Chance Encounter by SpirkTrekker42
Summary:

Set during the Academy days. A reluctant Commander Spock is thrust back in time on an adventure with young cadet Kirk, as they try to undo Cupcake's tampering with history. But when Kirk gets to know his father, can he do what is right by history?


Categories: Fiction Characters: McCoy, Uhura
Crossover Fandom: None
Genres: Kirk/Spock Pre-Slash
Other Languages: None
Specific movie: None
Story Type: Action/Plot, Character Study, Romance
Trope (OPTIONAL): None
Universe: Abrams Universe
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 12 Completed: Yes Word count: 37307 Read: 138137 Published: 09/30/2009 Updated: 06/23/2010

1. Collide by SpirkTrekker42

2. Kirk the Hacker by SpirkTrekker42

3. Enter Cupcake by SpirkTrekker42

4. The Portal by SpirkTrekker42

5. Back In Time by SpirkTrekker42

6. Father Figure by SpirkTrekker42

7. Family Dinner by SpirkTrekker42

8. Surprises At Work by SpirkTrekker42

9. Unexpected by SpirkTrekker42

10. To The Stars by SpirkTrekker42

11. The Narada Returns by SpirkTrekker42

12. Epilogue by SpirkTrekker42

Collide by SpirkTrekker42

Disclaimer:  The rights to Star Trek belong to Gene Roddenberry, and NuTrek belongs to J.J. Abrams, Orci, and Kurtzman.

A/N:  The Mission to Gamus update is coming, I promise.  But I figured I needed to give you guys something to tide you over.  This plot bunny just jumped into my head and I ran with it.  It takes place during the Starfleet Academy years.  Spock is beginning his first term as an instructor and Kirk is beginning his first year as a student.   Pre K/S slash.  Believe it or not, they don’t hate each other in this!

.~.

Chance Encounter

 

Commander Spock rounded the corner of one of Starfleet Academy’s corridors followed by one of his most promising students, Miss Nyota Uhura.  The second year cadet had expressed her interest in being given extra work for his linguistics class, provided they got together to discuss her findings over lunch every week.   The Vulcan was not as naïve as many humans believed – he knew that Cadet Uhura was attracted to him.  She also had a genuine thirst to learn more about the many spoken languages in and out of the Federation.   Not only that, but she was the first friend he’d had at the academy.   Nyota honestly enjoyed his company and valued his intellect.   She was not offended by his logical, often detached point of view.   She didn’t ask him to be anyone other than himself, and for that he was grateful.  The brainy African was also quite beautiful, which he noted.  Spock didn’t see any harm spending time with this young woman, as long as the reason was purely academic. 

“Commander, I was hoping after lunch today that we could spend some more time together?”  Uhura suggested.  Spock hesitated, as he was well aware of Starfleet’s policy regarding student/teacher fraternization.   However, he did wish to spend more time with her.  She was intelligent, logical, agreeable, and dedicated to her work, everything a Vulcan would wish for in a mate.  Best of all, she seemed to value structure and order almost as much as he did.  “It doesn’t even have to be doing something school related,” she added hurriedly.  “We could tour San Francisco, see a museum, or attend the theatre.  Or perhaps we could visit the Cetacean Institute?  I hear they have a wonderful exhibit featuring whales, dating all the way back to the 20th century...”  Spock was so interested in what his student had to say that he didn’t see the body flying toward him until it was too late.

“Oof!”  Came the surprised, unidentified male voice as he slammed directly into the unsuspecting Vulcan.  Spock’s PADD went flying and so did the box his human assailant was carrying.  The human was barely able to keep from falling face first onto the floor.  Spock himself was knocked to the ground, which was no mean feat.  He noticed the careless blond cadet was also hurting from the affects of the collision.  The human gathered his wits first and stood up.

“Dude, I’m so sorry!  I didn’t see you there,” he fretted, eyes widening when they flew to the Commander’s rank on his uniform.   “Here, let me give you a hand up.” 

“That is not necessary-” Spock began, but the human had already grabbed his hand before he could pull it out of the way.   The Vulcan was carefully heaved to his feet, his hand smarting from the physical contact.  A pleasant shiver coursed through his fingers and palm where the cadet’s cool hand had rested.  The tips of his fingers tingled, even when the contact was removed.  Something deep inside Spock had been rattled, the part of him he kept secret from all who dared to break through his Vulcan defenses.  What had just occurred? 

Apparently what had occurred had only happened to Spock, as the other party seemed unaffected by the close hand to hand contact.  Currently, Spock’s attacker was gathering his personal belongings that had fallen out of the box in the collision.  The Commander deduced from the contents of the box that his assailant was a first year, fresh from home.   The green cadet was probably not aware that the touching of hands was an intimate gesture to Vulcans.  In his daze, Spock decided to overlook the breach in protocol this once, on grounds it was the cadet’s first day.

 Wincing, the blond handed him his PADD back.  His eyes bravely met Spock’s as he ran his hand through his messy hair.  “You okay?”  Mild concern was evident in those bright blue eyes.

“Affirmative,” Spock replied, making it a point to clasp his hands firmly behind his back.  Spock was relieved the human intended no ill will toward him.  The collision had just been an accident.   The handsome youth squinted at him, as if not sure how to read the seemingly emotionless Vulcan.

“You sure?  I feel kinda bad for running into you like that.  Next time I’ll pay more attention to where I’m going.  No hard feelings?”  Spock wasn’t quite sure what a ‘hard feeling’ was, but he took his best shot.

“You are forgiven for your miscalculation.”

“That’s good,” said the relieved cadet.  “Well, see you around.”  The youth waved, his eyes flickering towards Uhura.  He smirked, and opened his mouth to say something, but abruptly changed his mind, opting to run after his human companion.  “Hey, Bones!  Wait up…”  Spock watched as the human caught up to his friend.  He continued to track him with his eyes as the pair of humans sped away.  Spock pried his hands apart, watching as his left hand gave an involuntary spasm.  It was the hand the cadet had grabbed.   What was that cadet’s name?   Spock was certain he hadn’t been on his roster, as he’d memorized all the new cadets' names and faces within the span of five minutes.

“Commander Spock, are you hurt?”  Uhura worried, watching as Spock favored his left hand.   She had silently watched this exchange, remembering the youth to be the same one who had hit on her in a bar in Iowa.  “He better not have done that on purpose.  If he did, I’ll kick his-”  Spock cut her off, not wanting to dwell on the subject.  He turned his full attention back to her.

“I am quite certain it was only an accident.  Shall we?”   She accepted that with a nod as they made their way toward the Mess Hall.   The Vulcan decided it would be only logical to put the male cadet and his shock-inducing hands out of his mind.   His mind had thankfully cleared from the collision-induced daze.  He wasn’t concerned about any negative effects of the chance encounter, as they would’ve made themselves known to him by now. Whatever that incident was, Spock thought, remembering the rush of contentment the moment the other male touched his hand, it certainly didn’t hurt.

The End

A/N:  Feedback is always appreciated!

Kirk the Hacker by SpirkTrekker42

Disclaimer: The rights to Star Trek belong to Gene Roddenberry, and NuTrek belongs to J.J. Abrams, Orci, and Kurtzman.

A/N: Thanks so much for the review responses from everyone! I originally wrote the first chapter as a oneshot, but you guys convinced me to turn it into a story. So, I did! This is set during Kirk and Spock’s time at Starfleet Academy, but it isn’t set at the academy for the majority of the fic. (You’ll see what I mean later.) For now, enjoy!

.~.

Ch. 2: Kirk the Hacker

One Year Later

Cadet Kirk had not given his little run in with the Vulcan Commander a second thought. He plowed ahead in his studies, earning top grades in all of his courses. He secured his position as a Sex God by landing a different conquest every weekend. And when he was not studying, screwing around, or hanging out with his best friend Bones, he worked.

Some Starfleet Cadets worked jobs on campus to earn extra money for the weekends. Some upperclassmen tutored younger Cadets for monetary gain. Still others serviced the shuttles and starships that came into base from space dock. Not Cadet Kirk. He hacked computers, making a considerable profit by putting his problem-solving skills to good use.  One job sustained him with enough finances to last him for a few months, until he was offered another hit.

This afternoon he was planning on tackling the job that had arrived earlier that morning via his secret email account. Like all hackers, Kirk had an alias – LighteningSt0rm.  He'd created it when he'd been twelve and hadn't bothered to change it since. He was fairly well known in the hacker community. Thanks to his reputation, a few of the major hacking jobs came to him. Customers knew that LighteningSt0rm, while an amateur hacker, had the brains to get the job done.

The young cadet was not only one of the best amateur around, he was also fast. Once he secured the target IP Address, he would run his self-made program to hack through the firewalls. It usually only took about fifteen minutes to gain access to the system. His program had been a bitch to create, but it had been worth it. Thanks to his invention, he hadn’t yet come across a system that he couldn’t hack.

Kirk was just about to head for the computer lab when someone walked into his dorm room. Luckily, this person was well aware of his little ‘hobby’, and while he didn’t approve, he was kind enough to turn a blind eye to Kirk’s computing activities.

“Hey, Bones, you have a com from Joanna,” Kirk announced as his best friend and roommate came in. Sure enough, the light on the com center was blinking, indicating a message had arrived.

“Is it urgent?” McCoy wanted to know. Kirk shrugged.

“I don’t think so. It wasn’t marked urgent. I think widdle Joanna is just missing her daddy,” he explained in a sing-song voice.

“Shut up,” Bones grumbled. “I gotta change and head back to the ER. I’ll get to it later tonight.” He stripped off his bloodied uniform and rooted around in his closet for a fresh one. Kirk watched him thoughtfully. After a minute of this, he asked,

“Hey Bones, why did you marry Jocelyn?” McCoy rolled his eyes.

“Well, Jim, when you love someone and want to commit to them, marriage is usually the step to take.” Kirk shook his head.

“I know that. I meant, why limit yourself to one person? Why embrace monogamy? It just seems so dull.”

“Marriage is anything but dull, Kid,” the doctor laughed. “I was crazy about Jocelyn and she was crazy about me. We were completely devoted to each other, or at least we were for the first few years. Then Jocelyn started hanging out with a bunch of snobby women. They convinced her that she could do better than me, because I was never home.”

“That sucks,” Kirk said diplomatically. Bones shrugged.

“I was working long hours at the hospital trying to save up to buy the house that Jocelyn so desperately wanted. She couldn’t have it both ways. The trouble was, once I’d saved enough money, she could have the house and I could stay at home more. Unfortunately, she wasn’t content to wait. So, we divorced.”

“It seems that most marriages end in pain,” Kirk observed. “People get sick of each other. They quarrel about money or they fight about how to raise their kids. It just happens.”

“Not always,” Bones insisted. “Look at your parents. They had a successful marriage.” Kirk snorted.

“Yeah, if you call my father up and sacrificing himself, leaving my mom alone in this world a success.”

“If he hadn’t, you wouldn’t be here and I wouldn’t have a best friend,” the doctor pointed out.

“True,” Kirk considered, his expression turning wistful. “I just wish I could’ve met him, Bones. I wish that ship had never come and attacked the Kelvin. If only they’d been given a different mission- ”

“You can’t dwell on the ‘what-ifs’, Jim,” Bones said, his voice solemn. “What’s done is done. You can’t change the past.”

“Yeah,” came the despondent response. “I shouldn’t dwell on it. I just – I can’t get it out of my head. If I had been there, if I’d been older, I could’ve saved him.” The doctor grimaced. He had to snap his friend out of his gloomy mood, and fast! It was not natural for Kirk to be so down in the dumps. He was usually so exuberant, always living life to the fullest.

“Dammit, Jim!” Bones cried. “You’ve got too much free time if you’re sitting around thinking about the past. What you need is to get yourself a girlfriend-”

“Or boyfriend-” Kirk cut in.

“Or boyfriend,” Bones amended. “You need someone you can depend on, someone who will care for you. There are times when I won’t always be able to be there for you. You deserve a good partner.”

“I don’t do relationships,” Kirk snapped. “You know that – everyone knows that.”

“That’s just because you haven’t experienced how amazing it is to have a connection with that one special person.” The doctor winced when he realized how sappy he sounded. He really hadn’t quite gotten over Jocelyn yet; the wound still smarted.

“Bones, that crap just isn’t for me!” Kirk insisted. “I’m not the type to fall head over heels in love. Lust maybe,” he amended with a wink. “But not love, not the deep everlasting love you’re talking about.”

“Mark my words, Jim, one day love will find you and turn your world upside down,” McCoy predicted, shaking his finger at his friend. “And, knowing you, it will probably be the person you least expect.” Jim stared at him in horror.

“I’m not marrying Admiral Archer.” Bones let out a great guffaw at that.

“Okay, that is a little farfetched,” the doctor admitted. “But you will get hit by Cupid’s arrow some day, and I just hope I’m there to see it.”

“Dream on, Bones,” Kirk smirked. “I’m perfectly happy living the single life. No rules to tie me down, no real responsibilities, freedom to screw whoever wants me. My life is pretty damn sweet.” He stretched in his chair, projecting an air of complete confidence.

“Lie to yourself all you want, Kid,” Bones said, deadly serious. “But you’re floundering. You want that deep connection probably more than any of us, but you’re afraid to reach out and take it. The sooner you admit that to yourself, the sooner you can be happy.”

“Bullshit,” Kirk muttered, hating how his best friend knew him so well. McCoy rolled his eyes, wondering if Jim would ever grow up. The doctor knew that whoever fell in love with Jim would have to be a saint to put up with all of his BS.

“I gotta go to work. Don’t get into too much trouble while I’m gone,” the doctor warned. Kirk just shot him a wide-eyed “who, me?” gaze. Bones started out the door, but Kirk called after him,

“Is Christine Chapel on your shift tonight?” McCoy turned slowly back around, his cheeks slightly reddened.

“I think so. What’s it to you?” Kirk grinned at him.

“You should ask her out.”

“That’s not going to happen,” McCoy’s voice was flat.

“If you don’t, I will.” Kirk’s grin grew wider at his friend’s appalled reaction.

“You wouldn’t dare!”

“Okay, I wouldn’t,” Jim conceded. “But you should still ask her out. I’ve heard rumors that she’s crushing hard on you.” Bones sighed.

“Jim, a pretty young thing like Christine shouldn’t be with an old codger like me.”

“You’re not old!” Kirk exclaimed. “But at least you admitted she’s pretty.” McCoy scowled at Kirk.

“You always have to have the last word.” Kirk nodded happily.

“I pride myself on that ability. See ya later, Bones!” The doctor grumbled a reply and slunk out of the room.

Kirk shook his head to clear it. What did Bones know about anything? It was his life, and he was going to live it however he pleased! At least Bones hadn’t given him a lecture on the dangers of hacking…

Soon he left his room, taking a book and his ID with him so he could gain access to one of the student computer labs. On his way, the young cadet scarcely crossed paths with anyone. It was the same story once he swiped his card and entered the closest computer lab. Since it was Friday afternoon, the computer labs were mercifully empty. Kirk took the computer in the far corner so he’d be able to run for it if someone happened to come in. He logged on, opened the email, found the IP Address in question, and started up his program.

While the program was running, Kirk lounged in his chair, immersing himself in a centuries-old novel entitled The Tale Of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens. Contrary to popular belief, Kirk was well educated and secretly enjoyed devouring and interpreting the classics. He’d just about reached the climax of the story when his program alerted him that he’d breeched the security measures. However, when it came to unlocking the document his customer wanted, he found it to be encrypted in a code he’d seldom seen used before.

Kirk pulled a few tricks out of his sleeve and was able to decode the document his customer had requested. He didn’t have the reputation for being a genius for nothing! But when Kirk was finally able to read the document in question, he found it to be rather odd. Instead of the usual page upon page, there was just one single page with very few words. Kirk frowned as he tried to figure out what he was looking at. He scrolled down to see if he’d missed something. He hadn’t. Kirk’s eyes returned to the sparse text.

Written in large, capital letters were the words,

THE GUARDIAN

Below the heading were a set of deep-space coordinates, presumably leading to the desired location.

The Guardian? What the hell was that supposed to mean? Kirk wracked his brain but couldn’t come up with a likely answer. He was, of course, dying to know where the coordinates led to, but that was not for him to know so he put it out of his mind. Instead, Kirk was more concerned about receiving his paycheck for this day’s work. He checked his chronometer. His customer was supposed to arrive at the lab in a few minutes. Impatiently, the hacker drummed his fingers on the top of the table. Patience had never been his strong point.

Just then, Kirk heard footsteps approaching the door. This was it, he was about to discover the identity of the person who had requested the location of The Guardian, whatever that was. Maybe if he flirted hard enough, his customer would reveal more about this mysterious Guardian…

It turns out his customer wasn’t a person at all. He was a Vulcan, and a very strict one at that if Jim’s friends’ stories were true. He was also exceptionally handsome, if you were into pointy ears. (Kirk definitely was.) Jim Kirk tried in vain to remember the Vulcan Commander’s name. It was something strange that started with an S. Spack? Speck? Spork? Somehow, none of those sounded right. Kirk decided it would be safer not to mention the guy’s name at all.

He’d heard that Vulcans never displayed much emotion, but that didn’t tally with the expression on this one’s face. The poor guy was sporting a ‘deer-caught-in-the-headlights’ look. Then again, Kirk had never heard of a Vulcan committing a crime before. Perhaps that was why this one was nervous.

“Hey, come on in.” Kirk motioned for the Vulcan to enter the lab.

“Good evening,” the Vulcan stiffly replied, closing the door behind him. Customers were often uneasy at completing transactions, due to conflicting morals or some crap like that. It was Kirk’s job to relax them long enough to deliver the goods and pick up his dues. Kirk blinded the Vulcan with his trademark grin and reached out to shake his hand in gratitude.

“I don’t know who I thought I was expecting, but I didn’t think it would be you.”

End Ch. 2

.~.

Enter Cupcake by SpirkTrekker42

Disclaimer: The rights to Star Trek belong to Gene Roddenberry, and NuTrek belongs to J.J. Abrams, Orci, and Kurtzman.

Summary: Spock is currently enamored with Cadet Uhura. But the Commander is given the shock of his life when a young first year cadet accidentally collides with him in the hall of Starfleet Academy.

.~.

Ch. 3: Enter Cupcake

“Whom were you expecting?” The Vulcan countered once he found his voice. He did not respond to Kirk’s invitation to shake hands. Kirk shrugged, lowering his hand to his side. The human took another look at Spock, and soon a spark of recognition flared in his cerulean eyes.

“Have I met you before?” Kirk asked, cocking his head.

“Affirmative,” Spock responded. “Precisely one standard year and thirteen days ago, you collided with me in the academy foyer, knocking me down.” Kirk winced as he remembered that very moment.

“I really am sorry about that. I swear, it was an acc-”

“It is of no consequence,” the Vulcan smoothly interjected.

“Right…” Kirk said slowly. They stared at each other, sizing up each other. “I guess you want to get down to business,” he said, breaking the awkward silence. “Follow me.”

Not really knowing why, Spock did, as he was rather fascinated by this human that had elicited such an emotional response in him. Kirk led him over to the computer he’d been using.

“Now, I have a print out of what you asked for,” Kirk said, shoving a sealed envelope into Spock’s hands. The Vulcan just blankly looked at him. “I know it’s not my business, but I was just wondering what was up with this Guardian thing because it sure was a bitch to hack,” the human continued. “I mean, I understand if it’s confidential. I totally get that. But, seriously, what could you want with a couple of deep space coordinates?” Spock could scarcely believe his ears as the golden youth prattled on. “Are you going to head to those coordinates and check it out?” Kirk didn’t pause for an answer. “No? Okay. All I really care about is my payment. That will be 500 credits, please.” He held out his hand. Spock just stared at Jim Kirk as if he’d been speaking in archaic Klingon.

“I am afraid I am not familiar with the concept of the Guardian,” the Vulcan confessed. Kirk groaned.

“You’re kidding! Are you working for someone? Is that it? Do they know what it is?”

“I am not working for anyone,” Spock supplied. “I believe you have mistaken me for someone else. I came to the computer lab seeking solitude outside of my quarters. Imagine my surprise when a young and foolish cadet confessed to the crime of hacking in front of his superior.” Kirk visibly paled. Gone was the affable friendliness. Instead, he stiffened, regarding Spock with guarded wariness.

“Oh shit,” the human muttered, realizing his mistake too late. It had been an honest mistake. The Vulcan had appeared almost precisely when Kirk's contact had scheduled to meet him. How was Kirk supposed to know that the Vulcan's arrival had been a coincidence?

“Indeed,” Spock agreed, raising an eyebrow. Disappointment flooded his most precise senses as the Vulcan realized that the man who had evoked such an intense feeling in him was in fact, a criminal. “Starfleet regulations clearly state that I should arrest you for hacking,” Spock informed him.

“But you wouldn’t!” Kirk gasped, shooting him a wounded look. “We’ve only just met. We haven’t even exchanged names.” Spock hadn't felt it necessary to do so. After all, he knew exactly who this cadet was.

“You are James Tiberius Kirk, son of late hero George Kirk, womanizer and troublemaker who has not of yet declared a major.” Spock glanced at him, disapproval apparent at the human’s lack of direction.

“And you are Commander Spock, head of the 3-D chess team, on the science track, graduated with honors and accolades galore, designer of the Kobayashi Maru…” Kirk recited all this from memory. “One might make the case that you are the most intelligent being in all of Starfleet. Need I go on?” Spock shook his head.

“I am afraid that flattery will not aid you in your poor attempt to escape the consequences of your actions. That strategy may have succeeded when dealing with others, but I assure you that I am immune to your charms.”

“I doubt that,” Jim murmured under his breath.

“You will be punished for hacking into a restricted space, Cadet. You can also be certain that Admiral Pike will be informed of your transgression.” The fight dimmed in Jim’s eyes somewhat.

“Commander, what will happen to me after my arrest?”

“Most likely you will be expelled from the academy,” Spock told him honestly.

“But it’s my dream to graduate and explore the vastness of space. You wouldn’t want to ruin that dream for me, now would you, Spock?” Kirk’s earnest eyes pleaded with the Vulcan.

“You are the one responsible for your actions, not I,” the commander replied.

“Couldn’t we just make a deal and forget that all of this ever happened?” Kirk wanted to know. Spock raised an eyebrow in protest.

“Vulcans do not ‘make deals’ with criminals.” Kirk bit his lip, desperately trying to think himself out of this seemingly no-win situation. He decided to resort to his old standby.

“What if I could get you anything that you desired?” The human offered.

“Anything?” Spock echoed. He was horrified he was even considering the cadet’s tantalizing proposition.

“Anything you want,” Kirk promised, his voice low. “What is it you want most in this universe, Commander?” Spock just gazed back at him, at a loss for words.

Cadet Uhura's face materialized in his mind, flooding him with a stab of guilt. She'd made it clear that she'd wanted a relationship with him for a few weeks now, but they were not official as of yet. So why did Spock feel like he would be cheating on her if he requested to touch Kirk's hand with his own? Whenever he touched Uhura's hands, he felt a pleasant contentment exchanged between friends. It was similar to that of his mother's nuturing touch. But he'd never felt anything like he'd experienced a year ago with Cadet Kirk. Perhaps he'd imagined it, but somehow Spock doubted it. He only needed another chance for contact with the human to find out...

