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Disclaimer: Kirk and Spock belong to Roddenberry, Shatner and Nimoy. The reboot versions belong to Abrams, Pine, and Quinto. Not me. Fail.

A/N:  This is a kid!fic. K&S are as young as they were portrayed in the movie by Jimmy Bennett and Jacob Kogan. This fic focuses on their growing friendship. However, as always, the subtext is there. Some angsty fluff!

Dedicated to T'Pinto, whose amazing fic Destiny's Child inspired me to write more kidfic.

.~.

Camping Out

Twelve year-old Jim Kirk had invited his best friend Spock over to stay at his house during the Vulcan's week long school break. So far he'd managed to keep his friend from discovering his new stepdad's true character. It was why he always insisted on "camping out" in the back yard every night. In the house, with Spock sleeping in Sam's old room, Jim was fair game to Frank. But if he slept with a Vulcan at his side, not even Frank was stupid enough to come near him then. Plus, he seemed to sleep better next to his friend. Definitely a win scenario!

That night, Jim taught Spock how to build a fire using his boy scout training. They roasted marshmallows over the fire and made s'mores, although Spock refused to eat any chocolate. Kirk ate Spock's share of chocolate because it was there, even though the Vulcan advised against it. They chewed thoughtfully on their gooey snacks, watching as the fire fizzed and crackled, sparks occasionally flying out onto the ground.

Once all the marshmallows had been roasted and eaten, they put out the fire and talked quietly, discussing their hopes for the future. Jim settled down on the soft blanket of grass, and gazed up at the clear, moon-lit night sky. The star-speckled sky seemed to go on forever. Compared to the vastness of space, Jim felt insignificant. How could one tiny life form make a difference? His father had. Therefore, Jim wanted to do the same, to be seen as his own person, not just George Kirk's son. It would be tough to build a name for himself under his father's shadow, but, with a little luck, Jim was confident he could do it.

"Someday, Spock, I'm going to be out there." Jim vowed as the Vulcan lay down beside him on a blanket, refusing to let his well groomed hair touch the ground. "Exploring new worlds where no one else has gone before! It'll be awesome!"

"It must be interesting having the freedom to choose one's future," Spock commented, ever placid. Jim bit his lip. The inflection in the Vulcan's voice indicated that Spock was not as nonchalant about his statement as he hoped to sound.

"Aw, Spock, I didn't mean it like that." Instinctively, Jim scooted closer to his friend, stopping when their knees brushed. "Besides, I thought you liked science."

"I do." The Vulcan looked away. "It is my duty to the House of Surak to follow in my father's footsteps and attend the Vulcan Science Academy. It would be illogical to want anything else."

He sounds like he's quoting a text book, Jim thought, angry at the Vulcans who owned his friend's future. If he'd been stripped of his freedom in the future, Jim would've hopped the next transport off-planet. No way was any adult ever telling him what to do! But he didn't wish to burden his friend with his opinions – Spock could make up his own mind. As usual, when given the chance for a deep conversation, he kept things light.

"Yeah, well, you are half human and you know how illogical us humans are," Kirk kidded. The cool Vulcan mask stayed on Spock's face, but Jim could tell from the glint in his eyes that his friend was amused.

"Jim?"

"Yeah, Spock?"

"I believe it is time for us to take our respite."

Kirk chuckled at that. He loved how Spock could reword even the simplest sentences into a formal declaration. Hell, even when the guy announced that he had to "use the facilities", he managed to sound elegant. It was disgusting how easy Spock made it look, to remain invulnerable to outside interference.

"You mean you want us to go to sleep?"

His friend raised an eyebrow.

"I believe that is what I said."

"You just can't say it the regular way, can you?" Jim teased as they unrolled their sleeping bags, threw them in their tent, and climbed inside. "You have to sound all high and mighty about it. Is there a Vulcan law that insists that Vulcans must sound superior to humans at all times? Because it sure seems like it."

"Not that I am aware of, Jim." Spock looked away. "You are bothered by my speech patterns."

Kirk's eyes widened in surprise.

"No! I-I mean, I think they're…" cute? Oh no, he did not just think about Spock doing something cute. No. Freakin. Way. "I think they are unique." Jim smiled. "I like that about you, Spock." The Vulcan's dark eyes softened.

