Actions

Work Header

Stay Strong

Chapter Text

“James Tiberius Kirk!”

Jim walked across the stage to receive his diploma to a round of thunderous applause.  Though he had already been living in San Francisco for a year now, he still found himself constantly surprised by how much more weight the Kirk name carried in the largest Starfleet base on Terran soil than it had back in Riverside.  Everybody here was cheering for him whether they actually knew him or not, and he had to admit, if only to himself (and Spock, of course), that it felt good not to feel like the whole world was waiting for him to disgrace his father’s name.

Once the diploma was in his hands, he looked out over the crowd to find his adopted family and was surprised to see that Amanda and Sarek weren’t alone.  Jim grinned widely and nudged at their bond in greeting, already anticipating the outpouring of pride and affection that swelled toward him in response.  Spock had been doing some kind of training exercise in a remote part of the country for the past month and a half, and he wasn’t supposed to be back yet. 

Not for the first time, Jim cursed the fact that the Vulcan bastard was so much better at this mind shit than he was.  Spock didn’t usually take advantage of the fact that he could actually keep a secret, but he could certainly surprise Jim when he wanted to.

This was definitely a good surprise though.  Sure, they still shared headspace and, most of the time, dreams too, but things hadn’t been the same since Spock left for Starfleet.  Jim felt like he missed him anytime they weren’t together, and unfortunately, the times they weren’t together were frequent and unbearably long.  That first year after Spock graduated from high school had been the worst because the rest of them had been stuck in Riverside until Amanda’s contract had run out.  Even though things were good now that they were living in the same city at least, Jim could only imagine how much fucking better they would be once he and Spock moved in together.

And if Spock was back, it could happen sooner than Jim had expected too, which was the real reason he currently couldn’t keep a smile off his face.  After all, once they moved in together, he would finally—finally—be able to get Spock to move past first fucking base already. 

Despite the fact that they had just had their third anniversary a little less than two months ago, Spock had still insisted on waiting until Jim was eighteen before they did anything more than kiss.  Jim could understand his reasoning somewhat.  He knew that if any hint of a sexual relationship between him and Spock became public before he turned eighteen, Winona would remove him from Sarek and Amanda’s custody and ship him off to parts unknown.

He had been content to wait until the night of his eighteenth birthday, but then the day had come and gone, and Spock hadn’t made even the most subtle of overtures.  Jim still didn’t know why because Spock wouldn’t tell him, wouldn’t even let himself think about it.

Truthfully, it was making Jim feel lonely, and he didn’t like it at all.  Jim wasn’t supposed to feel lonely; he had Spock.  Now that Spock was back from his trip, Jim was going to sit him down and make the Vulcan bastard tell him everything.

The rest of the ceremony seemed to drag by, his thoughts only making him more eager for it to end.  But then, it was over at last, and Jim was out of his seat, running before anyone else had even moved.

If Spock hadn’t been a Vulcan, Jim was sure he would have knocked him on his ass.  Fortunately, Spock’s arms wrapped around him, and they both stayed upright. 

God, Jim had missed him.

“I missed you, too, Jim,” Spock whispered in reply to his unspoken words.

Jim looked up at Spock warmly and really wished he could kiss him right the fuck now.  He wanted it so much, but he knew that despite the differences between Spock and the other Vulcans, his mate was still not very comfortable with public emotional displays.  Instead, he held up one hand and twined his fingers with Spock’s.

Spock’s lips quirked fondly, and he surprised Jim by pulling him closer and placing one chaste kiss on his lips before nuzzling the side of Jim’s face with his nose.  “Congratulations, t’hy’la.”

“Quit monopolizing him, Spock,” Amanda said from behind them, causing Jim to jump and crane his neck to look at her.  When he was in Spock’s arms—warm, safe, home—he had a tendency to forget that the rest of the world existed.  Amanda was standing between Sarek and Captain Pike, her arms crossed, an expression of amusement on her face.  “Your father and I would like to hug him, too.”

Spock raised one eyebrow and somehow pulled Jim even closer.  “You are mistaken, Mother.  It is he who is monopolizing me, and I find that I do not mind it at all.”  Jim leaned into Spock, grinning a bit.  The feeling was completely mutual.

“Spock,” Amanda chastised.  “At least let him say hello to Chris.”  She turned toward the man at her side.  “We did try to teach him manners, but then he met Jim, and all of our hard work went right out the window,” she teased.

Sarek nodded solemnly.  “It is true.”