The tension in the air was so thick, you could barely disrupt it with a phaser set to stun. Spock couldn’t understand why he felt so inexplicably drawn to this immoral human. It was most illogical! Practically everything he’d heard about James Kirk had been negative, save for his high test scores. But if the man truly was as intelligent as his scores claimed… Spock entertained the fleeting thought of asking Kirk to play him in a game of 3-D chess. He wondered how his logic would match up against this man’s unpredictability, and hoped that he would have the chance to test that scenario.

The young cadet took a small step toward the Vulcan, who could not bring himself to back away, even though he knew Kirk was doing anything he could to escape arrest. But if Kirk chose to take advantage of him, despite his greater strength, Spock would be at the man’s complete mercy. He was willing to risk any advances in an attempt to brush with the cadet's hand...

Bzzzzzzzzst.

The odd moment between them was shattered when the lights flickered and suddenly vanished. Kirk and Spock were left in total darkness, before the emergency lights clicked on moments later.

“Wow, that was weird,” Kirk muttered.

“It was rather odd,” Spock agreed, wondering what could’ve caused such a power failure in such a secure location such as the academy. "Do you have a hypothesis, cadet?"

"I don't see how any of our enemies could've infiltrated our defenses here at the academy, not with the amount of personnel and protection we have," Kirk mused. "We have practically the most advanced security measures in the universe." He bit his lip. "Unless it was an inside job..." He and the Vulcan shared a knowing look. If it had been an inside job, the mastermind would certainly know how to knock out the security cameras. Until they were restored, who knows what sort of illegal activities would commence?

Just then, five cadets rushed into the computer lab, their phasers drawn. Kirk’s eyes widened with recognition as the first man moved towards him.

“It had to be you,” Jim groaned, cursing his bad luck. The leader of the group immediately grabbed Kirk by the scruff of his neck, stating,

“Come with me, Cupcake!” He plunked Kirk down into a chair in front of a computer. “Bring up the coordinates and no one gets hurt,” the man ordered. Kirk cursed the day he called this man ‘Cupcake’ back in that bar in Iowa.

“He has them,” Kirk choked out, indicating Spock, who was still clutching the envelope Kirk had given him. “Is this about the money?” Kirk wondered as the burly man snatched the envelope from Spock’s hands. “Cause if it is, I could lower the price for the job, just as a favor to you guys.” Cupcake turned to his posse.

“The Vulcan complicates things,” the hulking youth muttered. “Should we take him with us?”

“We have no choice, boss,” one of his underlings answered. “He knows about the operation.”

“I guess it’s not about the money,” Kirk guessed. No one paid any attention to him.

“A measly, missing cadet would not cause Starfleet to launch a full scale investigation, especially someone who held the ‘fleet record for most demerits,” Cupcake pointed out. Kirk glared at his captors, but surprisingly did not retaliate. “However, a commander would. Especially when he’s the only half-human, half Vulcan freak show in the universe. I’m not sure if it’s worth-”

“Hey!” Kirk snapped. “Leave him alone. He has nothing to do with this. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.” If it was one thing Kirk hated, it was getting innocents into trouble as a result of a stupid mistake he made. He didn’t want Spock to have to suffer for his actions. “Let the Vulcan go and I’ll do whatever you want.” They laughed.

“And let him report the operation to Starfleet command? We’re not that stupid.” Kirk glanced at Spock, his brow crinkled in worry.

“I’m sorry I got you into this,” he whispered. “I kind of have a knack for getting into trouble.”

“That is most apparent,” Spock commented, his expression schooled into a perfect blank mask. But secretly he was pleased that Kirk had defended him and demonstrated remorse. Perhaps there was more to this human after all.

Their attackers took it upon themselves to handcuff Kirk and Spock together. The Vulcan blushed as Jim’s hand brushed with his own, thanks to the close contact the hand-binders offered. That answered that question. Spock definitely hadn't imagined the warm, shivery feeling he received from contact with Kirk's hand.

“You’re right,” Cupcake decided, “they have to come with us.”

“Wait!” Kirk persisted. “I can make you a deal if you just let Commander Spock go…” Cupcake shook his head.

“I’ve had enough of your lip, Kirk. Stun ‘em, boys.” Kirk glanced at Spock, his gaze tinged with guilt. Spock was about to reassure him that he was not at fault for their situation, but he never got the chance. Several blue stun beams blinded the human and Vulcan, and they crumpled to the floor, unconscious.

.~.

End Ch. 3

The Portal by SpirkTrekker42

Disclaimer: The rights to Star Trek belong to Gene Roddenberry, and NuTrek belongs to J.J. Abrams, Orci, and Kurtzman.

.~.

Ch. 4: The Portal

Spock awoke to find himself and Kirk sharing a bunk in the smallest quarters in which he’d ever had the pleasure of residing. The human had his arm draped around Spock’s waist, which was not surprising considering the small space they were in. Ignoring the human for now, Spock focused on finding out where he was. His Vulcan senses alerted him that he was on a small spaceship, a Starfleet shuttle perhaps. He estimated that they were traveling at Warp five, which gave him cause for alarm. Knowing they must be light-years away from Earth by now, that they were still traveling at a high speed did not exactly put him at ease.

He vaguely remembered being taken hostage at phaser point by four troubled cadets, and reasoned that he’d been kidnapped. Perhaps he’d been taken because of his father’s position as the Vulcan Ambassador to Earth? Spock didn’t even know if his captors would find him more useful dead or alive. Although he couldn’t find a true silver lining to his predicament, Spock was grateful he hadn’t been left alone...

The Vulcan looked down at his right hand, which was still bound to Cadet Kirk’s. He wondered if he ought to wake the snoring cadet so they could discuss a plan for escape. Perhaps I should let the man sleep a bit longer, he thought as he watched a slumbering Jim Kirk whose was blissfully unaware of his presence. The Vulcan felt oddly protective of the handsome young human, even though it was illogical to have such feelings, especially for someone who was practically a stranger. A stranger who hacked computers for fun, and was rumored to be the most sexually experienced cadet in all of Starfleet. Normally, Spock would not allow himself within ten meters of such a man, but circumstances dictated otherwise. And, to be honest, Spock didn’t really mind the closeness to the other male. It wasn’t truly a hardship. He was even beginning to enjoy it, until the cadet woke up and opened his mouth.

“Spock, you’re up!” Kirk grinned at him. “I hope you slept okay, even though the bed wasn’t the best I’ve ever slept on I still managed to get at least eight hours and feel rather rested…” Spock tried to tune him out, but it was impossible. The Vulcan hypothesized that this human just liked hearing the sound of his own voice. And it was a pleasant voice, for a human. Spock just preferred the human when he was asleep. He had never met anyone who liked to talk as much as Cadet Kirk, and he did not know how to respond.

Taking a break from his incessant blathering, Kirk yawned and stretched, pulling Spock’s arm up with him as he reached towards the ceiling. He stopped when Spock shot him a disapproving look, and brought his arm (and Spock’s) back to a normal position. Somehow, the Vulcan managed to remain calm when Kirk’s hand accidentally brushed his. There it was again, that tingly warm feeling! Spock needed to meditate on this, but now was not the time.

“Cadet Kirk, I must inform you that hand-touching is an improper action for Vulcans. Touching hands for us is quite similar to humans touching lips.” Kirk’s eyes widened at this, but he did not apologize for his actions.

“Really? Huh. So are Vulcans ever allowed to touch hands, like with family and stuff?” Spock didn’t know why he didn’t mind explaining this. Vulcan customs were usually shrouded in secrecy, save for the ozh'esta or finger embrace among bondmates, which was a suitable public gesture of affection.

“We do show affection to our immediate family members through the touch of our hands,” Spock admitted. “The action is accented by our touch-telepathy, allowing both participants to feel the emotions of the other. Bondmates as well practice the art of hand-touching. It is a very intimate experience, and as you are not family or my bondmate, I must ask you to desist.”

“So I was essentially kissing you when we touched hands?” Kirk stared sheepishly at the Vulcan, and wondered how Spock didn’t have a hair out of place, when he was certain his hair was sticking up in all directions. He couldn’t believe he got to ‘first base’ with this gorgeous alien/human hybrid and he hadn’t even known about it! That was one for the record books.

“Affirmative,” Spock replied. A light green blush tinged his cheeks. “You are excused from the action as you have not yet taken Xenobiology.” Kirk nodded, thankful that the Vulcan was not too offended.

“I’ll try not to touch your hand, but it might be difficult with these binders on,” Kirk said honestly.

“I appreciate your effort, Cadet.”

They left the bed together, and took a seat at the only table in the room. Kirk wasn’t sure what to say to the Vulcan, who he’d tried to previously seduce to avoid arrest. He had to admit, this was going to be awkward. Kirk found the Vulcan to be extremely attractive, but it wasn’t like he wanted to tie himself down to the guy. Kirk suddenly remembered that Vulcans only mate for life. No wonder Spock had been so difficult to seduce!

Kirk couldn’t take the silence any longer, as Spock kept staring at him, a quizzical expression on his face. It was like his inner self was being scanned, and frankly it was a little freaky.

“So where are we?” Kirk asked, hoping to take the Vulcan’s attention off him. It was the first logical thing he asked today, thought Spock.

“I believe we are on a shuttlecraft, travelling at warp five if my senses are correct,” Spock answered. “I am afraid we have been kidnapped by our captors.” He expected Kirk to be alarmed by this news, but the cadet didn’t seem too worried.

“Don’t worry Spock, I’ll get you home,” he promised. “I’ve gotten out of worse situations than this.” Spock’s eyebrow rose just a tad.

“That does not surprise me,” the Vulcan said wryly. Kirk frowned, not sure to take that as a compliment as an insult. He decided to take it as a compliment on his ingenuity, and launched full speed ahead with a series of questions.

“What do you think we’re doing in here? What do you think they want with us? Where are we headed? Do you think they’ll keep these hand binders on us the whole time?” If Spock had been human, he would’ve rolled his eyes.

“Why must you ask so many questions at once?” The Vulcan countered, a tiny grimace materializing on his visage. Kirk shrugged.

“I’m a curious guy.” Then he realized something, judging by the Vulcan’s stiffer-than-usual posture. “I’m not irritating you, am I, Spock? ” This astute observation just irritated Spock even further. How had he known his question were grating on my last nerve? Spock thought, incredulous. My control must be slipping…

“Vulcans do not feel that particular emotion,” the commander answered smoothly. “But I will endeavor to answer your questions to the best of my knowledge.”

“Shoot,” said Kirk, leaning back in his chair.

“I cannot be certain as to why we are here, but I believe we have been kidnapped in order to be held for ransom. My father has considerable wealth and power as a Vulcan Ambassador, and it is possible that-”

“I don’t think so,” Kirk interrupted, wincing as he almost fell over in his chair. “They wanted me, not you. That much was obvious. You just happened to be there, and they brought you along because you knew too much. Do you wanna know what I think where we’re going?”

“Not particularly.” Spock could not understand his growing attraction to this illogical person. After all, it would be useless to speculate about their destination, as there were countless worlds throughout the galaxies. The odds of Kirk picking the correct planet were 1,347 to one.

“Well, I think Cupcake, er, I mean Giotto, and his friends are taking us directly to the coordinates of the Guardian, whatever that is,” Kirk said, continuing as if Spock hadn’t just shot him down.

“Which he did not have until you hacked into a private site and found for him,” Spock added.

“Look, it’s not like I wanted this to happen, okay?” Kirk went on the defensive. “It was just a job, no different from the others.”

“You should not have been engaging in illegal activities in the first place,” Spock scolded him.

“Ugh,” Kirk groaned, wishing he wasn’t bound to this being. “What are you, my mother? I think I liked you a lot better yesterday.” Spock frowned at this, asking,

“When you were trying to charm your way out of an arrest?” Kirk laughed nervously.

“I didn’t mean any harm by that,” he insisted.

"Your reputation suggests otherwise," said Spock. "You are said to be a "love 'em and leave 'em" kind of man." Kirk rolled his eyes.

“Don't believe everything you hear. It’s not like I force people to have sex with me. I can't help it if they throw themselves at me and then we happen to-”

“The history of your sexual escapades is irrelevant,” Spock interrupted. He did not wish to hear about Kirk’s colorful sex life. “All I ask is that you do not try it again. If you do, I will have no choice to report you to Starfleet Command for sexual harassment.”

“Understood,” Kirk replied. “I certainly don’t want to be written up for sexual assault on one of my superiors.” He stared curiously at Spock. “But why aren’t you reporting me for the first time?” Spock’s eyebrows flew to the ceiling. He really should report the cadet’s actions, but then again, it wasn’t quite sexual harassment. If he was truly honest with himself, Spock had wanted it too...

“Do you wish to have a black mark on your Starfleet record?”

“No, of course not!” Kirk shook his head.

“Very well then.” Spock said calmly. Kirk couldn’t understand why Spock was being so lenient with him. This didn’t tally with all of what he’d heard about the hard-assed commander.

“Thanks,” Kirk murmured. Spock nodded at him, and was about to ask his companion why he decided to join Starfleet when the door to their quarters swooshed open. It was Giotto, flanked by his minions, all who had drawn their phasers. Briefly, Kirk thought about rushing them, but quickly nixed that idea. He wasn’t itching for another beating when the odds were against him.

“Let’s go, boys,” the burly cadet ordered. “We’ve arrived at our destination.” His hostages had no choice but to comply.

.~.

They all beamed down to the planet’s surface, which was covered with fine grains of sparkly sand. The once proud city lay decimated, with only ruins left behind. Kirk and Spock sidestepped a white ionic column, many of which littered the ground. The Vulcan’s eyes grew wide as he took in the strange atmosphere.

“Fascinating,” Spock muttered as they came to a halt in front of a circular, metallic structure.

“Wow, now that’s something you don’t see every day,” Kirk commented. “It looks sorta like a metal vagina.” Everyone save for Spock snickered.

“See, I told you it existed,” a smug Cupcake told one of his henchmen. “That will be one hundred credits.” The henchmen scowled at his boss, but nodded anyway. Giotto then turned to his prisoners. “Now, Kirk, learn just what you have given us access to.” The man known-as-Cupcake smirked at his enemy. “We have found the fabled time portal, the Guardian itself. If it is still functional, we can use it to revisit the past, to change the outcome of history.”

“You don’t want to do that,” Kirk insisted. “Unless you could go back to primary school and actually learn to use your brain…”

“Watch it,” Cupcake warned, waving his index finger at him. “Kirk, you were not the only person who lost a parent in the Kelvin attack. If I can go back in time and prevent it from happening, my father will still be alive to take care of my currently ailing mother. We’ve lost our home, our debts have run sky-high, my brother ran away, all thanks to my father’s death.”

“Look, I know how sucky the loss of a brother can be,” Kirk admitted, thinking of his elder brother Sam, who had run away at age fifteen. He’d never seen him since. “But that’s no reason to change the past. No reason is good enough to risk a different outcome of history.” Inwardly, Spock agreed. He was surprised and pleased that Kirk had the wisdom to realize that tampering with history could be treacherous.

Now, it wasn’t like Kirk had never thought about it before. Jim had often wished for his deceased father to return when he was a child. Now he had the possible opportunity to save his life, but at what cost? His father would never have wanted his son to fiddle with the time continuum just to save his life. He had to make Cupcake understand this!

“We will not allow you to alter the flow of time,” Spock jumped in. “It would be illogical, not to mention extremely dangerous.”

“I’m not afraid like you are, Vulcan,” Giotto spat.

“You should be,” Spock said, ever serene. “If you are not the least bit frightened of accidentally altering the events of history, then you are a fool.”

“Will someone shut him up?” Giotto thundered. The henchmen started towards Spock, but Kirk leapt protectively in front of him, prepared to take the brunt of a phaser blast if necessary. Kirk’s hand once again grazed Spock’s, who inwardly shuddered at the touch.

“No way!” Kirk shouted. “You’ll have to go through me first.” Spock found it odd that Kirk would take such a selfless action; it did not fit his rumored personality at all. However, Giotto’s goons soon forgot all about Kirk and Spock.

“A question.” The voice boomed from the massive silver structure. Everyone jumped, startled by the deep masculine voice.

“What are you?” Giotto asked, dumbfounded as the strange machine answered the question that was on everyone’s mind. White lights flashed fiercely as the voice replied,

“I am the Guardian of Forever.”

.~.

End Ch: 4

Back In Time by SpirkTrekker42

Disclaimer: The rights to Star Trek belong to Gene Roddenberry, and NuTrek belongs to J.J. Abrams, Orci, and Kurtzman.

A/N: A big thanks goes to my beta, Pirate College Graduate, for doing a fantastic job catching my errors. I love ya, girl! Now, back to the Guardian…

.~.

Ch. 5: Back In Time

Kirk and Spock glanced at each other in confusion. The Guardian of Forever? What did that mean? Would this Guardian cause them any harm? Kirk was secretly pleased that the Vulcan didn’t know anything more about this strange metallic structure than he did.

“Are you machine or being?” Giotto inquired, voicing a question that had been on everyone’s minds.

“I am neither machine or entity; I am both,” boomed the Guardian.

“What is your purpose, Guardian?” Giotto continued his interrogation.

“I regulate the flow of time. Past, present, and future has little meaning for me,” was the response.

Spock’s eyebrows flew up to his forehead. On Vulcan, there was a myth of such a thing, of a sentinel of time, but he had never actually considered that the story might be true.

“I believe the Guardian is some type of time portal. A gateway to other times and dimensions,” Spock elaborated for everyone’s benefit. Kirk stared at Spock in amazement. How had the Vulcan known? Kirk himself had been coming to that conclusion on his own, but the Vulcan beat him to it.

“Behold, a gateway to your own past.”

The Guardian’s resounding voice captured everyone’s attention. Kirk, Spock, Giotto, and his minions all watched, enraptured as fog materialized in the inner circle of the structure. When the fog cleared, images flashed by, depicting Earth’s past. To Kirk, it seemed they were watching old holovids depicting Earth’s history. He recognized the prehistoric times, the time of Christ, the crusades, the European conquest of America, and several of the wars that followed.

“Guardian, when you get to our time, can you slow your pace a bit?” Giotto asked.

“Certainly, if that is what you wish.” Kirk and Spock watched, fascinated as the first man on Earth’s moon was shown, followed by a period marked by terrorism that eventually led to the Eugenics wars. By the time the 23rd century arrived, the holovid’s pace slowed considerably.

“Guardian, can you pinpoint the time of the attack on the Kelvin?”

“Ah, an important event in Federation history,” the Guardian acknowledged. “Shall I take you back a week prior to the disaster?”

“Yes!” cried Cupcake, almost salivating over the opportunity to change history and save all those aboard the Kelvin.

“No!” Kirk yelled, lunging for Giotto and dragging Spock along with him. But the guards were easily able to hold them back. “You can’t do this. It’s wrong! You could really screw up history, cause you never know what sort of outcomes saving those people could have.”

“I too agree with Cadet Kirk’s logic,” Spock chimed in. “You have no way of knowing the sorts of consequences that may come as a result of your irresponsible actions.”

“Sorry,” Cupcake sneered at them. “I didn’t come all this way to chicken out at the last second.” The security cadet watched as the images slowed to a crawl.

“So long, suckers!” Giotto taunted them before jumping through the gateway, supposedly landing twenty-three years back in time.

Kirk shook his head. “That’s just great,” he remarked.

The images had started up again, returning to prehistoric times. It seemed the Guardian was reluctant to show them their future as it would’ve happened before they tampered with time.

“I detect the use of the human technique known as sarcasm,” said Spock.

“You think?” was Kirk’s snappy remark. “He didn’t even have the decency to remove our binders!”

“What do we do now?” one of Giotto’s goons asked his neighbor.

“I don’t know. Wait for him to come back?” His companion replied, uncertain.

“Maybe we should call Recktenwald back on the ship,” a third minion suggested.

“Yeah, let’s call him. Maybe he’ll know what to do,” said the first man. He pulled out his communicator. “Johansson to Recktenwald. Come in, Recktenwald!” All he received in response was static.

“That’s weird, he’s not answering.” Johansson frowned.

“Your ship no longer exists,” the Guardian informed them. “The flow of history has changed, therefore your ship never journeyed here.”

“Whaaaat?” Johansson cried. “How is that even possible?” Kirk and Spock exchanged another look. Just how stupid was this guy?

“Cupcake screwed up,” Kirk explained. “Somehow, he must’ve saved everyone on the Kelvin. He prevented events that were supposed to happen. My father never sacrificed himself to save the shuttles, therefore the Narada was never damaged. Nero must still be out there! I have to stop him, Spock,” he hissed, determined now.

“Cadet Kirk, you are allowing your emotions to overtake your sense of logic,” Spock injected, his visage as serene as ever. “You must consider the possible consequences of your actions. If your judgment is not sound, we could be marooned here on this world for the rest of our lives.” Spock did have a point, but Kirk would never admit it. At least not outloud…

“Guardian, if we are somehow able to put things right, what happens then?” Kirk asked.

“It will be as if your journey through time has never happened.”

Jim nodded. “I’m going back to stop him,” he announced to the crowd.

“I am uncertain if that course of action would be advisable,” Spock warned. “You could damage the space-time continuum even further.”

“That’s true,” Kirk agreed. “But I have to try. Otherwise, we won’t ever get off this rock.” Spock begrudgingly admitted that he had point there.

“Very well,” sighed the Vulcan. “But I must insist that I come with you.”

“I can’t let you do that, Commander Spock,” Kirk said gravely. “I got us into this mess, and I’ll get us out of it.”

“Might I remind you that you will be all alone, isolated in a time that is before your own with no one who understands your predicament?”

“So?” Kirk snapped. But Spock knew he had touched a nerve. By playing on the common human fear or being alone, he had won Kirk over. He had no idea that the fear of rejection and isolation had been constant companions for Jim Kirk. “Fine, I’ll bring you along,” he relented.

“I am glad you are not averse to my tagging along,” said Spock. “After all, you would not have had a choice, as we are still bound together.” The Vulcan jiggled their arms for emphasis. Kirk glared at him.

“Why you sneaky little Vulcan! Why bother convincing me if I never had a choice?”

“Because I did not want you to resent bringing me along. I would rather you appreciate that I could be of some value on this mission. Perhaps you could even enjoy my company.” Kirk had the distinct feeling that Spock was making fun of him.

“Yeah, sure. Whatever.” The cadet turned to Giotto’s security force and announced. “Spock and I are going back in time to put things right. You guys just sit tight while we’re gone.” Giotto’s cronies just looked at each other and shrugged.

“Guardian, could you please make sure we arrive in time before Giotto?” Kirk requested. “We have to stop him from committing whatever deed he did to change history.”

“I will grant your request,” the Guardian boomed. The holovid slowed to the time just before the Kelvin attack, the images just barely moving.

“We must go now,” Spock insisted. Moving purely on instinct, Jim immediately jumped through the portal, in synchrony with Spock. He wasn’t sure why, but he trusted the Vulcan implicitly, at least about scientific matters such as this.

They fell out of the portal onto a cushion of green grass, hidden from public view behind a tall, modern-style building. The temperature was pleasantly warm, the breeze was soothing, and the sun was shining. It was a beautiful day on Earth, and the time travelers were thankful they had survived the journey in one piece.

“Oompf,” Kirk grunted as he disentangled himself from the Vulcan, whose eyes were closed. As he opened them, Spock’s vision swam; he hadn’t taken to time travel at all. He slowly sat up next to Kirk. Unfortunately, time travel hadn’t eliminated the binders that held them together. But Spock was starting not to mind so much…

“What is our location?” The Vulcan asked as he waited for his vision to clear.

