep that night, he seemed to be feeling quite peaceful.
Spock went to talk to Captain Pike the next day about getting his support in the event that his instructor questioned him about his source, since he’d agreed not to reveal Jim’s name. Pike looked truly astounded when Spock explained the situation to him.
“I can’t believe he told you about Tarsus. I never heard him open up at all after the survivors were rescued. As far as I knew, he never gave any interviews or saw anyone about it.”
“I merely told him that I had no live source for my assignment and expressed some concern for my grade. He questioned whether I would be willing to put someone through an emotional ordeal for a good grade, and when I told him that I would not, he told me that he was a survivor of the incident and that I could interview him, provided I kept his identity secret. He also referred me to you in case my instructor did not believe that my unnamed interview was fabricated.” Pike nodded.
“Okay, if she says anything to you, let me know and I’ll set her straight.” He looked at Spock seriously. “Spock, I know I don’t need to tell you how much faith Jim is putting in you by opening up to you like that.”
“No,” replied Spock, “you do not.” He left to get to his classes for the day. He ended up typing the entire report over the next couple days in the Academy library. He didn’t want Jim to glance at the screen or hear him playing back the recording and become upset. Not that he’d played the recording yet. As a Vulcan, he had an impeccable memory, and so far he could recall Jim’s words perfectly. He made sure to leave Jim’s name out of it always, firmly establishing him as a witness who wished to remain anonymous. After he’d completed, double checked, and triple checked his work, Spock sent a copy to his instructor, along with a message explaining that Pike would back him up on his witness’s credibility.
He also took the time to find a secluded part of the outdoor recreation area and engage in some light meditation. Jim had taken a huge step in trusting him with this. His next actions could very easily spook him and send him running away. He’d learned from his mother that humans sometimes sought distance between themselves and those they were close with after expressing vulnerability, sometimes out of fear of judgment, and sometimes because they wished to regain composure and security.
Whatever Jim needed, Spock knew he was more than willing to give it to him.
The next few days continued as the last had. He and Jim used their free time to simply ‘hang out,’ playing chess or debating various Academy subjects. They continued to take their meals together. They did not mention Tarsus IV or the assignment again, and Spock found himself experiencing that same level of contentment that he’d felt. Before he knew it, it was only a day before Jim had to return to his family’s apartment. The baby’s room had taken a little more time than they’d expected, as Jim explained to him one night over chess.
“The paint they had to use took a lot longer to air out than they first thought; they actually had to clear out for a day because the fumes got to be too much. I’ll be able to go back after my next appointment.”
“Where will you sleep?” Asked Spock. “Did they not remove all the furniture, including the bed?” He found the thought of Jim, so heavily pregnant, left to sleep on a couch like an overnight guest to be unsettling. Jim shook his head.
“The bed’s still in there, it’s just pushed up against a wall, and the crib’s up against another. I’ll probably spend most of my time here after the birth in Starfleet Medical. They really want to make sure everything’s okay. While me and the baby are still there, they’ll take apart the bed and put it in storage or something, and then put the crib in the center of the room. I probably will have to get a hotel room after that.”
“You could always return here.” Offered Spock without thinking. Jim grinned at him.
“I don’t think they’ll be able to make an exception for me again, not after I’ve been here for nearly a week already. I won’t be pregnant anymore, so it just wouldn’t be the same.”
“Yes, of course.” Said Spock, feeling a little embarrassed for offering so eagerly. He wanted to ask if Jim had given anymore thought to what he’d mentioned before about reconsidering Starfleet. It didn’t seem like a good time to ask though, so he simply made his next move and continued the game. When Jim finally beat him, he looked exhausted. He winced a little and put a hand on the curve of his belly as he sat down on Spock’s bed.
“Is something wrong?” He asked.
“No, he’s just kicking really hard.” Replied Jim. “I think he wants this to over just as much as I do.” Something about that sentence seemed to almost ring false, but Spock said nothing. Jim looked at him thoughtfully. “You’ve never felt him kick. Would you like to?” Spock was surprised. He hadn’t been sure about how well Jim handled having people constantly wanting to touch his belly. He’d been very tolerant of the Axanar, but Spock could tell that because of the fact that it might cause an incident if he became angry with them, and also because he knew they were just curious. Still, Jim was offering…
“I believe I will.” Moving to the edge of the bed, Spock slowly lowered one hand to Jim’s swollen belly. For a moment, he felt nothing. Then, he felt a rather strong fluttering sensation against his hand. He looked into Jim’s eyes, unable to completely mask the awe he was feeling. Jim looked right back with an affectionate smile on his face, and to Spock, time almost seemed to freeze.
