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Spock's dark eyes looked up at the members of the council. His father was currently absent, tending to the very thing Spock was here to discuss with the elders. Having Sarek's support today would have been helpful, if not entirely needed. Spock was giving perfectly logical arguments, the elders could only nod in agreement with everything he was saying.

And in the end, once this decision was researched appropriately and made, Spock would be free forever of the bond that made him weak. He would be once again a logical being, able to separate emotions from duty. And mostly he would be free from his lying bondmate, the former Captain James Tiberius Kirk.

One month ago...

There was nothing Jim wouldn't do if Spock asked. He was patient with the Vulcan, caring, compassionate, and above all else, he was undyingly loyal. Jim was just as impulsive, brash, and often times uncaring of his own bodily injuries in the line of duty. But for his first officer, Commander Spock, Jim would do anything. And the entire crew, including Spock, damn well knew it.

Except what Spock was asking of him now. It was absurd, really. The idea had come up some time ago, and now it seemed firmly lodged in the Vulcan's steel trap of a mind. A sleepy suggestion while they were at dinner, a slip of the tongue really. It had everything to do with human propriety and nothing to do with what Jim thought was Vulcan logic.

"Sarek is more accepting of human customs than I imagined," Jim casually said over the meal. "I wonder how he would accept me."

Spock stiffened and looked over, mostly forgetting the bowl of soup in front of him. "It would be fair to say that he would not necessarily disapprove of you."

Jim's eyes narrowed slightly. "I have the feeling there is a huge but to go along with that statement." Having known Spock for nearly two years now, there were two facts that were always clear. First, that physical contact was difficult. Second, that Spock spoke as concisely as possible. And what he had just said was not in the same universe as concise.

"There, however, is no proof that he would approve of you at all," the Vulcan finished, dipping his spoon in his bowl to stir the contents with no real.intention of consuming any of it. "If it is your wish, we can set up a meeting with him the next time we are on leave near where the ambassador-" Jim grimaced at the way Spock referred to his father. "-is staying."

"No, I don't," Jim had said hurriedly. But now, nearly a week after the initial conversation, Spock was bringing it up for the third time in conversation. Jim could almost be angry at Spock for pushing the subject like this, but he knew once something was inside a Vulcan's mind, it took a hell of a lot to change it.

Jim sighed and looked at Spock from across the biobed they were jointly fixing. (Jim really needed to cut down on agreeing to help Bones with work in sickbay.) Long fingers were creating a proper circuit from the scanners to the screens above the bed while human muscles strained to hold the base of the bed above the table it sat upon.

"When will we be there?" he asked in exasperated defeat. There was no dissuading Spock from this course now. And Jim did not have the energy to argue.

"We will be within Earth's orbit in approximately 32 days and 11 hours given our current trajectory and lack of obstacles." His cool demeanor gave Jim pause. Spock would be looking forward to this less than Jim was. Knowing your father was going to be judging the man you were bonded with (before the relationship was consummated) was probably harder for him than he was letting on.

"Then we have time," Jim grunted as he adjusted his grip on the bed. "I'm going to have to learn the proper things to say."

"Indeed." Spock's skillful fingers, fingers that Jim ached to touch but wasn't yet allowed, twisted the last wire in place. "You may lower the bed."

Muscles screamed at the abuse as Jim shakily lowered his burden back onto the table, turning it back into a functional part of the sickbay. He rubbed at his arms with a groan. "Next time you do the heavy lifting."

"I doubt you would understand the complexities of the bed's inner wiring," Spock responded without missing a beat.

The subject of meeting parents wasn't brought up again until dinner. Jim tapped his fork against the back of his hand, unconscious of what he was doing. His mind was racing with the fact that while on Earth, his mother would be dying to see him.

"Hey, what if you met my mom?" Winona had been asking in messages for weeks when she was going to meet the person (he had yet to tell her the person was a man) that had managed to settle her wayward and crazy son.

"It would seem logical," Spock responded in his usual manner, not so much as raising his eyes to look at Jim. The tenuous bond didn't allow for emotional transference yet, but Jim knew Spock was uneasy

"She'll love you, Spock. You're keeping me from an early grave, after all."

"I am trying," the Vulcan said, finally looking at his captain. "You seem intent upon seeing that those efforts are in vain."

And so the conversation steered into a new topic once more. Jim was amiable to the idea of Spock meeting his mother in return for him sitting down with Sarek. He just didn't want to face the thought of Sarek attempting to sever the bond they had.

Not that the ambassador could. According to Spock and M'Benga, it was impossible to break the bond once made without the consent of the bonded. To do so risked the lives of both members of the bond, and Sarek would never risk his son like that.

"Captain," came Uhura's voice through his comm. "We are receiving a subspace transmission from Admiral Pike. He is requesting a private conversation."

"Thank you lieutenant, I'll take it in my room."

"Relaying now," came the communication officer's voice a moment before the screen on his desk changed to an image of Pike.

"Kirk, this needs to be a private conversation," he said seriously. Jim nodded to Spock, who left without so much as a goodbye. Only then did Pike continue. "I have sensitive information, Jim. Switch to a private frequency."

Jim nodded and did so, watching Pike with interest. "What is it?"

"Starfleet bigwigs are on my ass, kid. You have a traitor on your ship. A few transmissions have been intercepted and the information within may have led to the destruction of two other vessels."

Eyes wide, Jim let the information sink in for a moment. "What do you want me to do? Detain and interrogate?"

"No. You need to get close to the person without making them suspicious. We need to learn who's helping them."

Now was the time for the big question. "Who is it, Pike?"

"Technician John Watkins, engineering." Pike took a deep breath and watched Jim carefully. "You need to keep this completely between you and me."

"Understood," Jim said. This was the first time Pike had asked him specifically not to say anything and he would obey.

"Good. And Jim, the sooner we get what we need, the better."

Chapter End Notes:
Thanks to my bestie for proofreading this story. Since I type on my phone, updating might take a while, and I apologize in advance.
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