The next part won't be for a while, just forewarning. Thanks for reading anyway. :D


Pike was an enterprising man for his age. It had come mostly from experience gained from recent years in his career. He had to become something of a magician, after all, as he was the only butler in a near-twenty room mansion. If the mansion only twenty-rooms, Pike would have handled the task without even ruffling his coat tails.

However, the master of the house as an…eccentric man. The basement was full of a varying collection of war memorabilia to suits of samurai armor from the early Meiji era. Pike was very closed lipped, explaining to his friends (of which he had few, anyway) that this was why his time spent at McCoy manor was so consuming.

A white lie told in the line of duty, a bullet taken on his conscious to protect his master—a man very dear to him. Leonard McCoy was very much still a diamond in the rough, but he was worth the effort. Especially when Pike's efforts were spent on having to dust a two-story tall cave. He had never thought that he would actually need to use the spelunking gear the late David McCoy had given him, but such were the turns of life.

Pike tried to equate the current situation to the turns of his life. It, oddly enough, did fit in quite well. The place it took was under Leonard's "pupil." Jim Kirk was in a category of his own, an intelligent young man who had a penchant for getting into trouble. How he became such a figure in the McCoy household Pike wasn't sure of, the details were fuzzy. Leonard could be very taciturn when it concerned things he was embarrassed about.

Jim was a wonderful addition to the manor despite his dubious origins and Pike was glad to have him. Leonard didn't have anything like friends, only enemies and people he kept close who had some sort of usefulness. Pike didn't resent this, knowing he fell under the category of both those useful and the few friends, but knew it was not very healthy for his young master.

To bring this to the current situation, Jim had the aforementioned ability to bring about calamity in varying ways through the manor. The boy was only just eighteen yet he had the tenacity of a five year old when it came to causing mischief. Pike quite enjoyed the youth and energy he brought to their home, it brightened it considerably, but Leonard always had a bit of invalid sense of humor.

Today was the day Pike had privately feared, when Jim's curious nature got the better of him. The butler knew that the young ward was full aware that Leonard took many a night out. Jim, of course, did not know where Leonard spent these nights—Pike himself wasn't always sure—and wondered at to what Leonard was doing. It didn't help that Leonard didn't return until sunrise, either.

"Chris," Jim had taken to calling the butler by his first name, where he had learned it Pike never knew really, "where does Bones go out every night?"

Another curiosity to Pike was Jim's unique nickname to Leonard. Whenever asked, the blond boy merely smiled privately while Leonard would pointedly avoid it, telling Pike the man was embarrassed by it. He privately, however, looked forward to the day when Jim created one for him. "Whatever do you mean?" Pike replied primly, he had been dusting off one of the suits of armor in the west wing hall.

Playing stupid to Jim was a strategy bound to fail. "Yeah, right," Jim said, leaning against the wall beside the armor and crossing his arms over his chest. "I'm not that stupid."

"I apologize if I ever insinuated anything to suggest I thought you were stupid," Pike interjected, stepping back from the armor to regard Jim with a pensive look. "I merely meant I did not understand where you thought master Leonard spent the nights away from the manor."

Jim's expression did this little dance that it always did when he spoke to Pike, fighting to hide his amusement. Apparently it had something to do with the way the butler spoke. "I'm not kidding around," Jim insisted, frowning. "You know exactly what I'm talking about because you're with him a lot before he leaves."

"No—"

A palm stopped Pike's denial, Jim's held up between them. "Don't lie to me," he insisted, dropping the palm to wave it loosely in the air before it fell to his side. "You guys meet up in that den-room-thing and then vanish into the basement or something." Pike resisted the urge to frown or show any revealing emotion on his face. "Sometimes I'm not even sure if Bones actually ever leaves, but you always come up from down there an hour or so later." The expression directed at Pike was all seriousness and he wasn't sure how to get himself out of Jim's snare.

Thankfully, he was rescued—an irony not lost on Pike—by Leonard himself. The man looked hassled, dressed in pajamas despite that it was nearly two in the afternoon. He walked up to the two of them, sending Jim a stern look before turning to Pike.

"What's this kid hasslin' you about?" Leonard hassled himself and then he turned to Jim. "You know damn well Pike has better things to do than listen to your nonsense."

Jim broke out into an easy grin, sending Pike a quick look that spoke of continuing what he had started before turning his blue eyes on Leonard. "Bones," Jim assuaged, pushing his hands into the pockets of his jeans. "I was actually just thanking Chris for doing my laundry, chill out."

'Bones' looked skeptical but didn't comment beyond a grunt before turning his dark gaze on Pike. "I'm going to be in my study," he grumbled and then turned, walking down the hall. The older man's gaze followed him, knowing full well that Leonard did not mean the constantly locked room on the second floor of the east wing.

*

Leo seriously needed to think about hiring someone to redo the interior of his--he searched for an appropriate word… and failed because it was just his cave, goddamnit. He and Pike had last year solved the dripping problem; it was no longer humid or dank in the cavernous room. Beyond that, Leo couldn't do the redecoration on his own. The leaks had been bothersome to fix but it needed done. The only problem was finding some renovators who didn't speak English, lived under a rock or had short-term memory loss.