“We’re at the academy!” Kirk crowed. “Look, there’s Zephram Cochrane Hall, the main auditorium, the clock tower, and the library.”

When Spock’s blurred vision righted itself, he saw that they were indeed on Starfleet’s campus.

“We are fortunate the Guardian allowed us to materialize here,” said Spock.

Kirk nodded absently as he scanned the quad for something. “But where’s my dorm?” he whined. “Where is Robau Hall?”

“It was not built until 2245,” Spock informed him.

“Must you always prove that you know everything?” Kirk griped. Spock raised an eyebrow.

“On the contrary, I do not know everything. It is impossible for one being to-”

“Alright, alright!” Jim interrupted, effectively cutting him off. “Okay, the first thing we need to do is find out what the date is.”

“I disagree,” Spock countered. “First, I must find a way to disguise my ears. I will draw unwanted attention to myself, and people may question why I am here.”

“Spock, Starfleet has many cadets who are not human,” Kirk reminded him.

“While that is true, I was the first Vulcan to apply,” said Spock. Kirk hadn’t known that. What had prompted Spock to take such an action? He’d find out soon enough, he hoped.

“Can’t you just be my friend who came to campus for a visit?” Jim suggested.

“Vulcans do not make friends with humans,” Spock informed him. “My father excluded, of course.”

“Why not?” Kirk the Curious wanted to know.

“We generally find the emotional attachment distasteful,” was Spock’s careful answer.

“I’ll have to change that,” Kirk vowed. “You know, I think I’ll make it my new goal.”

Spock cocked his head.

“I was under the impression that your most pressing goal was to repair Earth’s history.”

“That too,” Kirk agreed. “I can have two challenging goals at the same time because I am just that awesome.” He grinned at the Vulcan, who looked away. “So, about that date?”

“Should we not find a way to remove the binders?” Spock asked.

“Aw, Spock, you don’t want to be bound to me for all eternity?” Kirk teased.

“I would find that most unpleasant, as we are barely acquaintances,” Spock countered, but a smidge of a blush appeared on his cheeks.

“We’ll get the binders off soon,” Kirk promised. “Don’t worry.”

“How do you know they will not mistake us for fugitives?” Spock wondered.

“I’ll just tell them that someone put these on us as a prank,” Kirk said, ever confident. “That’s worked for me before.”

“I do not doubt it,” Spock said dryly.

“Shall we?” Kirk offered, gesturing towards the campus.

Spock grimaced. He hated this situation, as any interaction with people in the past could have disastrous consequences, but they had no alternative.

“Very well, but try not to talk to too many beings.” They ventured out onto the quad, and Kirk stopped the first person they passed.

“Excuse me, ma'am.” The young woman stopped in her tracks, and turned toward Kirk, who grinned at her. “Hi. I don’t think I’ve seen you around before. What’s your name?”

“Naomi,” she replied, a little startled, but flattered that this handsome young man would ask for her name.

“Well, Naomi, I have a question for you.” Kirk smiled sweetly. “What’s today’s date?” The lieutenant gave them a suspicious look, but answered anyway.

“2234.01.”

“Thanks,” said Kirk. “It was nice to meet you, Naomi.” Pulling Spock by the arm in the direction of the library, he was barely able to contain his excitement. “This is great!” He exclaimed. “We have more or less three months left before the Kelvin incident.”

“That is rather agreeable,” Spock conceded. Kirk continued to steer them towards the library.

“I must inquire as to your reasoning for going to the library,” Spock spoke up when they were almost there. “Why are you taking us to a place that will be filled with people?”

“We need to find out when the Kelvin is scheduled to depart for her mission,” Kirk explained. “We can have access to the holonet at the library, as it’s a public one. More than likely we’ll find that we have plenty of time left, and then we can see about those binders.”

“Logical,” Spock admitted.

The library was crawling with cadets and instructors. Spock was rather overwhelmed by the constant emotions they were emitting. (This was why he preferred to study in his room, where he would not be disturbed by his human classmates.) Even though it was packed, Kirk and Spock were able to procure a computer station just as a man was leaving.

Kirk slid into the computer chair and began to work his magic. Spock sat down close to Jim in the remaining seat, his foot brushing against something small. That was when the Vulcan noticed the credit card that had fallen to the floor beneath Jim’s seat.

“Cadet Kirk, someone has left their credit card underneath your chair.” Kirk stopped what he was doing and reached beneath his seat. He grabbed the card and handed it off to Spock.

“We can see who it belongs to later,” Jim said. “We have to make sure we were granted enough time to save history.” Spock sat the card down in front of him, and helped Jim sift through the holosites until they found one that listed all of the ‘fleet starship launches.

“Look, the Kelvin doesn’t leave space dock for another two months!” Kirk crowed. “We’ve got all the time in the world.” He flashed a grin at a startled Spock. The Vulcan did not find the cadet’s smile to be knee-weakening. Not at all. But the moment was interrupted when someone approached their computer station.

“Hi. I think I left my card here,” said the human. Kirk and Spock turned around to find a thirty-something Commander before them.

“Here you go,” said Jim, handing off the card to its rightful owner. Jim’s heart was racing as he thought he recognized those blue eyes. It couldn’t be, could it? But everything fit. It was the right time, the right place… If Jim had been honest with himself, he had been wishing that he could meet his father before he was sent to his doom. Perhaps that wish was about to come true, to finally be able to talk to his father face to face, man to man. There was so much he wanted to ask him about!

The man offered his hand to Jim in gratitude, firmly who shook it.

“Thanks, I owe ya one. George Kirk.” His smile was hauntingly familiar. “Nice to meet ya.”

Jim Kirk’s jaw hit the floor.

End Ch.5

Father Figure by SpirkTrekker42

Disclaimer: The rights to Star Trek belong to Gene Roddenberry, and NuTrek belongs to J.J. Abrams, Orci, and Kurtzman.

A/N: I’m so sorry this took so long to update! I had so many other plot bunnies that had to be addressed, but I knew I’d come back to this one at some point. Hope it was worth the wait!

.~.

Ch. 6: Father Figure

“You’re… you’re…” Jim could only stammer as he scrutinized his young father, who was thirteen years older than himself. “You’re him!” He glanced nervously at Spock, hoping the Vulcan wouldn’t berate him for interacting with his father. History was at stake, after all. But Jim would never be given this opportunity again – why not enjoy it while he could?

“In the flesh,” the human chuckled. Spock noted that Jim’s father didn’t seem to be rattled by this sort of behavior – perhaps it was something he’d gotten used to. After all, George Kirk had been famous for his bravery long before the Kelvin incident occurred.

“Do you know how much I’ve wanted to meet you?” Jim croaked. Grinning, George shook his head. Jim blinked back tears, trying to hold back his emotions at finally seeing his absent father and failing miserably. “This means more to me than you’ll ever know.”

“Thanks, son,” said George, placing a comforting arm on Jim’s shoulder. “Was there something you wanted to ask me?”

“Uh, yes…I-I…” Jim stuttered as he stared at George, basking in his father’s warm, reassuring gaze. He called me son, he called me son!

“Dammit!” George had not meant it literally, of course, but that didn’t matter. Jim would remember that moment for the rest of his life…

Wrenching himself away from his father’s touch, Jim turned around and walked several yards off in an attempt to calm himself. There were so many things he wished he could ask his father, but he wasn’t sure if he could do that without giving away the fact that he was actually George’s son from the future. Also, there was the little matter that his brain didn’t seem to be working right in the presence of the great man. How had Jim ever thought he could surpass this man’s accomplishments? George radiated a cool confidence that he’d never had. Oh sure, Jim faked it, but this man was completely sure of himself and his abilities. Perhaps this sure confidence came with age and experience – he sure hoped so.

“Is he okay?” George asked the Vulcan, watching Jim nervously pace back and forth.

“Affirmative. I believe he is experiencing a phenomenon that humans refer to as ‘hero worship’,” Spock explained. The elder Kirk beamed at that.

“Well I did save my shuttle crew from certain death on my last mission, but it’s no reason for people to treat me like I’m God. That is, unless they want to. I really don’t have any objections to that sort of thing.”

“This explains so much,” Spock muttered under his breath, glancing over at Jim. The Vulcan was completely certain that Jim’s enormous ego had been inherited.

“What’s your name?” George asked. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Vulcan on campus before.”

“I am Spock,” the Vulcan replied. “My acquaintance and I were visiting Starfleet as we are interested in enlisting in the future.” It was not truly a lie; they both did enlist in the future, the far future.

“Acquaintance?” George asked, amused. “You two aren’t friends?”

“Negative,” Spock said dully. “He is much too illogical for me to call him friend.”

“Uh huh,” George said knowingly. Somehow he could tell that the Vulcan didn’t loathe the human’s presence as much as he would have others believe. “So what’s his name?” Spock raised an eyebrow.

“I would prefer for him to introduce himself.” The Vulcan marched over to Jim, whispered a few words, and returned with the human in tow.

“Hi!” Jim squeaked, giving his father a half-hearted wave. Spock’s eyebrows flew up.

“Your behavior baffles me,” the Vulcan commented. Jim gave him a dark look.

“Thanks for your support.”

“What did you say your name was?” George asked Jim, who winced.

“Uh, it’s uh…” But he was saved when a dark-haired young man approached them.

“Commander Kirk?”

“Hey Matt! How’s it going?” George clapped the man on his back.

“That’s Lieutenant Decker to you!”

“How could I forget?” George teased. “Aren’t you supposed to be heading for the shuttles? From what I’ve heard, Captain Garth is not a patient man.”

“I just wanted to send some last minute comms before I left,” the younger man explained. “Congratulations on your promotion, by the way.”

“Thanks!” George’s face lit up. “Due to my new title, I was able to pull some strings to bring Winona on board with me. I want us to be together, just in case she goes into labor prematurely.”

“Good luck,” said Decker. “I can’t imagine my wife and I wanting to have kids anytime soon. Maybe in ten years or so.”

“I don’t blame you; Sam’s certainly a handful,” George admitted. “I can only imagine what it’ll be like when his brother or sister arrives!” Jim swallowed hard as he watched his father say goodbye to his friend. It would be the last time Decker would see George Kirk alive…

“I never did get that name, stranger,” George reminded his doppelganger.

“The name’s Bond, James Bond,” Jim replied with a tinge of a British accent. It was only a half-truth. “I’m here on a secret mission for the ‘fleet, so I’m afraid I can’t answer any more of your questions.” If Spock had been human, he would’ve rolled his eyes.

“Cut the crap,” George scowled. “If there’s one thing I hate, it’s being lied to. And I know when I’m being bullshitted. I should know; I’m a master of bullshit myself. Why do you look so much like me?” Jim sighed.

“Fine. If you must know, I’m your second cousin, Augustus Kirk.” When he’d been a kid, his ‘Uncle Augustus’ had always been a source of amusement. The fellow had been a little wrong in the head, and he was always landing himself in jail for some reason or another. Lucky for him and Spock, no one in the family had actually met Augustus.

“Ohhhh.” George grinned. “I’ve heard so much about you! Why didn’t you tell me who you were earlier?”

“I dunno,” Jim shrugged. “I guess I wanted to see if you’d like me before you knew we were family.”

“I’ll buy that,” said George. “It certainly explains the Vulcan companion and the hero worship.” Now that his father wasn’t going to question him any further, Jim decided to take this moment to ask about their restraints.

“Would you mind getting these off?” Jim gestured to the binders. George smirked at his son.

“What happened, did the key fall behind the bed and neither of you could reach it?” Spock’s ears tinged green as he pictured the scenario. He pretended like he didn’t understand the implications of that sentence, which was what he did 90.4% of the time humans hinted at innuendo.

“I told you, it’s not like that!” The younger Kirk insisted.

“We were the unfortunate victims of a human prank,” Spock supplied.

“Ah, I see.” Commander Kirk hid a smile. “Let’s go outside and see if I can help you out.” Jim and Spock followed the older man past the com stations and out into the fresh air and sunshine.

“I am in your debt,” said Spock. “It was quite uncomfortable being bound to him.”

“Yeah, well, it was no picnic for me either.” Jim glared at Spock.

“Hold still,” George ordered, and he dissolved the chain that linked the two with his phaser. “I’m afraid you’ll just have to make do with the cuffs; I don’t trust myself to get those off without accidentally hurting you.”

“A logical decision,” said Spock, who nodded in approval. “It is only a minor inconvenience.” They stood there awkwardly looking at George.

“So what do we do now?” Jim wondered aloud. “Any suggestions, Spock?”

“None at this time, Jim,” replied the Vulcan. “As you said, we have plenty of time.”

“I know - you two can shadow me for the day,” George suggested. Spock raised an eyebrow.

“I do not understand how it is possible for humanoids to emulate a shadow.”

“No, no, no!” Jim shook his head at the Vulcan’s cluelessness towards Terran expressions. “He just wants us to stay with him and observe him while we’re on campus. Otherwise, without uniforms, we’ll stick out like a sore thumb.” The cadet lowered his voice so only Spock could hear, leaning close to the Vulcan’s ears. Spock did not shiver as Jim’s warm breath tickled his sensitive ear. “We don’t want anyone questioning us if we’re here on an authorized visit.”

“Most logical.” Spock nodded at George and straightened his shirt. “We accept your offer.”

“Good.” George beamed. “Maybe by the end of the day I’ll figure out who you really are.”

“Don’t get me wrong, we’re thankful and all, but why are you letting us stay?” Jim wondered. “For all you know, we could be Klingon spies.”

“That’s true,” George mused. “That’s why it’s best for you two to stay with me, where I can keep an eye on you.”

“Why not surrender us to the proper authorities?” Spock asked. Jim groaned.

“Stop giving him ideas! Geez.” The newly appointed commander chuckled.

“I’m curious about you two, especially since you and I are related.” He patted Jim on the back. “Besides, Vulcans aren’t criminals. I figure if you’re… with him, you can’t be too dangerous.” Jim’s eyes widened in surprise.

“I’m not with him, with him!” Jim’s father roared with laughter.

“Pardon me, I do not know to what you are referring,” said Spock. This time he really didn’t understand the colloquial Terran phrasing. “Did something amusing occur?”

“Nevermind, Spock,” Jim said quickly.

.~.

For the next hour, George gave them a quick tour of the campus, which was somewhat new (old?) to them. However most of the structures were recognizable. They ended up in the officer’s quarters, where George loaned them two crimson cadet uniforms to wear. (Spock’s was somewhat saggy on him, but it sufficed.) After he finished pulling on his uniform, Jim glanced around his father’s room in awe.

George’s personal effects sat neatly on the shelves and in the drawers. His uniforms hung in his closet, crisply pressed. On his desk stood a small stack of reports and a few photos. There was no residential clutter that occupied Jim’s room. I must’ve gotten my ‘messy’ gene from Mom, Jim thought to himself. Cause Dad sure is tidy! He and Spock are going to get along fabulously…

Jim’s eyes finally landed on a familiar portrait of his young parents and his four year old brother.

“You have a… a nice family, sir,” Jim commented as he fingered the gold picture frame.

“Don’t I know it,” his father agreed as he pulled on his dress uniform. “I’m about to have a new addition in my family – wife’s seven months pregnant.” Jim blinked, wishing he could tell his father who he was. But it was impossible, it would be break so many laws.

“I believe the appropriate Terran response is “congratulations”, Spock supplied, glaring at Jim for his rude behavior.

“Yeah, yeah, congrats,” Jim echoed, his throat tightening as George grabbed the keys to his hovercar from their peg on the wall.

“You guys are welcome to come home with me if you like,” George offered, “but I must warn you that-” The commander’s communicator beeped, cutting him off mid-sentence.

“Kirk here.” He answered, and Spock didn’t miss the longing in Jim’s eyes. “Yes, Admiral… I am dressed appropriately. Uh huh...I will meet you at the reception hall…yes I know Vulcans don’t shake hands…uh huh…right away, sir. Kirk out.” George snapped his com device shut.

“There’s been a change of plans. All senior officers have been ordered to attend the arrival of a high-ranking official, a prominent ambassador.”

“Are you certain we are allowed to attend?” Spock asked. George reached for one of his many gleaming medals of valor and stuck it on his lapel.

“As long as you stand behind me and keep quiet, you guys should be fine,” George predicted. “However, you might want to cover up those ears.” He tossed a red baseball cap to Spock, which at least matched the color of the uniform. The Vulcan pulled the cap on and resumed his dignified stance, but Jim privately thought he looked ridiculous.

George led them through a maze of buildings until they reached the gigantic structure that was the reception hall. Once inside, Jim’s father joined the line of senior officers, his shadows right behind him.

“Hey, do you know what planet the ambassador is from?” Jim whispered, already bored by standing in line at attention with nothing to do.

“Vulcan, I think,” George replied back, before snapping to attention once more. Spock paled considerably at this tidbit of information.

“It is my father. I am not prepared for this,” the Vulcan said in a monotone. Kirk frowned.

“Don’t jump to conclusions, Vulcan has lots of other am-”

“There is only one Ambassador to Earth,” Spock interrupted him, this action signifying he was distracted enough to forget his manners. “Now we have both of our fathers to contend with.”

“Great,” Jim deadpanned. “Just perfect.” And here I thought things couldn’t get worse.

“Jim, I am concerned my father will recognize me as a Vulcan,” Spock admitted. “It would be preferable if I did not have to converse with him.”

“Hmm…” The younger Kirk pondered this for a moment. “Then you're going to have to act like a human."

"Very well," said Spock. "What must I do?"

"First off, you need to slouch more. Now put your arms at your sides,” Jim advised. Reluctantly, Spock did.

“Better,” said Jim, closely scrutinizing the Vulcan. “Your face still looks too emotionless. Can you try and smile?” Spock did, but it just looked like the Vulcan was in pain.

“Okay, forget the smile,” sighed Kirk. That was a bad idea. “Maybe you could just look down at your feet. Spock’s eyebrows moved towards each other just a bit.

“Vulcans do not-”

“Exactly,” Jim cut him off, blinding him with a smirk. Spock complied, and he didn’t look nearly as intimidating in his new stance.

“Is this adequate?” Spock asked.

“It’ll do,” Jim approved. “Wow, Spock, you could totally pass as a human. I didn’t know you had it in you!” Spock frowned.

“I assure you, my illogical behavior will cease once my father is no longer in my presence.”

“Of course,” said Jim. Spock was not certain if Jim was teasing him or not.

But before the Vulcan could clarify this, the Head of Starfleet’s voice announced the arrival of their esteemed guest.

“Starfleet extends its most sincere welcome to Ambassador Sarek, of Vulcan. His diplomatic contributions and influence have often helped to further the exploits of this academy. We are most grateful for his dedication and support of our cause of peace and exploration.”

Garbed in a traditional brown Vulcan robe, Sarek departed his shuttle, surrounded by four beefy security guards. The Vulcan was first greeted by the Head of Starfleet, Admiral Jones, and then made his way down the line.

Just before his father reached them, Spock’s breathing rapidly increased. Jim couldn’t help but notice the change.

“Calm down,” the young cadet whispered. “It’ll be fine.” Pleased by Jim’s concern for him, Spock was able to relax a bit.

Finally, the ambassador approached Jim’s father. He raised the famous ta’al in greeting, which George half-heartedly attempted.

“Sorry, I’ve never been able to get my hands to do that,” George confessed, breaking the silence.

“I am not offended,” Sarek replied, bowing slightly.

“Good,” said George, clearly relieved he hadn’t made a social gaffe.

“It is a pleasure to meet your acquaintance, Commander Kirk,” said the Vulcan. “Tales of your bravery have reached the sands of my planet.”

“Only the good tales I hope,” George joked.

“What other tales would there be?” Sarek asked, confused. George coughed.

“Nevermind. Welcome to San Francisco, Ambassador Sarek. We at Starfleet are most pleased to host you.” George smiled at the Vulcan. “I trust you had a good trip?”

“It was adequate,” Sarek responded, his face perfectly devoid of emotion. Not deterred, George prattled on.

“…and not only that, my wife and I are about to have another child in a few months. You have a young son of your own, right?”

“Affirmative,” said the Vulcan, his facial features softening a tad. “My son Spock is almost one year of age in Terran terms. He has already memorized the principles of logic.” Commander Kirk gaped at the Vulcan, but quickly recovered.

“My son Sam memorized all of the species of common Terran plants and animals,” George bragged. “The little tyke thinks he’s a biologist.”

“Interesting,” was all that Sarek said. Then the ambassador’s gaze fell on Jim and Spock. “Are these your assistants?”

“God no,” said George with shudder. “These two are thinking about joining Starfleet. This is my second cousin, Augustus Kirk.”

“Charmed, I’m sure,” said Jim. He’d learned his lesson the year before and did not offer his hand to the Vulcan.

“Greetings,” said Sarek, giving him the Vulcan salute.

“And this is his companion, erm, Spencer,” said George. Spock didn’t meet his father’s gaze – he kept staring at the floor as instructed.

“He hasn’t been right in the head since the accident,” Jim informed the baffled ambassador. “It was terrible, a groin injury left him impotent and he hasn’t talked since.” Sarek raised an eyebrow.

“How unfortunate.” He returned his focus to George. “It was good to make your acquaintance, Commander Kirk. I wish you safe journey on your next mission.”

“Thank you,” George said politely. “The same to you.” They watched Sarek move on to the last few officers and then leave the hall.

“Whew, that was close,” Jim breathed.

“I’ll say,” George agreed. “I almost called you Spock, a strictly Vulcan name. Fortunately I was able to think of a Terran name just in time.” But Spock only had eyes for Jim.

“Was it necessary to falsely inform him that I was impotent?” Spock glared at the human.

“Nah, I just felt like messing with ya.” Jim grinned sweetly at the Vulcan, who gave a small ‘hmph’.

Since the guest of honor had departed, the Starfleet officers began to filter out of the reception hall. Soon, only George was left with his two ‘shadows’, who were currently arguing. The elder Kirk began to walk away from them. Jim and Spock were too wrapped up in each other to notice.

“Let’s go, you two, before you rip each other’s throats out.” George called over his shoulder. “I’m taking you home to our San Fran apartment to meet my wife. We actually live in Iowa, but Starfleet has given us a place of our own here since Winnie is pregnant. But I have to warn you, she and I can’t cook worth a damn so we just use the replicators.” He still hadn’t managed to grab their attention. Very well, if that was the way they wanted it…

“As I said, you can stay with us in the spare bedrooms,” Jim’s father said loudly. “Unless you’d rather room together?”

“No!” Jim and Spock both exclaimed. George shrugged.

“It was just an offer.” But he was smirking at them, much to Jim’s chagrin. Who knew his father had been such a tease?

They followed Commander Kirk to the officer’s garage and strapped themselves into the back seat of his hovercar. In no time at all they had arrived at George and Winona’s apartment. Jim and Spock followed their host inside, where Mrs. Kirk was waiting for him in the kitchen. They hung back in the hall at first, letting husband and wife greet each other.

“Hi, hon,” Winona greeted him with a peck on the cheek. “You’re home later than usual.”

“Yeah, I got held up at work. Where’s my boy?” George asked, as he gently hugged his pregnant wife.

“Sam’s playing in his room.” Winona rested her head on her husband’s shoulder.

“You feeling okay today?” George asked, concerned.

“I’m fine,” Winona laughed before they kissed. “Oh, before I forget, the results came back from the doctor today.”