Not for the first time in his life, Spock wanted nothing more than to pretend. To pretend that Jim was his mate, that they always lived together like this, and that these were their child’s motions he was feeling beneath his hand. For a moment, he almost gave in, but stopped himself. It would not be fair to Jim, or to his nephew and his family, who’d been so kind to him, if he did that. Instead, he removed his hand.
“I suppose it is understandable why some people refer to childbirth as a miracle.” He offered quietly. “It is rather incredible to feel a child move before he has even taken his first independent breath.” Jim nodded.
“Yeah, it is.” Seeing an almost troubled look on Jim’s face, Spock was compelled to ask.
“Is everything alright?” Jim looked surprised.
“Why wouldn’t it be?” That wasn’t a yes.
“You say you are ready for your pregnancy to be over, yet you seem troubled by it.” He replied. Jim looked down at his belly for a long moment, and Spock wondered if he intended to answer at all. Then he spoke.
“You remember the last time we were at the park, and that lady thought we were together and congratulated me on having a baby?” At Spock’s nod, he continued. “That happens all the time since I started showing. People see me and tell me how wonderful it is that I’m having a baby. They ask me when I’m due, if it’s my first, or if it’s a boy or a girl. I always have to tell them that it’s not actually my baby. They still smile at me and everything, and tell me that it’s a great thing that I’m doing, but every time it happens, I have to face the truth; I’m pregnant, but I’m not actually having a baby. They are.” Spock knew Jim was referring to his brother and sister-in-law.
“Does this trouble you?” Asked Spock, not quite understanding. Jim shrugged.
“I guess it kind of does. I mean, he’s the first thing I feel and think about when I wake up in the morning. I didn’t have so much of a problem with it at first, but now that I can really feel him alive in there, it’s just hard thinking about how I’m going to give birth to him and not keep him. I can’t even imagine what it must be like for people who actually do this with their own kids.” He shrugged again. “I know, in my head, that he’s my nephew, and it’s not like I’m never going to see him again or anything, but it still bothers me, especially when I hear them talking about going off-world someday to a colony or something. I know eventually I’m going to have to deal with it, but part of me just wishes sometimes that I could pretend I’m not going to be giving him away when he’s born. And then I feel bad for thinking that way because I agreed to all of this, and he’s not really mine to keep or give away, and Sam and Aury want this so badly and don’t deserve that kind of thinking from me.” Jim’s confession of wishing to pretend almost tore at Spock’s heart.
“I too, have wished to pretend.” He admitted quietly, though he couldn’t tell Jim just what he’d been wanting to pretend moments ago. “There have been times in my life when I wanted nothing more than to have what my classmates did, to be a full-blooded Vulcan who’s logic was never questioned. I would then feel ashamed for those thoughts, because of how much I know my mother loves me and cares for me, even when I am ashamed of the fact that I am half human and do my best to act as though I am not. That was my main reason for coming to Earth; to try to embrace my human half, at least somewhat. I do not believe it is in my nature to be as emotional as humans are, but I do not wish to act as pure Vulcans and deny that I have emotions at all. Here, I am not made to feel ashamed for enjoying my lifestylke, or the company of a friend.” Jim’s eyes widened a bit. He smiled softly.
“Thanks.” He whispered. Spock just nodded in reply. They didn’t speak any more of it, and Spock could tell that Jim was still somewhat troubled, but his concerns were mostly at rest for now.
Friday came, and Spock could think of little more than the fact that Jim was leaving his room the next day. Jim would be packing his things tonight and going back to live with his family. Spock knew he shouldn’t feel jealous; they were his family, and should be given a higher priority.
One thing that Spock was trying hard to find hope in was the fact that Jim hadn’t mentioned going back to Iowa when he spoke of the possibility of not seeing his nephew much. He’d spoken of Sam and Aurelan moving away, but not of his own relocation. Perhaps that was an automatic thought for him, and he was simply thinking of their leaving the planet. After all, being in two different states was much less trouble than being on two different worlds. Still, it was somewhat comforting to think that Jim wasn’t as eager to get back to Riverside as he’d initially seemed.
Trying to keep that in mind, Spock returned to his quarters to walk with Jim to lunch, as they’d done every day since he’d arrived. What he found caught him off guard. Jim was usually working on some computer problem at this hour, or just waiting for him to arrive. Instead, he found Jim on the bed, facing the wall.
