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Spock came to Earth for six weeks but ended up staying for six years.  He was twelve when his parents brought him on an extended stay to the planet so his father could meet with some ambassadors.  At first, Spock had not liked Earth.  So many humans around made him anxious, so he elected to stay inside most of the time.  However, within a week of their being on Earth, their neighbors showed up with dinner and had stated their intent in “getting to know” the new family.

There was a mother, Winona, and two boys, Sam and Jim.  Spock recognized them as the family of George Kirk, who captained the Kelvin and died when it was attacked by Romulans.  Jim, at ten years old, was closest to Spock’s age.  He was restless and excited, whereas Spock was calm and controlled.

Despite being initially turned off by Jim’s energy, Spock became fast friends with the younger boy.  Jim showed Spock how to skip stones and climb trees, and Spock taught Jim how to play chess and how to meditate.  Well, Jim tried to meditate.  He usually wasn’t successful.

Jim went to the gifted school two towns over, and Spock was homeschooled.  They saw each other every day, and their friendship grew stronger as they grew older.

When Jim was fourteen his mother got remarried.  Jim was angry, and he spent a week at Spock’s house.  Frank was lazy and mean, but with Winona back in space there was no one to recognize what was happening in Jim’s house.

The beatings were infrequent at first.  In fact, Jim wouldn’t have even called them beatings.  Just a few smacks on the back with a belt or a couple slaps to the face.  Nothing major.  Jim had learned how to deal with it.

But they got worse.  Frank would come home drunk, wrench open Jim’s bedroom door, and beat him nearly senseless.  If Spock ever noticed any bruises, Jim would say he and Sam had wrestled too roughly, or that he fell.  Spock had no reason to disbelieve him.

But Spock’s mother, Amanda, started to get suspicious.  Jim was not a clumsy boy.  He was strong and athletic, and it seemed strange that he was always hurt.  But Amanda never broached the subject.  She didn’t want to scare Jim, and since his mother wasn’t around, Amanda felt like there was no one she could really talk to about the issue.  

On the day it happened, she wished she had said something.

Jim had come over the previous day with a violent bruise on his arm and red marks on his neck.  Walking by the house on her way home, she heard muffled voices and the sounds of slapping.  Hurrying home, she dropped the groceries on the kitchen counter and went into Spock’s room.  “Spock, go to Jim’s.  Right now,” she told him.

Spock didn’t say a word as he sprang up and ran down the steps and out the front door.  He sprinted to Jim’s house, Vulcan hearing picking up on Jim’s sounds of anguish and the sounds of what was most likely a belt hitting bare skin.

He pushed open the front door and had to remind himself that it would be wrong to kill Jim’s stepfather, even though probably no one would blame him for it.  He looked down at Jim, who was bleeding and bruised, and felt absolute rage consume him.  He would have been ashamed at his lack of control if he had not been so angry.  

Jim heard the door open and looked up at Spock.  His eyes were wet with held-back tears and his teeth were embedded in his lip, blood flowing in small rivulets from the flesh like a vampire.  When he saw Spock, he cried out.

That was when Frank noticed that someone else was in the room, and he met Spock’s eyes as well.

Spock growled, loud and menacing, and sprang from his position, toppling Frank and raising his hand to hit the man.  Realizing as his arm was drawn back that it might upset Jim to witness more violence, Spock pinched the man’s neck instead.  He flopped back on the carpet, unconscious.

Spock stood and hurried over to Jim, who was still on the floor.  He watched as Jim opened his mouth wide enough for his teeth to pull free from his lip.  “Jim, can you stand?” he asked.

Jim tried, then cried out and dropped back down.  “My leg.  Hurts really bad.”

Spock crouched and lifted Jim as carefully as he could, carrying him out of the house like a child.  It was then that Jim began sobbing into Spock’s chest.  He didn’t even notice that Spock planted little kisses in his hair, pressing his lips to Jim’s head over and over.

Spock carried Jim into his house, and Amanda rushed to them.  “Jim!  Oh, honey.  I’ll get the car.”

They went to the garage and Spock opened the back door, laying Jim down as carefully as he could, though he jostled Jim’s leg a bit, before running to get in on the other side and rest Jim’s head in his lap.

“Where we goin’?” Jim asked, exhausted.  He was crying and ready to pass out.

“My mother is taking us to the hospital, Jim.  It is alright.”

“Mmm.  Scared,” Jim said quietly.  Amanda tried not to cry from the front seat.

“Do not be afraid, my Jim.  All will be well."

Jim fell unconscious.