Jim made a face at his adoptive parents, but then, he disentangled himself from Spock and smiled at Pike.  The man had been a dinner guest at their house frequently over the past year, and Jim had gotten to know him fairly well.  Pike was used to seeing him and Spock be… well, him and Spock.  “Hello, Captain Pike,” Jim greeted him amiably, shaking his hand.  “It’s been awhile.”

Pike had been overseeing Spock’s training exercise, and so, he obviously hadn’t been around for his weekly dinner with Jim and Spock’s family.  Even still, it felt like no time had passed at all when he grinned at Jim.  “Good to see you, Jim.  I would say, ‘Congratulations on your graduation’, but I’m pretty sure that means you’re going to be my problem now.”

Jim’s smiled at him sweetly.  “Every day until you retire, sir.”

Pike groaned.  “Isn’t that the truth?”

Jim stepped back and nudged Spock with his shoulder.  “Hey Spock, are you going to let him talk to me like that?”

Spock stared at him blankly for a moment before looking over at Pike and then back at Jim.  “Yes,” he replied, deadpan.

Jim let out a huff of laughter.  “I should’ve known,” he said, shaking his head and jutting out his bottom lip.

“All right, you three,” Amanda interjected, trying and failing to hide her amusement.  “We need to get going so I can start dinner.  I need to get all the food in you I can before you move out next week.”

And as Jim allowed himself to be led away by his family and Captain Pike, he found himself looking forward to the future.

Chapter Text

 

Jim nodded along to the music pumping through his speakers as he tried to decide which of the posters on his walls he wanted to take with him to the new apartment he was going to be sharing with Spock.  He wasn’t particularly fond of any of them, truth be told, but Amanda had insisted that he do something with his room. 

“Honestly, Jim,” she had said in fond exasperation about a year after he had moved in with them.  “Your room looks like a guest room.”

At the time, half of Jim had still been thinking of living with Spock and his parents as a temporary thing.  Sure, they said it was permanent, but there was a part of him that told him there was no way they could mean it.  Even though he was pretty sure they weren’t just going to kick him out on his ass if he made a few mistakes and even though they had never done anything to make him feel like he didn’t belong, he still couldn’t help but feel like his life with them was conditional.  And really, what was the point of making his room feel like his when in truth, it really wasn’t?

Spock had been the one to talk to him about it.  Though he usually kept mental shields in place so that they weren’t constantly hearing every single thought that went through the other’s head, Spock had felt his confusion over the matter and done his best to reassure Jim that they were a family and that family didn’t come with conditions.

Jim had put the posters up the very next day.

They weren’t really anything that he liked all that much—he had just gone into the store and grabbed the cheapest ones he could find—but they had made Amanda very happy.  Amanda was more a mother to him than his own mother was, and so, if such a small thing was enough to make her happy, then fuck it all, he was going to do it.

Jim assessed the posters on his walls for a few more minutes before finally deciding that he would just leave them there.  He could always come back for them later.

He looked around the room.  It was looking unusually empty, mostly devoid of whatever claim Jim had once had on the space, and he was a bit surprised by how little that bothered him.  Back when he had been living with Frank, his room had been his refuge.  It had been the one place in the house that he had felt even somewhat sheltered.

Things weren’t like that now.  Jim didn’t need the sanctuary his bedroom had once represented because when he was living with Sarek and Amanda, the whole house felt safe.  These days, the bedroom wasn’t necessary as anything other than a place to sleep.  Even though it had been years since he had moved out of Frank’s house, Jim was still sometimes surprised by how different it was.

There was one last box he still needed to pack up before he was truly done, and if he was being honest with himself, he had been trying to avoid it since he had started packing a few days ago.  Kneeling down, he reached under his bed and dragged out a dozen or so dusty cans of green beans and mixed fruit.

Jim hadn’t gone hungry in years, but even so, he had been completely unable to break his habit of hording food.  It made him feel weak as shit, but even so, he just couldn’t not keep it.  It was like a fucking safety blanket or something.  He didn’t actually need to eat the food, but it made him feel better to have it there, just in case.

Jim was pretty sure the entire family knew about it, but none of them had ever said anything.  Amanda had actually been the one to give him most of it.  She had caught him sneaking it out of the kitchen right after he had moved in with them, but to Jim’s surprise, she hadn’t said anything about it.  The next day, he had found a stack of cans outside his door, and that had been that.  They still didn’t talk about it, but he got the feeling that she sympathized, even if she didn’t truly understand.