“So are we having another borderline genius?” George kidded. Winona nodded.

“Actually, this one’s IQ is off the charts. The doctor said he’d never seen anything like it." From their place in the hall, Jim grinned smugly at Spock. The Vulcan simply ignored him.

“Well, he or she must take after their mother,” said George.

“Oh, stop it!” Winona swatted him in the arm.

“Hey, Win, I brought home some guests. They needed a place to stay.”

“Anyone I know this time?” Winona asked. Jim couldn’t believe it. If he or Sam had ever invited someone over without asking, his mom would’ve pitched a fit. But with George, she didn’t seem to care. Jim had never seen his mom this happy, nor the twinkle in her eye when she gazed at her husband. She seemed like a completely different person, one not weighed down by grief or the pressures of a single parent.

“No, but one of them is my second cousin. The other’s a Vulcan.” George beckoned behind him, and his shadows came into the kitchen.

“Cousin Augustus, Spock, this is my lovely wife, Winona.”

End Ch. 6

Family Dinner by SpirkTrekker42
Author's Notes:

A/N: Sorry it took so long, everyone! But this chapter marks a new beginning for our boys. :D It should be worth the wait!

 

Disclaimer: The rights to Star Trek belong to Gene Roddenberry, and NuTrek belongs to J.J. Abrams, Orci, and Kurtzman.

.~.

Ch. 7: Family Dinner

"So…what would you boys like for dinner?" Winona asked. Spock tried to answer her, but Jim beat him to it.

"I believe I would prefer the-"

"Spock and I will have salads," Jim cut in smoothly. "We can program them ourselves, so the toppings will be to our liking." The Vulcan tried to protest that the human did not have to subscribe to his eating preferences, but was silenced with Jim's warning look.

"That's so kind," Winona said, relieved. "I was just going to program spaghetti for the rest of us." Then she paused, seeing how close Jim and Spock were standing together. It had become an unconscious habit of theirs after being bound by the handcuffs. She also hadn't missed the admiring looks Jim had been shooting the Vulcan when he wasn't looking. "Wait, are you two together?" The female Starfleet instructor's eyes sparkled as she glanced from Jim to Spock.

"Why does everyone keep asking that?" Jim asked, throwing up his hands in indignation. At the same time Spock replied,

"Negative." They stared curiously at Winona, waiting for her explanation. Jim's mother blushed when she realized that she had misspoken.

"George?" She turned to her husband for help." But he just smirked.

"You're on your own, hon."

"I-I just thought, based on your close proximity…" Winona trailed off helplessly, not knowing what other hard facts to mention, as she had none. It was just a feeling she'd picked up. It was as if the two had always been finishing each other sentences, and always would. She could easily imagine Augustus lost without the Vulcan, and perhaps vice versa.

Luckily she was saved from embarrassment when Sam burst into the room, demanding that everyone put their hands up and this was a robbery. Jim was barely able to restrain his laughter, as this was a side of his brother he'd never seen before.

"Samuel, how many times have I told you not to play with your toy phaser when you're inside!" Winona exclaimed.

"Aw, c'mon Mom," the four year-old whined. "Dad lets me sometimes." Winona whirled around to glare at her husband.

"Your mother's right, Sam," said George, backing up his wife as any good spouse should.

"But-"

"Especially not when we have guests," Winona continued. "You need to be on your best behavior." Sam finally noticed the two newcomers.

"Who are they?" He asked, staring curiously up at Jim. "And why does he look like Dad?" George chuckled, and introduced his guests, pointing to them in turn.

"This is your Uncle Augustus and his Vulcan companion, Spock."

"I am pleased to meet you, Samuel," said the Vulcan, ever formal. Sam just wrinkled his nose at Spock. Jim understood – the alien could sound a bit, well, alien at times. But Jim was certain that was just his exterior. Beneath the surface lurked a most fascinating and complicated being that intrigued Jim like no other had before…

"I've never seen a Vulcan before," the little boy informed Spock. "Can you really look into someone's mind?" Spock gave him a small nod.

"You are correct; all Vulcans have the capacity to perform a mind meld."

"Can you do it to me?" Sam asked, excited at the prospect. The Vulcan raised an eyebrow at the boy's bold request.

"I am afraid the meld is usually used in the most dire of situations," Spock explained. "Sometimes humans cannot handle the overwhelming sensations of the other's mind, and they come out of the meld damaged. Also, when one bonds with one's bondmate – meaning they marry for life – melds may be shared between the two if said action is desired by both parties."

Sam just stared up at Spock like he had no idea what he'd just said. Jim could sympathize – sometimes even he had a hard time understanding Spock, and he was one of the most intelligent cadets in Starfleet. Would it have killed Spock to simplify his vocabulary for a young human to understand him? Sometimes Jim thought that the Vulcan had no concept of social constructs, and this was one of them. He really could teach Spock a thing or two about humans if the Vulcan was willing.

Tired of the Vulcan's stiff attitude, the little boy moved on to his 'Uncle Augustus'. This delighted Jim, who had been given the rare opportunity to interact with young Sam while he himself was twenty years older.

"Put it here, little buddy!" Jim held out his hand, and Sam replied,

"I'm not little!" However, the boy low-fived his 'uncle' anyway.

"That's what I'm talkin' about," Jim grinned. "Did you know I'm studying to work in space, just like your dad?"

"Wow!" Sam breathed, his eyes glazing over with hero worship. "I wanna to join Starfleet too! Mom says I'd make a great science off… science off-is… science person."

"You'd be great at it, kid," Jim murmured softly, trying not to let his emotions get the best of him. Sam had hated Starfleet since he could remember. Jim was having a very difficult time thinking of this happy little kid as his brother who was, in their universe, four years older than him. This Sam didn't have any anger issues, nor did he refuse human contact. It was almost like they were two completely different people. Jim wondered if he would've been this carefree at this age if his father had been around when he'd been little…

"Uncle Augustus, empty your pockets," Sam informed him, pointing the toy phaser at Jim's stomach. "I'm robbing you, and if you want you and the weird guy to live, I'd do what I say." Spock glanced curiously at Jim, who was trying not to laugh. Thankfully, before Jim's valuables were divested, George stepped in and 'saved the day'.

"There will be no robbers in my house!" George exclaimed. "I'll just have to take care of you myself." Jim watched as the young Starfleet commander picked up his son and swung him around the room. Sam laughed his head off, clearly enjoying the special time with his father.

"George, set him down," Winona scolded, having finished setting the table. "It's time for dinner. Everyone in the kitchen! You too, Augustus and Spock." Letting Sam go first, they followed her into the room.

"Yay!" Sam cried, seating himself at the head of the table. He then looked at his mother expectantly. "What'd you fix for me tonight?"

"Chicken with vegetables," his mother informed him. Sam wrinkled his nose as the dish was placed in front of him. He used his hands to not so subtly separate the green beans, baby carrots, and diced corn from the chicken.

"No veggies," the boy insisted, displaying the stubborn Kirk trait. "I'll eat the chicken though." George tried to convince his son to eat the dreaded vegetables, but was not successful. Winona shot a pleading glance at Jim, who decided to give it a go.

"Aw, Sam, they're not that bad," said Jim, shooting his brother a wry grin as he and Spock settled themselves in across from each other. Trying to lead by example, he shoveled in a huge bite of vegetables. Spock watched as Jim made a considerable effort to conceal his less-than-favorable reaction to the food. The Vulcan was a bit impressed that Jim bothered at all. "Besides, they made me grow up tall," 'Uncle Augustus' finished after he swallowed the bite in a single gulp. He gave the boy a sympathetic smile. "I think a big boy like you could eat at least few bites."

But unfortunately for Jim, it looked like his little plan was going to backfire. Jim swallowed hard as his brother's face began to crumple, bracing himself for a tantrum. He'd forgotten Sam had used to do that, before he was old enough to simply run away to make a point.

"Nooooooooooo," Sam wailed. The boy didn't understand why his cool uncle was suddenly siding with his parents. So he jumped out of his seat and hit Jim in the balls with his toy phaser.

"Ow!" Jim moaned in surprise, clutching his crotch. The kid had startling force behind the blow he delivered. George winced in sympathy, then frowned at his son, who sunk down in his seat.

"Jim, are you alright?" Spock asked in concern.

"Fine, Spock," he replied with a wince. "Just give me a minute."

"Samuel George Kirk! Apologize right now." Winona cried. Both parents were glaring at their son. There was no answer, just a pout from the boy who had his arms crossed over his chest.

"Sam, come with me." George's voice was stern. "Right now." Sam knew better than to disobey his father, so he followed him out of the dining room. Not wanting to miss their interaction, Jim made up an excuse to leave the table.

"I'm just gonna go to the bathroom," Jim explained, scooting his chair back and getting up from his place. He felt Spock's eyes linger on the back of his neck as he left the kitchen.

Of course Jim didn't really have to go. A toy phaser couldn't have done much damage. After the initial pain of the hit, he'd felt little disturbance. What he really wanted was to listen in on the conversation between his father and his older brother. He'd always wondered how his father would discipline him and Sam if he'd been alive. Honestly, anything had to be better than Frank's beatings. He doubted his father would use physical force, but one never knew.

Jim squeezed into the bathroom under the stairs, the perfect place to listen to a conversation undetected. He knew this because he'd used that location dozens of times to spy on his family members in the past.

Back in the kitchen, Winona scratched her head, wondering why 'Augustus' hadn't asked her where the facilities were located. How had he'd known exactly where to find the bathroom? But the replicator buzzed, drawing her attention away from her mysterious guest.

.~.

Closing the door behind him, Jim was able to successfully hide before his family members knew he was there. Raised voices could be heard just outside. He sat on the toilet, content to eavesdrop on his father's disciplinary talk with his brother.

"…I'm not a little boy!" Sam whined, stamping his foot under the weight of his father's stare.

"You are acting like one! Sam, we just talked about this behavior of your two weeks ago," George scolded.

"I know," Sam mumbled. George crossed his arms in front of his chest.

"What do you have to say for yourself?" Sam shrugged.

"I just didn't wanna eat my veggies cause they're gross. I'm sorry I hit Uncle Augustus." George's stern stare didn't soften one bit.

"As a member of Starfleet and the Federation, you know that I am someone who wants peace in every part of my life. I don't like it when people use violence as a way to solve a problem," his father reminded him. "What should you do next time instead of hitting if you feel angry?"

"Use my words." The boy sighed, sticking his lower lip out in a pout. "Can I go now? Pleeease?"

"Not yet," his father answered, still looking serious. "Sam, is there something else bothering you besides the vegetables?"

"Nu-uh." The four year-old gave himself away by looking down at the floor.

"Are you sure?" Sam quailed under his father's knowing gaze.

"Are those men gonna take you away on a miss-un?" George's expression softened. Separation anxiety he could certainly understand – he hated being away from his son as much as Sam hated being away from his father.

"No!" George picked up the shaking boy and held him close. "No. Mommy and I aren't leaving for two months, remember?"

"B-but I don't want you to go," Sam wailed, clutching his father's collar with his small hands. "It's not fair! What if something bad happens to the ship?"

"We're in good hands with Mr. Robau as the captain. Do you remember him?" Sam nodded, sucking his thumb.

"You forget that I'm the best commander in all of Starfleet," George kidded. "I won't let anything bad happen." Warily, Sam gazed up at his father.

"Promise?" Jim froze. Oh no, I can't listen to this… he thought. Don't promise, Dad, don't promise!

"I promise." George sealed the deal with a handshake. Unseen, Jim hung his head and squeezed his eyes shut, barely able to restrain a sob that threatened to escape. How could his father say that to his son, when he had no control over if he lived or died in space?

"Thanks," the boy mumbled, resting his head on his beloved father's shoulder. George kissed the top of his curly head.

"You're welcome. Now are you going to behave during dinner?"

"Yeah!" Sam exclaimed, jumping down and squeezing his father tightly around his waist.

A lump had risen in Jim's throat as the mystery as to why his brother had refused to make a promise to anybody was finally revealed. So that was it. No one had ever bothered to tell him growing up, especially not his mother. His brother never fully trusted a human being again after his father's death, and this was why. Jim couldn't blame him. He hadn't believed in love after he saw the results of his father's death on his mother. Swallowing hard, Jim suppressed his old pain. He wasn't here to feel sorry for himself. He was here to learn new things about his father.

George had used kind and just methods of teaching his son a lesson. Jim noted that the contrast from Frank's demeanor couldn't be more staggering. How Jim wished he'd benefitted from growing up under the guidance of such a wise and gentle man!

Knock knock knock.

"Jim? Will you be returning to the table soon?" Jim sighed. It was Spock, coming to check on him. What did the Vulcan think he was, his mother? On the other hand, it was kind of nice having someone actually notice if he was gone or not.

"Coming, Spock," he called.

Jim went back to the table and dinner commenced without further incident.

.~.

"I have a surprise for you, George," Winona gushed as they slowly ate their spaghetti. (Well, Winona and Spock did. The Kirk men and boys sort of slurped theirs down.)

"What's 'at?" Jim's father asked, his mouth full of noodles and tomato sauce.

"I had the painters come today! They painted the room next to Sam's yellow, for when the baby comes. Since we don't know the sex yet, I thought that yellow was a practical choice."

"Great!" George grinned at her. "The room will be all fixed up for our little one when we get back. Jim frowned slightly, glancing at Spock who he was sure had arrived at the same conjecture. Surely that didn't mean…

"The only problem is, I didn't know we'd be having guests." Winona looked apologetically at Jim and Spock. "The house only has four bedrooms – the master bedroom, Sam's bedroom, and the two guest rooms. However, I can't let anyone sleep in the baby's room since the paint has yet to dry and the fumes are too strong."

Spock couldn't believe his luck! Mrs. Kirk had given him a valid reason to sleep in the same room as the person who held his affections! He would have to be extra careful that Jim didn't discover his secret, but it would be worth the extra stress. The man was growing more and more attractive the more Spock learned about him.

"That's okay, hon, they can room together." George assured her. "Right, fellas?"

"Sure," Jim said slowly, glancing over at the Vulcan.

"That would be acceptable," Spock agreed, his heart and respiration increasing by fifteen percent.

"He means to say that it would be no trouble at all," Kirk translated.

"Right." Jim's parents chuckled.

While Winona prattled on about the new baby, Spock and Jim ate in silence, each lost in their own thoughts as they imagined how the night would go.

"You know, boys, I thought I could use my authority to get you two some jobs while you're here," said George, startling them out of their fantasies.

"That would be great!" Jim beamed at his father.

"We are most willing to earn our keep," Spock agreed. They discussed possible jobs while Winona finished her spaghetti.

As soon as the last noodle disappeared on Mrs. Kirk's plate, her husband was ready to move on to the final course.

"Who wants dessert?" George asked, winking at Jim as they watched Sam's enthusiastic response.

"Meeeeeee!" The four year old cried. "I want chocolate ice cream!"

"Okay," Winona laughed. "One chocolate ice cream coming up. What does everyone else want?"

"Apple pie," George and Jim said immediately. They stared at each other in surprise, then George chuckled.

"You've got good taste, Augustus." Jim just nodded, wondering what else he had in common with his father. Fortunately, he had a whole two months to find out!

The evening flew by as he and his father devoured their apple pie and discussed different command scenarios. Spock interjected when needed, giving an alternate logical perspective. Jim was very much enjoying this opportunity to pick his father's brain.

All too soon, it was time for bed. They bid their hosts goodnight after Winona showed them to the guestroom. As they surveyed the room, there was just one problem. In the middle of the room sat a modest queen-sized bed. Spock and Kirk glanced at each other, then looked back at the bed. Jim bit his lip. It was technically his house, he really should let his guest have the bed.

"Spock, you take the bed." But the Vulcan politely declined.

"It would not be logical for me to take the bed. Vulcans need less sleep than humans."

"You're half human," Jim pointed out. "Humans need a goodnight's sleep." Spock's face remained blank.

"Irrelevant." The human rolled his eyes. He knew it was useless to argue with a Vulcan on matters such as these. But he couldn't just make Spock sleep on the floor, no matter how much the Vulcan would enjoy the logic of that solution.

"Or we could share the bed," was his tentative suggestion. Spock's eyebrows flew up to his forehead.

"I do not believe that would be appropriate." Jim scoffed at that.

"Oh come on, I won't jump you in your sleep." As much as I'd enjoy that… "We both could use the rest. It's logic, Spock." The Vulcan had to admit to himself that it would be logical for them to both receive the requisite eight hours of sleep.

"Would you keep to your side and not encroach upon my allotted space?"

"Yeah."

"Do you snore, kick, or talk in your sleep?" Jim shrugged.

"I don't think so, not that Bones has ever told me."

"Have you ever sleepwalked before?" Jim gave the Vulcan a strange look.

"No!"

"Do you-"

"No more stipulations!" Jim cut him off. "What is this, a job interview? It's very simple - do you want to sleep with me or not?" Spock didn't have to strain his brain too hard to make that decision.

"Affirmative." They eyed each other warily. Spock was quite aware of the Terran implications of Jim's question. "You may have use of the facilities first."

"Thanks." Jim walked over to the wooden chest-of-drawers that would one day be his. He opened the first drawer and grabbed a pair of his father's Starfleet underwear that Winona had been kind enough to provide for them. Spock did not follow Kirk's firm backside with his eyes as he headed toward the adjoining bathroom.

.~.

Late that night

Spock was abruptly wakened when his bed partner began thrash about. Jim's eyes were tightly shut, and his arms flailed in all directions. The Vulcan tried to grab his arms to steady them, but Jim wrenched them away.

"No!" Jim cried, but Spock knew he wasn't referring to him. The human continued to fight an imaginary enemy.

"Jim!"

"No, Kodos, stop it!" Jim shouted. "Leave them alone; it's me you want." Spock stilled, immediately recognizing the name. Governor Kodos had killed half the population of the colony on Tarsus IV due to a food shortage almost twelve years ago. It must be an awful nightmare Jim was having indeed, if that vile man was featured.

"James, you must wake!" Spock urged, but try as he might, he couldn't achieve success.

"Noooo! Please, don't hurt them!" Kirk fought the Vulcan with all of his might.

In a last ditch effort, Spock slapped the cadet across the face as gently as he could. It was the way that Vulcans used for coming out of healing trances – he only hoped this rather crude method would work on humans as well. Thankfully, this time, Jim was brought out of his dream.

"Sp-pock?" Jim stuttered, his azure eyes wide with terror. His racing heart began to slow as he came back to reality.

"Yes, it is I." Kirk grabbed the Vulcan's hand in a reflex, needing something or someone to cling to. Rather than flinching away, Spock used this intimate contact to send soothing thoughts to the cadet's mind. "Be calm, Jim. You are out of danger."

"Holy shit, what happened?" Jim gasped, the gleaning sweat on his forehead beginning to drip down his face.

"I have ascertained that you were experiencing what humans call a nightmare, and I brought you out of it." Jim's defenses flew up at that, finally realizing just who had seen him in such a vulnerable state.

"If you tell anyone…" he grabbed Spock by the collar, "and I mean anyone about this other than Bones, you're so dead!" Jim's words were rather threatening, but his tone was not. Spock ignored the threat. His mother too had often used empty threats as a means of intimidation when he'd been young, but they were quite useless on Vulcans. Instead of dropping it, Spock's curiosity got the better of him.

"You mentioned Kodos, the instigator of the massacre on Tarsus IV eleven point eight years ago. May I ask why?"

"Oh, that?" Kirk removed his hands from Spock's neck. "I was watching a documentary on him for class right before we left," Jim said flippantly. "It must've stuck in my mind." Spock placed a hand on Jim's clothed arm.

"You are lying," Spock gently corrected him. "I can feel it." Kirk scoffed at the claim.

"Geez, Spock, what do you want me to say? That I was actually on Tarsus IV? The odds of that are considerably-"

"Were you?" The Vulcan interrupted. Inwardly, Jim began to panic. If Spock found out his secret, his career in Starfleet would be over. He'd never be able to pass the psych screening and his secret dreams of becoming a captain of a starship would be dashed. After all he'd done to turn his life around in the past year, he'd be left with nothing. Even Captain Pike wouldn't want anything to do with him if he learned Jim had been on Tarsus…

"Don't be silly," Kirk replied but he didn't quite meet Spock's eyes. The last thing he wanted was the Vulcan's pity. It was the main reason he hadn't told anyone save for Bones about his past, and even then, Bones had figured it out on his own.

"You were," Spock whispered, his hands slowly traveling up his bedmate's arms. "I can feel the pain residing within you."

"You're mistaken," Kirk growled. "I wasn't there. Can't you just leave it?" Spock slightly shook his head.

"You cannot hide facts from me, Jim."

"Damn Vulcan touch telepathy," Kirk mumbled, turning away from the Vulcan's sympathetic eyes.

"How did you manage to survive?"

"I don't wanna talk about it," came the sullen response. Spock couldn't blame him. He remembered watching the holovid reports covering the disaster, and couldn't imagine how Jim had emerged sane from the experience. Mentally reviewing the names of the few children who survived, Spock did not find Jim's to be among them.

"Jim, my telepathy is telling me you were on Tarsus, but certain facts do not coincide. I followed that story extensively and I am certain your name was not on any of the survivors' list. Why?"

"Hmm, let me think. Maybe I didn't tell them so that I wouldn't be branded as a 'Tarsus Kid' for the rest of my life," Kirk spat back.

"But that means…" Spock trailed off, astounded by the conclusion he'd made in his mind. One child in particular had never been accounted for, the boy who had led a large group of children to safety. "You were their leader," he breathed.

"Yes." Kirk's answer was in a monotone voice.

"You saved the lives of all those children, at great expense to your own." Spock sounded incredulous, for a Vulcan. "And you were only twelve Terran years of age, still a child yourself."

"So?" Jim glared at Spock, as if challenging him to say that he'd been wrong to risk his life for a bunch of kids.

"You should not sound so nonchalant about your sacrifice! Do not worry, Jim; your secret is safe with me." Jim let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. He was so relived Spock wouldn't tell Starfleet, he wanted to kiss the guy! Even more than before!

"I appreciate it. Starfleet regs and all that." Spock just now understood that Kirk had been afraid that he would inform the Starfleet board that he was unfit for duty. Nothing could be further from the truth.

"I am afraid I misjudged you," the Vulcan said slowly. "I must apologize for my oversight and-"

"Don't worry about it," Jim interrupted with a hearty yet tentative smile. "People do it all the time. I actually prefer it that way. If I play dumb for long enough, people believe I am so, even though my test scores indicate otherwise. You're more likely to be underestimated by other s if people believe you're dumb." Spock stared intently at the brash young cadet.

"Jim, have you considered taking the command track?" Kirk rolled his eyes.

"Only a Vulcan could think about school at a time like this."

"You did not answer my question," Spock chided him. "Have you-"

"Of course I've thought about it!" Kirk exploded. "I know I'd make a damn fine captain, but I never want to feel responsible for that many lives again. Thirty was enough, never mind the huge number of crewmembers a captain commands. You don't know what it's like when you have that many starving children depending on you to keep them alive! Or when one of them is captured or killed. I couldn't take that sort of emotional turmoil ever again. He whispered the last part, but Spock heard it loud and clear. "I swore off emotions after Tarsus."

"That explains much of your notorious behavior," Spock commented.

"What, that Cadet Kirk never lets anyone get close to him, that he's only good for one night stands?" Jim glared at the Vulcan.