"I am gratified by your statement. I too find your speech patterns to be… unique."

"Now who's teasing who?" Jim grinned at Spock, his cool eyes glinting in the moonlight. "Who says Vulcans can't joke?" His friend's response was simply,

"Good night, Jim."

Spock turned over on his back, trying to find the most comfortable position in which to sleep. Spending the day with Jim had been very agreeable, if somewhat exhausting. How his friend always managed to demonstrate constant exuberance, the Vulcan would never understand. He had almost drifted off when he heard,

"Spock?"

Every night it is the same, Spock thought, not without exasperation. I should be used to this pattern of Jim's by now. As much as he enjoyed his friend's company, he was on a strict school sleep schedule that he didn't wish to disturb.

"Yes, Jim?"

"I'm not tired. Can you tell me a story?" The hesitant voice asked.

Caring for a young Vulcan would be must easier than being Jim's friend, the Vulcan realized. At least the Vulcan would demonstrate a knowledge of manners and common courtesy. But Spock didn't want Jim any other way. If his friend demonstrated manners and courtesy, he would cease to be Jim, and would become rather like a robot answering its programming. That was the last thing Spock wanted – Jim's free spirit should never be truly tamed.

Spock turned on his side so that he could face his friend. Pleading blue eyes shined back at him, begging for an escape from the difficult world of evil step-fathers and small town beliefs that he lived in. How could Spock deny him that?

"Will you go to sleep after I do so?"

"Uh huh," Jim muttered into his pillow. "Can you also help me sleep, Spock? With your telepathy?"

"I will do my best." The Vulcan brushed back his friend's blonde bangs in order to get better access to his meld points, not because he wished to run his fingers through that thick hair. It was quite easy to gain access to Jim's mind, as he'd practically left the door open for Spock. The Vulcan projected thoughts of soothing places: the gentle roll of the waves in the foggy San Francisco Bay, the Riverside shipyard where Jim often stopped by to fantasize being a starship captain, and his arid Vulcan home where Kirk had once visited him on vacation.

"Mmm," Jim sighed at the welcome thoughts. "I'm feeling sleepier now."

"You are most welcome," Spock said dryly. Jim missed the jab about his manners entirely.

"So can you make it a long story? With Klingons and space battles and…" Spock's eyebrow twitched.

"It will be as long as I wish it, James. If you wish me to tell the story, it is only logical that you cease to speak." In other words, Spock was telling him to shut up.

Kirk winced.

"Sorry."

"Are you ready to listen now?"

"Ready and willing." Jim focused his attentions directly at Spock, which secretly unnerved the Vulcan. Spock wracked his brain for a story that Jim would enjoy. As much as his friend would enjoy it, he refused to chronicle a Klingon space battle. Now, he needed something where one of the parents didn't die early in the story. Something that would give his friend hope for the future. Something with happy endings, ones that Jim didn't believe existed.

"Once there were two unlikely friends, a Vulcan and a human." Spock paused, but Kirk didn't interrupt him this time. "When they first met at a science conference, the Vulcan misjudged the human thanks to their highly emotional displays. He believed the human to be beneath him. But for the first time in his life, he had committed an error."

"But thankfully for the Vulcan, this human was not an ordinary human. This human was not put off by the Vulcan's staid mannerisms. This human was not disturbed by the shape of Vulcan ears. This human was persistent in developing a friendship, and they soon began to meet every day over tea and coffee. Something about this energetic human captivated the Vulcan, and the human was fascinated by the Vulcan as well."

Spock swallowed hard. He wasn't sure if he should tell the next part. Jim was feigning sleep beside him, he could tell by his respitory rate. But his human side won out, and he continued with the tale.

"Many months later, there came a time when the Vulcan's feelings deepened for the human. It was only logical that he ask said human to be his bondmate."

"Did the human say yes?" Kirk wondered in a drowsy voice.

"As a matter of fact, the human did." Spock glanced over his friend, whose eyes were shut. This gave him the freedom to study Jim up close, which he always secretly enjoyed. After all, the human was ascetically pleasing. "Then the human and Vulcan were bonded for life and they lived together for the rest of their days." Spock cleared his throat. "I believe the concluding phrase is. 'the end'."

Jim sighed, and his eyes fluttered open.

"Your parents have a nice story."

Spock regarded his friend closely.

