Jim carried the feel of Spock’s body around with him for days, after that first time.
The memory kept overwhelming him out of nowhere. He would be sitting at the breakfast table, or working in the lab at his summer job, and he would have a sudden sense memory of Spock’s body stretched against his, skin slick, soft lips and tongue against his own…
The memory always brought with it an ache of desire. Jim’s body had learned what it was to hold Spock like that, and it did not give up the feeling lightly. He felt constantly off-balance, distracted at work, moving through the world with heightened senses but diminished awareness.
More than anything else, one thought kept popping into his head. Spock was only a few hundred miles away.
Spock was only a few hundred miles away.
Was there anything in the world better to hear than that? A few hundred miles was less than the range of a long-distance transporter station. Each time Jim thought about it, he had a hard time keeping a huge smile off his face. Spock wasn’t on Vulcan anymore: he was here, on Earth, within Jim’s reach. He could see him at any moment.
Of course, a few hundred miles were still an obstacle for them, especially when one of them still had a week left in his summer job before the start of his junior year of high school, and the other had just become a Starfleet cadet.
They talked on video chat on Monday night, over twenty-four hours since Jim had last seen Spock. He grinned when Spock showed up on the screen of his computer wearing a red Starfleet uniform.
“Spock,” he said. “I didn’t expect to see you looking so official.”
Spock’s eyebrow rose. “You did not anticipate my wearing a uniform as a Starfleet Cadet?”
Jim grinned more widely. “Oh, I anticipated it,” he said. “Now I’m just…anticipating the best way to get it off you.”
The eyebrow stayed up. “Why, Jim,” he said, “I believe regulations require quite specifically that Starfleet cadets wear this uniform at all times. Surely it would be inappropriate for you to attempt to remove it under any…”
Jim just laughed. “I would so grab you and kiss you right now if I could,” he said.
Over the next ten minutes, he got to hear all about Spock’s first day at the Academy. It was the perfect topic, as far as Jim was concerned; it involved two of his favorite things in the world: Starfleet and Spock. He loved hearing in Spock’s words the distinctive contours of his mind: the way he connected ideas, the importance he gave to certain events, the way he cut through layers of detail to zero in on the logic of a situation. It all carried a flavor of Spock.
“So when do you think you’ll be able to get away?” he asked when Spock had finished telling him about his adviser meetings that afternoon.
He saw the spark of desire flare immediately in Spock’s eyes. In that instant, he knew they could both feel it: the utter inadequacy of talking without touch. They should be having this conversation in each other’s arms, skin against skin, lying back on a bed…
The thread of desire pulled Jim closer to the screen. Spock’s eyes were intent on his. “As soon as possible,” he said.
It turned out not to be that easy. New cadet orientation, it seemed, was a pretty intensive process, and Spock couldn’t predict yet when he’d have a block of time long enough to let him come all the way to Riverside, Iowa. Even that night, they only managed to talk for about twenty minutes when Spock had to leave to go to a meeting for his new department (Sciences, of course).
Jim sat at his computer after Spock was gone and tried to remember that this was at least much, much better than it had been when Spock was on Vulcan. At least he could talk to him face to face.
It was hard, though. The feel of Spock clung to him that night as he got ready for bed: Spock’s words, his voice, the expressions on his face. It made him long for his touch. Spock had said that he might be able to get away for a few hours later in the week, and Jim knew he had to be content with that—but his body was not. It was simmering with arousal as he brushed his teeth and changed into pajamas. All he wanted was to come back into his room to find Spock sprawled out on his bed, arms and body open to receive him…
But his bed was empty, and he crawled into it alone.
He had almost fallen asleep when the idea came to him. His eyes popped open, and he laughed out loud. Of course—it was so obvious. Spock was too busy to come to him, but who said he couldn’t go to Spock?
Well, his mother, most likely. It was just possible that she might let him go to San Francisco to visit Spock—but for that to happen, she would probably have to know that he existed.
It wasn't like he’d had a reason not to tell her in the past. It had just been one of those things he’d wanted to keep private, and there hadn’t been any need to tell her before. With Spock on Vulcan, weekend visits hadn’t really been an option.
But now…an uncomfortable conversation was a small price to pay for the privilege of being in Spock’s company for a whole weekend. Jim lay in the darkness and felt the remembered touches on his skin. To be able to lie in Spock’s bed with him, to hold Spock for as long as he wanted…
He closed his eyes again and let sleep creep back over him. Tomorrow night. He would tell her tomorrow night.