"I did not say that," Spock said softly.

"Yeah, but you're thinking it," Kirk gave a bitter sigh. "And you know somethin'? You'd be right! I don't allow myself to get close to people. I can't trust any of them, unless they've proven their worth many times over."

"What about Dr. McCoy?" Spock prompted. "As your roommate and friend, you must trust him."

"That's different. His unique knowledge has saved my ass more times than I could count," Jim admitted. "I owe him everything. I'd give my life for that sorry bastard." Spock raised an eyebrow.

"I highly doubt that Dr. McCoy has any special knowledge that allows him to perform more efficiently than any other doctor in the fleet."

"Maybe not," Kirk conceded with a grin. "But he does have the knowledge of all of my medical history, my pills, and my allergies."

"Do your allergies run in your family?"

"Not really. Bones thinks I developed them thanks to the intense radiation exposure during the time of my birth. But that couldn't be helped. Whatever the reason, I still have allergies and boy are they a pain in the butt!"

"To what are you allergic?" The Vulcan wanted to know.

"I think the question is what am I not allergic to," Jim laughed softly. "It's a long list, Spock. You sure you wanna hear it right now?" The Vulcan's dark eyes met his.

"I believe I have the time." This was a novelty - no one had ever wanted to discuss Jim's allergies before, not even Bones.

"Okay." Kirk began to relax as he allowed himself to stretch out on the bed next to Spock. "I'm lactose intolerant. I'm allergic to cats, dogs, grass, dust, pollen, strawberries, peanuts, garlic, shrimp, and many other forms of seafood. I also have a genetic predisposition to be allergic to Retinax, not that I'll need it anytime soon…"

Jim and Spock conversed deep into the night, only stopping when Spock insisted they table their discussion in order to get the required amount of sleep. Exhausted from his nightmare, Jim fell asleep right away. Before Spock entered his own sleep cycle, the Vulcan fervently hoped that tonight's events would mark a turning point in their tentative friendship.

End Ch. 7

 

End Notes:

A/N: So what'd you think? I'm still letting their friendship progress slowly, but after this chapter there will be more slashy moments than usual. Yay!

Also, people have suggested that I include Amanda in this. Not sure how I'm going to do that, but I would definitely like to at some point, so you have that to look forward to as well.

Surprises At Work by SpirkTrekker42

Disclaimer: The rights to Star Trek belong to Gene Roddenberry, and NuTrek belongs to J.J. Abrams, Orci, and Kurtzman.

A/N: Sorry it took so long to get this updated! The end of school is drawing near and I was swamped with a writing portfolio and finals and ugh. So yeah, here you go.

A/N2: My readers are seriously the best. Props for those of you who reminded me that Jim is allergic to strawberries. Duh, SpirkTrekker. It has now been changed to blueberries, to which Jim is NOT allergic. Thanks so much!

.~.

Ch. 8: Surprises At Work

The next morning, Kirk awoke to find himself alone in bed. It wasn't surprising, as Spock needed less sleep than humans did. What was surprising was Kirk's twinge of disappointment at Spock's absence. He chalked it up to a loss of warmth – he'd never slept with anyone who was a better bed-warmer than Spock. In the literal sense, of course.

Yawning, the cadet forced himself out of bed. He and Spock were due to start jobs at Starfleet today and he didn't want to be late. Jim hurried through his morning routine after he smelled the aroma of pancakes beckoning from the kitchen. Yum! He hadn't had his mother's homemade pancakes in years, not since he was little.

Jim bounded down the stairs to find Spock, George, Winona, and young Sam seated around the kitchen table digging in to their pancakes. Well, Spock was nibbling on his. Did anyone follow the rules of politeness more than Spock? Jim doubted it.

"Morning," Jim announced. "Those pancakes smell really good, Mo- er, Mrs. Kirk."

Winona smiled.

"Help yourself, dear."

Jim did, and carried his tall stack of pancakes over to the table. He plopped down next to Spock, and lathered his plate in maple syrup and blueberries. He was about to pick up one of the pancakes with his hands, but Spock unleashed his Eyebrow of Doom and Jim decided against it. Unfortunately, after using utensils and neatly cutting his pancakes into eight equal squares, Jim barely had time to take a few bites before George asked,

"So, as far as jobs go, what fields interest you two?"

"Oh, anything's fine," said Jim, his mouth still full of pancakes. "Whatever you got."

"Nonsense," said Spock. "Just last night, Augustus informed me that he'd considered the command track-"

"That's not completely true, Spock," Jim hissed. "I said I was thinking about it. That doesn't mean I'm committed. Command is a lot of responsibility; I'm just not sure if I'm ready for that."

"I believe he would make an excellent candidate for command, sir," Spock said innocently.

"Well, if a Vulcan says it, it must be true," said George with a wink. Jim didn't know how Spock managed to compliment and infuriate him at the same time. Winona smirked at 'Augustus' and was about to add her two cents when Sam started fussing. Not wanting to disturb her guests, she took her young son into a different room to deal with him.

"You alright, hon?" George called over his shoulder as he watched them leave out of the corner of his eye.

"I'll call you if I need you," was his wife's response.

Satisfied that Winona was taking care of their son, George returned his attentions to his guests.

"You know, now that you mention Command, I have just the job for you, Augustus."

"What's that?" Jim nervously bit his lip.

"One of the new instructors has his hands full training cadets on the command track and is badly in need of an assistant. Lieutenant Christopher Pike, I believe is his name. Nice guy, a little enthusiastic, but nice." George chuckled, remembering his first encounter with the lieutenant, who worshiped the ground he walked on. "I think you'd like working with him."

"I'll take it," Jim beamed, sending Spock a furtive smug look. The man was like a second father to him in his own time. How awesome would it be to get to know a Pike that was close to their age before he was burdened by all that responsibility?

"Great." George gently slapped Jim on the back.

"Glad I could help out." Jim replied with a smile.

The Vulcan watched this exchange with tepid fascination – would humans ever cease to surprise him? His father certainly would've never slapped him on the back. If his mother was here, Spock imagined she would say it was an 'illogical male human tradition' and leave it at that.

"So Spock, what about you?" George interrupted the Vulcan's thoughts. "I think it would be best to place you on the opposite side of campus near the computer center. Unless you can't stand being away from Jim and want to be assigned near him..."

"No!" Jim and Spock cried in unison.

A slow green blush materialized on the Vulcan's face as he considered what George's comment would mean by Vulcan standards. If a Vulcan couldn't stand being away from another, more than likely they would bond for life. Parted and never parted. Touching and touched…

"Ahem, no. I believe Spock's into science," Jim said quickly, coming to his rescue. "I'm sure he'd be a great help in one of the labs."

"Of course!" George exclaimed. "Vulcans are almost always interested in that particular field of study. I should've remembered that. How about it, Spock?" The Vulcan lifted an eyebrow.

"I do not mean to be rude, sir, but I would prefer to serve with the tech support unit. I have considerable experience with computers and would enjoy the challenge of working with them."

"Very well." Jim's dad shrugged. "The IT guys would love to have you on their team. Don't worry, Spock, we'll be sure to give you plenty of work to keep that complex Vulcan mind of yours busy."

Spock's eyes softened a tad as George took his suggestion into consideration.

"I appreciate your consideration, sir."

"Good. I'll text you the locations of your new jobs as soon as I file the correct forms," said Commander Kirk. "You two can use the public transport system to the academy – be there at 0900 sharp!"

"We will endeavor to arrive on time," answered the Vulcan. When Jim said nothing, Spock subtly nudged his arm.

"Me too - what he said." Jim smiled sweetly at his father, who looked like he was holding back a laugh.

"Goodbye, fellas." After checking on his wife and son, George Kirk walked towards the garage that housed his hovercar, shaking his head at Kirk and Spock's antics. He wondered how long they would be staying with him, and hoped it would be for awhile.

.~.

"What was that all about?" A puzzled Jim asked Spock. "Why wouldn't you want a science job? You LOVE science. In fact, you probably secretly get off on science. And logic."

As usual, Spock ignored Jim's innuendo. But this time, he had a hard time controlling his natural impulses. What would Jim say if he knew Spock really did find sexual relief when thinking about complex equations and indulging a fantasy of joining minds with one who would forever complete him? He'd never hear the end of it.

"I believe I can cause less damage to the time stream history if I fix computers, as opposed to me taking part in science experiments." Spock turned to Jim, leaning just slightly forward. "Even the slightest divergence in the time stream could have catastrophic consequences."

"Sounds logical," Jim admitted. "So I guess I have to be careful what I say to Pike, huh?"

"That is correct."

Spock watched as Jim swallowed his last bite of pancake and licked his lips. The Vulcan blinked, filing that moment away in his eidetic memory. So far he'd observed Cadet Kirk run his tongue between his lips twelve times. Not that he was fixating on this particular behavior; Spock was just very thorough in his observations.

"Cadet, I believe there is an errant piece of blueberry on your chin."

Jim shrugged, a tiny smirk gracing his full lips.

"So get it off."

Spock looked affronted.

"Cadet Kirk, might I remind you that while we are trying to repair the space-time continuum, you are still expected to adhere to Starfleet's regulations."

Jim grimaced.

"Sorry, Spock. I didn't mean anything by it." He wiped the tiny blueberry slice off his chin. "But we did sleep in the same bed, last night."

"With much emphasis on the word 'slept'." Spock said, a small frown growing on his features. "I would prefer if you did not inform anyone of our sleeping arrangement. They might infer that we are having sexual relations."

Jim's smirk grew.

"What's wrong with that?"

Spock raised an eyebrow.

"That is certainly not the case; I would not wish to encourage a fallacy. Also, it is common knowledge that Vulcans mate for life. I would not wish to bring shame on my species."

"You're half human too," Kirk reminded him.

"I identify as Vulcan," Spock stated, sounding a bit frosty.

Kirk held up his hands in defense.

"Dude, why you gotta go all ice queen on me?"

"Ice queen?" The Vulcan blinked, genuinely confused. "I do not understand that reference."

"Forget it," Jim said, bracingly. He gently patted Spock on the back, and thankfully the Vulcan didn't flinch at the contact. "Look, if my teasing really bothers you, I can stop."

"I will not ask you to alter your personality just for my sake, Cadet Kirk. Your actions do not greatly distress me." Quite the opposite... As a matter of fact, Spock actually enjoyed the light teasing. The fact that Jim wished to make it known that he'd shared a bed with Spock pleased him more than it should have. Luckily, Jim didn't notice.

"Spock, for chrissakes, will you please call me 'Jim'?"

"Is addressing you by your first name vital to the success of our working relationship?"

"Yes!" Jim looked Spock squarely in the eyes. "To me it is. It puts us on even ground. Not Spock and Cadet Kirk, but SpockandJim." Kirk slurred that last part as he trailed off, glancing sheepishly at Spock.

The Vulcan's eyes softened.

"Very well, Jim. I shall endeavor to remember this in the future."

As they headed for work, Jim congratulated himself on winning a personal victory, even if it was a small one. Perhaps he could crack this Vulcan's shields yet. Jim knew that Spock needed a true friend even more than he did. Lucky for Jim, he had Bones, but who did Spock have? Did he even interact with others outside of work? Did he have his own version of Bones to celebrate with and to help him get through tough times? Jim vowed to find out soon.

Location: Starfleet Academy

One hour later

Jim bid Spock goodbye and headed toward Cochran Hall, where the command classes were being taught. He found Pike's classroom easily – he could recognize that voice anywhere. It didn't have the rough edge that Pike must've gained after logging countless star-hours over the past twenty-five years, but it still commanded respect.

"Augustus Kirk, reporting for duty, sir." Kirk gave him a mock salute. "But you can call me Gus," Jim added in an afterthought. Augustus was a little lofty for him. It was okay around his family, but he needed Pike and the students to like him, and not think he was a threat.

"Kirk?" Pike couldn't control his surprise. "You're my new assistant? And you're related to George Kirk?"

"Guilty as charged." Jim laughed it off, but inside he was hurt that, even going back in time, he was still compared to his father. "It's good to meet you, Lieutenant Pike."

"And you. Call me Chris." They shook hands and Pike handed him a PADD to use. Then he resumed teaching. "Now, we're just in the middle of a debate. Each small group has a different scenario in which their ship is facing. In this exercise we are not only evaluating their final solution but how well they work together. Why don't you join Cadet Riley's group over here?"

Jim did, and the rest of the class flew by as he rotated from group to group. Each had varying ideas on how to deal with impossible situations. He'd listened to almost every person give their input. While most of them didn't think to solve the problem in a way that he would, their answers were at least well-formed, if not completely practical.

The bell rang and Pike dismissed the class with a reminder of their reading for the next day. As soon as the students had all filed out, Jim approached Pike.

"Chris?" Pike turned around to face Jim.

"What can I do for you, Gus?"

"I just had a question. Are they going to have some actual experience in training for command? I mean, yeah, theory's important, but it's not the same as-"

"I couldn't agree more." Pike grinned at him. "Next week we begin the practical training, and that's when I'll really need your help."

"Glad to do it." Jim shifted his weight, debating how he was to go about asking Pike some questions. "So how many missions have you gone on so far?" Jim wanted to know more about his hero's younger days. Even now, Pike was a bad ass, and he imagined there were some cool stories about him.

"None."

"Really?" Jim gaped at him. "But you're so… I mean, I think you would be awesome at command."

"Thanks, Gus." Pike gave him a wry smile. "But we all can't be George Kirks. My fiancée was killed in a space battle last year, and I've taken ground jobs ever since. My heart's just not in it anymore."

"I'm sorry." Jim hadn't known that. He knew there was a story behind the fact that the Pike of his time was single and never dated anymore, but he never would've guessed that he'd suffered such a personal tragedy. Kirk placed his hand on Pike's arm, hoping his touch would be a comfort.

A misty-eyed Pike cleared his throat, and Jim removed his arm.

"If you don't mind me asking, how are you related to George?"

"We're cousins, not first cousins, but something once removed…" Jim trailed off and shrugged. "I've lived off planet for a good while, and just dropped in for a visit. I'm interested in applying for the academy, and George thought it would be a good idea if I could have some first-hand experience."

"I see." Pike regarded him quietly. "You know, I've decided to pick George Kirk as the subject for my dissertation. I can't think of a better example of a leader than him. I tried to make an appointment to interview him, but the secretary said his schedule's booked until he returns from his mission on the Kelvin."

"You might want to get that in before he leaves," Jim managed to choke out, trying not to dwell on the fact that his father wouldn't be returning from that mission.

"I can't get past the secretary. But maybe if you helped…" Nodding, Jim slung his arm around Pike.

"C'mon. Let's go check out his office. One way or another, I'll get you that interview."

.~.

Once they found Commander Kirk's office, they were told to wait by the secretary. Then "Augustus" dropped his last name, and they were told that Commander Kirk would be with them in fifteen minutes.

Jim and Chris Pike had barely sat down in the waiting room when the secretary rushed in to warn them that a campus-wide alert had been issued. Apparently one of the kids had escaped from the daycare center, broke into the med bay, and had stolen an entire case of hyposprays.

Jim started laughing. He hadn't meant to laugh, but he knew exactly what was going on. It was an incident that was very familiar to him.

"You think this is funny?" Pike frowned.

"No, I just-" Jim gasped, holding his sides. At that moment, someone overrode the code to Kirk's office and stepped inside.

Standing before them, with a crazed expression on his face, was a young Leonard McCoy. In his right hand was a fully loaded hypospray, filled with who knows what. The secretary screamed shrilly, attracting the kid's attention.

"Woah, hold on there little buddy," Jim cautioned, bringing attention to himself. He didn't want to reveal that he knew McCoy's name unless it was absolutely necessary. "What's that you got there?" Pike stared at Jim like he was nuts, but made no move to interfere.

"Hypos," the young Bones said promptly.

"Why did you take the hypos?" Jim asked, in a tone that sounded like they were just discussing the weather.

"They wouldn't let me play doctor. In daycare, I mean," kid McCoy elaborated with a sniff.

"So you decided to go get the real stuff." Jim hid a smile.

"Uh huh. I 'jected myself in the neck, see?" He pointed to a rapidly-swelling bruise on his neck.

"How do you feel right now?" Jim squatted down to the kid's level. The last thing he needed was to threaten him with his size.

"Kinda angry." McCoy's eyes grew large and his hand began to shake.

"I'm sorry. Can you tell me what else happened?" Jim knew he had to keep the kid talking until help arrived.

McCoy scowled at Jim.

"This morning my dad said I wasn't smart enough to be a doctor like him and-"

"What's going on?" George Kirk burst into the room, effectively cutting off the boy.

"Ahhhhhh!!" A startled McCoy whirled around and went to stab George Kirk in the leg, but a concerned Pike pushed him out of the way.

"I'll save you sir!" Unfortunately, Pike wasn't fast enough to avoid the hypo.

Hiss. Jim and George Kirk watched in amazement as Pike dropped to the ground like a dead fish. He was out cold.

"Give me the hypos, Leonard," Jim said sternly. This had gone on long enough.

"You know my name?" For the first time, McCoy looked the tiniest bit afraid.

"I know a lot more than that." Kirk smirked. "I know you were born in Georgia, your favorite food is grits, and despite your southern upbringing you hate country music." McCoy gaped at him.

"How could you know all that?"

"Future Temporal Time Police, Agent Smith." Jim quickly flashed his ID before McCoy could get a good luck. "Hand over the hypos, kid, and you won't get hurt. It's a matter of Federation security."

Young McCoy gulped in fear as Jim narrowed his eyes at him.

"Oh crap. I'm sorry!" The future doctor immediately dropped the case of hypos, and Jim swooped down to retrieve them. "Am I in trouble?" McCoy bit his lip, staring up at the pair of Kirks and the secretary in dismay.

By that point, security forces had arrived with McCoy's father in tow, who, after checking Pike, gave him a hypo to counteract the effects of the sedative. Dr. McCoy Sr. apologized for his son's behavior and dragged him out of the room by the hand. But before they left, Jim had to say something, even if it was breaking the Prime Directive.

"Hey kid!"

McCoy turned around, his brown eyes pleading for Jim not to make things worse.

"Yeah?"

Jim smiled encouragingly.

"You'll make one hell of a doctor."

Young Bones grinned back at Jim, and waved as he turned the corner.

"Ow, my head," Pike groaned as the security guards helped him up. Then he noticed that he was still in his idol's presence. "Oh. Sir! I-"

"Take him in my office," George ordered the guards, cutting Pike off before he would embarrass himself. "I want to thank him personally." The security workers nodded, and began to drag Pike toward George's office.

"Thank you, Gladys, that will be all." The commander's shaken secretary straightened her skirt, and returned to her desk. Then George rounded on Jim.

"Okay, I want to know exactly how you knew all that stuff about that kid." Jim smiled sweetly.

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you." George regarded his 'long lost cousin' for a long moment.

"Fine," he sighed. "But I'll be keeping my eye on you."

Jim followed his father into his office. He tried to look on the bright side of the situation - at least Pike would be getting his interview.

Meanwhile

While Jim was forging a friendship with young Christopher Pike, Spock reported to the technology center. The moment he crossed over the threshold of the entrance, he was immediately greeted by an overenthusiastic human.

"You must be Mr. Spock." The curly haired female beamed at him. Thankfully she didn't reach for his hand and greeted him with the customary split-fingered ta'al. "It will be so exciting to be working with a Wulcan! I heard your species can perform multiple caluwations in your head, and you can feel others' emotions through your skin!"

"What is your name, Cadet?" Spock interrupted the squeaky voice, which was starting to give him a headache.

"Ensign Olga Andreivich, at your service, sir! Now, we are needing your assistance on a wery classified project. We are designing a program to test the critical thinking skills of each cadet. You see, right over here-" She directed him toward a computer console.

Inwardly, the Vulcan sighed as he took a seat. He'd deduced that they were designing the forerunner to the Kobayashi Maru, the model that had been perfected only when he arrived at Starfleet. Unfortunately, he was forbidden by the Prime Directive to help them.

The shrill voice was still speaking quite close to his sensitive ear and it was all he could do to keep his emotions in check. It was going to be a long day…

Later that afternoon

Once they returned to the house, Kirk and Spock eagerly told each other about their individual experiences at 'work'.

"I can't believe you got stuck with that Russian chick!" Jim crowed when Spock brought his story to a close. "She kind of reminds me of this fourteen year old genius kid I had in my physics class. But what are the odds?"

"I do not have sufficient data to complete that calculation." Kirk sighed and decided to take this opportunity to get to know this Vulcan a little better.

"Speaking of girls, are there any chicks back at the academy that you like?"

Spock raised an eyebrow.

"The academy is not a housing facility for the offspring of rooster and hens, therefore-"

"Girls, Spock, girls!" Jim interrupted. "Do you like any girls?"

"Of course. I appreciate the talents of all the females in my classes-"

"No, no, no. Do you like them in a romantic sense?"

Spock blinked, his face a mask of concentration. He was not sure how much to reveal to Jim. If only we could meld, then he would understand. While Spock was definitely flattered by the attention Nyota had been giving him, he wasn't positive if he was attracted to her, or if he was just impressed by her intelligence. And if his life wasn't complicated enough, now he was beginning to feel something for Jim…

"I am not certain. There is one young human female who has expressed a wish to interact with me on a personal level, but I told her I would need time to think about it."

"You stud! Alright!" Jim tried to give him a high-five, but failed. He slowly brought his arm back down. "Right, the touching thing. So, who is she?"

Spock decided it couldn't hurt to reveal the some of the details, as he was beginning to trust the human.

"Are you familiar with Cadet Uhura?"

Jim's eyes bugged out of his skull.

"No freakin' way! You scored Uhura?"

Spock's brow furrowed.

"I do not appreciate the way you refer to women."

"I don't really mean it like that, Spock." Kirk insisted. "It's just how guys talk sometimes. Trust me, aside from some harmless flirting, I could never treat a women with disrespect." Spock carefully sized up the human. Jim didn't flinch even under such close scrutiny.

"No, I do not believe you would," Spock finally realized.

"So what is it you have that I don't?" Jim frowned, taking this moment to closely scrutinize the Vulcan, who happened to be quite a gorgeous specimen.

"I believe the human idiom is 'tall, dark, and handsome'."

The Vulcan's eyes glinted with veiled humor.

"Hey!" Jim protested. "I'm plenty tall and handsome. And women go wild for these baby blues." He batted his eyes at Spock, causing that eyebrow to twitch. "It must be that you're a Vulcan. She's probably turned on by your logic and intelligence." Not that I blame her. If only I knew what makes you tick, Spock. Then, I'd have a shot.

"I am not certain why she has an interest in me."

"Really? Hmm, let's see, you're probably the smartest person in Starfleet, have a calm demeanor most of us would dream of, and when you open up, you can be a good friend. Also, you're fucking beautiful."

"Jim, it is not necessary to exaggerate my attributes." Don't believe him, he's just looking for another conquest, Spock reminded himself. It would be foolish to assume otherwise.

"I wasn't exaggerating." The Vulcan and human held each other's gaze for a long moment. "Spock, I really like being your friend."

"I too find pleasure in our friendship."

"When this is all over," Jim considered, "maybe we could-"

"Dinner's ready!" Winona called from the kitchen. And just like that, the moment was broken.

End Ch. 8

 

End Notes:

A/N: So next chapter I'll be jumping ahead in time, so I get this plot rolling. I doubt I have too many chapters left, 'cause I really want to get to my story where K&S adopt Saavik. : )

Reviews are great, appreciate!