Jim shook himself out of his thoughts and carefully put the cans into the last of his boxes.  Then he taped it shut and wrote “Misc.” on the top and each of the sides.

He climbed gracelessly to his feet before sitting down heavily on the edge of what had been his bed for the past three years.  Jim looked around the room once more and sighed.  It wasn’t that he was going to miss the room exactly.  That wasn’t really the problem.  The problem was that he was heading towards something completely new.  He was going to be living with Spock.  Alone.  Without anyone there to stop them from…

And that was the worst thing about it.  Jim felt as though he would be completely ready for this step if he knew where he and Spock stood at the moment.  As it was, he had been feeling increasingly lonely since Spock had joined Starfleet, and the whole not-having-sex thing was really starting to rub him the wrong way. 

Jim had been eighteen for over two months now, and he had spent almost every weekend for the last year over at Spock’s apartment.  It wasn’t like they hadn’t had the opportunity, so what the fuck was Spock waiting for?  Maybe Spock was just waiting until Jim was out of high school, but he couldn’t suppress the little voice inside of him—the one that sounded alarmingly like that bastard, Frank, may he burn in hell—that told him that he wasn’t good enough, that Spock wouldn’t ever want to touch him like that because he knew that Jim was unclean.

He knew in his head that it wasn’t true, but there was always a tiny part of him that whispered in his ear that it was and Jim didn’t know how the fuck to get rid of it.

Jim ran a hand over his face and sighed wearily.  He really needed to get his shit straightened out.  He was supposed to be moving his things into Spock’s apartment the next day, but after that, after there were no longer limits on the time they could spend together, Jim was going to sit his Vulcan bastard down and they were going to talk.

 


 

 

Spock had been anticipating once more sharing his living quarters with Jim since the day he had departed for Starfleet Academy 1.78 years previous, and so, on the day during which his wait was to come to an end, Spock found himself constantly needing to ensure that he was not smiling, for his lips seemed to have “developed a mind of their own” as his mother would say.  He surveyed his apartment, cataloguing the empty spaces that would soon be filled by his t’hy’la and remembering why he had left them vacant in the first place.

Finding an apartment that would be appropriate for both of them had been his top priority when he had started looking for a place to live last year.  He had viewed several suitable apartments, but he had known upon entering this one that he had found the right one as, from the moment he had stepped into this apartment, Spock had been able to visualize him and Jim living there together. 

It wasn’t a large apartment, but it wasn’t small either.  It had two bedrooms, one of which served as Spock’s office, with an open kitchen and living room, and its own washer and dryer.  It was much the same as all of the other apartments he had looked at, but this one had one feature that set it apart from the rest.  In the living room, there was a huge skylight that gave them a perfect view of the night sky.  Spock knew that Jim would love it, and so he had known immediately that he needed to sign for this apartment before anyone else had a chance to.

It had been gratifying to see Jim’s reaction when he had helped Spock move in.  Just as Spock had expected, Jim had loved the apartment.  They had spent Jim’s first weekend visit lying beneath the skylight so that Spock could point out all of the stars, constellations, and planets they might one day be visiting together.  They had eventually fallen asleep curled into each other on the floor, and in the 11.6984 months since, Spock had needed to use all of the fortitude he possessed as a Vulcan to contain his excitement as the time for Jim to truly join him in their apartment drew closer.

Finally, it was here.  Jim had just carried up the last box of things that hadn’t already migrated into the apartment over the past year.  Their parents had left 10.8231 minutes ago, his mother almost in tears over the fact that “her babies were growing up”, and though he loved his parents, Spock was grateful to be alone with Jim.

Jim sighed as he slumped against Spock on the couch.  “I can’t believe I’m finally here,” he said quietly.  “It feels like it shouldn’t be happening yet, but it is, you know what I mean?”

Spock rubbed his cheek against the top of Jim’s head and made a noise of contentment.  “I do know, Jim,” he said.  “I am currently in a similar state of disbelief.”

After a few moments of simple relaxation, both of them soaking in the comfort of the other’s presence, Jim’s stomach rumbled, drawing their attention to the fact that neither one of them had eaten since breakfast that morning.  Jim let out a huff of air and stretched.  “Are you cooking or am I?” he asked, looking over at Spock.

They ended up cooking a simple meal of spinach and mushroom pasta and sitting down to eat it on the barstools adjoining the kitchen counter.  Spock deliberately pressed his shoulder against Jim’s companionably and was gratified when the human leaned into the touch. 