“Jim?” He asked, concerned by the unexpected sight. Jim slowly turned to face him. His eyes were slightly bloodshot. Spock quickly moved closer to the bed. “What has happened?” Jim sat up slowly.
“I got a message from my mom today.” That was all he said. Spock tried to prompt more from him.
“Why has that upset you?” Jim shrugged.
“It really shouldn’t. I guess it’s the hormones again. She sent Sam and Aury a message to pass along to me. She congratulated them about the baby and then told me she was so proud that I was finally acting like a part of the family.” Jim’s fists suddenly clenched, his face dark with anger. “How can she say that? If anything ever stopped me from acting like part of the family, it was her, always off in space and acting like I didn’t exist! She was the one who wouldn’t take the time to deal with me when I needed her help! How do you act like you’re part of the family when your own mother doesn’t treat you like you are? When your own flesh and blood runs away and leaves you behind because she can’t cope?” His eyes welled up with fresh tears. Without thinking, Spock put his hands on Jim’s shoulders.
“I cannot imagine how you are feeling.” He admitted. “My mother has always been vocal of her affection for me, and my father, though distant, has always shown some concern for my well-being. I can only say that I think your mother is a fool for not seeing what a gift she lost any right to cherish.” Jim looked up at him with teary eyes that also seemed to shine with wonder at Spock’s words. That look in his eyes, Spock just couldn’t help himself. “Jim…” he whispered. He leaned forward and, very gently, placed his lips against Jim’s. Jim didn’t move, and Spock pressed another, firmer kiss against his mouth. Jim suddenly seemed to spring to life, moving his arms up to wrap around Spock’s neck return the kiss.
It was somewhat awkward, since Jim’s belly prevented them from moving too close to one another, but Spock’s heart was soaring. He was amazed by how right this felt. For Vulcans, touching fingers was the traditional ‘kissing’ gesture, but this felt just as natural and good. His lips parted automatically as Jim’s tongue brushed them, and the kiss deepened.
Then, Jim suddenly pushed him back. He looked shocked.
“What…” he couldn’t seem to speak. “Why did you do that?” Spock found several thoughts racing through his mind at once. He could point out the fact that Jim had kissed him back, or even tell him the truth; that he had been working toward a moment like this since the moment he learned that Jim was available as a mate. Instead all he could say was,
“I do not know.” He backed away from the bed and toward the door. “I will go if you wish.” Jim nodded slowly.
“Yeah, I think you should.” Spock simply turned and left. For the first time in his life, he hated himself for not being able to properly express any emotion. He could have begged Jim for another chance, explained himself and made his intentions clear. Instead he’d left, knowing that Jim would probably be gone when he returned.
He spent hours wondering around campus with no destination in mind. Anything that would keep him from returning to find Jim gone or worse, preparing to leave. If he saw that, he might just embarrass himself further by begging Jim to stay.
Eventually, he had to return to his quarters. When he arrived, he saw that he had been right. Jim had packed his things and left. Spock sat on the bed, which Jim had apparently made before he left. He stared around the room, now lacking Jim’s presence. He saw the small chess board Jim had given him, set up for their next game, which might now never be played. He then laid back and stared blankly at the ceiling as he tried to process the sudden despair and sorrow he felt.
I know, I’m being totally mean here, but this is how I wanted it to happen, for the most part. I also know it was unfair for Jim to kick Spock out of his own place, but give him a break, he’s a little shocked right now. There’ll be some more drama in the next chapter.
Finally Here by Vulcan Pearl
For the next two weeks, Spock went about his routine almost in a trance-like state. He hardly spoke to anyone, and only interacted with others as much as he was required to. He’d spoken with Nyota Uhura since then, and had told her what happened when she asked how ‘things were going.’
“I’m so sorry.” She said when he’d told her. “Maybe he’ll come around.”
“I do not know.” Spock replied. “He may feel that I was attempting to take advantage of is friendship, or may be focused on the stress it would cause his pregnancy.” Uhura had continued to try to boost his spirits, but it just wasn’t working. After what seemed like an eternity, Saturday rolled around again. Spock now had absolutely nothing to look forward to. He realized, glancing at a clock that it was nearing the time that Jim would arrive for his appointment with Doctor McCoy. What would he say if Spock was there in the waiting room when he came out?
Deciding that forcing a confrontation was not the answer, Spock headed to the labs instead. However, as he neared the room where one of his experiments was developing, he heard a very familiar, very angry voice coming through an open door.