The following night arrived far too quickly for Jim’s tastes. He had decided to tell his mother at dinner, but by the time he sat down at the table he was very much regretting that decision.
He could always lie to her, of course. She would probably buy that he was staying over with Andy, or that he was going on a camping trip. But he didn’t see Spock stepping out of his life anytime soon, so he was going to have to tell her at some point.
She was setting a bowl of green beans on the table at the moment. Jim helped himself to mashed potatoes and meatloaf and tried to gauge her mood. She was going on about repairs that were needed to the washing machine, which was a good sign: it meant that her mind was here and not at the university. She was always much calmer when she wasn’t thinking about work.
When she reached a pause in the washing machine talk, Jim put down his fork.
“Mom,” he said, “I have something I want to tell you.”
She looked up, immediately on the alert. Damn it; why could his mother read him so well?
“What is it?” she asked.
His stomach was squirming suddenly. He hoped very much that it was not showing on his face. “I’ve, uh…” This had all sounded so much better when he’d planned it out in his head. “I’ve been seeing someone.”
He couldn’t quite read the thoughts that skated across her eyes. She was…alarmed? Concerned? Disturbed? Not angry, he thought, but it was hard to tell. She had been married to a Starfleet officer, after all. She knew something about poise under fire.
“Tell me about her,” she said.
Jim almost winced. This was the part he’d been dreading—well, one of several parts. “His name is Spock,” he said.
He saw her eyes flare slightly. Just that: a slight flare of surprise that her son who was always so popular with the girls was now seeing a boy. Then a little bit of a smile spread across her face, and he knew she was okay with that part, at least. “It is, huh?" she said, taking a bit of meatloaf. "So, who is he?"
Another of the parts he’d been dreading. It was turning out that there were a lot of them. “Well,” he said, “he’s a Vulcan, actually.”
This time she didn’t cover over her surprise. “Jim,” she said. She put down her fork. “Where did you ever meet a Vulcan?”
He was pretty sure his cheeks were flushed. “You remember that conference we went to in San Francisco last year?”
He could see the pieces falling together in her eyes. “Are you telling me that you met a Vulcan at that conference and have been seeing him for the past year?” she asked.
“Well, not seeing, exactly,” Jim said. “I mean, he’s been on Vulcan. We’ve been writing, mostly.” Except for last weekend, when he came over and we had sex on the couch. Maybe not a detail his mother needed to know.
“I see,” she said. Her eyebrows had come down, but there was a strange look on her face. She seemed confused and concerned at the same time. “Jim,” she said after a long pause. “I don’t want you to take this the wrong way…”
Oh, that was never a good start. He kept his gaze steady. She leaned closer to him, hands clasped on the table.
“Obviously I don’t know much about the relationship you have with this boy,” she said. “But I’ve known my fair share of Vulcans. I know how…unemotional they are. And if all you’re doing is writing to this boy…well, it might be difficult for you to see that. I’m a little concerned that you won’t be able to get everything you need out of him in a relationship.”
“I will,” Jim answered automatically. He hadn’t really anticipated this particular objection from her. He had gotten so used to seeing the emotions beneath the Vulcan surface that he’d almost forgotten… But he had no doubts about his answer. “Vulcans have a lot more emotions than you’d think.”
His mother nodded, seeming unconvinced but not looking like she was going to argue. “Well, if you’re sure…”
“Plus, he’s half-human.” Which probably didn’t matter, but what the heck.
“Hm, I guess that might…” His mother stopped and did a double-take. “Hang on,” she said, placing her hands flat on the table. “Are you telling me that you’re dating Ambassador Sarek’s son?”
Jim gave her a startled look. “Um, yes,” he said.
She straightened up in her chair, leaned back. “You are dating the half-human son of the Vulcan ambassador to Earth.”
“Yes,” he said again. What was she going on about? “Really, it hasn’t been that much of a thing.”
She was gaping at him. “Jim, have you thought about the interstellar politics of this?” she asked.
“The what?” he said.
“The politics.” She gave him a hard look. “This isn’t a trivial matter, Jim. We’re talking about two galactic superpowers here. Dating the son of the most powerful non-human in the Federation isn’t something to be done lightly.”