The meal was mostly quiet, with only a few words passing between them as they ingested their food.  Spock was perfectly content to simply soak in the presence of his t’hy’la, but Jim apparently had other plans.

“Spock, why haven’t we had sex yet?”

The words seemed to linger between them as they stared at each other in shock.  Spock could intuit through the bond that Jim was just as surprised by what he had said as the Vulcan was.

Spock inclined his head slightly and allowed his gaze to fall to the counter, contemplating an appropriate response to Jim’s query.  In all honesty, he had not given much thought to his reasons for the postponement of the sexual component of his relationship with Jim until recently.  Until the human had reached the age of majority, it had not been an option.  After his t’hy’la had turned eighteen, he had instinctively deflected Jim’s thoughts on the matter and chose to disregard the blatant desire evidenced by Jim’s body language.

He had had plenty of time to think about things while participating in the mandatory six-week survival training that had almost caused him to miss his t’hy’la’s graduation ceremony.  When not actively training, the time was his to do with as he wished, and, as was per usual, his thoughts almost automatically turned to Jim.

These thoughts had been fairly tame until the night he shared another one of Jim’s wet dreams and got hit by an overwhelming sense of sexual frustration that did not belong to him almost immediately upon waking up.  Spock knew that the emotion had to be devastatingly strong for him to have felt it so powerfully despite the distance between them.

This occurrence had caused him to ponder the reasons as to why he and Jim had yet to attempt sexual intercourse which then led him to the realization that he knew almost nothing about the sexual aspect of his nature.  Spock was the only human-Vulcan hybrid currently in existence, and as such, he had absolutely no idea how his sexuality would manifest. 

Not to mention the fact that sex was a taboo subject for Vulcans.  As such, he knew little beyond the vocabulary used to describe both Vulcan and human anatomies.

The moment he had returned home after leaving Jim’s graduation dinner, he had started researching, and if he were being honest with himself, he would admit that, even if he did not take into account the staggering amount of pornography he had encountered, everything else he had found pertaining to sex seemed somewhat… terrifying.

“You don’t want me, do you?”  Jim’s voice once more broke the silence, and Spock’s entire being recoiled from both the words and the thoughts his t’hy’la wasn’t voicing. 

“That is incorrect, Jim,” Spock denied fiercely.  “I do want you.  I have always wanted you.”  Spock’s eyes met Jim’s, and the emotion he found there—a mixture of pain and resignation—prompted him to say, “I do not know what I am doing.  I have no frame of reference for sexual relations, and I am afraid that I will ‘screw it up’.”

Jim’s frown deepened, but the pain had left his eyes and been replaced by bewilderment.  “‘No frame of reference’?” he repeated.  “Spock, all schools have mandatory sex education.”

Spock shook his head slightly.  “No, Jim.  There is no sex education in schools on Vulcan.  The reasons for this have basis in both logic and cultural taboos, but I believe the main reason is that Vulcans reach sexual maturity with much more variability than humans do.  Full-blooded Vulcans may become sexually potent at any point between their twenties and their fifties.  Our mating rituals are instinctual, or so I am told.  This is also considered something of a shameful event for males of our species, though I am not entirely sure as to the reasoning behind this.” 

A stray thought filtered into his mind through the bond, and Spock answered Jim’s unspoken question before he could ask it.  “Due to the somewhat explicit dreams we occasionally share, I am fairly certain that I possess none of the sexual limitations inherent in my Vulcan biology.  I am quite capable of achieving and sustaining an erection.”

A pulse of heat burst through the bond between them, and they simply stared at each other for a moment before crashing together in what had to be the most passionate embrace Spock had ever experienced outside of their shared dreams.  Jim pushed Spock away from the counter and against the nearest wall, his arms moving up to twine themselves firmly around Spock’s neck as their lips moved together gracelessly.  For several seconds, the world was a blur of lips and tongue and teeth and shared sensations, and Spock found in that moment that he had never felt quite as close to Jim as he did when the lines between them were completely nonexistent.

Jim broke away from the kiss first, panting for breath and smiling widely.  “Bed,” he said urgently.  Spock felt no compulsion to argue and willingly permitted Jim to pull him down the hallway to their room.

Once there, however, Spock paused, remembering suddenly that this was a first time for both of them.  He needed to slow this down while he still could because the last thing he wanted to do was end up hurting Jim in their fervor.