“…Hell is wrong with you!? GIVE ME THAT DOG!” Spock, and another cadet who happened to be walking past rushed into the room. In Jim’s arms was a small, squirming dog, a breed of beagle, Spock believed. Jim was backing away from two people, one man with the rank of lieutenant by the look of his uniform, and a boy in cadet reds.
“Now, lad,” the man was saying with in a heavy accent, “nothing bad’s going to happen to the little guy, he’s just going for a little trip.”
“Da.” Agreed the boy, with an even heavier accent. He could not have been more than fourteen years old. “Ve have made sure the calculations are all correct.”
“I don’t care how sure you are.” Snapped Jim. “Animal testing has been banned for over two hundred years, and I’m pretty sure if there were ever any exceptions, you sure as Hell wouldn’t use an admiral’s dog!” The Scottish man held up his hands in a placating gesture.
“Look lad, if you’ll just hear my theory, perhaps you’ll understand. You see, I believe that it is possible to beam directly from one planet to another. If I were to take a grapefruit-”
“Then use a fucking grapefruit, not Admiral Archer’s dog!” Shouted Jim. He turned to the boy. “What’s your name?”
“Chekov. Pavel Andreivich.” Replied the young boy.
“You almost participated in what I’m pretty sure is an unauthorized and illegal experiment. If you’re smart enough to be here at your age, you should be able to figure out that even if this dog wasn’t killed, you’d still probably find yourself kicked out of the Academy with a juvenile record. I don’t even want to think about what’s going to happen to that guy!” He jerked a thumb in the older man’s direction as he said that.
“Now hold on laddie, the margin for error was miniscule. And if the dog were to not reappear-” he was cut off once more, now by the boy, Chekov.
“Meester Scott, you told me there vas no chance of failure!” The boy looked stricken by the thought of the dog dying because they had used it for their experiment. Jim just scowled and turned for the door. That’s when he saw Spock standing there and froze, the only movement coming from the dog. For a moment, no one spoke. Spock was the one to break the silence by addressing the other cadet who’d run into the room with him.
“Are you capable of reporting these two to the proper authorities, Mr…?”
“Sulu.” Finished the young man. “Yeah, I can handle it.” Spock then looked to Jim, who stared right back at him. He slowly backed toward the door, not taking his eyes off of him, hoping he would catch the meaning. He then turned and walked through the doorway. After a moment, he heard the sound of Jim walking out behind him. They walked a ways and rounded a few corners before Jim stopped and spoke abruptly.
“What did you want to talk about?” Spock hesitated.
“I would like to escort you to your doctor’s appointment.” He said simply. Jim frowned.
“I’m perfectly capable of walking to Starfleet Medical on my own. Besides, someone needs to return the dog.” He held up the beagle for emphasis as he spoke.
“I can return the dog and explain the situation after you are safely at Starfleet Medical.” Said Spock firmly. A little more gently, he added, “You are thirty-nine weeks pregnant. It would be logical to have someone to assist you, just in case something unexpected happens. You have already experienced a high level of stress due to an incident just now.” Jim frowned.
“You sound just like Sam and Aury.” He muttered. Then he nodded. “Fine, let’s go.” They walked on to Starfleet Medical in silence. It wasn’t until they were at the doors leading into the building that Jim suddenly turned to Spock.
“Why did you kiss me?” The words were abrupt, like Jim had meant to say more, or something else entirely, but had forced the wrong words out. Spock could hear something almost like desperation in Jim’s voice. Spock knew it was time to confess. He led Jim over to a bench near the building and they sat. Then, he began to speak.
“You already know some details of the story. I have simply omitted a very important part of them. I have been very strongly attracted to you from the moment we first met at the camping grounds nearly nine months ago.” He paused as Jim’s eyes widened, but he didn’t speak, so Spock continued on. “At first, when I learned of your pregnancy, I believed you to be either promiscuous or unavailable. Either way, I was determined to not interact with you again. But we met again, and you were friendly to me. When I learned that you were unattached and that the child within you was not even yours, I decided to interact with you more, to determine the possibility of a romantic relationship between us. As time went on, and we continued to reveal things to each other and grow closer as friends, I became more determined to propose some sort of romance between us once your nephew was born. I would have told you all this sooner, were it not for you telling me that you did not wish to have a relationship of any kind while you were pregnant. And…” he hesitated.
“And what?” Asked Jim, trying to prompt him.