“Well, it’s a good thing I’m not dating him lightly, then,” Jim said, bristling.
She laughed without much humor. “Jim, you’re a good kid, but you’re only sixteen.”
“So what?" he snapped. “Does that mean I can’t fall in love?”
That stopped anything she was going to say. She opened her mouth, then closed it again. She ducked her head, and when she raised it again, he saw that her eyes were misty.
“Mom?” he prompted.
“Sorry,” she said. “It’s just…at times like this, I wish your father…” She trailed off and took a deep breath.
Now it was Jim’s turn to look away. It wasn’t something they talked about much.
She ran her hands over her eyes and smiled. “So,” she said, “I want to know why you didn’t tell me about this before.”
Damn it. He had been hoping she had wouldn’t think to ask that. “I don’t know,” he hedged. “It just never seemed like something I needed to tell.”
“So why did you decide to?” she asked.
She was looking at him with what he thought of as her fish-hook expression. Sometimes having an intelligent mother was not an advantage in life.
“Well,” Jim said, “the thing is, Spock just started at Starfleet Academy.”
Her eyebrows went up. “He did,” she said. “Wow. A Vulcan in Starfleet. Who would have thought?”
“Right,” Jim said. “Anyway, he just got there this week, and, well…I would really like to go visit him.”
His mother just looked at him silently.
“This weekend,” Jim added.
She was still looking at him, full poker face. Jim wondered very much what was flashing through her mind, and whether it included the word “sex.”
"Well?" he asked.
“Jim, honey, I’m not sure that’s a good idea,” she said at last.
He had expected some variant of that. A setback, but not a total defeat, and he was damned if he was going to walk away from this conversation without putting up a fight. “Why not?” he challenged.
She took a sip from her water glass. “Well, it’s just that you’re a little young to be going on unsupervised trips to San Francisco to visit boys I don’t know.”
“Then you can meet him,” Jim said quickly. “He can come over here for dinner.”
She nodded slowly. “I certainly would like to meet him.”
“And if he comes, you’ll think about letting me go visit him?”
There was a moment’s pause while she seemed to think about that. “We’ll see,” she said.
Jim’s face broke into a grin. It wasn’t a total victory, but it was a start.
He told Spock the story of The Dinner Conversation that night on video chat. Spock listened attentively.
“Tell me if I have understood correctly,” he said when Jim had finished his recitation. “If I come to dinner and make a suitable impression on your mother, then you may be permitted to come visit me here?”
“More or less,” Jim said.
The corners of Spock’s eyes crinkled into his version of a smile. “In that case,” he said, “I believe I can find an opening in my schedule tomorrow evening.”
Jim spent the whole next day with his head full of the prospect of the dinner. Not from anxiety—he wasn’t too worried about the impression Spock would make, not really. It was just the expectation of being in Spock’s presence, of sitting next to him and seeing his face and being able to touch…
“What time is that friend of yours coming?” his mother asked when he got home that evening.
“Seven,” Jim said. “And it’s Spock.”
Spock got there at 6:55. Jim’s mother was in the kitchen finishing the pasta, and Jim was setting the table. “A bit punctual, isn’t he?” Jim’s mother called into the dining room, but Jim wasn’t there anymore: he had left the table so fast it might have been on fire.
He pulled open the door. Spock stood on the other side, holding a bouquet of lilies.
Jim felt a smile spread across his face at the sight of him. Spock’s eyes flared with answering warmth, and for a moment the wave of desire to lean in and crush him to his body was almost overpowering. “Hi,” Jim said instead.
Spock nodded his greeting, his eyes still glowing in that way that Jim knew was only for him. He held out the flowers. “I believe it is customary for guests to bring a floral offering when fulfilling a dinner invitation?”
Jim laughed. “You got it right,” he said. “Come on in.”
He took the flowers from Spock’s hand and took hold of his fingers to lead him behind him toward the kitchen. They were just barely touching fingertips, but Jim could feel the warmth of it spreading all over his body.
“Mom,” he said. “Look who’s here.”
He had dropped Spock’s hand when they reached the kitchen, but he could feel his body beside him, just a few inches away. He knew that his face had to be glowing, but he couldn’t seem to damp it.
His mother dried her hands on a towel and came over. “Spock,” she said. “How very nice to meet you.” She stretched out her hand, then pulled it back. “I’m sorry, you don’t do handshakes, do you?”