And as though Jim could sense what Spock wanted—and really, after more than three years of being connected by the t’hy’labond, the human had achieved some skill at doing so—his eyes met Spock’s and he slowly leaned up for a gentle kiss.

 


 

 

When they finally made it to the bed—their clothes marking the path they had taken from the kitchen to the bedroom—Jim was pretty sure his dick was harder than it had ever been in his life.  They were doing this.  They were really doing this.  Fucking finally.

Jim threw himself backwards onto the bed and then watched hungrily as Spock climbed gracefully on top of him.  This was the first time Jim had ever seen Spock naked, and damn had it been worth the wait.  The Vulcan wasn’t overly muscled, but there was a strength apparent in the breadth of his chest and the firmness of his thighs that Jim couldn’t wait to experience in every imaginable way.  Over him, under him, inside of him, around him.  The possibilities were endless, and Jim wanted all of them with Spock.

Spock put one hand between them to grasp both of their dicks in one hand, but before he could do more than press them together, Jim reached up, wrapping his arms tightly around the Vulcan’s neck and drawing him closer.  “Spock,” he gasped.  “I don’t…  I want more than that.  I want you to…” 

His words trailed off.  He knew what he wanted, but he just couldn’t say that out loud.  He couldn’t say that he wanted Spock to fuck him.  Saying it out loud, calling it that, would send him back to times and places he didn’t want to remember.  Those memories had no place here, and Jim wasn’t going to let them ruin what he had with Spock.

The need Jim felt must have traveled through their bond because Spock seemed to understand what he wanted even without Jim having to say it.  The Vulcan’s eyes widened with both surprise and… desire?  Jim could feel it growing in the link between their minds as he pictured just what he wanted Spock to do to him.

Spock went back up onto his hands and knees and reached over to the nightstand for the lube Jim hadn’t known was there, opening it and spreading it thoroughly over his first two fingers.  Jim bent his knees and planted his feet firmly on the mattress to give the Vulcan better access, and when Spock paused with his fingers pressed against his hole, Jim was sure that he had never been more certain of anything in his life.

Jim didn’t begin to feel uncomfortable until the first finger started entering him.  It didn’t hurt exactly, but it felt... intrusive.  It felt wrong.

Jim shook the feeling off before Spock could catch on to it.  The Vulcan may be distracted by the feeling of Jim closing around his sensitive fingers for the moment, but if the human continued on this train of thought, he knew Spock would sense it eventually.

It must be because the whole fingering thing was new to him.  Jim had never even done it to himself, so really, it must just be his inexperience causing him to react this way.

When another finger joins the one already inside of him and then both press down on what is almost definitely his prostate, Jim nearly loses himself to the combination of his and Spock’s pleasure.  It allows him to forget and enjoy for a moment until Spock spreads his fingers, and the alien sensation almost sends him into a panic.

Fuck, this couldn’t be happening.  It had been five years, and Jim was happy now.  He had built a wall and put all of that crap behind it so that shit like this wouldn’t happen anymore.  He didn’t want the guilt, and he didn’t want the pain.  He didn’t want to feel any of it anymore.

Jim had figured out a year or two ago that his brain seemed to automatically conceal all of the thoughts and feelings associated with that one particular aspect of the Tarsus clusterfuck within the mental stronghold he had built all those years ago.  Even so, Spock seemed to be catching on to the fact that something was wrong, and so before he could comment, Jim blurted out, “I want you to do it, Spock.”  Despite the panic he was feeling, his words were true.  His heart was racing with a combination of lust and fear, and he tried to concentrate on broadcasting only the lust. 

“Please, Spock.  I need you.”  Make me forget the fear.  Please, Jim begged internally.

Spock looked at him closely for a moment before nodding.  He leaned down to place a soft kiss on Jim’s lips, and Jim latched on, twisting his fingers in Spock’s stupid hair and pressing his lips harder into his t’hy’la’s, desperate to lose himself in the feelings again.  Then, Spock pulled back and reached down to line himself up.

There was a burning, stretching sensation of a pain that Jim was all too familiar with, and the human’s panic reached a fever pitch.

And then, Jim screamed as his walls came crashing down.

Chapter Text

Jim was screaming.  He wasn’t doing it out loud anymore, but Spock could still hear it echoing through his head.

Spock rolled off of his t’hy’la immediately and knelt next to him on the bed.  Jim’s eyes were closed, and his body was twitching sporadically, and even as he noted these facts, Spock registered a heightening of the level of pain Jim was experiencing through the bond.