He sighed, shaking his head free of these thoughts. They did him nothing more than be distracting and right now, he needed to focus. Gotham had a new criminal wreaking havoc on the innocent and Batman was desperately falling behind in the fight.

Nero, as the man was called, was a man of unknown origin who sought to destroy the scientific research company Vulcan. Vulcan Labs was a newly formed company under the enigmatic genius Spock. The entire case was full of black holes, its two leads both a plethora of well-kept secrets. Leo didn't really care about Spock, though; he cared about how the man had moved his laboratories to Gotham. As a result, the homicidal Nero had followed.

Attacks on the general area of Vulcan Labs had resulted in a ton of property damage and the injury of many unrelated innocents. That was where Batman began to care about Spock and Nero. His efforts were doubled when Nero had, after hijacking Gotham Tonight, promised that by the end of the week he would level the Vulcan labs and the whole city block it was on to the ground.

It was a desperate situation because Leo had nothing really to go off of. Nero's attacks had come suddenly and left without much for clues. Batman really only knew how the man operated but nothing more. He needed more information and that meant going to the one connection he had for Nero: Spock. Tonight he would have to break into Vulcan Labs and sniff around.

*

Spock was not a sentimental man. He had a respect for the past but no appreciation. Logic would suggest it was due to that he no longer aged and Spock accepted the fact. Lacking the normal human gumption to place high importance in the past had given the meta-human a life free of most inhibitions. It let his mind expand and prosper, a fact for which he was grateful.

He also respected that while he did not linger in the past, many of his peers did. Specifically, the tragedy of Winona Kirk. That was why he was visiting the woman. They had been friends, once, and Spock remembered this. He knew full well it was within in social norm to visit old friends when fate brought them to the same place.

Fate didn't have a hand in why Spock had moved to Gotham but it did not mean he could not visit Winona. The small apartment she had on the lower west side of the city was a far cry to the large house he remembered from a lifetime ago. It was well kept despite and she looked healthy but tired. Spock noticed the distinct lack of a son in the household.

"Well, Spock," she said as she carefully sat on the edge of a flowery armchair. Her posture straight, and he could see her bearing the pressure of loss on her small shoulders. Spock was not surprised the woman tolerated it so well Winona had always been strong. "It seems like there's no escaping him."

Spock frowned, a slight dip at the corners of his mouth, and nodded. "Nero is very persistent," he admitted, carefully sitting down the delicate teacup on its saucer held in his other hand. "I had mistakenly thought I'd lost him in South America. However, I could no longer continue to run from him."

Winona smiled, though there was no joy in the expression. "Yes, I understand," she sighed, clasping her hands and placing them in her lap. "Your research has been put off long enough."

"Indeed," he replied, setting the saucer on the low coffee table between them. "I had to come someplace that would support my efforts. Gotham was the best option. I was hoping that—"

"No," Winona interjected strongly. Spock looked up at her in surprise; taking in her tightly closed eyes and clenched jaw. Just as he had anticipated, despite Winona's strong character she still lived very much in the past. "I can't help you, Spock."

Just then, Winona's front door open and in stepped a tall young man with a familiar face. Winona stood from her seat and Spock immediately did the same—they shared a quick look. James, the son Spock had noticed the lack of earlier, looked at them in suspicious shock. An emotion similar to sympathy darted in Spock's mind, poor Winona having to live with a son who looked just like George.

"Jimmy," Winona said, breaking the tense silence that had griped them, and stepped around the coffee table. "It's good to see you home."

"Yeah, mom," James replied, setting a plastic bag he had been carrying on the dining room table and walking over to stand beside his mom. His gaze did not leave Spock once, however. "Who's this?"

Spock nodded to James, holding out his hand to shake. "I am Spock," he said.

Jim looked down at the offered hand and then up into his eyes before reaching out and gripping Spock's hand tight. "James," Jim offered, raising Spock's hand briefly before dropping it and turning to his mom. "Chris cooked some great lasagna so I brought you some, Mom. But I'm gonna have to jet…" He sent a speculative look in Spock's direction.

Winona smiled and took Jim's hand in her own. "Thank you," she said softly and stood on her toes to press a kiss to her son's cheek. "Don't worry about me, Jimmy, Spock is an old friend of your father's."

Shock registered briefly on James' face and the look he spent Spock now was loaded with something entirely different. "Yes," Spock agreed, inclining his head to the hanging portrait of George Kirk on the wall. "We were business partners."

"Really?" the teenager asked rhetorically, frowning at Spock. "Doesn't look that old."

"He's aged well," Winona covered, patting the back of Jim's hand before releasing it. "You go on your way now, no need to keep Mr. McCoy waiting."

Jim said his goodbyes and left, leaving Winona and Spock alone again. Silence reigned after the door clicked shut, both watching the space Jim no longer occupied. Spock detected Winona's mood had become even more melancholy due to her son's appearance. She turned to Spock, finally, with her eyes downcast.

"I will be honest," she said quietly, hands clenched into fists at her side. "I am trying not to hate you for bringing that monster back here."

Spock gently took one of her small hands and smoothed the fist out, until her palm and fingers were splayed flat against his own. "I will make sure he never finds you or your son, Winona," he promised and she dropped her head onto his shoulder. Spock looked up from her bent head and into the smiling, expectant face of a long ago friend. "I promise."


To be continued!