To Find Where I Belong
Six point two weeks into his retraining, Spock learns about pon farr. He reads over the descriptions of betrothals and bonding and physical changes in the body with the same diligence as every other piece of information he has come across over the past weeks, but when he tries to apply his new knowledge to his own life, he fails.
The information states that all Vulcans are betrothed to a member of the opposite sex at the age of seven, leading to a bonding at the time of pon farr. His age is such that he must have experienced several pon farrs, but nothing he has experienced over the past weeks would lead him to conclude he is bonded. The only Vulcan woman aside from the healers who spends any time with him at all is Saavik, and she certainly does not act as if they are married.
His attempts to question the healers reveal no useful information, so he decides to ask his mother.
"Do I have a wife?" he asks, the next time she visits.
She seems surprised at the question, studying him silently for a moment before saying carefully, "Why do you ask?"
He explains about the information he has found and how it has been puzzling him. "I was given to understand that all Vulcans are betrothed at the age of seven."
She nods. "Yes, that's true, but not all of those betrothals work out. In your case it was broken when she found someone else."
Spock considers that. "I do not have a wife?"
His mother shakes her head. "No."
She is silent for a moment, as if searching for words. "I don't think you ever wanted one," she says finally.
Spock tilts his head in confusion. "It is not a question of wanting." The texts were very clear on that point.
"Yes, but…" She trails off and sighs, reaching out to lay a hand on his arm. "Your books and lessons won't cover everything, Spock," she says softly. "Some things you'll have to figure out on your own."
* * *
The conversation doesn't come back to him until several months later, back on Earth after their adventure in the past, when he turns a corner in their Starfleet issued sleeping block and comes across Commander Chekov and Commander Sulu pressed against a wall, kissing passionately. Their mouths are pressed together, hands roaming across their bodies in a somewhat indecent fashion. It is the sort of scene that would never occur on Vulcan, and Spock watches them with curiosity for a few seconds before it occurs to him that he should perhaps announce his presence.
He folds his hands behind his back and steps forward. "Gentlemen?"
The two men jump apart instantly, turning as one to face him. "Captain Spock!" Chekov exclaims. "What are you doing here?"
Spock tilts his head. "I was returning to my room to meditate. I did not intend to interrupt your… activities."
They both turn red. Sulu clears his throat and says, "Well, with the trial tomorrow, we thought we should seize the day."
"Indeed," Spock replies. "Although, given recent events, I find it unlikely that they will be able to punish you severely. It would be extremely bad publicity to imprison the saviours of Earth."
"I hope so," Sulu says. He glances at Chekov then rubs the back of his neck. "So, we'll just go and uh, seize the day somewhere else."
"Actually," Spock puts in before they can turn to leave, "would it be possible for me to ask you a few questions?"
"About what?" Chekov asks.
Spock takes a step closer, thinking over how to word his questions. "Are relationships such as yours common among humans?"
They glance at each other. "You mean between men?" Sulu asks.
Sulu scratches the back of his head. "It depends on what you mean by common. They're certainly not uncommon, though. Humans don't really care about stuff like that. Not anymore, anyway."
"Neither do Vulcans," Chekov adds cheerfully.
Sulu glares at him, muttering, "Shut up, Pav," to Spock's confusion.
"Vulcans?" he asks. His retraining had never mentioned such a thing, but he supposes they could not cover everything.
Chekov nods firmly, ignoring Sulu's glare. "Yes. Many of them." He appears to be about to say more, but Sulu steps in front and gives Spock an apologetic smile.
"I'm sorry to cut this short," he says, "but we do have a lot to do, and…"
Spock nods. "I understand. Thank you for indulging me. Your answers were most helpful."
"If you want to know more, you should talk to Admiral Kirk," Chekov says, then yelps as Sulu grabs his wrist and begins to drag him away.
"It was nice talking to you!" Sulu calls brightly. "Hope you have a good night!" Then, much quieter, to Chekov, "You know he told us not to say anything!"
The rest of Chekov's response is lost as Sulu pulls him into one of the rooms. Spock stands there for a few seconds, contemplating the strange nature of humans in general and his friends in particular, before proceeding to his room to meditate.
And perhaps conduct some research.
* * *
A quick search of the computer banks confirms Chekov's information; slightly more than five percent of Vulcans take a bondmate of the same sex, and this is not considered particularly unusual. In fact, almost every species in the Federation includes at least a small percentage of individuals attracted to their own sex, although the exact number varies widely between species.
This fact is never far from his mind as he meditates, his mind flashing back to his mother's reaction when he questioned her about a potential wife. He cannot help but wonder if her answer would have been the same had his question been about a husband instead.
At that thought an image of Admiral Kirk enters his mind and refuses to leave. Spock probes deeper into his still-scattered memories as he contemplates that idea. It would explain a great deal; his feeling of being drawn to the other man almost since he regained consciousness after the fal-tor-pan, his discomfort with Kirk's attempts to charm Gillian, and Kirk's obvious unhappiness whenever Spock shies away from his touch or insists on calling him Admiral. Not to mention Chekov's suggestion that he talk to Kirk about matters of Vulcan sexuality.
The only thing he cannot figure out is why, if what he suspects is true, Kirk did not tell him about it. He puzzles over that for a few moments, then sets it aside and proceeds with his meditation. He suspects that is a question he will have to ask Kirk.
* * *
Half-an-hour later finds him standing outside Kirk's quarters, waiting to be granted entrance. After a few moments the door slides open to reveal Kirk, dressed in a Starfleet uniform without the jacket, and holding a glass of dark liquid in one hand. He looks surprised to see Spock.
"Ad-" Spock cuts himself off mid-word and tries again. "Jim. May I come in?"
Kirk's expression softens at the use of his first name. "Yes, of course," he says, stepping aside to let Spock past. "Was there something you wanted?"
Spock steps inside the room, letting the door slide shut beside him, and takes a moment just to look at his friend. It is like seeing him for the first time, and he has the sudden urge to touch, to feel. He opens his mouth to tell Kirk that they need to talk, but what comes out is, "Why did you not tell me we were lovers?"
Kirk's eyes widen and he nearly drops the glass he is holding. He puts it down hastily on a nearby table and says breathlessly, "You remember?"
Spock shakes his head. "I would like to," he offers, as Kirk's face falls.
Kirk frowns. "I don't understand. If you don't remember, then how-"
"I ran into Messrs Chekov and Sulu in the hallway. Their… display of affection opened my eyes to feelings I was not previously aware of." He takes a breath, adding quietly, "And your behaviour over the past days indicated that those feelings might not be onesided."
Kirk's hands twitch. It is a familiar motion, but it only now dawns on Spock what it really is; a desire to touch being held sharply in check. He reaches out and slowly, carefully, entwines their fingers.
"You still have not answered my question," he says absently, more interested in the myriad emotions being transmitted through Kirk's touch. Desire, affection, fear. And love. Such strong love.
Kirk shrugs, staring at their clasped hands. "I didn't want you to go along with a relationship out of some sort of obligation. I wanted you to come back to me on your own."
Spock squeezes Kirk's hand, feeling something warm and light well up in his chest. "I have," he says.
Kirk gives him a slightly watery smile. "I missed you," he says. "So much."
"I know," Spock replies. "I believe I missed you too. I just did not know what it was I was missing."
Carefully he leans down and brushes his lips against Kirk's.