He needed to analyze this situation quickly and ascertain the correct course of action to minimize Jim’s suffering and eliminate the source of said suffering if at all possible.  Spock was fairly certain that this was a highly unusual occurrence that was not customarily involved in the mating rituals of either of their species.  As the sex act had barely begun and Spock had withdrawn from Jim’s body immediately upon noticing his t’hy’la’s distress, he was 86.2547% confident that the human was not in physical pain.  Therefore, the logical conclusion was that Jim was suffering from some sort of psychological trauma.

He stopped to consider his options briefly.  While he did not want to make Jim’s situation worse, the only path available to him that did not involve “waiting it out” required Spock to enter Jim’s mind.  This course of action could traumatize both of them, but Spock had not been lying when he told his t’hy’la that he would never be alone again.  He could not in good conscience allow Jim to suffer this alone now.

All hesitation forgotten, Spock reached forward and laid his hand over Jim’s meld points.

 


 

 

Spock crouched beside a derelict house on the edge of a decaying field of what had once been corn.  His throat tightened as he looked over the field and noticed a few telltale lumps in the field that sure as hell hadn’t been corn before they died.

He pushed down his horror kicked a heel through the dirt in frustration.  He needed to bring back food for the others, but all he kept finding were increasingly inedible crops and dead bodies. 

As he crept around the side of the building, he ran face first into a man who seemed to be doing the same thing as Spock with the exception of the fact that the man appeared somewhat successful at his task.  He was carrying a few cans of food, a loaf of bread, and two and a half bottles of water.

Spock analyzed the situation before putting his hands up in a placating manner and backing away.  Better not to appear a threat, especially to someone who had such a weight advantage.  The man wasn’t more than average height, but he was sturdily built and could probably overpower Spock quite easily.

No, that wasn’t right.  Spock was a Vulcan, and Vulcan strength was far superior to even the strongest of humans.  Even still, Spock knew somehow that he would not win in a fight with this man.

Spock turned to run, but before he got more than a few steps, the man stopped him.  “Hey, kid!” he called.

Spock looked back to see the man tearing a small piece of bread off of his loaf and offering it to him.  He stared at the man in disbelief.  The guy was giving him food.  It was food, the most scarce and sacred resource on this god forsaken rock, and the guy was offering it up like it was nothing.  “My name is Andy.  I’m not going to hurt you.”  He held the bread out a bit further.  “Here, take it.  I’m sure you’re hungry.”

Hesitantly, Spock reached out and snatched the bread out of the man’s hand before he could change his mind.  Once he had it though, he didn’t know what to do with it.  He should bring this back to the rest of the group, but it really was a very small piece of bread and there wouldn’t be enough to split between all of them.

His stomach rumbled.  He was so hungry

Spock couldn’t help himself.  He ate the bread.

“Take this, too.”

Spock turned and barely managed to catch the chocolate bar before it hit him in the face.  He tilted his head as he looked at the candy bar, and a thought came briefly to his mind, a vague recollection of his mother telling him that chocolate wasn’t good for Vulcans though he couldn’t remember what her reasoning was. 

He was still hungry though. 

Ah, fuck it, he thought.

The chocolate didn’t last long after that.  Spock crammed half of it in his mouth, desperate for more.  He didn’t care that he was making a fool of himself or that there was chocolate smeared around his lips.  It was so good that it was all he could do to slow down and savor the last few bites.

The man cleared his throat, and Spock jumped.  He had been so lost in the taste of the first food he had had in three days that he had almost—almost, but not quite—forgotten the man was there.

The man took a few steps toward him and held out a bottle of water that was half full.  When Spock hesitated, he said, “It’s fine.  Take it.”  There was something off about his eyes, about the way the man was looking at him, but Spock couldn’t tell what it was. 

Spock took the bottle cautiously.  The chocolate had made him thirsty, and water was very hard to come by these days.  “Thank you,” he said gratefully before lifting the bottle to his lips.

He only took a few sips, wanting to be able to give some to the group when he got back to their camp.  Before he could put the cap on though, the bottle fell from his fingers and spilled onto the dead crops at his feet.  He tried to bend down to pick it up before it was all lost, but his limbs felt too heavy to move.  As he straightened back up, he started to feel dizzy.  Something was seriously wrong.