"Yes, Sarek of Vulcan and Amanda of Terra are very fortunate to have found each other." They held each other's gaze. Spock noticed how Jim shivered in the light breeze.

"I'm cold, Spock."

Iowa nights were quite chilly, which was why Spock always dressed warmly, or brought an extra thermal shirt. Why Jim never planned ahead, when he had a genius level IQ, the Vulcan could not understand.

"I could offer you my warmth…"

Jim shook his head.

"I don't wanna hog the Vulcan heater. And besides, doesn't that touching stuff weird you out?"

"It would be perfectly acceptable, as we are friends." Spock pointed out. "Vulcans are permitted to touch those in their family or those they consider to be as close as family. However, would it not be easier if we simply slept inside?"

"No!" Jim exclaimed, his eyes filled with panic as he tensed up at the suggestion. Spock looked at him quizzically. "I mean, nah," Jim smirked, covering up his initial reaction. "The whole point of camping is being outside! Don't you like it out here under the stars?"

"Affirmative. However, I do not like that we must sleep outside to avoid the man who abuses my best friend." The Vulcan looked pointedly at Jim, as if asking 'why did you keep this from me'? Young Kirk just gaped at him, mortified that his secret was out, and that Spock of all people knew.

"You knew about that? How?" Jim's unsteady, prepubescent voice grew louder. "Who the hell told you?"

"Unfortunately it was quite obvious." The Vulcan superiority was absent, and Spock's voice was filled with concern.

Jim balled his shaking hands into fists. Spock wasn't supposed to know. No one was supposed to know!

"That sonuvabitch Frank, I swear to God I'm gonna make him pay!" He vented. "I'll make him pay somehow, Spock. Just watch me!"

"You are aware that my culture abhors violence in all forms, correct?"

"Yeah," the pre-teen sighed, relaxing his hands. "Sorry, Spock. Guess I'm only human." He gave the Vulcan a wry smile. "I wouldn't really want to do anything bad to him, even though he deserves it."

"I am proud of you," Spock said softly. "When we first met, you were always seeking revenge on your enemies."

"I remember," Jim chuckled. "Guess I've changed in the past year or so."

"Your presence has had an impact on me as well," Spock admitted. "While I am pleased you have endeavored to accept the philosophy of non-violence, I would not be averse to administering a nerve pinch to your step-father for all of the grievances he has committed against you."

"You'd better not," Jim cautioned. "When he woke up, Frank would know he'd been a victim of the Vulcan nerve pinch, and then I'd never be allowed to let you visit again!" He shivered at the thought, wishing he could curl up next to Spock without looking like a sissy.

"Are you still uncomfortable in the frigid temperatures, Jim?"

"Yep," Kirk affirmed. "But I'd rather endure the cold than go back to my room."

"That will not be necessary," the Vulcan insisted. "I believe I have a solution." He unzipped his heavy-duty large sleeping bag, and gestured for Jim to join him.

"You sure?" Jim's eyes bugged out. Whether he knew it or not, Spock was asking him to sleep together. Jim wasn't sure how he felt about that, not wanting his dirty thoughts to rub off on his innocent friend.

"Quite sure."

But it was freezing, and Jim didn't wish to let such a golden opportunity for physical contact his friend slip by.

So he crawled into Spock's sleeping bag with him. It was a tight fit, but they managed to get comfortable, with the Vulcan curling his arms around his human.  The Vulcan's warmth enveloped the human, fortifying him against the dangers of the outside world.  Here it was just a human and Vulcan, and the Vulcan would not let anything touch the human, not while he lived.   Jim's shivering started to taper off, for which Spock was grateful.

"Is this more to your satisfaction?" Oh boy, was it! Jim thought.

"Yeah. I'm not cold anymore."

"That was my intention." Spock's eyes began to close, completely at ease as he felt the comforting pitter-patter of Jim's heart against him.

"'Night, Spock." The Vulcan's lips slightly curled into a smile. He could feel Jim's powerful emotions radiating off him. Someday he would ask his friend exactly what they meant, but not tonight.

"Pleasant dreams, Jim. I will be here in the morning." Jim squeezed his hand in gratitude, and for once, Spock didn't balk at the intimate contact.

The End!

A/N: It's been awhile since I've written kidfic. What did you think?

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