It's Like the Old Terran Fairy Tales
Once upon a Time
Fandom: Star Trek XI
Genre: Drama, with an (un)healthy dose of Angst.
Word Count: This chapter, around 2,500.
Summary: Amanda dies at childbirth and Sarek is left alone in raising a half-Human child. Confounded, he approaches a Vulcan mind-healer, who eventually becomes his wife. After the events of the Narada, Kirk and McCoy must deal with the aftershocks of Spock's grief.
Rating: This chapter is PG-13, for subtle mentions of abuse.
Pairings: The story as a whole can be seen as the beginning of the epic friendship between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy…or, perhaps, the beginning of some epic Spock/McCoy. Either way is fine with me :)
Spoilers: For Star Trek XI. Minor spoilers for McCoy's backstory in TOS and the older films, and major spoilers for the Grimms' version of popular fairy tales.
Warnings: For this chapter, implications of the mental/psychological abuse of children.
Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek, much to my chagrin. Neither money nor other tangible gain is being made by writing this story…as much as I wish this were not the case.
A/N: Quotes from the Grimms' fairy tales are taken from their final edition. Translations are mine, and therefore, all mistakes. The Vulcan title contained herein I translate as "healer of the mind." I made this up using the VLD. The idea of Spock having a stepmother comes from a prompt on the LJ kink meme.
Spock committed his first subversive act at the age of three.
"My wife, what are you doing?" asked Father. Spock peered out from behind his ambassadorial robes, green and gold brocade against his cheek.
"Lady Grayson is dead. Her belongings need not remain in the house." Stepmother closed the box she was examining and extended the first two fingers of her right hand.
Father returned the gesture. "It is one box."
"The container is large," Stepmother answered. "It would be more logical to dedicate the space to things that would further Spock's education."
Spock slipped completely behind Father's legs. He did not like Stepmother's 'education.' Father did not tug the robes out of Spock's curling fists as he usually did. "It would also be logical to wait," he replied. "The influence of Spock's Human heritage could affect him in ways we cannot yet realize."
"How do his mother's things affect him?" she asked, spreading an arm to encompass the objects behind her. "There are no family heirlooms and nothing from her clan. I have looked."
"That is not what makes Amanda's things important, not to a Human. When Spock is older, and more capable of understanding, he may wish to have them, and may even draw comfort from them."
At these words, Brother looked up from the PADD he was reading in the corner of the room. Stepmother brought her arm back to her side. "Your argument is at odds with your objectives, husband. Is it not your intention to have your son follow the Vulcan way?"
"It is my will that Spock be given the opportunity. When he is older, he may choose to commit to a different way."
"You know my thoughts on this. Spock has a strong, turbulent mind. Combined with his physical Vulcan strength, he could become a danger to society."
"You also know my thoughts on this subject; I am confident in Spock's abilities."
Brother, often so full of energy, sat as still as desert rock on a moonlit night. Spock peeked from behind Father's legs and saw that Stepmother had come nearer. He drew in a sharp breath and scurried lightly to hide beside the big box. It was bright blue and strange in the middle of a room full of earth tones, cool to the touch, wholly fascinating. Fumbling with the latch, Spock almost missed Stepmother's response.
"My own observations support a separate conclusion, husband. Yet for the peace of our society, we must work toward nothing less than the Kolinahr."
Though neither Vulcan raised their voice, their responses began to clip the ends of the other's arguments. "Surely it is too early to assume this."
"I assume nothing, husband. There is a deep well of emotion in him."
"As there is in every Vulcan."
Spock finally understood the mechanism of the latch, and it clicked open. "Not in every Vulcan, Sarek. Once, perhaps. But what you or I consider to be emotion is not what is kept within the mind of Spock."
"As in everything, Spock has his Vulcan strength; but can his will ever master the strength of his feelings? Even then, would it be the full control of the true-blooded Vulcan, or an outward control, one that can hide from the senses of others, not even a prickle upon an adept's skin? And yet the emotions will still be there, his outer mask a lie. A lie cannot be held indefinitely. If his control is not real, he will break." She paused in her speech. Hand partway into the box, Spock did not dare to breathe. "As Hakaus't'kae, I can tell you this is an actual possibility. Every time I meld with him and seek to exert control, the more violently his mind reacts. Our work is far from done, and my fellow mind-healers agree. If we teach him the means of control without melding, and molding his mind into the correct shape as I have been attempting for the past months, it could be a false control. At any moment he could become dangerous either to himself or to others. Our warning, perhaps, will be given only by subtle physical changes- such as the quickened beating of his heart."