The man was coming toward him.  He tried to run, but his legs were moving sluggishly.  Only his thoughts continued racing.  He needed to get out of here.  He needed to run.  He needed to…

He tripped over his unnaturally heavy legs and fell to the ground, face first into a mushy pile of decaying plant matter.  Spock tried in vain to lift himself off of the ground.  Whatever this guy wanted, he wasn’t going to get it.  He scrabbled at the ground, pulling himself away from where the man had been standing, but it was too late.

Before he could move any further, the drugs took full effect and Spock found himself going completely limp.

The man moved toward him swiftly, bending only to pull Spock’s shorts and undergarments down before laying down on top of him.  Spock felt something warm and hard press against him from behind and held his breath.  He was young, but he was also male and had woken up with enough erections to know exactly what the man was pressing against him.

Spock tried to struggle, but by that point, the drug had completely incapacitated him.  He was powerless to stop the man from taking what he wanted. 

He managed to choke out a hoarse “No!” as the man pushed inside of him.  Spock didn’t have full possession of his senses, but he felt that.  He was being ripped in two and it felt like it.  He was small for his age—the product of months and months of starvation—and he found himself thinking nonsensically that maybe if he were bigger it wouldn’t hurt as much.  Maybe if he were bigger, it wouldn’t be happening at all.

The man laughed and shoved his hand between Spock’s body and the ground, grabbing his dick.  “You know your place now, don’t you?  Here in the dirt like a filthy whore should be.”  Spock whimpered as the man roughly pulled at his dick.  He was in way too much pain to actually get off on this, but a wave of arousal swept through him anyways closely followed by an intense feeling of shame.

He was being raped, but somehow he could still feel pleasure.  There was obviously something very wrong with him.

Spock wasn’t sure how long he lay there with the man moving on top of him, but suddenly it was over.  The man slumped against his back briefly, before hauling himself up, pulling free of Spock with a jerk that sent pain rippling through him all over again.  Tears leaked down his face in a steady stream as the man turned him over onto his back.

He laughed again.  “What the fuck are you crying for?  You accepted the food.  Did you really think I wasn’t going to require payment?”

The man walked away from him and didn’t look back, leaving Spock behind like he was trash, like he wasn’t even human.

The thought made Spock pause.  He wasn’t human, was he?  He had never thought of himself as such, so why…?

And then, Spock realized what was happening.  This hadn’t happened to him.  This was Jim’s memory.  This is what Jim had been keeping from him all these years.  His ashayam, his t’hy’la.  His Jim had suffered these horrors.  He was in Jim’s mind right now, and he needed to get them both out of this memory.

But how was he supposed to do so?  Jim’s nightmares had decreased in frequency since he and Spock had bonded, but he still had a fair number every month.  Usually, Spock would talk to him, touch him, comfort him within the dream, allowing both of them to wake up peacefully.  He had never experienced any of Jim’s memories from Jim’s point of view.  He wasn’t even sure where Jim was at the moment.

Spock could feel the drugs wearing off and sighed in relief.  Once he could move, he could go find Jim.  His t’hy’la was undoubtedly in the vicinity.  All he needed to do was find him.

To his surprise however, Spock found that once he could move again, he still couldn’t control the body he was in.  He got up and staggered over to the house next to the cornfield he had been laying in, his eyes still leaking tears, his body aching.  He pushed open the broken front door and limped through the house until he found the bathroom.

Once inside, he grabbed the towel the owners had left hanging from the towel bar and turned the spigot to see if any water would come out.  A small bit dribbled out, and Spock’s body reached forward to catch as much as he could on the towel.  It wasn’t much, but he was able to use it to wipe the bodily fluids from his lower limbs, utterly horrified when the towel came away bearing red and white streaks.

Spock’s stomach heaved and he twisted himself to the side quickly so to throw up in the bathtub.  He was still hoping to find some water in the toilet and didn’t want to contaminate it with his vomit.  Spock was horrified by the content of the memory he had just experienced, and the emotions tied to this memory reflected Jim’s own horror, pain, and shame.  Spock was overwhelmed by the strength of those emotions and wondered how Jim had managed to keep this contained for so long.

He moved back to the sink, looking into the mirror above it for the first time.  Jim’s emaciated thirteen-year-old features stared back at him, his mouth and cheeks still coated in chocolate.  Spock suddenly realized exactly where Jim was.  If he was in Jim’s head, reliving his memories, then Jim must have taken refuge within Spock. 

The shock of the memory had confused both of them as to their true identities, but it was time for them to leave this place.

