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Story Notes:

Please read The Bond, T'hy'la and Never and Always before you read this, or you may need a road map to find your way around it.

This story is complete as of 9/20/09.

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Hey, JT, do you have a minute? Or a few hours to spare for your 'little brother'?

Yeah, I'd like to talk to you. We need to discuss Spock, my Spock.

Okay, okay, I know. Yeah, I have a lot of explaining to do. That's why I want to talk to you. It's been a few months since we brought you here and you've had some time to settle in. I figured now was a good time to clear some things up.

Trust me, you want to hear what I have to say. I promise that I will tell the truth and only the truth. I owe that to you and Savid, for all that you've done to try to help us. But I have to do this in my own way, okay? I need to sort it out in my own head, so listening may be awkward for you. I might even need to say the things that you did...just to get it straight in my own head.

But if you'll be patient, I'll make sure you hear all of it. I don't want any more misunderstandings. Because this whole situation with Spock seemed to be one huge misunderstanding after another.

So let me start at the beginning.

The beginning was as simple and as complex as the two of us. To me, it was just a touch. To Spock, well, it was a look into his future.

It happened the day before we met you. We were here, on New Vulcan, helping out with the computer and security grid installations. It was around dinner time and I was over by the Hall of Elders waiting for McCoy when I saw Spock come flying out of Sarek's house, looking like he had been punched in the gut.

Yeah, something was bugging him. Even I, the naive captain of two months who barely knew his crew, could read the pain on that normally neutral face. It took all I had to resist the urge to grab him and demand to know what was wrong.

As if I needed further evidence of my first officer's disturbance, he was walking toward me as if he were marching in a parade. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. It was that stride that said 'don't mess with me, I have someplace to be.'

But I couldn't leave him alone when he looked like that. We had actually begun to make progress in our relationship. I wasn't about to screw it up by ignoring him now.

I'm sure Savid told you by now that Spock and I hated each other when we first met. And I do mean *hated*. He was the one who devised our Kobayashi Maru.

Yeah, I cheated too.

So early in our relationship, or lack thereof, I had to deal with Spock despising me for fucking with his precious test. Of course, in return, I hated him for not seeing the brilliance behind my solution to the damned thing.

Yeah, funny, isn't it, given that your Spock wasn't involved with the test until much later? I seem to have the early-achiever version of your bondmate. And boy, did his holier-than-thou attitude rattle my chains for awhile.

But by the time this particular situation started, we had come to an understanding. Without really saying much, we agreed that if I began to act like a captain, he would stop criticising me for all the illogical things I did. With that truce, we had laid the groundwork for a friendship.
 
So when I saw him stomping out of Sarek's front door, I knew him well enough to realize he would suffer in silence if I didn't shove him toward somebody who could help him. Yeah, the men in the House of Sarek are just as stubborn as we are. I figured that out a long time ago. So, in the interest of helping myself and our crew, I stepped into his path.

Luckily, Spock stopped in his tracks when he saw me. Realizing I had to seize this chance to further our friendship quickly, I asked where he was heading. He told me that he needed to go to the Hall of Elders to get help with some personal problem. I only learned from Uhura a bit later the details of said problem. She put it this way: 'If it wasn't for the fact that Spock couldn't bond with me, you wouldn't have had a chance in hell.'

Of course, I didn't know how much Spock was hurting at the time, but I could tell *something* was wrong. So I did what I had begun doing about a month back when I needed to calm my first officer. I disobeyed all rules of conduct with Vulcans, moved into his personal space, and patted him on the shoulder. Strangely enough, it usually worked to bring back that composure that he wears like a cloak.

This time, though, it caused sparks to fly between us. No, not literally, but it was close. My hand actually hurt after it touched his shoulder. It was weird. My palm stung like a bitch--but I wanted to put it back there, immediately. Yeah, psychic energy can really screw with your head.

But since he was already going to get help for his problem, I didn't really have an excuse to keep him with me. And I had other responsibilities to contend with, such as supervising the rest of the crew. So I let him go and headed towards McCoy, who was now standing outside the hospital.

Did I know what happened? Well, I wasn't completely in the dark, but I didn't realize the implications at the time.

I had talked Savid earlier that day. I think he knew that Spock's reactions to me might be more...violent than Savid's were to you. Maybe it was because of that mind meld we had when we first met. That is where I got my first look at you and your relationship with Savid. What? Oh, hell, I blocked it out, of course. Faced with one Spock that loved me and one that hated me, what else could I do?

But by the day before you arrived, it was obvious that Spock and I were no longer enemies. According to Savid, our universe was continuing the 'corrections' to put us back on track with your universe.

