Thanks to Tonati and MyriadProBold for reviewing!
Chapter 10: Fight
On the way home, Jim texted his friends and told them about Spock's surprise. They were very glad he got to go, and were impressed at the extra mile Spock had gone for him. Jim agreed. He loved the Vulcan so much now, the thought of being parted from him brought physical pain.
When they arrived home, McCoy called. Spock switched it to video feed, so they could both talk to him.
"Hey, kid, how are you doing?" asked McCoy.
"Great! Spock brought me to Riverside Shipyard so I could tour the future Enterprise!"
McCoy gave Spock a stern look. "I thought he was supposed to be resting?"
"It was nothing strenuous," Spock assured him. "He will rest the remainder of the day."
"Well, kid, that's great then. I'm glad you still got to go."
"And yesterday, we all played Galaxy Wars 360! Spock totally rocked at it!"
McCoy looked like he dearly wanted to laugh. His face lit up with glee. "Well, where was the logic in playing a kid's game, Spock?" He really wanted to hear this.
"They needed a fourth player, so they could have two even teams," Spock informed him. "Also, as a scientist, new experiences are always welcomed. Additionally, it was a good experience for Jim, to gain practice working part of a team - "
"Still not going to admit you just want to spoil him rotten, are you, Spock?" McCoy jabbed at him.
"Spoiling him rotten would be highly illogical, doctor."
"Of course it would," McCoy said sarcastically. "Well, anyway. You're going to have some social workers checking in occasionally. There's one I recommended, Erin. She's a little more open-minded. I think she will support us. You be on your best behavior, Jim, especially while they're around. They could go a long way to convincing the judge."
"Okay," said Jim.
"Listen, I need to talk to Spock in private for a minute, okay, Jim?"
"All right," agreed Jim reluctantly. "Talk to you later."
"I will see you later, in person," promised the doctor. Jim left the room.
"You got your project in the backyard finished yet, Spock?"
"It is fortified in the inside adequately. I merely need to add the doors, which will compose the entire ceiling, along with special adjustments I will make myself. Then it will be complete."
"Try planting trees and brush around it so it won't be so noticeable," suggested McCoy.
"That would be wise," agreed Spock.
"When are you going to tell Jim about the Jellyfish?"
"I will show him as soon as the hangar is finished, which should be in a few days," said Spock. "I know he has been very curious. It seems prudent to satisfy some of it, before he does anything rash."
"Good, that will help your relationship some. Have you had any problems?"
"None so far, that I can detect. He has been nothing but cooperative and obedient."
"He'll probably be that way for a while. The kid loves you. And he IS a kid, Spock. You're still giving him that look and tone."
"I understand, doctor. In the simulation today, it became more clear to me what you are referring to. I will endeavor to correct the problem."
"See that you do," McCoy commented doubtfully. "And quit spoiling him."
"I do not know what you are referring to, doctor."
McCoy snorted in disgust. "If you're not careful, the court will think he just likes you because of what you do for him. Now we both know that's not true,"
Spock frowned slightly. He was not so certain as McCoy. There was a considerable age gap between them, and Jim had been withholding the physical gestures of affection that his own Jim had freely bestowed. A new thought occurred to Spock. Jim had been abused for years by a man in the position of father. Was he, perhaps, afraid of him? Spock determined to be more cautious and gentle.
"but you still have to work on making a good impression."
"I may not have him for long, and I wish to do what I can for him in the time allotted me," protested Spock.
"I understand, Spock. I really do, having been in that nightmarish head of yours. But we've got to pull the odds in your favor somehow. Take the risk, the chance that he might be yours. You've got to! Too much is at stake!"
"I understand, doctor. I will endeavor to limit his activities."
"Good. Well, I have some things I have to do now, so I'll check in later. Goodbye, Spock."
"Goodbye, doctor." Spock cut the connection, then went to see what Jim was doing. He found him in the living room, catching up on his homework. He had heard that human children were notorious for being difficult about that. He was rather proud that Jim had done it on his own. "Are you in need of my assistance?" inquired Spock, watching for signs of fear now that it had occurred to him. It really was somewhat logical that he would be. It was just that his own Jim had never been afraid of him, even when he was dangerous and not in control of himself. He did, now, indeed see uncertainty on Jim's face. He kept his distance, not wanting to intimidate him.
"Well, there are a few things in math I'm a little confused on," admitted Jim. He explained what problems he had to solve, and the difficulties he was having. Spock sat down on his meditation mat, feeling that being lower than Jim and maintaining his distance would perhaps make him less frightening. For the first time, he regretted his superior Vulcan strength that now seemed to make Jim uncomfortable.
Despite loving and craving it, Jim was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with all the positive attention and help Spock was offering him. He felt unworthy of it. Didn't someone, especially someone as brilliant as Spock, have better things to do than be with him? After a while, it became too much. "That's okay, I can handle it from here," said Jim. He still had a few questions, but he would work them out for himself.