Unexpected by SpirkTrekker42

Disclaimer: The rights to Star Trek belong to Gene Roddenberry, and NuTrek belongs to J.J. Abrams, Orci, and Kurtzman.

A/N: Thanks to everyone who reviewed last time! I really appreciate everyone's continued support. On a slightly unrelated note, I've discovered the wonderful world of Futurama. Matt Groening, you sly devil you!

.~.

A/N: (Captain of a starship) Zapp Brannigan's character is a parody based off of TOS Kirk. This excerpt is from season one, episode four.

Zapp Branigan. Let's make the most of the time we have left together, shall we?"

Kif (his green alien First Officer with pointy ears): …

Zapp: Never mind. Just give me a backrub.

Me: SQUEEEEEEEEEE K/S REFERENCE ZOMG.

Ahem. Story. Right.

.~.

Ch. 9: Cupcake Returns

Over the next six weeks, Jim spent as much time with his father as the busy commander could spare. 3-D Chess. Poker with Matt Decker and the buds. Restoring vintage Terran automobiles. Sometimes Spock joined them in their activities. But more often than not, the Vulcan had a computer project at work that just happened to keep him occupied during the time when Jim was scheduled to spend time with his dad. Jim wasn't fooled for a minute, but he appreciated the fact that Spock was allowing him to have one-on-one time with George.

It was unfortunate that his mother had interrupted his little 'moment' with Spock, as the Vulcan always immediately changed the subject whenever Kirk brought it up. Jim found his attraction to Spock (as well as actual affection, this was new) growing by the day. It was becoming increasingly difficult to share a bed with the Vulcan and not be able to reach over and pull him close. Jim wondered if Spock felt the same way, but if anything the bastard behaved even more Vulcan than before, so he couldn't be sure. Still, their friendship was progressing nicely.

On the nights that George wasn't available, Jim and Spock spent most of their time eating meals together, watching educational holovids (Spock refused to watch any other kind) and discussing classic Terran literature. When Jim discovered that Spock could quote A Tale of Two Cities verbatim, he almost creamed his pants. How had this infuriating, smug Vulcan wormed his way under Jim's defenses? If only he could get Spock to meld with him, then he might actually get somewhere with him, convince him of his true feelings. But so far, Spock had resisted all of his flirtatious advances to meld.

The only thing that kept Kirk from going out of his mind with frustration was his accidental discovery that Spock always spooned with him during the middle of the night. The Vulcan always rose earlier than Jim did, so he could never catch him in the act in the mornings. But nevertheless, he did spend most of his nights in Spock's strong arms. Coincidentally, Jim slept better than he'd ever had before. It was not something he was looking forward to giving up when they returned to the future. If they returned to the future.

Jim knew that, successful mission or not, his time with his father was coming to an end. This was why he tried to spend every waking moment with the commander that he could. Spock had understood, and had thankfully kept his thoughts about illogical human attachments to those who were doomed to death to himself.

That night, chess was the Kirks' activity of choice. Jim had the board already set up in the living room by the time George arrived home. Winona had taken Sam to visit some of her relatives, so they had the house to themselves for the night. They ate a quick replicated pizza dinner, and then started on their first game. George's pupil had rapidly improved over the course of his visit.

"You know, Augustus, anytime you need to talk, I'm here," Commander Kirk reminded his relative as he moved a pawn, making way for his queen.

"Thanks, George." Jim squirmed under the discerning gaze of his father, and mirrored the move.

"I've searched the computer banks for your records and came up empty. I also couldn't find anything on your Vulcan."

"For the last time, he's not my Vulcan!" Jim threw up his hands. "We're just friends. That's all. Okay? Stop bringing that up, will ya?"

"Fine." George sighed, becoming serious. "Augustus – if that's even your name – one thing I do know, is whatever harebrained scheme you two are caught up in, he has nothing to do with it. I don't like sitting back and watching as you drag Spock down with you." Jim looked down at the board.

"I know," he whispered. "I didn't mean for him to ever become involved. He's done nothing wrong."

"So you owe it to him to give me an explanation," George prompted. "I can help you, if you'll let me."

"I- I can't." Jim bit his lip. "George, I want to tell you but-"

"…it's complicated?"

Jim nodded.

"It's not that I don't trust you. Honest!"

George just shook his head.

"I have a pretty good idea of what's going on, even if you don't tell me anything."

Jim gulped.

"You do?"

"Yeah. No one has ever heard of you two. Somehow you seem to know things before they happen, like that kid with the hypos. It's practically impossible you'd know so much personal information about him! Also, you knew where the guest bathroom was in our house before I showed you where it was." George looked pointedly at his opponent.

Jim grinned sheepishly.

"Lucky guess?"

"Nice try, wise guy. Those are just a few examples of the unexplainable things that happen whenever you and Spock are around. I'm not stupid." George stared intently at his future son. "You're time travelers, aren't you? You have to be. The thing I can't figure out is why you're here."

"Oh wow, look at the time." Without warning, Jim stood up from his seat, almost tripping over himself in his haste to get to his feet. "I forgot I promised to pick up Spock at the computer lab. Good talk, George." He slapped his father on the back before making a hasty retreat.

"Augustus, I'm not finished-" The door slammed shut, leaving a frustrated commander alone with his chess set.

.~.

Starfleet Academy

Computer Lab B-2

"Hey, Spock. I've come to pick you up," Jim announced as he strolled into the room, causing the other technicians to swivel around in their chairs to stare at the disruptive human.

"Pick me up?" The Vulcan blinked in confusion.

"Yeah. You know, take you home." Jim's face colored, when he realized his explanation hadn't helped clear things up much. He hoped Spock hadn't noticed. "Never mind. Let's just go, okay? I need to talk to you."

"I thought you were spending the evening with Commander Kirk."

Jim winced - that conversation sure had been awkward - as he tugged on Spock's arm in direction of the exit. To his delight, Spock allowed Jim to lead him away to the Kirk family hovercar.

"That's what I need to talk to you about."

"Coincidentally, I must converse with you as well." Spock's eyes softened, as they often did in Jim's presence. "We must discuss our plans for the mission, as the Kelvin leaves space dock in two Earth weeks."

"Yeah, we should." Kirk sighed, running his fingers through his thick, blond hair as they piled into the craft. "I've been putting it off – I don't want to think about sending my dad to his death." He looked out the window, staring off into space as he imagined watching his father explode into a billion pieces before his very eyes. Spock sensed his friend's melancholy mood, and, after a moment's hesitation, rested a comforting hand on Kirk's arm.

"Jim, you are not the only one who has grown fond of your father. I too wish there was another option, but that is simply not the case. The Romulan ship must be damaged as not to pursue the shuttles – that is your father's destiny."

"You don't know that, Spock." Jim turned his hypnotic, pleading gaze on the Vulcan.
"Maybe there's a way we could save my dad's life AND take out the Romulan ship in the process."

The Vulcan raised an eyebrow.

"Why would you wish to risk more lives to destroy the ship when damaging it is a sufficient action?"

"Because that ship is still out there, in our time!" Was Jim's forceful reply. "It's always bothered me that ever since that fateful day, the ship was never heard from again. Maybe it's still out there, biding its time. Waiting for the right moment to seek revenge."

There went that eyebrow again.

"Jim, you have been watching too many old Terran films," Spock scolded. "Not every being has a motivation for revenge as strong as humans do."

Jim rolled his eyes.

"I'm serious, Spock! Those future Romulans could be a threat to the Federation."

"Perhaps you are correct," the Vulcan considered. "However, we cannot change history."

Jim sighed, dejected.

"Aw, I guess you're right."

Spock wasn't certain he'd heard his friend correctly. Since when did he give up so easily?

"I am?"

"Yeah." Kirk gave the Vulcan a warm smile. "I'd just love to have Dad back, is all. It's an illogical human weakness of mine." Spock was still suspicious.

"Jim, are you certain this is an acceptable course of action?"

"Would I lie to you?" Jim licked his lips, a habit which did not distract Spock from his current train of thought. "Also, I don't know how much planning we can do for the mission until Cupcake-"

"Giotto-" Spock corrected.

"-until Giotto arrives," Kirk amended. "The Guardian said he'd send him back a week or so before the Kelvin left space dock, so that gives us something to look for."

"Very well," Spock reluctantly agreed. "We shall wait for Giotto to make the first move. Then, we will counteract swiftly so that his tampering with the timeline is all for naught."

"Awesome." But when Jim smiled at Spock, the smile didn't quite reach his eyes.

.~.

Precisely one week and five hours later, Jim and Spock were alerted to a disturbance at the Academy. After exchanging knowing looks, they rushed down to the scene, but by the time they arrived, the damage was done. They found out from Chris Pike what had just occurred. Apparently someone - three guesses who- had left a phaser on overload in the rec center. The blast took out the entire ground floor, landing fifteen unlucky people, two Tellarites, and a Deltan in the hospital. Among the people injured was the famous Terran, Ambassador Gomez, and one Lt. Giotto of security.

Thanking Pike for his information, Kirk pulled Spock aside so they could talk without being overheard.

"I can't believe Giotto would go to such lengths to injure his dad and all those other people just to insure that his dad would be excused from the Kelvin mission." Kirk growled. "And people say that I'm irresponsible!"

"Thinking logically is not one of his strengths, Jim," Spock reminded him. "A widespread human shortcoming. Unfortunately, this event complicates things for us even more so than before."

"What do you mean?" Kirk asked, with a sinking feeling in his stomach.

"There are now many more variables that have been affected. If any of the eighteen injured beings were assigned to the Kelvin, the results of the change in personnel are too great to calculate."

"Wonderful. Just what we need," Jim spat as he swore in frustration. "When I find Cupcake, will you please give him one of your nerve pinches while I hold him down?"

"At this point, I might actually consider performing such a rash act," was all the Spock said. Jim wondered if Spock had just admitted that he was feeling frustrated, but then decided that he was reading too much into things.

.~.

When everyone arrived at the Kirk home for dinner, George quickly filled his wife in on the events of the day. Jim and Spock added pieces of information when necessary, but mostly they just listened to George.

"What does this mean for the mission?" Winona wanted to know after her husband finished telling the story. "We're still going, aren't we?"

"Of course. Nothing's really changed, except we're getting a different chief of security and an alternate ambassador." George turned to his guests, looking directly at Spock. "You boys might be interested to know that the Vulcan ambassador whom you met last month has volunteered for the position. He's bringing his human wife and their baby son aboard if you wish to speak with them. I can even arrange a private meeting, if you wish."

"That will not be necessary," a pale Spock reassured his host.

He and Jim exchanged worried glances. Without speaking, they mutually decided to rush through dinner, skip dessert, and promptly excuse themselves.

"By all means, boys, don't let us keep you," Winona gently teased. Without so much as a 'thank you', they went upstairs to be alone together, but not for the reasons Mr. and Mrs. Kirk surmised. They found sanctuary in their quarters. Jim flopped down on to their shared bed while Spock removed his shoes and gingerly sat down next to his friend.

"Fuck, Spock! Having your family on the ship certainly complicates things," Jim shook his head, sounding worried. "Not only do we need to be careful to keep my past self alive, we have to do the same for you!"

"Indeed. Giotto's selfish actions have – what is the expression – ah, 'screwed us over'." Chuckling at that, Jim patted Spock's arm.

"You'll make a good human yet."

"I hope not," the Vulcan pronounced with distain. "Did you have a plan in mind that will allow us to restore the timeline?"

"Yeah," Kirk said grimly. "We sneak ourselves aboard the Kelvin."

Spock's eyebrows rose exponentially. Jim could just imagine him calculating how many Starfleet regs that action would break.

"And how do you propose we go about that?"

Jim decided to bite the bullet, and tell Spock his idea, even though he knew the Vulcan wouldn't like it.

"I think we should tell my dad what's been going on."

Spock shot him a glare that translated to 'are you out of your fuckin' mind?'.

"Jim, you are aware that we cannot break the laws of the Prime Directive-"

"It's not breaking the directive if he already knows what's going on," Kirk protested.

Spock blanched at that.

"You have already informed him?"

"No! He figured it out on his own that we're from the future. He's been trying to corner me alone so we could discuss his suspicions but I've managed to avoid him so far," Jim explained. "But I think he would help us, Spock, if he knew exactly what was going on."

"Are you certain we can trust him?" Spock said slowly. "It would be taking a rather large risk."

"Do you have a better idea?" Kirk countered.

"Not at the moment, but given the time for meditation I am certain a different solution will present itself."

"Fine." Jim glared at the Vulcan. "But if you can't come up with something by tomorrow, we tell my father everything."

"Very well," Spock said stiffly. "I am not certain how well George will cooperate when he learns of his certain death."

"Who says it has to be certain?"

"Jim-"

"Hear me out," Kirk interrupted. "What if we could find some way to save my father and the Kelvin, and take out the Romulan ship in the process?"

"But your father is supposed to die," the Vulcan insisted.

"Yeah?" An edge could be heard in Jim's voice. "Well, maybe I don't want that to happen."

"Then you are no better than Giotto," was Spock's sobering answer.

"Ouch." Jim pretended to clutch at his chest. "You're wrong. I'm nothing like that selfish douche bag! Giotto saved his father by removing him from the ship that was supposed to be blown up. For some reason, the Narada was never damaged, and our future now ceases to exist as we know it. Maybe your father's presence has something to do with this, and maybe it doesn't. But nevertheless, that's not what I want to do, Spock. I want to face the danger head on, not take the coward's way out and avoid it!"

The Vulcan considered that for a bit.

"I must point out that there is no way of knowing if facing the danger will allow you to eliminate it." Did Spock always have to be such a buzzkill? Damn, but that Vulcan knew how to be pessimistic.

"You're right," Jim grudgingly acknowledged. "But I have to try." Kirk's determination seeped from his very soul as he squared his shoulders and stared down his friend. "If I don't try now, I'll always wonder if there was some way I could've saved him. It'll drive me mad, Spock!"

"And you are certain you shall not change your mind?"

"Yep." Kirk grinned sweetly at the Vulcan, who managed to suppress an exasperated sigh.

"Why do I always give in to your wild schemes so easily, even though I know I'll regret doing so in the end?"

"Because you love me?" Jim teased.

Spock nervously cleared his throat. Jim had no idea just how close to the mark that statement was!

"So we shall inform the commander tomorrow?" Spock asked, pretending ignore Jim's statement. Secretly, he contemplated what it might mean. The odds of Jim feeling more than friendship for him were not in his favor. After all, Jim had never shown any signs of being interested in males before. Also, he tended to make similar teasing and flirtatious comments on regular intervals. He really needed to stop overanalyzing Jim's words!

"Yeah, I think tomorrow night would be good, right when he gets home."

"That sounds acceptable."

"Sweet. Well," Kirk stood and stretched, "I'm gonna go take a shower. If you don't mind, that is."

"I do not."

The Vulcan watched as Jim disappeared behind bathroom doors.

The Vulcan paced around the room for several minutes before forcing himself to meditate. Lighting his vanilla incense and sitting cross-legged on the floor, Spock tried to empty his mind, but it was quite difficult. Was allowing Jim to further tamper with the time stream a logical idea? Obviously not. So why did he allow it? The answer did not sit well with Spock. He was weak! Never before had emotion won out over logic, at least not while he was an adult. It was a shameful transgression. What would his father say if he knew? Unable to suppress several overpowering emotions, he sunk into a sleeping trance so he would not have to face Jim when he returned.

.~.

The next day

That afternoon, Spock returned from the computer lab early. He'd completed his program with plenty of time to spare, and instead of staying to assist his co-workers with their projects, he decided to come home and give meditation another try. However, Winona had seen him come in before he could make it upstairs unnoticed.

"Spock. It's nice that you're back early." She smiled at him from across the room. "I was afraid they'd been working you too hard."

He shook his head.

"Negative, Mrs. Kirk. My work is not over-taxing. Now, if you will excuse me…" He turned to leave, but Winona wasn't ready to give up. Spock deduced that this must be where Jim inherited his persistence.

"Wait a minute! Is something bothering you?" Winona approached him slowly, as if not wishing to frighten a skittish animal. She placed a comforting hand on his shoulder, much like her son often did.

"I am fine," the Vulcan said stiffly, straightening his back. "While I appreciate your concern, it is illogical to assume that-" Kirk's mom cut him off.

"Come sit with me." The Vulcan knew from her tone of voice that it was not a request. Reluctantly, Spock followed her into the living room and settled down on to the comfy crimson couch. Winona waited until he was settled.

"Now, tell me what's wrong – and no omitting the truth or changing the subject." Spock inwardly winced – she had him cornered, like an animal backed into a cage. She was certainly quite thorough when establishing criteria for their conversation, again a trait he'd seen in Jim.

"Very well," Spock acquiesced. "Unfortunately I am experiencing a myriad of emotions that I have never felt before; at least not to this intensity." It was rather stressful knowing you had to save history and restore the timeline or else everything would turn out badly. Then there was the whole attraction-to-Jim-thing, but no one knew about that, thankfully.

Winona smiled, almost wistfully.

"I've seen the way you look at him when you think no one is watching. It reminds me of the way I used to look at George before we were married."

"I do not know to what you are referring," was his cool reply.

"You care for him, Spock." Winona stated bluntly, her hands folded across her chest.

He didn't deny it, exactly.

"Indeed, it is only logical to invest a certain amount of emotional attachment to him – he is my friend."

"Yes," she acknowledged. "You two certainly are close. But is friendship all that there is between you?"

"Pardon me?" Spock raised an eyebrow. If Winona had been Vulcan, she would've sensed his discomfort and changed the subject. But Mrs. Kirk's behavior reminded him of his mother's when Amanda had just been about to break the news about a sensitive subject.

Mrs. Kirk, for her part, couldn't believe that Spock could act so dim. Not when he was considered an academic genius! Still, Spock looked mildly puzzled. Did she actually have to spell it out for him? Vulcans!

"Sometimes people use the word 'friend' as a euphemism to mean something stronger and deeper than just simply friendship," Winona explained. "Perhaps a special bond has formed between you and Augustus, but neither one of you has had the courage to acknowledge it for what it truly is."

The Vulcan swallowed hard. Mrs. Kirk couldn't possibly have known about the Vulcan connotation of the word 'bond', which went right along with marriage and forever. The mention of such a word pronounced the ache deep within him, which smarted whenever Jim gave him a significant look, or flashed his bright smile Spock's way.

"It does not matter how I feel," he replied softly, his face a perfect blank mask while his eyes betrayed his true emotions. "He does not feel the same way."

"Are you sure about that?" Winona asked.

"Is he sure about what?" Spock flinched, as Jim had just bounded into the living room. How much had he heard? But there was no tell-tale smirk on his friend's face, so he must not have heard anything illuminating. Thank Surak!

"Oh, nothing." Winona cleared her throat, and then quickly distracted Jim by asking what he wanted for dinner. George showed up soon after Jim did, and asked for his guests to accompany him to the study to discuss the upcoming mission.

"Ready, Spock?" Jim asked. The handsome human then lowered his voice so that it was only audible to Vulcan ears. "I'm gonna need you to back me up in there." Jim's warm breath tickled his sensitive ears, and it took all of Spock's control not to shudder.

Spock nervously glanced back at Winona, who mouthed 'ask him'.

"Affirmative. I, as humans say, 'have your back."

"I 'got your back'," Jim corrected.

"But I already have your back, therefore you do not need to have mine as well. Is that not a contradiction?" Spock genuinely sounded confused.

"Just get in there, you." Laughing, Jim threw his arm around Spock, and gently steered him inside. Spock tried to block out Winona's knowing wink as he was ushered into George's study. He was going to need all of his mental faculties to convince Commander Kirk to allow them to accompany him on the Kelvin.

"Evening, you two." George greeted them once they had settled in across from his desk. "What can I do for you? Augustus said you had something important to discuss with me."

Jim looked at Spock. Spock looked at Jim. Together they began to plead their case.

End Ch. 9

A/N: So this was mostly a filler, but at least we get more updates on how Jim and Spock's relationship is progressing and what is up with Cupcake. There should be only a few more chapters left, like maybe three.

To The Stars by SpirkTrekker42

Disclaimer: The rights to Star Trek belong to Gene Roddenberry, and NuTrek belongs to J.J. Abrams, Orci, and Kurtzman.

A/N: I am SO SORRY I couldn't get this up earlier. I had good intentions, but they don't always pan out the way you want them too.

I'd like to give a shout out to one of my Australian fans, Sarina. Thanks so much for your continued support of my fics!

Also, thanks to my wonderful beta, Lindsay. Bless her, she always comes through at the last minute. Love ya, girl!

.~.

Ch. 10: To The Stars

Taking a deep breath, Jim Kirk prepared to launch into what was probably one of the most difficult discussions of his adult life. Having Spock beside him in George Kirk's office was a comfort, although he wished he could touch the Vulcan. He considered brushing his foot up against Spock's but thought the better of it – the last thing he wanted to do was offend him at a time like this. If Spock didn't back him up in front of his father he'd be screwed for sure.

"George, this is going to be really hard to explain," Jim prefaced his story. "It's going to sound unbelievable and you'll probably consider taking us to the hospital for psych evaluations."

"Great, this should be interesting," Commander Kirk said with a smile, leaning towards them with his arms resting comfortably on his mahogany desk. "Let's get started."

Jim noticed Spock give a tiny frown.

"Sir, I do not understand why one would smile when faced with such a situation," the Vulcan admitted, concentrating on keeping his features as emotionless as possible.

"Spock, I'd rather hear what he has to say first before making any judgments," Jim's father explained. "Is that not logical? And besides, if I know him, the story will at least be amusing."

"Not from my point of view, as I have lived it," came Spock's frosty reply. Jim shot the Vulcan a look that screamed 'STFU'. Thankfully, Spock took the hint and Jim was able to tell their rather implausible story.

"It all started when I was given a hacking job," the younger Kirk began. George's eyes twinkled with mischief.

"Winona used to do that back in the day, before she joined Starfleet. What a coincidence!" George caught himself. "Sorry, please go on."

Jim nodded and shrugged off the interruption. "I completed the job on time, being the genius that I am." (Spock barely restrained a snort.) "That night, I went to one of the academy computer labs to rendezvous with my client. Regrettably, I found out that whatever information I'd hacked had been really important. After a brief power surge, a group of cadets stormed the lab and held me at phaser point. They ended up stunning me after they got what they wanted – the coordinates to the Guardian of Forever."

George held up his hand, and the cadet paused.

"Where was Spock there during all of this?"

"He just happened to come to the computer lab right then," Jim offered, completely glossing over the fact that he'd tried and epically failed to seduce the Vulcan when he accidentally revealed to him that he was a hacker. "Like I said before, he was in the wrong place at the right time."

"Uh huh," George pondered.

"So they stunned me and Spock - sorry Spock and I." Jim glanced over at the Vulcan. "We woke up later on a ship and discovered that we'd been kidnapped."

"If that was not enough of a discomfort, our enemies also bound us together with the binders that we asked you to sever for us when we first met," Spock added.

George's lip's curled in amusement, remembering their odd predicament, but he remained silent.

"We reached our destination pretty quick," Jim recalled. "Our captors forced us down to the planet's surface. We found the mythical time portal, the Guardian of Forever, and spoke with it."

George's eyes widened at that, but the dubious man made no move to contradict Jim.

