AN: This is just a little one shot that I thought up on the spur of the moment.
Disclaimer: Not no way…not no how….
Warning: Implied abuse, rape, and Tarsus. Also K/S.
Let Me Help.
Or the five times someone said, "I love you" and the one that meant so much more.
Jimmy thinks he knows what love is.
He sees it all the time when he watches his mother tuck his brother Sam into bed on the nights that she is actually home. He hears her whisper it to Frank when they spend quiet mornings together on the porch.
He can find it on her face when she stares at the old photo of his father at night and cries bitter tears while whispering to the unmoving picture in the dark.
"George, George, please, I love you. Miss you, love you, need you here."
He realizes one night when he sits in his bed that he knows what love is but does not know how it feels.
Frank grunts it into his ear on the nights when Winona is off planet, nights that are growing larger in number as the years go by.
Jim lays there almost motionless, the fight not quite beaten out of him, just stifled beneath the bruises and the pain.
He knows that this is wrong, that Frank is sick and this is abuse and rape because he said no over and over again until he throat was raw he said no no no no no. But Frank only said "I love you, love you, love you."
Jim thinks that if he ever hears the words again he might be sick.
He reads many books somewhere between Frank's beatings and his own desperate attempts to escape.
He finds one that sticks with him, one that is well over a hundred years old but has the most beautiful passage he has ever seen. He reads it cover to cover over and over again and finds that he whole-heartedly agrees with the sentiment.
It teaches him that "Let me help" is worth so much more than "I love you."
He wants so bad to hear those words from someone, anyone.
He waits for a long time but they never come.
Tarsus on the other hand does.
He clutches Kevin to his chest. Little Kevin who is only six years old and still does not know exactly what has happened.
He is crying, something he has not done since he was very small and his tears make tracks in the dirt on the smaller boys face. Kevin's breathing is getting more and more shallow and J.T. can see the life leaching from his skin.
"I love you." It's quiet and child like. Kevin is smiling when he shouldn't be and his little hand is covered in blood when it reaches up to J.T.'s face and touches his cheek. J.T. can feel the sobs shaking his own body as he rocks his little one back and forth, back and forth, and watches him die.
It is the first time someone has ever told J.T. they love him without some sinister meaning behind it. J.T. thinks that this time hurts more than all the others combined.
Because he finally knows what love feels like, has finally touched it and held it to his heart and now it is gone, bleed out into the snow and dirt beneath him. No matter what he does he will never get it back and nothing has ever hurt so badly.
He thinks to himself that in another universe, some other alternate dimension Kevin would still be alive, still be smiling and happy. Somewhere in some other place and time they would grow up together, J.T. would take care of him, and they would love each other like a real family. Like he had always dreamed about.
But it isn't this reality and now it never will be.
That night J.T. learns to kill.
The Enterprise has finally returned home. After weeks in space limping their way back to Earth they have finally made it and Starfleet has given them a hero's welcome.
His crew and he slowly descend the ramp and there are people by the thousands waiting for them, cheering, screaming and crying. He has never seen anything like it because coming home from Tarsus wasn't this joyous and there was no one there to cry for him.
He sees the families of his bridge crew rushing forward, sees Bones swing his daughter around in the air a rare bright grin lighting his normally dour face.
Sulu is hugging a rather elegant Japanese woman and a dignified man beside them beams with pride.
Uhura is talking in rapid fire Swahili and smiling wider than he has ever seen and nearby Chekov is doing the same thing in Russian to a woman with his bright curls and a man with his cheerful smile.
Scotty isn't there but Jim knows it is only because he doesn't want to leave the Enterprise until he knows the repairs will go the way he believes they should.
The Vulcan high council surrounds Spock and even from here, he can see how he and his father gravitate towards each other. They might not say it and they might not admit it but there is love there.
This is the loudest chorus of 'I love you' that Jim has ever heard and yet no one has actually said the words aloud.
He doesn't need to look around to know that there is no one there waiting for him.
Time passes and Jim has the Enterprise and he has his crew and for a while he thinks that if this is as close to love as he can ever get then that is fine with him. He can handle that.
Then things change.
It starts off slow. A lunch together here, a chess game there. Dinner in his private quarters, sparring sessions during off hours. Confessions about an ended relationship and unspoken comfort over failed away missions.
Spock is slowly becoming a part of him, a part that he has come to realize he cannot live without. Spock pushes him to do better, to be better. He pushes Spock to be more than just his logic, to realize that life is about more than just the white and the black. That true beauty lies in shades of grey.
There is an accidental kiss, a subtle brush of fingers that is lost on neither of them but pushed aside for now because there are more important things to do like saving the ship.
He hugs Spock, all the things he knows about Vulcan's and contact flying out the window because he had thought Spock was dead and he could not bear to watch green blood flow out into snow and dirt like red had done so many years ago and he has never been more happy that Spock's heart is not where his is.
He has nightmares. Kevin and Frank, Tarsus and Vulcan mixing together to torment him until sleep is no longer an option and he wonders the observation decks at night until Spock finds him and takes him back to his room.
There is tea and plomeek soup which he has grown rather fond of though he only likes it if he can see Spock over the rim of the bowl watching him with too dark eyes and a raised brow.
He lends Spock the book the one that changed his perspective so long ago. He is nervous because he has never shared so much of himself with someone before, not even Bones, and he doesn't know how Spock will take it. Doesn't know how the half Vulcan will react when he connects the dots and realizes just what Jim means ever time he says to him, "Let me help."
Spock will realize it Jim knows; because Spock is just brilliant like that and that is one of the reasons that Jim loves him. It is a kick in the gut to admit that, even to himself because only pain has ever followed that word and Jim doesn't know if he wants to live if Spock does that to him as well.
It happens one morning, a week or so after he lends Spock the book, a week of no chess games or quiet dinners, a week in which Jim has pretty much convinced himself that his life is over because Spock had understood and yet he said nothing. His palms are slick, his fingers clumsy and the data pad the yeoman had handed him slips from his fingers and skids across the floor to stop at familiar shining boots.
A pale, green tinged hand reaches down and grasps it lightly, near silent footsteps cross the bridge and stop just beside his chair. Jim can barely bring himself to breath never mind look up into Spock's face because Spock understood and Jim had ruined everything and life as he knew it was now over.
The pad is in his view and before he can reach out and take it a smooth baritone stops him cold in his tracks.
"Allow me to help you Captain."
There is a roaring in his ears as his eyes dart up to clash with those of his First Officer. He searches the other male's dark gaze and he can feel his bones melting inside of him in relief at the warmth that he finds there.
Spock understood and he said it back, he knew what those word meant to Jim, knew what Jim meant with those words and he had said them back.
He forced himself to swallow, to chock back the almost formed sob that was caught in his throat and to grin at Spock with all of the newly reignited fire in his heart.
"I would like that Mr. Spock. I would like that very much indeed."
Because Spock knew that every time Jim had said 'Let me help' he was really saying, 'I love you' and now Spock had said it back.
AN: Right so I know this is not my best work but it popped into my head pretty much fully formed so I had to get it out. Please review and tell me if you liked it and perhaps give me some suggestions on any more prompts like this that you might like to see.