“As a rule, no,” said Spock. “But it is always advisable to adapt to the culture one finds oneself in.”
“A good principle,” his mother said lightly. “But it’s also good manners for a host to be accommodating of her guests.” She was being warm and friendly already, but Jim knew that was just her hostess-persona. “Can I get you something to drink?”
“Water or juice would be acceptable,” Spock said.
She turned away to get him a glass. Jim used the occasion to move into the side of Spock’s body, so that their shoulders and arms touched briefly. He felt Spock pressing back.
They sat down to dinner a few minutes later. Jim had anticipated all sorts of difficult things about this dinner: his mother’s behavior, awkward silences, inadvertent insults…but five minutes into the meal he realized that none of those were the real challenges. The biggest one was going through an entire evening barely a foot away from Spock and not able to touch him the way he wanted to.
His mother had seated him and Spock next to each other and across the table from her, thank goodness. But in a way that made things harder. As soon as they had sat down, their feet moved to press together under the table. While his mother was serving the bread, Spock moved his foot up along Jim’s inner calf, and he found himself suddenly breathless with desire. If only his mother would leave the room, and he could grab Spock and seize his mouth…
But she stayed, and their feet did not separate, and Jim had to focus on making his hands work properly for eating. He was astonished by Spock’s powers of compartmentalization: he carried on a conversation with Jim’s mother about the courses she was teaching at the university, all the while stroking his toes softly against the arch of Jim’s foot. It was all Jim could do not to reach over, grab Spock’s leg with his hand, and follow it up to the hip…he clasped his hands together in his lap.
“So, Spock, tell me about the Academy,” his mother said when they’d finished the discussion of her courses. “It must be quite a change from Vulcan.”
“It is,” Spock said. “I have found my first few days to be most satisfactory.”
“And you parents,” Jim’s mother continued. “It must have been hard for them to let you go to school so far away.”
Jim tensed. Of all the things for her to bring up. This was what he’d been afraid of: inadvertent faux-pas, Spock clamming up…
But Spock’s expression remained placid. “That would not be a factor in decision-making for Vulcan parents,” he said. Which was, Jim noticed, not exactly an answer. “However, it is true that they did not approve my decision to attend.”
Jim saw surprise and sympathy appear in his mother’s face, and he winced: she was going to keep talking about it. “I can’t imagine that,” she said. “It’s a highly respected institution. They must be very proud you.”
The temptation was great to tell his mother to shut up. Jim settled for giving her a glare, which she didn’t see, because her eyes were on Spock.
Spock inclined his head at her words. “It is not the Vulcan way to receive one’s education off-world,” he said. “My father was concerned that my life here would lead to a departure from the Vulcan disciplines.”
Jim thought he saw his mother’s eyes cut very briefly to him, as if she were wondering if that had already happened.
“But you decided to disregard them?” she said.
Spock nodded. “It was…not an easy decision,” he said. “However, it became clear to me that this was the correct course, and I determined to follow it.”
A slight silence followed his words. Jim saw his mother open her mouth, presumably to ask another follow-up question, and he cut in. “Spock,” he said. “Tell my mom about the courses you’re going to take.”
It was hard to tell, given the stoic expression Spock had already been wearing, but Jim thought he saw his body relax infinitesimally. Jim found Spock’s hand under the table and brushed his knuckles against it lightly.
They talked for a while about the various courses of study at the Academy. It was something Jim’s mother had strong opinions on, being herself a teacher and a former Starfleet wife, and Jim and Spock spent a few minutes exploring the differences between science and the command track Jim was planning to be on, if he got in.
The topic was interesting, but the conversation was…disconcerting, to say the least. Jim wasn’t used to having conversations with Spock around other people. He had gotten used to Spock’s openness around him: the emotions that blazed across his face when they spoke to each other about important things, the open wonder that was sometimes in his eyes when he looked at Jim—none of that was there now. Spock did not allow emotions to manifest in his face or in his voice. If Jim hadn’t already known otherwise, he might have thought that Spock did not have very many.
Except that his foot was still nestled next to Jim’s. Except that he had come to dinner in a strange human household because he was hoping for the privilege of spending time with Jim. Because he loved him.
It was ironic that his mother had no cultural compunctions about the logic of showing emotion, and yet Jim had no idea what she thought of Spock. Humans might show emotions more freely, but he was starting to realize that in a lot of ways, they didn’t communicate their true feelings any more than Vulcans might.
