Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek. Sadly enough. All characters are depicted as legal age.
Warnings: Vague spoilers for the recent movie, suggested slash
AN: Companion piece to Ignominy. I might eventually add more to this universe.
All he remembers are blue eyes and the feel of impossibly, refreshingly cool skin as it heats up beneath him. The rest is a blur of motion and pleasure and desire. Of his name on sinfully red lips and touching everywhere and still not getting enough. Of hands clawing at his back and knees digging into his hips. Of words he said in the dark and flashes in his mind that didn't originate with him. Of being complete for the first time in his life, being accepted for everything he is and all that he is not.
He wakes up slowly afterwards, listening to the sound of a light breeze fluttering in through the open balcony door. Spock ponders on that for a moment before remembering that their hosts, the Athosians, gave them a room away from the others. A good thing since they would have undoubtedly had some rather perturbed neighbors otherwise. It was an apology, and though they did not say as much, it was very obvious that they were truly regretful of the situation.
He opens his eyes to bright sunlight and a warmth curled up on his left side. Spock doesn't even need to look down to realize that it is Jim or to know that he is still asleep. He will not be for long, however, already beginning to stir. Face burrowing into the junction between Spock's neck and shoulder. Hair soft against the Vulcan's chin. Round ear under Spock's fingertip and body shivering against his.
He feels those blue eyes flutter open against his skin, blinking slowly and sleepily. Nevertheless, Spock knows the exact instant Jim's mind catches up with him. He wouldn't even need to be psychic to sense Jim stiffen, muscles drawn taut as he pulls back and puts space between their bodies. His face doesn't show anything as he glances up, but the bond between them gives him away.
Confusion. Worry. Hope. Longing. A flicker of stark terror that is hastily stamped down.
It is all there. All open for him to see. Present in such a manner that part of his own mind is noting that Jim will need to learn how to better manage their link. Even as the majority of him revels in that contact. In how free and painfully trusting the connection between them truly is.
A hundred different ideas run through his mind in an interweaving tapestry of light and color, each of them carefully considered and discarded with a speed and thoroughness that would be surprising if he didn't know the man before him so well. If Spock ever questioned that Jim is a genius, just being immersed in him for a few seconds has permanently erased those doubts. He has never before met someone so capable of multi-layered thought. Never known a human so able to hide his true intentions and emotions behind a mask of arrogance and nonchalance.
And all of this – realization and understanding and a dozen nameless impressions – passes between them in seconds. But time stretches between them as though it has been much longer. Just staring at each other as this new dimension of their relationship takes root and quietly, tentatively starts to flourish.
"Good morning," Jim murmurs then, voice soft and easy as he finally looks away. Betraying nothing of the veritable storm inside of him.
However, Spock knows there are a thousand other things he wishes to say. All of them racing through his mind before Jim quickly pulls them back, shuffling them out of sight. Spock could easily find them again, as powerful a telepath as he is, but he respects this man's privacy.
And he even lets Jim keep his silence.
Their first few days back on the ship aren't exactly awkward, but there is a peculiar tension between them. In Jim's movements as Spock walks by him in the captain's chair. In every time he brushes Jim as they sit and have dinner with Nyota and Doctor McCoy. Like he wants to reach forward but is afraid to overstep his bounds. As though he can't quite believe anyone – much less Spock – is so willing to be with him. To carry on longer than one night or a single encounter. So very vulnerable under the façade of strength. More fragile inside than out.
Everyone – the entire crew – seems to know what went on between them. And their reaction is shocking, though it shouldn't be. They are unanimously encouraging . All winks and grins and other positive gestures. Suggestive comments that are more playful than aggressive. Several are even bold enough to congratulate him. To wish him luck with his new partner and bondmate. It is all together befuddling, but it makes Jim laugh. And in the end, that is all that matters.
Nyota is unsurprisingly supportive. Although their romantic interactions have long ago ended, she is still his closest companion outside of Jim. An easy presence who understands more than anyone what this bond, this connection really means to him. The only one who knows exactly why his feverish mind sought out Jim to the exclusion of everyone else including her. And why he continues his careful pursuit even now.
Doctor McCoy is different. Not antagonistic as Spock initially suspected. He is more speculative. Searching. Almost ascertaining if Spock is a worthy companion and mate to his closest friend, his brother by everything that has ever truly mattered. His eyes are watchful. Disturbingly so. Following Spock's every move. Catching every instance he touches Jim and all the times he does not. Carefully measuring. Weighing. Waiting.
Spock is not oblivious to his behavior. Nor is Jim. But both of them allow the doctor to do as he will. As they always have. It is much safer that way. Not to mention more pleasant and pain-free.