“And I enjoyed being your friend.” Spock finished. “I had hoped that if nothing else was possible between us, you would still be my friend. You are the first friend I have ever had. I would gladly ignore any feelings of romantic love on my part if it meant preserving that friendship.” Jim looked truly shocked now.
“You’re in love with me?”
“I do not know.” Admitted Spock. “The only love I have ever experienced is the platonic kind I feel for my parents. I know there are other words that could be applied to how I feel for you: Infatuated, charmed, perhaps even smitten. I believe that romantic love starts with feelings of not only affection for the personality, but a physical attraction as well. That would be an accurate, if not over-simplified description of how I currently feel for you.” Jim just looked stunned, a light blush now spreading across his face. “I…It would help ease my mind to know your feelings on the matter.” Spock said quietly.
“I don’t know what to say.” Admitted Jim. “I really want to stay friends with you too, but I never knew you wanted more than that. God, to think I tried to get you fixed up with Uhura! You must have thought it was ridiculous.” Spock shook his head.
“You were simply trying to ease my loneliness here, just as when you tried to introduce me to Doctor McCoy in the hopes that he would become my friend as well.” Jim gave a chuckle at the memory of the nearly disastrous meeting.
“So basically, we’ve been going on almost weekly not-quite-dates since we met.” Spock felt his own face heat.
“I was given to understand that such activities are acceptable among friends and have only as much romantic significance as the people doing them allow them to.”
“I guess that’s true.” Replied Jim. “But if you were so intent on keeping quiet until the baby was born, why did you kiss me?” Spock’s answer came slowly.
“Over the past several months, I have opened up to you in ways I never have to anyone else. I believe that you did the same. When you spoke of your mother, and her rejection of you as a child, I wanted nothing more than to comfort you. Perhaps some part of me thought that if I added physical closeness to the mental closeness and…because I had wanted it for a long time.” He stopped speaking, hoping for a response from Jim.
“I still don’t know what to say to you.” He admitted quietly. “I need to think about all this. Can you give me some time to do that?” Spock just nodded.
“Of course.” He gestured to the dog. “I will return him while you go in for your appointment. Do you need someone to accompany you back to your family’s apartment as well?”
“No.” Replied Jim, shaking his head as he handed the beagle over. “I’m not going back this time. Yesterday, I had the male equivalent of Braxton-Hicks contractions, a false alarm. They’re worried that it could turn into the real thing though, so I’m staying here for the last week, and then my recovery. I was just going for a last, long stroll when I heard the dog barking and found those guys about to try to beam him to another planet.”
“I see.” Replied Spock, feeling a little sick about the fact that Jim might have been sick or hurt, and he would not have known about it. Jim stood up slowly.
“I’ll just go and…think about things.” He said quietly. With a tentative smile and wave, he entered the building. Spock sat there for a moment, heedless of the squirming animal in his arms, and allowed himself a measure of hope.
For the next week, Spock tried to hold onto that hope. He kept busy, hoping that if he had plenty to occupy himself with, he wouldn’t constantly think of Jim. He had to give some testimony about the incident with the dog, and the two people involved, Pavel Chekov and Montgomery Scott, were both on probation. It was much more serious for Mr. Scott, since he’d been quite outspoken in the past. Chekov was a minor and had not fully understood the consequences of his actions. It seemed that Mr. Sulu was intent on becoming a mentor of sorts to the boy.
Uhura had asked him about Jim, and was quite enthused by what he told her. Apparently, the fact that Jim was thinking about things had some promise. A great surprise though, had been come about three days after he and Jim spoke. Spock rose from his mediation mat to see that he had a message incoming from Vulcan. Perhaps his mother would be able to advise him on what to do now. To his great surprise, it was his father’s face that appeared before him when he accepted the call.
“Spock.” He said, inclining his head. “You appear to be well.”
“I am.” Replied Spock, doing his best to recover from his surprise. “Is there a particular reason you contacted me?” Belatedly, he realized that his words were rather harsh, but Sarek simply nodded his head.
“Your mother has informed me of the goings on in your life since you left Vulcan. I am aware of the fact that you have met a human that you have a desire to bond with.”
“I do not yet know if that is a possibility.” Said Spock. “He has become aware of my interest in him and is uncertain about a pursuing a romantic relationship with me.”
“I see.” Said Sarek. “Interspecies relations can be difficult, especially between two as different as ours. Your mother and I were both initially doubtful of the chances of success in our own relationship. We were both so accustomed to our separate ways that we were uncertain that we could find a way that could simply be ours. However, with work and care, we did. And we have lived quite well together because of it.” Spock was a little stunned by his father’s words.