"Very well, but if you have any more difficulties, I am happy to be of assistance. You are my first priority, Jim. All my other work is secondary."
"Okay," said Jim, not knowing how to respond and feeling unworthy and overwhelmed.
"Since you wish to continue on your own, I will attend to my duties with Information Security on my computer. Should you need anything, or wish to use the computer yourself, feel free to interrupt." As Spock turned to go, he noticed a look of relief on Jim's face, releasing some of the high tension that had been increasing in his presence. This further confirmed his theory about Jim being afraid of him. He would have to come up with some way to reduce the fear. He would never hurt Jim.
Now feeling too exposed in the living room, Jim went to his room and shut the door. The least he could do to make things easy for Spock, was to finish his homework, so he did that. Having just arrived yesterday, there was nothing to clean, and since Spock replicated everything, there was no dinner to make. Spock had a dishwasher, so there was no dishes to wash, and none of his clothes needed washing yet. It seemed there was no way to give back to Spock as the Vulcan was giving to him. Feeling his discomfort increasing, he remembered how Spock had appreciated non replicated food. Maybe he could see if there was anything in the house to make dinner with. That would ease his anxiety a little.
Jim began poking around in the cupboards and refrigerator, trying to find something. Everything was pretty bare, though. He thoroughly searched the area, determined to be successful.
Spock, with his superior hearing, heard Jim poking around in the kitchen, quite extensively by the sound of it. He frowned slightly. Why would Jim do that? He had a replicator. Was there something he wanted?
Spock got up to see. He entered the kitchen. Jim was yet to be alerted to his presence. He watched him for a moment, feeling fond at the familiar stubborn determination that was etched on his face. It was that same determination and stubbornness that had saved his crew many times. "Is there something you need, Jim?"
Jim whipped around, startled. "Uh, well...I was just seeing if here was anything here I could make dinner with."
"There is no need," said Spock. "Jim, I will not treat you the way your parents did, and make you do everything, especially when I am fully equipped with the latest scientific advances that do all the work for us." Jim looked tense and uncomfortable again. Perhaps it would have been better if he'd left him alone. Maybe Jim needed more space between them to gain confidence.
"Okay," said Jim, anxious and uncomfortable again. What would he do now? He wasn't used to all of this time to himself. Usually his parents made him work around the house. And how would he repay Spock? "Are you sure there isn't anything I can do?"
"Jim, you can do anything you want to." Spock was glad McCoy wasn't here. He would have a field day with that. "There is nothing I require of you."
"Okay," said Jim.
"I understand that it is not in your nature to sit and do nothing," Spock said. "However, we must follow McCoy's directions. You must rest so you do not aggravate your injuries."
Jim's tension only seemed to increase. Spock wondered what to do. It seemed removing himself from Jim's presence would be expedient, as it seemed to be increasing his fear. He did not look fearful, per say, but he knew it was not in Jim's nature to show his fear. "Perhaps you might like to use my computer. You are welcome to it. I will first lock my programs on there, then you are free to do as you wish. I will meditate in the living room in the meantime."
Jim nodded and once more, seemed a bit relieved. Spock got him settled on his computer, then sat down on the mat in the living room. He would have to think on how to better approach him.
Jim, meanwhile, was surfing the galactic web, looking up different things that interested him. His comm had been too basic for it, and his parents never let him use the computer, so it was a fairly novel experience. He stopped for a minute, trying to think on what would he could search for next.
Then he had a thought. What if Spock was on here? There was something the old man was hiding, he was sure. Was there something on galactic web on him?
Jim first put in Selek, Vulcan, human, 155 years. The results did not show anything he didn't already know. So he next put in Spock, Vulcan, human, 155 years. While he did not get anything on his Spock, there were several things on a half human, half Vulcan named Spock that was his own age. There was one picture, and he even looked a little like his Spock. Since his Spock had grown up in an orphanage not knowing where he'd come from, it was possible they were related. What were the odds, though, of two half Vulcans, which were rare enough, but for both of them to be named Spock?
Jim briefly considered contacting the young Spock to see if he wanted to become pen pals. It would be cool to write someone who lived on a different planet with a completely different culture. Maybe he'd even solve his Spock's mystery of who his parents were, because the resemblance really was striking. It could be that Vulcans had different ways of naming their kids than humans did, and it worked the way a last name did, which is why it was the same. Who knew. Jim sent him a message, giving him his comm number to text him if he wanted to reply. Hey, his Spock had instantly taken a liking to him, despite being Vulcan...maybe this one would too.
He found some games on line to play for awhile. Spock came in with dinner and allowed him to eat by his computer while he continued with his games. He briefly wondered why Spock didn't sit down with him to eat. While he did feel uncomfortable and anxious about not being able to give back, he treasured that time with him. Maybe Spock didn't feel the same way? Jim let it pass, though, and continued on with what he was doing. He went without argument when Spock informed him that it was a wise time to go to bed, so he could be ready for school in the morning. He curled up in his bed, gazing at his glowing stars on the ceiling and basking in feeling like he was truly home.