At the hospital, the doctors rushed him back and treated his injuries, using the regenerator on his leg.  After about an hour, one of the doctors came out to inform Spock and Amanda of Jim’s condition.  “Are you the ones who brought in Jim Kirk?”

“That is correct,” Spock replied, both of them standing.

“I’m Dr. Puri, the attending physician in the ER.  Jim is recovering well.  We’ve treated the bruising and lacerations, and luckily there was no internal damage.  The regenerator is working on his leg now.  It was a clean break, which is good.  It should be about another two hours before it’s finished.  He’s on painkillers, and he’s still asleep.”

“Painkillers?” Spock interjected.  “Have you been informed of his allergies?”

“Yes, they were all listed in his chart,” Dr. Puri replied with a small smile.

“May I see him?” Spock asked, head lowered in anxiety.

“Of course.”  He led them back to a small room where Jim lay peacefully on white sheets, the regenerator buzzing softly around his leg.

“You go ahead, honey,” Amanda said to Spock.

Spock stood next to Jim’s bed and hesitantly touched his hand, being careful to shield himself against Jim’s mind.  “I am….I am sorry, Jim.  I should have realized what was happening.  I am only thankful that I got to you in time today.”  He swallowed.  “I….”  He couldn’t finish, couldn’t think of what else to say, so he squeezed Jim’s hand instead.

“Come on, honey,” Amanda said softly.  “We can come back tomorrow morning.”  She gave Jim a kiss on the forehead and then they made their way to the parking lot.

Spock didn’t sleep at all that night.  When they got home, police hovercars were parked outside Jim’s home.  Spock didn’t question who had alerted the authorities.

He meditated, though not sufficiently, and spent the rest of the night either reading or sifting through his memories of Jim, looking for clues he might have missed that could have alerted him sooner to Jim’s abuse.  He felt guilty, though he tried to let the fact that Jim was finally going to be OK make up for that guilt.  It was a long night.

In the morning Amanda took Spock to the hospital, where he rushed to see Jim.  Jim was awake, sitting up in bed and eating breakfast.

“Spock,” he said as he smiled.  His leg was out of the regenerator and resting naturally on the bed.

“Jim,” Spock replied, barely able to find his voice.  “How are you feeling?”

“Better.  My leg’s a little stiff, but that’ll be fine in a few days.”

Spock nodded.  Jim seemed cheery, but his eyes were dull and sad.  “What troubles you, Jim?”

Jim looked down, poking his eggs with his fork.  “I….I don’t know what to do.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean they’ll probably call Protective Services or something and then I’ll have to live with some lame family for the next two years and---.”

“Jim,” Spock interrupted.  “They will not call Protective Services.”

“Yeah they will, Spock, that’s their job---.”

“They will not call anyone because we have taken custody of you.”

Jim stared at him in silence.  “What?”

“My mother and father have gained custody of you until you turn eighteen.  Unless...you do not want…”

“Yes!” Jim replied, cutting him off.  “I….I don’t know what to say, except...thank you.  I….That really means a lot.”

“I thought you should know that Frank has been arrested.”

Jim nodded.  “So...just me, your mom, and your dad then, with you leaving soon for Starfleet and all,” he said, trying and failing to remain lighthearted.

“No, Jim,” Spock replied, shaking his head.  “My parents have allowed me, if you wish, to take you to San Francisco.  You can finish your schooling there and apply for Starfleet.  Unless you wish to remain in Iowa, in which case they will be more than happy to take you in.”

“I….San Francisco?  You and me?”

“Yes, Jim.”

Jim grinned, big and bright.  “That’s...that’s amazing, Spock!  I’m so excited!”

“I have already located several suitable apartments.”

“That’s great, Spock.”  Jim poked at his eggs some more, suddenly nervous.  “Hey, Spock?”

“Yes, Jim?”

“Yesterday, you kissed me.  I get it if it was just like a spur of the moment thing, or if it was a reaction to an extreme situation, but I just wanted to know,” he said quietly.

Spock turned Jim’s face so Jim was looking at him.  “Jim, I kissed you because my emotions got the better of me.”

“Oh,” Jim said quietly, casting his eyes down.

“You misunderstand me.  My emotions were---are---so strong because I love you.  Seeing you in pain...was almost more than I could bear.”

“You love me?” Jim whispered.

“You are everything to me.”

Jim’s face seemed to crumple before he surged forward and kissed Spock, lips moving softly against the other boy’s.  “I….Oh, God, Spock.  I’ve loved you for so long,” he said when they broke apart, gripping the front of Spock’s shirt.

Spock stroked Jim’s cheek with his palm before leaning in for another kiss.  They broke apart when they heard loud footsteps approaching the room, separating in time for Dr. Puri to discharge Jim and leave him in Spock and Amanda’s care.