Slowly, Father clasped his hands behind his back. "…It is ironic."
Stepmother tilted her head. "Husband?"
"In ancient times, Humans believed the seat of emotion to be in the heart."
"The heart is merely an organ."
"As is the brain. But I will suffer no damage to my son's by premature suppositions."
"I did not mean now, my husband. If Spock is able to attain the heights of Vulcan thought by the time he would be ready to enter the Vulcan Science Academy – and if he, indeed, is capable of entering it – soon thereafter he may begin the process of Kolinahr."
"That is still young. To attempt the Kolinahr before his Time would be most unwise."
"It would be necessary. Providing he is capable of true control."
"If he is not?"
"Then preventative measures must be taken. Surely your logic leads you to the same conclusion, Sarek?"
"As ever, logic leads us to agreement. You thus agree that the emotional attachment Lady Grayson's belongings might trigger would be detrimental to the development of Spock's mind and control thereof?"
"The logic of my earlier statement is sound. We still cannot predict the full development of Spock's mind."
"I admit, I do not know how a necklace will help Spock on his journey through the Kolinahr."
"Perhaps not the jewelry. The books, however, might prove useful when he takes courses in galactic comparative literature during his tenth year."
"The books seem the least helpful of all. Editions centuries old, in disrepair, most of which are not even in Standard. A single PADD can hold thousands of books, all in the definitive editions with proper commentary and analysis." In the silence that followed this pronouncement, Spock surreptitiously felt around the box, searching for a necklace, maybe, that belonged to Mother. The first object that came to hand, however, was much larger than that, rectangular, and when he tried to lift it, heavy. How could he remove it without anyone noticing?
"As I have inherited tapestries and other symbols of my mother's clan," said Brother, who stood from his chair to speak, "it is only logical for Spock to at least inherit the books. They may not be efficient, but as they contain the knowledge and cultural inheritance of her species, they could well be considered the objects of her clan."
Stepmother turned her gaze on Brother, eyes ever Vulcan. "Your mind has been affected by Lady Grayson's Human influence, Sybok. Do you feel an emotional attachment to the books that she read to you as a child?"
Brother's eyebrows dipped toward his nose and his lips set into a thin line. He opened his mouth to reply, but Father spoke first. "You are wise beyond your years, Sybok," he said.
Stepmother's head snapped back toward Father. "Sybok's logic is flawed, husband. It may be prudent for me to look into his mind as well. Overexposure to the habits of Humans during his formative years-"
"How is my logic, wife? Have I been overexposed to the habits of Humans?"
The two Vulcans stared at each other, the children watching with rapt attention. It was an accusation, nearly an admonishment. At length Stepmother replied, "Your logic is flawless, Sarek."
"Sybok is not in need of your services as Hakaus't'kae."
"Surely you did not miss the emotion provoked in him by my query?"
"I did not. The books, therefore, will be donated to the Multicultural Museum as the relics of Human knowledge that they are. You cannot deny this."
"I have no reason to do so. The matter is settled." She turned, and in haste Spock took the object out of the box so that she would not see his hand searching through Mother's things. He need not have worried; Stepmother swept out of the room without deigning to grace the box – or Spock – with one more glance.
After she was gone, Father stooped to lift the large container easily in his arms. Brother went to stand in front of him. "Father, do not give away the books."
"You have been neglecting your meditation, Sybok," Father replied evenly.
"I find in it neither logic nor peace." They stood in silence for a while, until Brother continued, "Logic is the way of Vulcans, but Vulcans follow not the way of logic."
"That is wordplay."
"It is not. Goodnight, Father." Then Brother, too, left the room- he, however, did look at Spock before leaving, a mere pause at the door.
Father stared after him. At length, he peered down at Spock, who was clutching his prize to his chest. It was a book, weathered and ancient, practically as big as his torso. There was no way that Father could ignore the fact Spock had taken it from the box of Mother's things. Things that, he understood, were being taken away.
But Father, quite illogically, said nothing.
It was night.