“Do you mean to tell me that you approve of my choice? You have not even met Jim.” As the words left Spock’s mouth, he almost cursed himself. But Sarek responded.
“Based on what your mother has told me, it seems you were right to enlist in Starfleet. If you had accepted the invitation to join the Vulcan Science Academy, your life would have continued as it was; empty and unfulfilling. I too deviated from my family’s chosen path when I married your mother, but I do not regret it, because it was the right thing for me to do. Just as being there is right for you.” There was a long pause while Spock absorbed his father’s words.
“Thank you.” He finally said. “I am pleased you approve of my choices.”
They spent the next hour or so discussing what they had both been doing since Spock had left. As they said goodbye and disconnected, Spock felt as if a great weight had been lifted off of his shoulders. Sarek had voiced his approval of Spock’s new lifestyle and even expressed interest in meeting Jim if they did indeed become involved. It was almost too much to believe.
Spock kept himself busy for the next few days, feeling even better than he had after Jim had promised to think about things. Friday night, he was meditating, thinking about the fact that Jim’s surgery would be the very next day, until an unexpected call startled him. He opened his comm to find Aurelan Kirk looking back at him.
“Spock,” she said, looking rather harried, “I’m sorry to bother you, but Jim’s been taken into surgery.”
“Is he alright?” Asked Spock, trying to conceal his anxiousness.
“He’s fine, but he started having contractions yesterday, and though they slowed things down a bit, they couldn’t stop it. They figured one day early won’t hurt the baby, so they’re operating now.” She paused. “I’m telling you this because I really think Jim would like to see you afterward.”
“Are you certain?” Asked Spock. He didn’t know if Jim had told her anything about his feelings, or if she simply though Jim might like to have a friend there.
“I know he would.” She paused. “I know something happened between you two, that you have some feelings for him that maybe worried him a bit, and you have some things to work out, but I really think you should be here when he wakes up.”
“Very well.” Replied Spock. “I will be on my way shortly.”
As soon as he arrived at Starfleet Medical, Spock found a nurse who directed him to the private area where the Kirk family was waiting. Sam and Aurelan looked at him but didn’t really say anything, except to tell him that Jim was fine and they were waiting for Doctor McCoy to arrive with news. Almost thirty minutes later, the longest thirty minutes of Spock’s life, he came out with a small bundle in his arms.
“Jim’s doing fine.” He told them with a smile. “We both thought you’d like to meet this little guy right away.” He held the bundle out to Sam, who took it slowly and carefully. Spock watched as he and Aurelan stood close to each other and stared down at the tiny pink face of their newborn son with tears in their eyes.
“Hello, Peter James Kirk.” Whispered Sam. “I’m your dad, and this is your mom.” He handed the boy to Aurelan, who now had tears running down her cheeks. Spock began to feel like he was intruding, so he turned to Doctor McCoy.
“May I see Jim?” He asked quietly. McCoy gave him a knowing look and nodded.
“He’s right through that door.” He gestured to the left. Spock walked away from the new family and headed through the door. He immediately saw Jim resting, looking somewhat drowsy.
“Jim.” He said quietly. Jim turned, his eyes widening when he saw him there.
“Spock.” He said, looking stunned. “What are you doing here?”
“Aurelan called me.” He replied quietly. “She informed me that you were having your surgery and that she believed I should be here. I agreed with her belief.” Jim nodded slowly.
“I’m glad you’re here.” He admitted. “I’ve been thinking about everything you told me, and I’ve got some things I really need to say to you.” He took a deep breath.
“I knew you were attractive right from the start, but I didn’t think a Vulcan would ever be interested in a human. That’s why I didn’t flirt with you, even out of habit. But after a few weeks, after we’d started spending more time together, I kind of realized that I had a little crush on you. I figured it was harmless. And besides, I’d already decided not to date while I was pregnant, and I’d told you as much. So I just ignored it. Then we really started to open up to each other, and I got scared that if you knew I had a crush on you, you’d avoid me like when you first found out I was pregnant.” Spock almost winced at the memory. Knowing Jim as he did now, it was almost frightening to think that he might have never gotten to know him at all. Jim continued speaking.