When they arrived back at Spock’s, Amanda set Jim up with plenty of pillows and blankets and gave them each bowls of ice cream.  She kissed Jim on the temple before telling them both to shout if they needed anything.

They settled on Spock’s bed to watch a holo, Jim snuggling in close to Spock’s side.  There was another month before they left for San Francisco, and there was a lot to be done before then.  But for now, they relaxed.  Jim felt like a giant boulder that he hadn’t even known was there had been lifted off his chest.  He was free, and Spock was by his side.  Nothing hurt at all.

 

Chapter Text

Jim woke up, sweating and gasping and held against Spock’s chest.  “Sorry,” he whispered once he had calmed down, soothed by Spock stroking his damp hair and murmuring to him in Vulcan.

“As I have told you before, there is no need to apologize.  Do you need water?”

Jim shook his head and settled down again against Spock’s chest.  “Thank you,” he whispered.

Spock kissed the top of his head in response.

----

“He cannot stay here any longer,” Spock said to his mother.  Jim was outside, reading a novel.  “His nightmares have increased in frequency every night.  He is…” Spock trailed off.  “Being here is no longer benefitting him.  I wish for us to relocate to San Francisco as soon as possible.”

Amanda sighed.  “Have you talked to him about it?”

“No.”

“Maybe you should.  I wouldn’t make a big decision without his opinion.”

“He has already agreed to come with me at the end of the month.  I do not see why three weeks makes a difference.”

“Because it shows that you trust him,” Amanda said, smiling as she touched Spock’s cheek.

“I trust Jim implicitly.  But it is also my duty to protect him, to do what is best for him.  He is my mate.”

Amanda kissed him on the forehead.  “I know.  Ultimately it’s your choice.”

Spock turned and walked out to the front lawn, where Jim was on his back, looking up at his PADD.  Spock sat down next to him.  

“Hi,” Jim said with a smile.

“Hello, Jim.”

Jim put his arm down and turned his head towards Spock.  “You OK?”

“Affirmative.  I wish to ask you what you think about relocating to San Francisco at the end of the week.”

Jim sat up.  “You don’t want to stay here for the month?  With your mom and dad?”

“Your health is more important to me.”

Jim swallowed.  “Is this about the nightmares?”

“They are getting worse.  I do not believe it is good for you to be here.”

“OK,” Jim said.

“You do not wish to discuss it further?”

“No, I’m good.  Why?”

“It was my understanding that humans required time to make decisions, and they often...had ‘talks.’”

Jim laughed.  “I’m a pretty easy guy to please, Spock.  I mean, we were gonna go anyway, I don’t see why it makes a difference.”

“Fascinating.”

“What?” Jim laughed.

“I said precisely the same thing to my mother, yet she seemed to think you might not agree with me.”

Jim leaned over to kiss Spock on the cheek.  “Well,  I might not always, but I trust you.”

Spock allowed himself to feel the low buzz of contentment that had sprung up.

----

They took three days to pack and arrived in San Francisco on a Saturday.  They unpacked slowly, constantly interrupted by the excitement of being on their own and the subsequent kissing and touching to express their joy to each other.

The landlord was nice enough to let them move in sooner since the apartment had been empty.  He was a Scottish man, jovial with a thick accent, and everyone called him Scotty.

They spent the next weeks exploring the city and walking around Starfleet’s campus.  Spock started reading some of his textbooks, and Jim got his schedule from his new school---another gifted school a five minute walk from their apartment.

----

September came and Spock began at Starfleet and Jim at his school.  Spock had been chosen to help one of the botany instructors with some research two nights a week.  Jim had become friends with a boy in his class named Leonard (nicknamed Bones by Jim), and on the nights Spock was in the lab Jim went to Leonard’s house to do homework.  The family was originally from Georgia, and Leonard’s mom fed them sweet tea and cookies as they worked.  Then Jim would go home and cook dinner, and Spock would come around seven o’clock and they would eat together.  

Spock cooked two nights a week, and on Fridays they went out.  Jim had wanted to get a job to pay for food and rent, but Spock made quite a good stipend doing research and being a teacher’s assistant in two of the xenolinguistics classes, and Amanda and Sarek sent them money every month.  They’d had a bit of an argument about it, but agreed that Jim should focus on his studies, at least for his first year in a new school.

----

Spock completed his first year at Starfleet and Jim was entering his last year of high school.  He got a job to pay for groceries, and Spock was asked to design a new test for command track cadets.  Jim, with his high intellect and incomparable computer skills, helped Spock with it when he worked late at night, sitting against the headboard with Jim against his side.  Then Jim would fall asleep, resting against Spock’s chest as exhaustion from school and work overtook him.