Oh, that's his explanation as to why I'm captain five years before you and why I have a 17-year-old Russian kid running around my bridge. Savid thinks all the correcting started when he arrived. No, I don't know why it took so long. Do I look like Spock to you?

Can we get back to the real subject? Okay.

Savid thought I needed to know about Vulcan relationships, so he told me the rudimentary basics about how Vulcans marry. You filled in the rest when we took you to the conference room the next day. No, he didn't say anything about pon farr. He just mentioned the bond.

At the time, I thought Savid had seen Uhura with Spock and just wanted to warn me that they might be linked. So of course, I didn't press your bondmate for more details, even though I probably should have. I knew about the taboo that kept Vulcans from talking about their relationships. And Savid...Savid was so awe-inspiring that I didn't feel the need to play with that rule.

But when I touched Spock that afternoon...well, my perceptions were altered. I didn't know about your marriage yet, but I had this funny feeling in the pit of my stomach that my life was about to change, and that Savid had known it was going to happen.

I ran into Spock later that night. Thanks to whatever happened in the Hall of Elders, he was looking much more relaxed.

I was having a drink with Scotty and Bones out in the volunteers' rest area when I spotted him walking towards us. We both know Spock isn't a socializer, so when he asked to play chess with me, I jumped on the chance. I really did want to be friends with him, and if he was going to meet me halfway, I was going to do everything I could to encourage him. It would make life so much easier for all of us, and yeah, he was as intriguing as that nebula out by Amigosa.

So we played. None of the crew knew about my skills at chess, not even Bones. It must have been Savid who clued him in. I never sat still long enough at the Academy for anyone to find out how good I was. But I had no problem sitting still for hours with him.

You can imagine what we talked about. By the look on your face, I'd say you had similar conversations hundreds of times. But that time was our first, the first time we let all the barriers between us fall, and it was electrifying. I was so taken by my first officer that I could have stayed there until the Enterprise called us to beam up and get ready for our next journey.

But around 0500, Spock seemed to get restless. He looked like he had a big decision to make and he was struggling with it. Yeah, I know, that's exactly what was happening. Sometimes my accuracy surprises even me.

But I could see he didn't want to talk about it, at least not yet. So I feigned exhaustion and shooed him off to his meditation mat. When he left, I thought we were well on our way to being friends. There hadn't been a snarky word between us the whole time we were at the chess board. Trust me, that was an accomplishment. I went to bed content with the progress we had made.

I felt so good about what was happening between us that I vowed to ask him about that vibe I could feel growing between us the next time we got a private moment together. I guess it was the bond trying to form, but it felt like we were two magnets attracting each other. The feeling was distracting, and it was starting to scare me. The only person I had been really attached to up to that point was Bones. An attachment to Spock, in a way that involved psychic vibes, was enough to have me thinking of running back to Mom's house and hiding, even though it would mean going back to that asshole Frank.

You don't know about Frank? Trust me, you don't want to know. Let's just say Mom was lonely after Dad died, but her taste in men had plummeted after his death. The guy made me wonder why anyone would want a long-term commitment if you had to put up with someone like him. He had gotten under my skin so badly that part of me was freaked about the possibility that I could become him under the wrong circumstances.

Yeah, I know all about Dad and his nobility and sacrifice. Part of me did want what he had with Mom. The rest of me, though, knew I was so screwed up that nobody in their right mind would want me for more than a night. I had spent so much time before the Academy getting drunk in bars and getting my ass kicked because of my mouth that I figured to a Vulcan man who was eyeing me as a potential mate, I was bad news.

But I wasn't thinking about mates when I invited Spock to lunch the morning of your arrival. I couldn't figure out what was happening between us--friendship, sexual attraction...it could have been hate for all I knew. But I certainly was *not* thinking of having my brain hardwired to his.

But fate had worked against me from the very beginning. Those hormone surges had already started by the time I asked him to meet me for lunch. If I hadn't been so busy hiding my head in the proverbial sand, I would have been able to link his reaction and the tension between us back to Savid's description of Vulcan marriage.

But I was an idiot. Although I was worried about Spock--he so rarely takes a wrong step, let alone stumbles--I was too caught up in my own head to see what was happening to his.

Then you arrived. Most people would think your presence in our universe would help me get my head out of my ass. Here I had a fine example--of myself--in a good relationship and retired from a successful career. It should have spurred me to clean up my act in a hurry.

But hell, we both know how logical humans are. Your appearance just seemed to encourage me to dig myself a deeper hole and to start dragging Spock down into it.

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end part 1

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