"Unfortunately, one of the cadets thought it would be a good idea to mess with history, even though Spock and I told him it was a bad idea," young Kirk continued. "Next thing we know, we can't contact the ship and we find out that the outcome of history has been changed, thanks to the man I affectionately call 'Cupcake'."

"Was that last part entirely necessary?" Spock muttered under his breath.

"Cupcake, huh?" An amused George grinned at his son, a twinkle in his blue eyes. "What'd he do?"

Jim sighed, running his fingers through his hair.

"I don't know how to tell you this, but on your next mission, the Kelvin gets attacked by an angry future Romulan. Cupcake's dad died in that fight and he didn't like that very much, so he went back in time and saved him."

"However, his actions resulted in a tampering with the space-time continuum," Spock spoke up. "We have journeyed through time to stop him from throwing the mission off course."

"But there's something you gotta know about this mission," Jim said softly. "I know how Cupcake feels, because I also lost my father in the Kelvin attack." He looked directly at George, his gaze steady and his voice calm. "And now that I've met him, I'm going to do everything in my power to keep him alive and fight off the Romulans."

"You aren't Augustus," George whispered, seeing his own eyes reflected back at him in this young man's earnest stare. "You're my son, from the future."

"Yes," Jim admitted with a small grimace. "I'm sorry, I know I shouldn't have spent so much time with you while still keeping my identity a secret, but I just couldn't help it!" The cadet feared that his father would be furious with him for this 'omission of the truth'. But his father wasn't angry - not one bit.

"You're my son, the one Winona's about to have." George stared at Jim in absolute awe, unable to comprehend that an older version of the baby inside his wife's womb was standing before him.

"Yes."

"Well I guess that explains the hero worship when we first met." Commander Kirk cracked a smile, snapping out of his shock-induced gaze. After all

"Yeah, sorry 'bout that." Jim chuckled sheepishly. "I've been wanting to meet you all my life."

"Your reaction was understandable," George reassured him. "I'd act the same way if I was just meeting my father for the first time." He shifted in his seat. "So what'd we name you? Please don't say Tiberius."

"Nope." Jim grinned unabashedly at his father. "You saved me from that fate. I was named Jim, after Mom's dad."

"Well, Jim, thanks for intending to save me in turn from my fate," George considered. "But I'm afraid you won't succeed. If I'm supposed to die on that ship saving Starfleet, then by God, that's what I'm going to do." Spock noted that the determination on George's face was quite familiar - Jim also displayed such an expression when he had made up his mind about something.

"But you don't have to die then!" Jim insisted. "I've seen footage of the Romulan ship from the 'fleet archives. I know where it is vulnerable to our weapons. Not only that, I've researched everything that went on that day, down to the last detail. Spock and I will find a way to save you without endangering the Federation."

George held up his hands. "Whoa, slow the hell down!" Jim and Spock exchanged worried glances. "Look, this is a big shock for me. To find out you're going to die in the near future? Wouldn't it be for you?" Jim nodded. "Dammit," George swore. "I'd hate to leave Winnie to raise our kids by herself. I have to admit, your offer is tempting."

Jim snorted.

"Mom sure could've used you. All her other ex-husbands were jerks! They hated Sam and me, especially when Mom was off-planet."

"I can confirm that Jim is telling the truth, sir," Spock solemnly supported his friend.

"I know Vulcans can't lie, but that behavior doesn't sound like Winona at all," George argued.

"Dad," Jim pleaded. "When you broke your promise to Sam about returning, he never trusted anything anyone said to him ever again. Mom was broken hearted, I was left without a real male role model. Hell, the Federation lost a great man who was beginning to define himself and challenge the rules. Now, I went back in time with every intention of letting you sacrifice yourself to the Romulans. I didn't plan on running into you in the library, staying at your house, and getting acquainted." He shook his head. "But now that I have met you, now that I know you, I can't go through with it. The fact is, I need you, Dad."

"My son," George breathed, his face softening. "Jim." The Commander stood up, walked around his desk, and pulled his son up into a strong bear hug. Jim buried his head in his father's shoulder, desperately trying to keep his emotions in check as he experienced his father's display of affection for the first time, the first time he knew that Jim was his son…

"Do you believe me now?" Spock heard Jim's muffled voice.

"'Course I do," his father affirmed. "You're a good guy with a bright future ahead of you. I'm glad I got the opportunity to know you as an adult."

"Don't talk like that!" Abruptly, young Kirk pulled away from his father. "There'll be plenty more opportunities for us to spend time together!" Jim bit his lip in order to keep the tears welling up in his eyes from spilling.

"Shit!" He cleared his throat. "Dad, I don't believe in no-win scenarios, and if I have to cheat to get the outcome I want, so be it. I'm not letting you die again." Jim looked up apprehensively at his father.

"If I have to sacrifice myself for the good of others, I will if that is the only option. And, in this case, it seems to be." Absentmindedly, George scratched his chin. "On the other hand, I cannot deny the facts that you, your brother, and your mother would have a difficult life if I was gone."

"It was absolute hell," Jim growled. "You know your red convertible?"

"Yeah." George's eyes lit up. "I love that car – spent hours repairing it so that I'd get it in working condition. Did something happen to it?"

"I drove it off a cliff," his son informed him, sounding disturbingly nonchalant.

"You what?"

"Yeah. I, uh, was taking it for a joyride to get away from Frank and the police were going to pull me over. I barely managed to jump out in time. The car was totaled beyond repair."

Spock jumped in to clarify the story further.

"What Jim is not telling you is that he tried to commit suicide and changed his mind at the last minute."

George looked startled.

"Thanks a lot, Spock," Jim grumbled. "Way to spill the beans."

Commander Kirk swallowed hard as he regarded his son.

"How old were you when this happened, Jim?"

"Twelve," was the mumbled answer.

"Jesus!"

Commander Kirk closed his eyes, as if picturing the scenario for himself. When he reopened them, his entire focus was on his son. Spock took this opportunity to strike.

"Sir, will you assist us in our planning to alter the famed Kelvin's meeting with the Narada, the Romulan mining vessel?"

George nodded.

"I will. You have me convinced, although I am prepared to sacrifice myself if we can find no other option."

"I don't think that will be necessary, Dad. I want to take out the Narada for good this time," Jim said grimly. "In my timeline, you only crippled it."

"I flew a galaxy class starship into a Romulan ship and only crippled it? Just how large is this ship of theirs?" George wanted to know.

Jim snorted.

"A lot bigger than you can imagine – it makes Federation ships seem like mere flies next to a humungous black flower of death."

"Jim is exaggerating," Spock inserted.

"Am not!" Jim glared at the Vulcan. "And also, its weapons are more powerful than ours. Just wait 'til you see it. I can draw it for you." George nodded, and Jim stole his father's PADD that was laying on his desk. While Jim was detailing the Narada, Spock took this opportunity to inform the commander about his issue concerning the mission.

"Commander Kirk, I must inform you that I am the son of the Vulcan Ambassador to Earth. If he were to learn my true identity, my cover would be terminated. It could cause a diplomatic incident that I would rather avoid."

George smirked at the Vulcan.

"Don't worry, Spock. Mum's the word."

"I beg your pardon?"

Jim sighed.

"He's not going to tell anyone, okay?"

Spock raised an eyebrow.

"A simple answer would have sufficed."

Both Kirks caught each other's eyes without Spock's notice, and they shared a moment of amusement at the expense of clueless Vulcans.

"You will let us travel with you on the Kelvin, right?" Jim asked his father, as he realized he hadn't asked this particular question.

"I don't know," George said slowly. "I wouldn't want to put your lives in more danger."

"It would be illogical to leave us behind as we information that you need to save your ship." Spock tensed, afraid all this talk would've been for nothing.

"Well… I guess you two can come since I need your expertise," he considered. "But only if you obey my orders and follow all Starfleet regulations while on the mission."

"That will not be a problem for me," the Vulcan said smoothly. "Jim, however, might have a considerable amount of difficulty of following the regs." A teasing smirk surfaced upon the Vulcan's pale, sculpted face.

"Hey!" Jim glared at Spock. "I can be professional if I have to be."

"You have yet to agree to the deal," Spock reminded him.

Jim turned to his father.

"I promise to follow your orders and behave as the Starfleet Code of Conduct dictates. It's the least I can do after all you've done for us."

"Thank you." His father beamed at him. "Now, let's figure out who we need to tell. Winona, of course, will have to be told." Jim agreed. As much as he didn't want the younger version of his mother to recognize him as her future son, it would be difficult for George to keep such a gargantuan secret from his wife. She could give him some much-needed advice, and they could work out the problem together.

"Captain Robau," Jim remembered. "If we're going to save one life, we might as well save another. He was killed when he beamed aboard the enemy ship."

"I figured something like that must've happened to him if I'd been made captain," said George.

"It would be prudent to inform him of our plan," Spock agreed.

"Uh, Spock, what is our plan?" Jim wondered. If they had a plan, he had yet to hear of it.

The Vulcan lightly blushed.

"It has yet to have been invented. But between now and the departure, I am confident that if we work together, we can develop a decent plan."

"Excellent!" George said happily. "Who wants to get started?"

Both Jim and Spock raised their hands.

.~.

Space Dock, two weeks later

The U.S.S. Kelvin was scheduled to depart for its mission at 0200. Captain Robau personally welcomed Kirk and Spock aboard the ship, and wished them luck on their own 'personal' mission. As they got settled in their quarters (only one large bed again - really?) Jim thought about how it was only a matter of time before they ran across Sarek, Spock's mom, or even one year-old Spock himself. He wasn't quite sure what he'd do if they found themselves in that situation. Spock's parents would be sure to recognize their son, even if he was an adult. The last thing he wanted was for Spock to be in trouble.

After a successful launching, the cadet and commander spent their days on board perfecting their attack scenario. This consisted of re-routing more power to the forward shields and analyzing any weaknesses in the Narada's design so that engineering would know which kind of weapon would be most effective. Their quarters had grown quite messy with weapons manuals, Jim's drawings of the Narada, the blueprints of the Kelvin, and Spock's meditation mat that he'd requested.

"I wish I could see the blueprints for the Narada," Spock said, somewhat frustrated that Jim couldn't give him a more detailed analysis.

"Hey, I said I studied the Narada attack, but I didn't digest it." Jim protested. "I don't have an eidetic memory like you, Spock."

"Pity," was all the Vulcan said.

.~.

On the fifth day of the voyage, Jim couldn't stand being cooped up in their quarters any longer.

"Spock, I just gotta go for a walk," the cadet whined, much to the Vulcan's chagrin.

"Then go."

"I want you to come with me!"

"Why?"

"Because I like your company," Jim answered honestly.

"I enjoy your company as well," Spock said shyly. "I just do not want to risk my identity being discovered by my parents."

"Sometimes we have to take risks to get what we want." Spock found Jim's voice quite smooth and seductive. How could he turn this opportunity down?

"I believe that in this case, the positives greatly outweigh the negative outcomes." Jim knew that this was Spock's way of agreeing to venture out of their quarters together.

"Awesome!" Jim grabbed Spock's arm and pulled him toward the door.

"We are leaving now?" Spock asked, not without trepidation.

"When else?"

As Jim led them out into the corridors of the ship, chattering animatedly all the way, Spock realized that having someone bring him out of his comfort zone was good for him. Jim was good for him. Fascinating.

After much traipsing around the ship (Spock was certain they had covered almost all of the corridors open to civilians) they ended up in one of the rec rooms.

Jim went directly over to the selection of board games, expecting the Vulcan to follow.

"Hey, Spock, wanna play Parcheesi?"

No answer.

"I was just kidding! Spock?"

Jim turned around to find himself face with a less than stellar situation. The good news was that Spock was only a few meters away, frozen on the spot. The bad news was that a pretty young human mother stood before them, holding her small child. Her Vulcan child.

"Lady Amanda, I presume?" Jim offered his hand in greeting, which she shook.

"Yes." She smiled at Kirk. "What gave it away, my Vulcan robes or my Vulcan child?"

"Both. I'm very pleased to meet you, ma'am. I'm Cadet James T. Kirk." Jim didn't think an overt display of politeness would hurt the situation.

"Aren't you the charmer?" Amanda gave a little chuckle. "Who's your friend?"

"Uh…" Jim was at a loss. Spock's alias name had been Spencer, but he didn't think that Amanda would believe anything less than a Vulcan name. He searched the room, his eyes landing on an old fashioned stove that humans used in the 20th century. It was available for those in the crew who were interested in trying out the 'old' way of cooking during their time between shifts.

"This is Stovek."

"Good afternoon." Spock nodded respectfully at his mother. Amanda gave Spock a long, discerning look.

"Mr. Kirk?"

"Yes, ma'am?"

"Would you mind taking my child and entertaining him for a bit? He doesn't like strangers, but he warms up to them quickly."

"Why?"

"I'd like to speak to your friend alone." Jim shot a nervous look at Spock.

"I don't exactly have a lot of experience with children. Most kids hate me-" But baby Spock's eyes lit up when they connected with Jim's. Squirming in his mother's embrace, he reached for Kirk.

"That's funny, he's quite taken with you." Jim quietly accepted the child from Amanda, carefully holding him in his arms. "Usually he makes a bit of a fuss."

"Hey, little guy," Jim said softly, securing his grip on the child. He then informed his mother, "I'll just take him across the room and find him something to play with."

"Thank you." Amanda nodded at him. Jim hated to leave the older Spock there with his mother, but what choice did he have? Baby Spock cooed as he reached out to tug on Jim's red cadet uniform, reminding Jim of his current responsibility.

"Okay, little Spock, we're going to play with some legos." He punched in the code for legos on the game replicator. "How would you like that?"

"Aftiv!" said the child. Jim's jaw dropped open.

"Are you trying to say 'affirmative'?"

"Aftiv! Aftiv!" Baby Spock repeated, making the most adorable baby giggle Jim had ever heard.

"Okay. I'm going to set you down now." Jim gently set the child down, who made a sound of protest. The little Vulcan wobbled unsteadily, but still managed to stay upright. He then grabbed the box of legos, and settled down onto the carpet with his young charge.

"Here, Spock. I got one for you!" Jim held out a red lego. The baby grabbed it from him, and when their hands touched, Jim was filled with a small burst of contentment. Little Spock cooed happily, clapping his hands together in delight.

"Yeah, I don't think you're supposed to be projecting your emotions on other people with your telepathy," Jim said as the baby threw the lego aside and reached for his hand. "And I doubt you're supposed to be touching my hand with yours either. Geez, you're strong!" Jim fought to get the baby's grip off his right hand, but it proved to be impossible, not unless he was willing to risk hurting the baby. Which, of course, he wasn't.

"Okay, fine, you can hold my hand." Jim gave in, since he didn't have much of a choice. Truth be told, it was a comfort. He just hoped he wasn't committing some act of Vulcan child molestation. Still holding Jim's hand, the baby Vulcan snuggled up close to his babysitter, looked him in the eye, and clearly said,

"Fascinating". Jim could only gape at the young version of his friend as the baby's eyes closed and he began to sleep. The cadet was careful not to move a muscle, as he didn't want to disturb the baby's rest.

On the other side of the room, Amanda faced off against an older version of her son. She was not one to make idle small talk, so she cut to the chase.

"I know you are my Spock, a grown-up Spock, but a Spock nonetheless." The Vulcan blinked at his mother's intuition.

"There has been no DNA match. How can you be certain?"

Amanda's face lit up with her familiar warmth and love for her son.

"A mother always knows." Spock looked down at the floor, ashamed for lying. "Do not be upset, my son." Amanda took her son's face in her hands, and brought it back up. Spock instinctively leaned in to her gentle touch.

"I had some help in discovering your identity, you know. The familial bond I have between my son and I has been… different ever since we boarded the ship. It was almost as if it had been split in two. I tried to tell Sarek, but he didn't believe there was a problem. But he keeps his shields so tight as is conducive to his work as an ambassador, that he wouldn't have noticed any chance in his paternal bond."

"I…see." Was all that Spock said.

"Spock, whatever the reason you are here, I am not angry about it!" She sent him a flare of affection through their maternal bond, hoping to reassure him. "In fact, I consider it a blessing that I've been given a glimpse at what my young son will become."

"It is good to see you again, Mother," Spock admitted. "Kirk and I have traveled back in time to right the flow of history, as it was tampered with."

"It sounds serious," Amanda worried. "Is there anything I can do to help?"

"I am not certain. Both the captain and commander of this ship are aware of our mission, and are willing to assist us if we need it."

"Perhaps you could use the advice of a certain ambassador?"

Spock's face hardened just a tad.

"I assume that he is now aware of my existence due to your marriage bond?"

"That is correct." Amanda gave her son a wry smile. "He wants to help you too, in whatever way he can."

"He is not angry I have broken the space-time continuum?" Spock asked, slightly stunned.

"No," Amanda reassured him. "He trusts you have a logical explanation for your presence in this time."

"Very well," Spock considered. "I wish to share the plans Kirk and I have made with my father."

"When would you like to meet with him?"

"We are already meeting with Captain Robau and Commander Kirk this evening at 0800. If that time is convenient for both you and my father, you would be welcome to attend."

"Thank you, Spock." Amanda's dark eyes sparkled with excitement. "You will not regret your decision." She held out her arms for a hug, and Spock indulged her – but only for 5.0 seconds.

"Your counterpart seems to be quite taken with Cadet Kirk," Amanda commented, glancing over at her sleeping baby next to Jim, who waved at them. "He is not usually very trusting of strangers." A curious thought popped up in Amanda's mind. It was the only explanation that she could think of that fit her child's behavior.

"Are you and Mr. Kirk- ?"

"Negative," Spock answered dully.

"Are you certain?" Mrs. Sarek closely regarded her son. "It is said that if a child is introduced to their future bondmate at an early age, they are immediately drawn to them. I've never seen my son act so comfortable with someone besides family before."

"This discussion is irrelevant." Spock's dark eyes flashed at hers, his anger and longing barely veiled. "I must concentrate on the mission at hand."

"I understand," said Amanda, knowing the subject was closed. "But you should know that one cannot live by logic alone." She moved to cross the room, greeting her son with a kiss.

"Easiest babysitting job I ever had," Kirk laughed as he transferred the still-sleeping baby Spock to his mother. Adult Spock appeared next to his mother, and bid her adieu before returning to his quarters, while Kirk stayed to chat awhile longer.

"What was up with the abrupt exit?" Jim wanted to know when he came in.

"She was prying into my personal affairs," Spock informed him.

Jim chuckled.

"Yeah, mothers do that. Are you sure you're okay?"

"Affirmative."

Jim left it at that. Their big meeting with their allies was tonight, and they still had much to prepare.

.~.

Later that night

U.S.S. Kelvin

Officers' Briefing Room

Jim and Spock arrived five minutes early to the meeting at the Vulcan's insistence. Spock had to remind Jim twice that it was becoming closer to the time that they needed to leave, and it turned out that a little nudging was just what the cadet needed. Spock is really good for me, Jim thought as they sat down next to each other at the round table. He keeps me in line when I need to be. After spreading out their materials, Jim looked up to see that they were not alone.

Already awaiting them at the table were Sarek and Amanda, sans baby Spock.

"Greetings, my son." Sarek held up the Vulcan salute. "Live long and prosper." He also nodded at Kirk.

"Peace and long life," Spock responded. They both took their seats.

"I must admit that I was surprised by your presence," Sarek began. "However, logic dictates that I do not require an explanation at the moment. I only wish to assist you in your mission to return history to its rightful order."

"Thank you, sir," said Jim, knowing that Spock wouldn't thank his father. "We really appreciate it." Before Sarek could respond, Winona and George Kirk, as well as Captain Robau entered the room and took their seats next to Jim and Spock, respectively.

"Captain, how do you want to get started?" George asked.

"Why don't we start with reviewing the new plans that Jim and Spock have made?" Everyone agreed, and soon Jim was detailing his first attack scenario.

"…And that's all I got." Jim smiled at his audience. "Any questions?" Sarek raised his hand, and spoke without being called on.

"Do you happen to have a more detailed blueprint of the enemy ship?"

"Your son wanted the same thing," Kirk said wryly. "Sorry, but there were no 'official' blueprints. Starfleet got close, though. They were able to make a guestimate thanks to the survivors' information. I was allowed to look at them once for a research paper. Unfortunately, I can't remember everything about the ship."

"There may be a way." Sarek glanced at his bondmate, whose eyes glowed with amusement. Jim wondered what Amanda had up her sleeve.

"Absolutely not." Spock put his foot down.

"Spock, you don't even know what he's going to say!" Jim exclaimed. "You could at least listen."

"But I do know what he will say," said Spock, glaring at his father. "He wishes to meld with you in order to find the memory that has the details of the ship."

"You are mistaken, Spock." Sarek gently chided his son. "It would not be logical for me to meld with the cadet, as I barely know him. You, on the other hand, have been his constant companion these past few months."

Spock blinked, completely unprepared for this option.

"You wish for me to meld with Jim?" This wasn't what the Vulcan had been expecting at all, although he found that he was not adverse to the idea.

"It is only logical." Sarek said, his expression serene.

"Yes, yes, yes!" Jim whooped in triumph. "Finally you get to do the meldy thing on me."

"A Vulcan mind meld, even a surface one, is not to be taken lightly," Spock said, his expression stern. "If you do not open your mind to me completely, both participating parties may be harmed. As a non-telepath, I am uncertain if you mind will be able to withstand the intensity of the meld."

"It's a risk we're just gonna have to take." Jim's face was as serious as Spock had ever seen it. "We need that blueprint, Spock. I'm willing to show the memory to you. What's the problem?"

"I… do not wish to injure you."

"Oh, I get it." Jim winked at his Vulcan friend. "It's my first time, so you should treat my fragile human mind with care. Don't worry, you can go as slowly as you feel you need to."

"Must you make everything into innuendo?" Spock hissed.

"It's my mission in life." Jim grinned at him. "Along with my mission to save history and to make you my friend. I think I'm succeeding pretty well with the second one, don't you think?"

"Yes," the Vulcan admitted.

"And since you are my friend, I trust you." Jim's sincere expression met Spock's icy one. "Don't think about it, Spock. Just do it."

"If you are certain."

"I am."

"Very well." Spock placed his fingers on Jim's meld points, and, before he had reinforced his shields, was yanked into the golden light that was Kirk's mind.

End Ch. 10

A/N: I'm making a top 25 list of my favorite TOS episodes on my LJ. Go to my profile for the link. I love getting comments and differing opinions!

The Narada Returns by SpirkTrekker42
Author's Notes:

Disclaimer:  The rights to Star Trek belong to Gene Roddenberry, and NuTrek belongs to J.J. Abrams, Orci, and Kurtzman.

A/N:  I took my elementary teacher PRAXIS test last weekend and I think I did really well!  Now that it’s over and I don’t have to study, I have more time for writing.  Yay!   Here is the last official chapter of this story, with an epilogue to follow next week.  I hope it was worth the wait.

Ch. 11: The Narada Returns

Inside the meld, Spock found himself thrust into a strange world of bright colors, sounds, and smells. When his vision cleared, he found himself surrounded by a dark forest. In the distance, a swirling, bright light was beckoning him closer, drawing him towards the warmth. When he approached the golden vortex, he found a log cabin in the center. Mustering up his courage, the Vulcan walked up the front steps and opened the door.

What Spock saw within the cabin amazed him. A roaring fire crackled in the large fireplace, the sharp piney scent catching his attention. In the dining area, a table made of the finest cherry wood was set for two. Soft harp music played in the background, soothing his aching soul. He vaguely wondered on whose romantic dinner he was intruding.