----

Jim graduated, and Amanda and even Sarek came to the graduation.  They went out to dinner afterwards, celebrating Jim’s success and his acceptance into Starfleet.

That night, after they’d gotten home, Spock held Jim close in the living room.  “I am very proud of you, Jim,” he said softly.

----

Jim received his cadet reds a few months later and tried them on for Spock.  “How do I look?” he asked, arms held out as he smiled.

Spock’s nostrils flared and his eyes flashed.  “Very appealing.  I find I wish to take the uniform off of you.”

“But I just put it on!” Jim whined.  “Are you saying it doesn’t look good?”

“I am saying it looks too good.  The other cadets will want you.  But they cannot have you.”

Jim stepped forward and wrapped his arms around Spock’s neck.  “No.  Only you,” he agreed.  Spock pressed his lips to Jim’s and began to unbutton the uniform hastily.  “Careful, it’s new,” Jim half-laughed, half-whispered.  Spock had just pushed Jim’s jacket over his shoulders when there was a knock on the door.  Spock stepped back, and Jim whined.  “Spo-ock,” he said, shoving his hips once against Spock’s thigh and groaning.

They heard the knock again, and Spock went to the door.  He opened it to reveal Leonard on the other side, and invited him in.  

“Did ya get it?” Leonard asked Jim.

“Yeah.  I like it.”

“Too much red,” Leonard groused, making Jim laugh.

“Spock likes it,” Jim said.

“You’re gross.”

“Jim,” Spock admonished.

“What?” Jim asked, feigning innocence.

Leonard stayed a while before going home, and Jim and Spock, worn out by the excitement of the day, went to bed and fell asleep easily.

----

Jim was nervous on the first day of classes.  “I don’t know about this, Spock,” he said, dressing in his reds and looking at himself in the mirror in their bedroom.

“What troubles you?” Spock asked, running a hand down Jim’s arm.

“What if...what if it’s too hard?  What if they decide it was a big mistake to let me in?”

“Jim, that will not happen.  You are...exceptional...in every way,” he said sincerely.

Jim smiled at him in the mirror.  “I’m supposed to meet Bones in twenty minutes.”

“Then we will depart.”

Arriving on campus, they exchanged a Vulcan kiss as Jim spotted Leonard a few hundred feet away.  “We still on for lunch?”

“Yes.  I will meet you outside the cafeteria at 1300.”

Jim smiled, though Spock could see he was still a little nervous.  “OK.  I love you.”

“And I you.”

----

By lunch time, Jim was grinning so big his face hurt.  “I trust you are having a pleasant day,” Spock said as they entered the cafeteria.

“Yep!” Jim answered.  “You?”

“Acceptable, yet much better knowing you are well.”

Jim subtly brushed his fingers against Spock’s.

----

That night, Jim was sitting cross-legged on their bed, tongue sticking out from between his lips as he studied a PADD, the bright light of it making his face glow white.

“I thought you had finished your work for night, ashayam,” Spock said, entering the room.

“I did.  I’m studying for your test.”

“The Kobayashi Maru?”

“Mmhmm.”

“You will not take the test for another two years.”

“Doesn’t mean I can’t start now.”

“The test is impossible to beat.  You are aware of that, especially since you helped me with some of the coding.”

“Yeah, so I can figure out how to beat it.”

“That is not the purpose of the test.”

“Spock, when I was living with Frank I thought that my life was just gonna be one beating after another.  I thought I didn’t have a future.  Then you came that day and rescued me and...look at my life now.”  They had spoken at length before about why Jim hadn’t confided in Spock about Frank’s abuse, and it ended with Jim crying, saying he was scared Spock would hate him and that Frank would find out and hurt him even more.  “I’ll never let myself think that there isn’t another way, because I’ve been proven wrong on that one,” he continued, curling his fingers over Spock’s wrist.

Spock sat down next to him.  “As the designer of this test I cannot encourage your behavior.  But, as your mate...I find that I wish to see what solution comes to your mind.”

“Sneaky,” Jim whispered, placing a kiss on Spock’s cheek.

----

When Jim beat the test two years later, Spock couldn’t be too disappointed.  After all, his Jim had proven himself worthy of the honor of being a starship captain.  He was strong, and brave, and Spock was exceedingly proud to call Jim his mate.

And when Jim was given the Enterprise with Spock as his first officer, Spock had no worries.  He trusted Jim implicitly, and would be by Jim’s side to do what was best for him as he always had, and as he always would.