“I regret that I must depart so soon,” Spock said when they were sipping coffee (well, tea, in his case, and water in Jim’s—his mother had shot him a disapproving glance when he had gone to pour himself coffee). “I must return to the Academy.”
Something inside Jim dropped at the prospect of Spock leaving. It didn’t matter how soon or how often he would get to see him; he still never wanted him to leave. “I’ll walk you out,” he said.
Jim’s mother said goodbye at the door. “Thank you so much for coming,” she said. “It’s been a pleasure to have you.”
Spock nodded deeply in reply. “You have been a most gracious host,” he replied.
Jim was outside, waiting for their goodbyes to be over. As soon as Spock was out, he pulled the door shut behind them.
They caught each other’s eyes. The open warmth returned to Spock’s, and Jim felt something inside him reinflate.
“I think she liked you,” he said.
“It is very important to me that she should,” Spock said softly.
They started walking across the lawn. They had gone about two steps when Jim reached over and caught Spock’s hand.
They didn’t speak on the walk toward the street. Jim could feel Spock’s urgency in the grip of his hand, and it was the same as his own. They down to near the edge of the lawn where there was a cluster of hydrangea bushes around the mailbox, easily high enough to hide two people from view of the house. Jim stepped behind them and pulled Spock into his arms.
They came together with a rush of desire. Jim clutched Spock tightly to him and felt the wonderful luxury of it after a dinner of stolen touches and forced distance. He felt as if they couldn’t get close enough. Their open mouths met, and the kiss turned deep quickly, tongues tangling against each other.
Jim was rediscovering the sweetness of Spock’s mouth. Spock made a little sound of desperation and clutched Jim to him harder. Both of them were breathing raggedly, hands stroking and fisting in fabric.
“Oh God, Spock, I want you right now,” Jim whispered.
Spock responded by grabbing his hips and moving them against his own. Jim gave a gasp at the feeling of their erections suddenly grinding against each other. He was dizzy with Spock, full up with the feel of him.
“Spock,” he moaned again, and kissed him harder. Spock’s tongue slid against his, and his fingers dug into Jim’s ass. The bulge in Spock’s pants felt so good against his own, the hardness of it maddening. He could feel the blood pounding in his cock. “Do you think we can…”
“Much as I desire it,” Spock’s voice whispered, “I fear the answer is no.”
It was true, and Jim knew it: they were in full view of the street, and his mother expected him back any minute. But it was agony when Spock eased their lower halves apart
He drew in a shaky breath. Their foreheads came together, and Jim brought his hands up to rest on the sides of Spock’s face. His chest was heaving.
“God, I want you so much,” he murmured.
Spock’s fingertips slid under his shirt, grazing the skin above his waistband and sending electric pulses straight to his groin. “As I do thee,” he whispered.
Jim wasn’t sure he was physiologically capable of walking away right then, of having Spock out of his grasp. It might kill him. “She had better let me go this weekend,” he said.
Spock tipped his head and found Jim’s mouth again. Their kiss was gentler this time: both knew it couldn’t lead anywhere, but the pleasure of Spock’s tongue in his mouth was irresistible. Jim felt like he was stocking up on the taste, to get him through the hours before they met again.
It was all he could do not to pull Spock close again and grind their cocks together. His own was throbbing, demanding touch, but not here, not next to the street like this…
He pulled away before he stopped being able to. “I love you,” he whispered fiercely.
Spock’s fingers ghosted down the side of his face. “I love you as well,” he murmured, and kissed the very corner of his mouth.
Then he stepped away from Jim, leaving him suddenly cold and bereft. Jim hugged his arms to his chest and watched him walk away until he rounded the corner and disappeared from sight.
It was several minutes of mental math and other non-sexual thoughts before he was in any condition fit to reenter the house. He found his mom loading dishes into the dishwasher.
“Is Spock gone?” she asked.
She slotted the plates into the bottom rack. “He seems like a nice boy,” she said. “Very Vulcan, of course.” She paused and grabbed a handful of silverware. “But a good young man, I think.” She cast Jim a glance. “Trustworthy.”
Jim felt his face light up. “Does that mean I can go to San Francisco this weekend?”
She regarded him for a long minute with pursed lips. “I don’t see why not,” she said finally.
He smiled broadly and ran up the stairs to send a message.