Spock closed his eyes and focused on their bond, drawing Jim’s katra out from its hiding place within his own.  Then he opened his eyes and met Jim’s in the mirror.

“Jim, it is time for us to leave this place.”  He spoke softly so as not to frighten his t’hy’la.  You do not belong here anymore.  Come home with me.  Please.”

The Jim in the mirror said nothing for several seemingly endless moments, and then he closed his eyes and said, “Yes, Spock.”

 


 

 

When Jim woke up, he was wrapped in Spock’s arms.  For a few moments, he allowed himself to soak in the comfort his bondmate offered him.  Then, he remembered that Spock had just witnessed Jim’s most terrible secret.

Shit, he hadn’t just witnessed it; he had fucking lived it.

Jim stiffened and sat up, pulling away from Spock as he did so.  “Spock, I…”

“Jim, don’t,” Spock cut him off.  “I will not accept any apologies for what just happened.  You have done nothing for which you need to apologize.” 

Jim looked at Spock disbelievingly.  “You can’t honestly mean that.”  He heaved himself off of the bed and grabbed a pair of boxers to cover himself up.  He knew that Spock was the only one present, but he already felt exposed enough without having this conversation in his goddamned birthday suit.  “You can’t tell me that what you just went through doesn’t horrify you, doesn’t disgust you?  Can you really say that?”

Spock stood up and carefully put one hand on Jim’s shoulder, using the other to cup Jim’s chin.  “Jim, listen to me.  I am horrified and disgusted, yes, but not by you.  What you lived through was both horrifying and disgusting, but you are not either of those things.  You did nothing wrong.  You did not ask for it, and you did not bring it on yourself.”

Jim looked up at Spock through the tears he refused to let fall.  He wanted to believe what Spock was saying so fucking badly.  He wanted to be able to absolve himself of blame.  In his head, he knew that the events that had occurred were not his fault.  He knew that almost anyone would have fallen into the same trap and that it wasn’t anything he specifically had done that had led to what had happened.

And yet, he couldn’t put aside what he was feeling, and his feelings told him that he deserved everything he had gotten.

“Jim,” Spock said softly.  “I can feel what you are feeling, and I know you feel as though you could have prevented this.  I know you feel like it was your fault and that you should be ashamed of how you acted.”  The Vulcan leaned forward to rest his forehead against Jim’s.  “But I was there, and I can tell you with certainty that the monster in your head is him, not you.”

The tears began to leak from Jim’s eyes, and he angrily wiped them away.  “This is so fucked,” he whispered hoarsely.  “How can you even stand to be near me?  Even if it wasn’t my fault, I’m still…  I’m damaged goods.  I tried so hard.  I shoved all of that shit behind a wall and I buried it so that you would never find out that I’m…”  A sob broke free, and the tears fell faster.  “…that I’m fucking broken.  You don’t deserve that, Spock.  You deserve someone whole, someone good and honest, someone who isn’t selfish enough to try to keep you even though it’s obvious that you are so much better than I could ever be.  I tried so hard to be that, but I couldn’t…  I just can’t!”

His next words broke out of him as an anguished cry.  “I’m not strong enough!”

 


 

Spock stared at Jim in shock.  How could his t’hy’la possibly think that?  “Jim, your past doesn’t make you weak,” he disagreed.  His eyes searched Jim’s face, his heart sinking as he looked at the utter devastation that encompassed it. 

“Jim, look at me.  Please, ashayam.

When Jim finally raised his gaze to meet his own, Spock declared, “You are, without a doubt, the strongest person I know.  You have survived your family, you have survived Tarsus IV, and you have survived what that man did to you.  You are the most beautiful creature I have ever seen, and that isn’t because of your looks.  It is because your soul is the brightest I have ever had the privilege to know.  Your soul isn’t dirty, and it definitely isn’t damaged.  You are exactly who I deserve, and more importantly, you are who I want.  It is not selfish to keep me if I want to be kept.”

Jim whimpered, and Spock pulled him in, wrapping his arms around the human and holding him close.  He pressed his nose into Jim’s hair, closing his eyes and inhaling deeply.  “Jim, you and I will figure this out, but please…  Please remember that you don’t have to go through this alone.  We are in this relationship together, and we will handle this in the same manner we do everything else: together.”  Spock pressed a kiss to the top of Jim’s head.  “Is that agreeable?”

Jim sniffed, and his voice was still thick with tears when he capitulated.  “Yes.  Together.”