It was too early for Father and Stepmother to be abed, but too late for Brother to be awake, and even later for Spock. But Spock could not sleep; the book he had hidden called to him. The rest of his Mother was locked away, behind locks he was destined never to open, but this, this was his. Yet he could not read it.
It was frustrating to recall the letters and their shapes so clearly, but not know the sounds they made. It was like seeing someone's mouth move but not hearing them sing. One could not open a book and not gain knowledge. And he wanted.
At this time Stepmother would be meditating in the garden. Spock slipped from his bed, lifted the heavy book from the back of his closet, and clutched it to his chest. Slowly, so slowly, he opened his door and peeked around the corner. The light from Father's study shone brightly down the hall. He made a dash for the room, pattering madly in bare feet lest Stepmother should open her eyes and see his shadow flitting from window to window. At the threshold he stopped.
Father sat at his desk, low-energy ambient lighting spread evenly across his workspace, but causing his form to appear a shadow, a shadow become solid. His back was straight, but his head was bent slightly forward over his papers: real paper, thick, expensive, color soft like mellow cream. The ink was black. Spock could not see in what language Father wrote, not from this angle, but he could see the neat black lines and the elegant movement of his hand cradling the pen. Father paused in his writing, and brought the old-fashioned utensil to rest softly against his lips in thought. This image of Father was marked more indelibly in Spock's memory than any other.
"Speak your mind, Spock." Father had given no indication he had been aware of his son's presence.
"I cannot understand Mother's book," he replied. Somewhat loosening his grip on the object, he again eyed the title, with strange consonant clusters and vowel markings as one rarely saw in Standard. "It is unreadable." He did not know why, but his lower lip began to protrude. Spock did not stop this; it seemed to express how he felt.
Father finally turned to face him. He regarded him silently for a moment, and then held out his hand. Spock tried to quell the fear that rose within him- would Father try to take the book away? Was Spock not worthy of this gift, this precious possession? But Father did not take the book, instead did something he had not done since Spock was two: he picked him up cautiously by the waist, and set him on his lap.
Careful not to touch Spock's skin, Father gently took the tome from his hands and set it over his writing. The long, elegant fingers of one hand brushed over the faded silver lettering, and came to rest on the spine. "It is not unreadable, Spock. It is an old Terran language called German."
Spock sneakily placed his right hand on the other edge of the book. Compared to his own, Father's hand was much larger, slightly darker, infinitely stronger. "Is that what Mother spoke?"
"It is one of the many languages she spoke." Father took a light hold of Spock's cloth-clad arm, coaxing him to remove his grip on the book. Then with one finger, he pointed at the first letter of the title, and ran it underneath the words as he said them. "Kinder- und Hausmärchen," he said. "Tales for the House and Children. That is the title." His finger moved down to indicate the smaller script near the bottom. "Brüder Grimm. The Brothers Grimm. They are the scholars who collected the stories, and shaped them into their own."
"Kinder- und Hausmärchen, Kinder- und Hausmärchen," Spock chanted, wondering at how his tongue tripped over the words. "Brüder Grimm."
"Satisfactory," complimented Father. Ever so gently he opened the front cover and passed by the first three pages, all either uselessly blank or illogically repeating the title. Then the next page was turned, old and yellow, with figures etched delicately in faded black ink. They were not the solemn images of Vulcans in contemplation, but of Humans with rounded ears and arched eyebrows, women who did not plait their hair but let it flow freely, men with faces twisted in- sadness? anger? happiness? Spock did not know the expressions, many and varied. Even stranger, there were Terran animals, animals for which Spock had no name, animals small, four-legged, round, with large Human eyes and mouths that strove to form words. "It is the first tale," Father explained, noticing Spock's fascination. "The illustration tells the story in a series of tableaux."
Spock continued to study the image. "I do not understand the story," he admitted.
"It must first be read." Again, Father pointed, and this time it was toward the bold letters at the top of the adjacent page. "Der Froschkönig oder der eiserne Heinrich." It means, "The Frog-King, or Iron Henry." He paused, thoughtfully. "It begins every edition of the collection. It is always the first tale."
Still Spock did not understand, but he remembered what Father had just told him: it must first be read. Using the sounds he learned from the titles, he attempted: "In…den…"
"In den alten Zeiten," began Father, softly, deeply, voice rumbling up and down Spock's spine, "wo das Wünschen noch geholfen hat…"
In the old times, when wishing still helped…