“It got pretty hard a couple of times. There were moments when I knew I what I was feeling wasn’t necessarily friendly. Like when I saw that Uhura was into you. I knew that might be a good way to get over what I was feeling, if you were with someone else, but then I was just so happy and flattered that you would rather ignore someone like her in favor of me. And when I found out that you were taking that drug so you would be able to be around me, that really made me feel wanted, even though I didn’t know how exactly you wanted me.” Spock blushed a little at that. “And some things, the trip to the zoo, and spending Christmas at my family’s place, I wouldn’t have just done that for some temporary friend I made on a trip.” Jim paused again.
“When you kissed me, for a second I couldn’t think of anything except the kiss. Then I got scared again. I’ve know friends who just fell into bed together for whatever reason and couldn’t stand to be around each other anymore because they couldn’t make it work, as friends or as lovers. I’ve never hit it off with a friend the way I did with you, and I couldn’t stand the thought of losing that. But when you told me what you really wanted, and how long you had, and all the Starfleet stuff on top of it, it made me wonder. I’ve still got my home, my life, in Riverside to think about, but I’ve got stuff to think about here too.” Jim fell silent.
“What do you wish to do?” Asked Spock quietly. Jim looked up at him and smiled slowly, letting a bit of the vibrant, confident Jim he knew peek through.
“You know, there’s still a few places in the park I haven’t seen.” He said slowly. Spock felt himself slowly losing the tension he’d been feeling since Aurelan called him. “And Admiral Archer really wants me to stick around while those Axanar delegates are still here. He offered to have me put up in a nice room on the Academy grounds and everything.” He slowly reached for Spock’s hand. Spock could feel sparks of hope and affection through the physical connection. “Maybe we could get together in a couple weeks, do some stuff.” Spock allowed himself a small smile. Jim was going to give him, give them, a chance.
“I believe the expression is ‘it is a date.’”
All that's left now is the epilogue.
Epilogue: Three Years Later by Vulcan Pearl
I know big dedications are typically done at the beginning of a story, but here’s mine now. This chapter is dedicated to everyone who’s taken the time to enjoy it or given feedback and inspired me. This whole story is dedicated to my best friend, who is not into fanfiction herself, but gave me the courage to write what I thought of and post it online. This is just a short last chapter to wrap it all up!
Spock awoke as he had for over two years; pressed against the warm body of his bondmate. He realized he’d been awakened by Jim’s attempting to pull out of his arms to leave the bed. Without thinking, he reflexively tightened them. He heard Jim give a quiet laugh.
“Spock, you’ve gotta let me up. We’ve got to get ready for Peter's birthday party, and you know I’ll need all the time I can get.” He rolled over to face him. “And let’s not forget what else we’ve got first today.” Spock was instantly alert.
Looking back on the start of their relationship, it was almost laughable how little time it took them to realize that they did indeed love each other and weren’t too afraid to commit. Indeed, they’d both realized that they’d already been at least a little in love with each other when they officially started dating. It also hadn’t taken Jim very long to realize that Starfleet would give him much more satisfaction than simply being a mechanic or a computer technician. He’d worked extrememly hard for the last three years so that he would be able to graduate sooner. Spock had taken a teaching position and was waiting patiently for the day they would be able to ship out together.
Their relationship had been an adventure, that much was certain. They fought sometimes, of course, but they could never stay angry at each other long enough for it to mean anything. Jim had finally met Spock’s parents at a diplomatic function three months into their relationship, and in spite of his nervousness, had done very well with them. They’d both been present at the wedding/bonding ceremony they had five months later, at Golden Gate Park of all places. With Jim having already helped secure a Federation membership from the Axanar, with a medal to show for it, and Spock being the son of an ambassador, their wedding was quite the event. Jim had suggested using the Music Concourse Area in Golden Gate Park.
“It’s perfectly logical we get married there.” He’d said when Spock asked him about it. “We met and fell in love in that park, why not get married there?” Spock had given in to his love’s logic and they’d been married in a ceremony that was perhaps unnecessarily lavish, but still quite joyous. Spock had been given the opportunity to meet Winona Kirk once they were engaged, and by then she seemed a little more interested in mending her ties with Jim.
Their friends were doing surprisingly well too. Uhura had caught the eye of none other than Montgomery Scott, and he had quickly amended his policy on complete disregard of rules in order to win her over. McCoy and Gaila were planning to marry soon. Ben Finney and his girlfriend had already married and had a small daughter named, to Jim’s embarrassment, Jame. Hikaru Sulu, the cadet who’d helped Spock by dealing with the two culprits in the lab had become an unofficial mentor to the younger cadet, Chekov. While their interests differed greatly, it was clear that the younger boy idolized Sulu, and maybe even had a crush on him. Now that he was older and almost legal, Sulu was becoming a little more comfortable with it.