Spock had originally planned on driving Jim to and from school, just so he could spend more time with him. However, in light of Jim's fear of him, he decided Jim would probably be more comfortable on the bus, though it was doubtful he'd admit that. When he informed Jim he would still be taking the bus to school, he agreed without argument, though he got the faint impression that Jim was not entirely happy. That was a bit mystifying, but Spock did not inquire into it.
Jim's day at school was rather uneventful until lunch, when Gary discovered that his comm was missing. As he went off to search everywhere he'd been for it, Finnegan approached Jim's table, a bullying sneer on his face. "So, the truth comes out, doesn't it."
Jim turned to him, confused, but with a sinking feeling in his stomach. Did Finnegan find out about his personal problems? "What do you mean?"
"That you're an unwanted kid some senile old Vulcan took pity on. I bet you didn't even write that essay, he did."
"Don't call Spock that," said Jim furiously. "Go away, Finnegan." How did he know?
"You're just the kind of guy that loser Gary would hang out with," Finnegan continued, ignoring Jim's protests. "That Vulcan must be just as stupid and stuck up -"
Jim stood in a fury, fists clenched. "Shut up about him!"
"I thought, you know, Vulcans were supposed to be logical? There's nothing logical about him being around you. He really must be losing it - "
Jim saw red. He'd never punched anyone before, but in this moment, he didn't hesitate. He drew his hand back and slammed his fist into Finnegan's ugly face.
Finnegan responded with an answering punch, and it intensified from there. Jim released all his frustration, tension, anger, confusion, helplessness, guilt and feelings of unworthiness on his opponent without restraint.
It was not long before an adult became aware of the situation and separated the two. They were taken to Mr. Kalomi's office, glaring at each other all the way. Jim could feel tears forming behind his eyes, but he did not shed them. He would not give Finnegan the satisfaction of knowing he'd hit him where it hurt.
While Mr. Kalomi did not seem surprised about Finnegan's appearance, he did seem confused to see Jim, who had never been called into his office before for a misdeed.
"Okay, Jim, I want to hear it from you first," Mr. Kalomi said, taking him aside to talk to him privately. "Why did you boys fight?"
Jim fidgeted, not wanting to go into the details. "I didn't like the way he was talking about Mr. Spock."
"Oh, your temporary guardian. Yes, as your principal I was informed of the situation, but I assure you I will make sure it is kept confidential. What did he say?"
"He said he was senile," said Jim. "And really losing it, because his decision to care for me was really illogical -" Jim's voice caught a bit on that, but he plowed on - "and that he's stuck up and stupid, and a loser, and he said Gary was a loser too."
"Hey, Jim, I know things are really in turmoil for you right now, and it's really tempting for you to act out, so I'll go easy on you, especially considering you've never done anything like this before. But if you do anything like this again, there will be consequences. I will, of course, have to inform Mr. Spock about what happened today."
Jim cringed. He'd prefer suspension over Spock knowing what had happened. He'd probably be really disappointed in him. "Okay," Jim said glumly.
"Jim, I hope everything works out for you. If there is anything you can do, let me know."
Jim did not know what Mr. Kalomi could do, but he thought it wouldn't hurt to mention it. "I'm trying to convince them to let me stay with Spock, but they keep trying to get me to change my mind."
"Well, if they ever come asking me for my opinion - which they probably will, by the way - I'll put in a good word for him. I heard he arranged for you to go to tour the Enterprise, even though you missed the official one. I can see why you want to be with him. Now, unfortunately, I have to get back to work, and you have to get back to your classes. In fact, you'd better get checked out by the school nurse. This fist fight of yours probably aggravated your injuries. Here's a note for the nurse and your teacher. Good luck, Jim."
"Thanks, Mr. Kalomi," said Jim, leaving. Finnegan then went to Mr. Kalomi for his scolding and punishment, and Jim gave him one last glare before he went to the school nurse.
The nurse informed him that he'd gained some new bruises, including a shiner on his face, and his recovery had indeed been set back a bit. The fight had fortunately been stopped before any real damage was inflicted. Jim, inwardly cringing at Spock's reaction to all of this, headed back to his class, feeling glummer than ever, and still angry with Finnegan.
Jim entered class, which had already started. He handed the note to the teacher and settled in next to Gary without looking at him. He felt paper brush against his palm.
Gary wrote: "While you were fighting, I found my comm with Finnegan's stuff. He must have looked at the messaging history and found out about everything. Everyone started asking if it was true, but Ben and I denied everything. Everyone knows Finnegan is an idiot. I'm sure everyone will forget soon and think nothing of it, just another rumor that amounted to nothing."
Jim simply wrote back: "Thanks, Gary. I'm sorry Finnegan stole your comm."
The rest of the school day passed all too quickly. Before he knew it, he was entering Spock's house - his home. He slowly walked towards his room, sure that he was in big trouble and had really disappointed Spock.