Then the Vulcan heard sounds coming from the back of the cabin, so he ventured toward them. Spock discovered a large kitchen, with young Kirk behind the counter, slicing up vegetables and checking the temperature of the salmon he was cooking.

"Jim," Spock stated with certainty. "Your mind is most comfortable." And it was. There was no other place where Spock of Vulcan had ever felt so safe and wanted, other than perhaps in his mother's arms as a child.

Kirk stopped what he was he was doing and turned to address his friend.

"Good. Please, come on in." Kirk smiled at him. "Mi casa es su casa." The Vulcan couldn't help but notice that Kirk was wearing a stained apron with the words 'KISS THE COOK' embroidered across the chest.

"I was not aware that you were proficient in the art of preparing food," the Vulcan commented.

"Yep. It's a hobby of mine, but don't tell Bones or Sulu – I'd never hear the end of it," Kirk admitted with a wry grin. "So, what can I make you? A Vulcan dish perhaps?"

Spock shook his head.

"As generous as your offer is, I must decline as I am here to look at your blueprints of the Narada."

"Ah, business as usual." Kirk gently patted him on the back as he hung up his apron. "Let's get to it then. Try the third door on the left."

The Vulcan approached the door in question, and was greeted with a myriad of maps, charts, and diagrams. Some were organized, some were not. Mentally sighing at Kirk's lack of mental organization, Spock began to sift through the charts, hoping to stumble upon the one that he needed. It didn't take long until the commander found exactly what he was looking for.

"Cadet Kirk, I believe I have found the blueprints to the Narada," the Vulcan announced after a couple minutes of searching. "Jim?"

Kirk was nowhere to be found. Suppressing a twinge of irritation, Spock began to study the charts. He became so engrossed in the inner workings of the future Romulan mining vessel that he didn't hear Kirk's approach.

"You can't hide how you feel from me," Jim said softly, coming up behind him and molding his body around Spock's. "Not here." As he turned around and caressed Spock's cheek, the Vulcan leaned into the touch.

"Jim…" Spock whined, helplessly drawn into Kirk's blue eyes.

"I'm yours if you want me," his friend breathed. "Spock, what I feel for you, it's more than just a fling. Much more." The Vulcan closed his eyes, shuddering at the temptation.

"We cannot indulge our desires," he flatly stated. "We have responsibilities at the moment."

"The mission, I know." Kirk sighed, resting his forehead against his friend's. "But before you break the meld, you have to promise me that we'll discuss what just happened between us when this is all over."

"Affirmative." Spock's eyes sparkled with the gleam of hope, hope for their future. "Jim, it is good to come home. I am gratified that we have found each other."

Without warning, the Vulcan broke the mental contact.

.~.

As Spock's warm presence slipped away, Kirk fell hard, gasping as he struggled to remain standing. Gradually, he regained his bearings. He and Spock hadn't moved from their original positions – they were still on the Kelvin, in the midst of a discussion on how to best divert the incoming Romulan ship. Captain Robau, his parents and Spock's were staring at him in concern. (Well, all of them except Sarek. Jim had a suspicion that a meteor could hit the ship and that guy still wouldn't show emotion.)

"Are you okay, Jim?" Winona fretted, as she watched her son's breathing slowly return to normal.

"Yeah, I'm good," Kirk blinked, waiting for his vision to clear. "Just a little dizzy." His eyes finally settled on Spock, who looked away. Jim meant to head towards the Vulcan, but his father approached him before he could do so.

"What happened to you?" A curious George wanted to know. When Kirk was unusually mum on the subject, Amanda decided to intervene.

"Sometimes unintentional emotional transference happens during a mind meld. Your son is probably experiencing my son's feelings." Mr. and Mrs. Kirk, who weren't stupid, had a feeling there was more to it than that, but found that explanation to be satisfactory at the moment.

On the other end of the briefing room, the two Vulcans were talking quietly together. Spock's guilty expression was equivalent to that of a human boy who had just been caught masturbating by his father. He wished he'd had better control over his emotional transference in the meld, so that Jim wouldn't have been outwardly affected, but it couldn't be helped now.

"Did you find what you needed?" Sarek asked his son, who had gone stiff as a board.

"Affirmative." It was Spock's standard answer.

"Will the two of you be able to breach the ship's defenses?" The Vulcan Ambassador wished to know.

"Based on the information I have just gathered, I believe there is a good 77.7% chance that we can infiltrate the Romulan ship undetected," Spock predicted. "However, the difficulty is in staying undetected while on board an enemy vessel."

"We need to create a diversion," Jim spoke up. "Too bad you couldn't just dress up and pretend to be Surak," the human joked. "But the Romulans wouldn't be impressed by a sudden appearance by the father of logic."

"No, however they might be intrigued if Sarek was to impersonate Romek," Spock suggested, exchanging a knowing nod with his father."

"Romek?" Kirk stared blankly at the two Vulcans.

"Cadet Kirk, you have not heard of him?" Sarek asked.

Jim shook his head.

"Should I have?"

"He was the founder of the anti-Surak movement on Vulcan," Spock explained. "He and his faction of followers did not wish to embrace a society based on logic – they wanted to continue living in the pre-reform lifestyle, full of violence and anarchy. They did not want to suppress their emotions, and believed the followers of Surak to be delusional. So Romek and his followers left in several of our high warp ships. They settled on a distant planet, and named it Romulus after their leader."

"Romek it is," Jim grinned. "Ambassador Sarek, are you sure you don't mind taking on this role?"

"Nonsense," said Sarek. "It is only logical to assist the one who is-" But a blushing Spock quickly interrupted, taking Jim off to the side.

"What is it?" Jim asked in alarm. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," Spock admitted. "I'm just surprised that my father would participate in such a degrading charade.

"I don't care how degrading it is for Vulcans to impersonate Romulans as long as your dad is willing to go through with it," Jim said, with a roll of his eyes. "But Spock, are you sure your dad can impersonate this guy? He doesn't strike me as the emotional type."

"I assure you Mr. Kirk, I am quite capable of impersonating Romek," Sarek answered from across the room. Spock raised an eyebrow, and Kirk mentally kicked himself for forgetting the ambassador's excellent hearing.

"But sir, what if they ask you to fight one of them, to prove that you are Romek?" George Kirk asked.

"I am well trained in the Vulcan martial art discipline of Suss Mahn," Spock's father reassured him. "If necessary, I am capable of defending myself against most enemies."

"Please be careful, Sarek," Amanda cautioned. "These Romulans sound like they mean to kill anyone who gets in their way."

"I shall endeavor to do so," Sarek promised. "I will return to you, my wife." They touched forefingers again in a Vulcan kiss.

"Spock." Amanda extended his arms to her son. "Embrace what you have found. Do not be afraid to love – it can bring you the greatest joy."

Instead of allowing a hug, Spock brought up his hand and kissed his mother with his palm. For Amanda, it was enough.

"We don't have much time – the Romulan ship is due to arrive in fifteen minutes," Jim reminded him.

"Good luck, Jim, Spock." Captain Robau bid them farewell. "We are counting on your success."

Spock and Jim turned to leave.

"Jim." George reached out to stop his son from leaving without saying goodbye.

"Yeah, Dad?" Jim turned around, surprise.

George gave him the famous Kirk grin. "Against all odds, I was able to see what my son would be like when he grew up. I'm honored to have met you."

"You feel honored to have met me?" Jim gaped at his father in disbelief. "I think it should be the other way around."

"I love you, son. Don't ever doubt it You have what it takes to make Starfleet history."

Jim swallowed, his throat dry.

"Thanks." Father and son shared a man-hug, which involved a lot of hearty back patting.

"Be safe, Jimmy," Winona chimed in. "Take care of yourself and Mr. Spock."

"I will," the cadet promised, taking Spock's hand in his. The Vulcan's eyebrow twitched and Sarek exchanged a knowing glance with Amanda.

"Go make me proud, Jim," was George Kirk's final sendoff.

His father's words ringing in his ears, a glowing Jim followed Spock onto the transporter, and beamed over to the enemy ship.

.~.

Once the pair materialized on the Narada transporter, Spock quickly took out the Romulan sentry with a swift pinch to the neck before he could sound the alarm. Jim helped him drag the unconscious guard behind a stash of broken mining equipment. With his phaser at the ready, the young cadet stood watch while the Vulcan melded with their captive.

"Did you find out what the code was?" Kirk whispered after Spock came back to himself. The Vulcan nodded, and directed them towards the nearest computer terminal. They sprinted down dimly lit corridors, luckily not running in to any more trouble.

"You may proceed to illegally infiltrate the system," Spock ordered.

"I never thought I'd see the day when you ordered me to put my criminal skills to good use." Kirk teased as his fingers flew over the buttons and keys.

"There is a first time for everything, as my mother says," Spock quipped.

"Damn right there is," Kirk's voice dropped an octave. "Spock, I…" His hands snaked up around the Vulcan's warm shoulders.

"Not here," Spock insisted, his voice terse. "We must complete our task at hand." Kirk was disappointed when his friend pulled away, but not surprised. Vulcans were notorious for their distaste of PDA.

"Promise me when this is all over we'll talk about what just happened in the meld."

"Very well," Spock relented. "But that discussion shall be held in private."

"I knew you were gonna say that." Jim brushed past him in order to access another station, and Spock shuddered, even at the minute amount of contact.

"A shuttle just left – looks like they bought you dad's charade," Kirk informed him.

"While I am pleased to hear that, I am at a loss to understand how my father could impersonate a Romulan," Spock admitted. "He does not display emotion freely."

"I guess we'll just have to trust that he can do it. Okay, what's the code?" Kirk asked, his fingers posed over the keyboard. Spock gave it to him, and after he typed it in, they were given complete access to the Narada's computer mainframe.

"We did it!" Kirk crowed. "We're in!"

"That is obvious," was Spock's mild reply, but Jim took it in stride.

"Now all we have to do is give the ship the order to return to the black hole," Kirk muttered. But before he could continue that thought, Spock broke in.

"Jim, I just had a most disturbing idea."

"What's that?"

"When we return the ship to the black hole, Nero and his companions will still be on that shuttle with my father."

"It'll be fine," Kirk assured him. "Captain Robau and my dad will lock in on the shuttles with the tractor beam and have them aboard the Kelvin before anything unpleasant can happen."

"We shall be changing history by allowing Nero and his minions to live among us in this time," the Vulcan reminded him. "They could be dangerous."

"It can't be helped now," Kirk shrugged. "Now we just need to figure out how to…" He trailed off, just as a Romulan sentry burst out from behind a pillar, his phaser aimed straight at Spock's heart.

"Spock, look out!" Jim cried, pushing the Vulcan out of the way. But he wasn't fast enough to avoid the beam himself, which pierced his chest, sending globs of crimson liquid gushing from his wound. In an instant, Spock had shot the assailant with his phaser, and had rushed to the young cadet's side. The Vulcan placed his hands over the human's wound and applied pressure, but it did little to stop the blood flow.

"Jim, you must hold on," Spock pleaded, his voice as frightened as Jim had ever heard it. How ironic, Kirk thought to himself. He was dying and that was the time he finally got to see his Vulcan show emotion. "Grab a hold of my life force." But Jim pushed Spock's hand away from his meld points.

"Spock, I'm dead already," he croaked. He wasn't about to steal the Vulcan's life essence in a feeble attempt to save himself.

"I will not lose you, t'hy'la," the Vulcan pleaded, taking Jim's hand and holding it in his own.

"You won't lose me if... you send the ship… into the black hole!" Kirk gasped. "Please, Spock, you have to trust me."

"There is no scientific guarantee that traveling through time will save your life."

"No, but there is a guarantee that I'll die here in this time," Jim reminded his friend. As Jim's logic was sound, Spock made up his mind.

"How do I accomplish setting in a reverse course?" the Vulcan asked.

"You'll have to finish my hacking job for me." Kirk chuckled weakly. "I hope I'm not asking you too much..."

"Violating my personal principles is an acceptable course of action if it will save the life of my intended."

Spock found it wasn't too difficult to hack the navigation system – he always had been proficient in computer science and he could've done it before, only his personal ethics had held him back. Calculating the trajectory in his head, the Vulcan input the new course which would take the Romulan ship directly into the black hole.

He authorized the change in course, and felt the lurch of the ship as the engines reversed. The Vulcan rushed back to Jim, who was struggling for breath.

"Light meld… need you," the human gasped out. Spock couldn't resist the dying human's plea to feel their essence joined one last time. As the Vulcan's hands found Jim's meld points, they fell into each other's minds, becoming one as the Narada disappeared into the blackness of space…

.~.

In perfect unison, Kirk and Spock were spat out of the Guardian of Forever, much to the astonishment of Cupcake and his two cronies.

"You are alive," Spock breathed. He traced his fingers over the human's chest, as if to reassure himself that Jim was still intact, and not the victim of a beam set to kill.

"Alive and kickin'," Jim grinned, enjoying the attention he was receiving from Spock. "How bout you? You okay, Spock?"

"Everything seems to be in working order," the Vulcan replied. "Are you satisfactory?"

"I'm fine." Spock's posture seemed to relax just a tad at that admission.

"Hold on, what the fuck just happened? " Cupcake growled as he watched the pair steady each other. "I just came back out five seconds ago. Did you two go back and change what I did?" But Kirk and Spock ignored the burly cadet. They only had eyes for each other.

"Uh, Spock, I have a question." Jim sounded sheepish.

"Yes?" The Vulcan raised an eyebrow. "You have never needed my permission to ask a question before." Kirk let that one go.

"Uh, I can feel you in the back of my head. Is that normal?"

Spock stared at his friend in disbelief, because he just realized that he too could feel Jim's presence in his head. It must be a complication from the meld, he thought. It was the only logical explanation. Unless… He had to be sure.

/Can you hear me?/ Spock tried, not really expecting an answer.

/Uh yeah. Why?/ Jim replied.

The Vulcan's eyes grew wide. A non-telepath should not be able to speak using his mind. There was only one explanation for this new development.

"In a moment of weakness, I seem to have bonded us," Spock recited. "This is a terrible grievance I have committed upon you. I hope you will be able to forgive my hasty action."

And then he fainted into an astonished Kirk's arms.

End Ch. 11

A/N: Look for the epilogue in a week!

Epilogue by SpirkTrekker42

Disclaimer: The rights to Star Trek belong to Gene Roddenberry, and NuTrek belongs to J.J. Abrams, Orci, and Kurtzman.

A/N: Here it is! The final installment of Chance Encounter. It's been a long ride – there were some days I never thought I'd get this finished. But I did! Thanks to those who stuck with me through it all. I'm very happy to get over 200 reviews – I owe it to my readers for their excellent feedback. So, without further ado, I present the ending of CE.

.~.

Ch. 12: Epilogue

When Spock awoke a half hour later, he and Kirk were back in their 'cell' on the stolen Starfleet shuttle, courtesy of Cupcake and friends. The Vulcan immediately tried to push himself into a sitting position, but was unable to do so, due to his uncharacteristically heavy right arm.

"Woah, Spock, take it easy!" Jim cried, jolted by the Vulcan's sudden movement. Their captors had bound their arms together again, which was why Spock had such difficulty sitting up.

"I was unaware that our wrists were bound together," Spock apologized, and then flushed green as he realized the ironic implications of that gesture. The event that had led to his fainting spell resurfaced in his mind, and he turned away from Jim, ashamed of his unwarranted actions.

"Jim, I must apologize for bonding our minds," the Vulcan said in a rush. "I can arrange for a Vulcan healer to sever the bond so that-"

"That's not necessary, Spock," Kirk said firmly. "It's cool having your presence in my mind. Believe me, this was a good thing that you did, unintentional or not. And besides, you are forgetting that if I didn't want it, my mind would not have allowed for it to have happened."

"But our link is almost as strong as a full-fledged marriage bond," Spock said helplessly, trying to make the cadet understand. "It is a lifelong commitment that Vulcans and their mates must honor."

"That's pretty heavy stuff," Kirk agreed. "But if we start slow, and I try not to over-think the whole lifelong aspect, I don't see why things couldn't eventually work out." But Kirk's facial expression didn't match his hopeful words.

"You do not seem pleased by this development," said the commander. For it was true, the cadet wasn't exactly the picture of ecstasy. Quite the contrary; his lower lip stuck out in a dejected pout, as if something he'd dreamed of had suddenly been ripped away from him.

"I am pleased, Spock," Kirk smiled sadly. "Honest!" He reached for Spock's hand. "I'm just a little distracted right now, is all. While you were knocked out, I accessed the ship's computer and found out the history of this time we have created."

Spock raised an eyebrow.

"May I ask what is not to your satisfaction?"

Kirk bowed his head.

"My father's dead."

Spock blinked, stunned by the news.

"I do not understand. He was alive when we entered the black hole."

"He died when I was five, this time," Jim said bitterly. "Cupcake's dad died on the same day."

"I grieve with thee." Spock scooted closer to Kirk, who lay his head on the Vulcan's shoulder. "What were the circumstances?"

"Nero sought his revenge on those who imprisoned him," Kirk whispered. "It's a long story, but one I don't want to get into just now. But my dad died a hero, saving the Federation from destruction, even this time around. It figures."

"Fascinating," was Spock's diplomatic comment.

"How can you sound so calm about it?" Kirk demanded, sitting up and rounding on his friend. "Everything we did, all the events that we changed - it was all for nothing!"

Spock raised an eyebrow.

"Our friendship and newfound relationship was for nothing?"

"No, of course not!" Jim exploded. Then he sighed, and took a deep breath, remembering it wasn't Spock wasn't at fault for what had happened. "You know what I mean. We couldn't save my dad. Going back in time and setting things right didn't work. It prolonged the lives of the people who were supposed to die, but they all eventually died within ten years of the Kelvin's contact with the Romulan ship. I checked."

"Perhaps the universe did not mean for them to be saved," Spock suggested.

Kirk didn't want to admit it, but the Vulcan did have a point.

"That supposed to make me feel better?"

"Yes."

Kirk shook his head, and fondly gazed at the Vulcan.

"You're doing a shitty job."

"Not if you are smiling," Spock pointed out.

Kirk's tongue peeked out of his mouth as he mulled over how to answer.

"I'm smiling because even though my father's dead, I don't feel alone anymore."

"You are most welcome," was the Vulcan's answer as their bond pulsed comfortably between them. Still tired from their adventure, Spock lay back down in bed again.

"You should get some more rest," Jim advised. "As much as I enjoyed having you faint into my arms, I don't want you to make it a habit." To prove his point, he curled his body around Spock's so they were both able to comfortably fit on the bed.

Vulcan and human drifted off to sleep, both ready for their lives to return to normal. Of course, their lives would never be 'normal' again – not since they had found each other. But a semblance of routine would be welcomed, even for Kirk.

.~.

They arrived back at the San Francisco base in three day's time. A formal inquiry was held, to determine why Commander Spock and five cadets had disappeared for about a week's time. Starfleet command arrested Cupcake and the other kidnappers, temporarily suspending them from the Academy until they could prove that they'd matured enough to be granted re-entry. Kirk should've been suspended for hacking, but when Cupcake told Admiral Barnett about the Guardian, Spock intervened, stating that the cadet's story was illogical and unfounded. Not surprisingly, the head of Starfleet sided with the Academy's most recent distinguished graduate.

As a result of their little adventure, Kirk decided that his hacking days were over. He couldn't chance providing someone else with information that was kept secret for a reason. It didn't hurt that he found an excellent substitute to occupy his free time. Making out with Spock (all that the Vulcan would allow at the present juncture) and planning for their future was a much more satisfying use of his time.

But unfortunately for Kirk, finals started a day after the conclusion of the inquiry. While Jim could've asked for an extension of study time, he declined as he did not want any special treatment. He and Spock were so busy taking and administering/grading finals that they barely saw each other all week. But that didn't mean that Jim cut all communications with his future bondmate.

A couple times during finals week, Kirk tried to telepathically ask Spock for an answer to one of the essay questions.

/Spock, what's the practical application for- /

The Vulcan, who was in the middle of administering a linguistics final, didn't even let him finish.

/Jim, it would be unethical for me to assist you on your tests./

Spock felt Jim's pout through their fledgling link.

/Aw, c'mon, Spockie./ Kirk pleaded. /Just a hint? If I fail, I'll get kicked out of Starfleet and then I'll never see you again./

The Vulcan would have none of it.

/I must ask that you cease your exaggerating. If you do not know an answer to a question, I suggest that you make one up and argue the point logically./

Kirk was mentally stunned.

/Did you just tell me to BS my test?/

/You were not listening to me./

/Yes I was!/

/Clearly you were not. I must return to grading my finals./

/Oh, fine./ Kirk mentally grumbled. /Can I meet you tomorrow in your quarters? I can't stand this separation./

Spock allowed the corners of his mouth to curl up for just a second.

/I look forward to it./

Warmth spread to Jim's mind, and it was all the encouragement that Jim needed to complete the most flawlessly bull-shitted essay answer Starfleet had ever seen.

.~.

The following day, Kirk arrived at Commander Spock's quarters as promised. He took a seat at the table across from Spock, where the Vulcan had taken the liberty of setting up his 3-D chess set.

"Guess what?" Without waiting for an answer, Kirk plowed on. "I've decided to choose command track."

"Really?" Spock sipped his mineral water.

"Don't you want to know why?"

The Vulcan shrugged, barely hiding his amusement.

"Not particularly."

"Spo-ock!" Jim whined. "Please?"

"Very well," the Vulcan said dryly. "You are going to inform me of your reasoning anyway. It would be illogical to stall you any further."

"You made me believe in myself," Jim admitted. ' That, and my father did."

"I am pleased," said Spock. "I wish to support you in whatever facets you need."

"How about sex?" Jim suggested, waggling his eyebrows. But then he quailed under the weight of the stern, dark, Vulcan stare.

Spock ignored his friend's last statement, and proceeded to issue and invitation that had been a long time coming.

"Jim, I would be most gratified if you would accompany me to Vulcan sometime in the near future to meet my parents, and visit my homeworld. Would you be interested in making such a journey?"

"Oh hell yes!" Jim cried, pulling Spock into a bear hug. "I was hoping you'd ask me."

"Thank you," Spock said quietly as Jim sat back down. "Having you meet my parents is a rather large step for me."

Kirk nodded solemnly.

"I won't let you down, Spock."

"I did not believe you would."

They shared a secret smile.

"Just out of curiosity, what did you ever decide to tell Uhura?" Kirk wanted to know. "She's been giving me the cold shoulder lately."

"The truth – that you and I are t'hy'la and it would be illogical to protest against what is already been decided between us," Spock replied.

Kirk smirked.

"Most logical."

"I believed so." Spock nodded at his companion, missing the sarcasm. "Now the lieutenant will be free to pursue other romantic relationships."

Kirk scooted his chair over to Spock's, coming dangerously close to becoming trapped in the heat radiating off his Vulcan.

"So now that we're practically engaged according to your culture, can you show me some more of those Vulcan kisses?" Kirk asked, eager for any sort of physical contact with his future mate. Spock swallowed hard, enraptured by Jim's hypnotic blue eyes.

"That would be agreeable."

Encircling Kirk's fingers with his, Spock rubbed their fleshy undersides together until sparks flew and their bond sang of future promises.

The End

A/N: I will be posting the prologue to the third story in the T'hy'la Chronicles, which will be entitled 'And Saavik Makes Three'.

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