As for Jim himself, he is an enigma. A cautiously concealed man beneath arrogance and a casual smile. The flashes Spock receives do little to alleviate the problem. He could very easily use their bond to slip through Jim's mind, but that is an invasion of privacy he doesn't dare. Further, he wants Jim to tell him, to trust him with this. To not have to gain such knowledge illicitly. But it is hard to ignore the impressions and flickers coming from Jim's end of the bond, testing his self-control more than he will ever admit and only reinforcing the idea that Jim will need at least some basis in training. It will be hard for Spock himself to do it; there is after all a reason why bondmates never teach each other this. They simply don't have the long term willpower to form blocks.
Their relationship does not seem to suffer for this, however. They are still relatively young, and their mating bond is new. It requires constant reinforcement of both the physical and mental kind. The first is not a chore by any means, at least in terms of the number and length of their encounters. Touch outside of that remains rather elusive, and the second proves trickier still. Spock simply does not know how deal with this, how to handle a mate who is so unused to telepathy. Who takes to the connection but does not utilize it as nature and evolution intended. Yet, it goes further than that. Much further.
Spock does not know what to do, and he wishes his mother still lived. That she could take Jim aside and reassure him. Explain what the bond entails and how it differs from anything else a human could ever know. That she could offer words of comfort and wisdom. That she could make Jim laugh as Spock knows she would.
Regret is an emotion, but he still cannot help but wish that his mother could have known Jim. Wish that she is here to advise him, to give him some direction. There is so much that she could tell them both. And the lack of her soft touches and clear voice only reinforce their loss of her.
Spock remembers his mother telling him once how she had learned shielding from an older Vulcan woman. Their trip to the colony is not for this reason alone, but it presents a clear opportunity. His counterpart already has Jim's trust, and it is very easy to convince his mate to accept.
He allows them their privacy, wandering about the colony for a time before he grows weary of the almost haughty looks sent his direction. Spock returns to his father's house – never his home – just as the first of this world's twin suns begins to set. He enters without a word, knowing that he is welcome without having to be told and easily shifting into his role as a son to this man.
Dinner goes by in a similar fashion, and they sit at the table in silence afterwards, the remains of their meal before them. But neither makes a move to rise. His mother always insisted on clearing the table when they dined together, her chatter filling the quiet as they watched her work. Graceful and even movements, flowing and refined. Smooth and fluid in a way that no Vulcan could ever hope to duplicate. Easy and smiling. Not caring to be circumspect when it was just the three of them. So very happy in those moments. Free from duty and obligation and attempting to be less human.
Spock closes his eyes at the memory of it all. At the remembrance that she would always trail her hands across his shoulder before stopping next to his father and pressing a kiss to his cheek. How she would return to her chair then, chin resting on her fingers and just studying them both with warm and bright eyes. Human eyes. So much like his own. So much like Jim's for all that the color is different. More than making up for the lack of heat in their bodies and burning with a fire brighter than the sun.
It is all he can do not to clench his hands into fists at her loss. At the echoing emptiness inside of him that Jim has eased without conscious intention.
"Spock." His father's voice cuts through his thoughts. The first time either of them has spoken.
His eyes open. "Yes, father?" he asks because it is honestly the only thing he can think to say.
"Your mate… James… He is very much like your mother in her youth," Sarek begins, and there is something nearly wistful to his tone. Impossible as that seems for a Vulcan. "It is not just that he is human as she was. They have the same… spirit, one could say. The same spark of life."
It is strange to hear his father say such a thing, to echo his very thoughts on the matter. Yet, Spock remains silent, certain that there is more for him to hear. He knows that Sarek is choosing his words carefully. That he wishes for Spock to actually listen.
"I may not always see the logic behind your choices, Spock. Yet, they are still your choices to make. They belong to you and no other. Not our brethren or your human companions. They are yours to do with as you will." Sarek pauses then, gaze distant and completely unreadable as he exhales. "Regardless of your decisions, you will always be my son."
Spock can only swallow and stare at him. Just look at this man as though he has never truly seen him before. And for a second, for a brief instant in time, he sees just why his mother would love Sarek. Why she would give up everything she had ever known – her friends, her family, her world – to be with him. To have him and no other.
But inexplicably, that insight does not diminish. It does not fade away. It lingers, and Spock knows with every part of himself that he will forever see this in his father now. That every time he sees Sarek he will not see a Vulcan but a man who once loved a woman and will for the rest of his life. That though he may and most likely will take another wife, even if only to help repopulate, that she will never be dearer to him than Spock's own mother. That no Vulcan woman can ever think to equal Amanda Grayson in this.
Sarek takes a deep breath then, and while his face is blank, his eyes say all that he cannot. For a moment reflecting the same brightness of his much beloved wife.
"Amanda would approve."
Spock knows a blessing when he hears one. Knows the truth in those words.
His mother would have loved Jim.
And the irrational and all too illogical part of himself – the human part – is glad that his father does as well.