As Spock began to prepare for the day with Jim, he thought about how they were planning to spend this day. First, they were going to go to Peter’s third birthday party. He never failed to notice just how much Peter looked like Jim, but there was a biological connection, so it wasn’t too surprising. Still, Peter could have actually passed for Jim’s son. Spock knew what would be waiting there when they arrived; colorful decorations, food with far too much sugar in it, other small children who didn’t even know why they were there, and of course Peter, clutching his favorite toy, which his mother had fondly named ‘Spocktopus.’ Apparently Peter could not sleep without it.
But what he was really thinking about today was what they planned to do before the party, and what else made this day important. They were going to Starfleet Medical to harvest an egg from Jim. While Jim had happily taught Spock everything he knew about sex, the chances of them conceiving naturally with Jim’s irregular ovulation and Spock’s own low sperm count were almost as slim as Sam and Aurelan’s had been. Spock had already deposited some sperm, and now it was time to get the egg. They would be stored, though no fertilization would take place until they were ready to have a child.
They didn’t know when they would have a child, since both of them were about to actually start their careers. They didn’t even know how many children they were planning to have, but they had time to decide yet. Though, if their parents had anything to say about it, it would be sooner rather than later. Jim had already babysat his nephew enough to be a little more confident in his abilities as a caregiver, and that went a long way in their decision to have a child someday down the line.
Once they arrived at Starfleet Medical, Jim was taken to prepare for the surgery he needed. It would be a quick process, but Spock could never help being concerned over something like this. He knew Jim would feel the same way if their positions were reversed. He focused on being the very image of calm while he waited in the recovery room where they would bring Jim once the extraction procedure was completed. After an hour, a nurse came into the room to tell him that the procedure had been finished and that they would be bringing Jim in soon.
Once they did, Spock studied his sleeping bondmate as he waited for him to wake up. Jim hadn’t changed much in the three years since Peter was born. He’d changed more in the nine months beforehand. Jim’s body had been a wonder to Spock when he saw him nude for the first time, after months of dating (and workouts). Still, the thought of him growing big again, this time because he had Spock’s child growing inside him, appealed to Spock quite nicely.
As he thought this, Jim began to stir. His eyes slowly opened, and he smiled up at Spock.
“Hey.” He whispered. “You okay?” Spock felt his mouth twitch upward, as it always did so easily with Jim.
“Indeed. I have simply been waiting for you to awaken.” Jim’s smile grew wider.
“They said I’ll be out of here in a few hours and then we’ll be able to go to Peter’s party. I might have to take some cake home for later though.” Spock just nodded. After three years, he’d learned that Jim could get rather queasy if he ate too soon after a surgery. He just leaned forward and pressed his lips to Jim’s forehead briefly.
“What are you thinking about?” Asked Jim as he withdrew.
“I was simply remembering certain moments of our lives, and thinking of what it will be like for us to expect a child of our own.” Jim grinned.
“It’d be nice to actually get something more for my effort.” He said. Spock knew that the first few weeks, even months, after Peter’s birth had been a little difficult for Jim, not having a baby to show for his time being pregnant. However, the fact that he got to see Peter quite often had helped him move on from those feelings.
They remained in the room until Doctor McCoy arrived and told them they could leave. They decided to go home so Jim could sleep of the residual effects of the anesthesia before the party. Spock elected to get some work done while Jim was resting. As he stretched out on their bed, Spock’s mind was only half on his work as he kept an eye on Jim in his peripheral vision. He couldn’t believe how much his life had changed since coming to Earth. Here, he had a satisfying career, future ambitions, and genuine friends. He also had a bondmate who loved him and treasured him just as much as he treasured said bondmate.
Jim also often commented on how much his life had changed just in the forty (thirty-eight Spock often corrected) weeks that they had first known each other. He’d never suspected that in agreeing to carry his brother’s baby, he’d find his soulmate and a happy new life. But he had.
As Spock watched Jim while he worked, he could only feel thankful to any higher power that might be paying attention for the gift he’d been given, and that he had not let his window of opportunity pass.
As illogical as it might sound for a Vulcan, Spock had no trouble concluding that he was very blessed to have had his life turn out the way it had. He knew Jim felt exactly the same way.
I know the ending was a little abrupt, but that's that. I'm exhausted! Even though I was just posting, this site sometimes doesn't do spacing like I want it to, so it took me a while to get this up. I hope it's been enjoyed!
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.