A/N: Based on the following prompt -
I would like a very insecure, self-sacrificing Spock. Like, Spock suffering from a lot of self-worth issues, low self-esteem, etc. For those who know her, something with Kianspo-verse Spock.
Could be a 5 + 1 thing, as five times Spock put someone's interests before his own and one person that puts him before anything else. K/S pairing would earn my eternal gratitude, but if author absolutely must, other pairings are ok too.
Disclaimer: I own nothing!
It is not friendship. Vulcans have no need for friendship, and so Spock does not label his relationship with T'Sela as such. They study together, drawn to each other by a joint interest in the sciences. She does not seem to view him as something to be abhorred due to his half-human heritage, and Spock finds that working in an environment free from disdain means his equations are 5.6 percent more accurate. It is a logical and rewarding partnership.
The day after his fight with Stonn, he walks into the library to find T'Sela waiting for him, her attention on the PADD lying in front of her, although it is clear she is not reading it. She looks up as he slips into his usual seat, and her eyes are dark and heavy.
"You attacked Stonn," she says, and he nods. It was not so simple, but he will not make excuses for his emotional slip. He should not have reacted to their taunts, no matter their target – words alone will not harm his mother and the opinions of people such as those should not have been enough to break his control.
"Yes," he says, is all he can say, and T'Sela's gaze flicks away from him.
"You only make them turn against you further," she says, fingers now moving lightly over her PADD, and Spock cannot disagree with her. She does not mention that this will in turn make things harder for her, that her choices of a study partner will be put under even more pressure now, but it will undeniably be the case.
"I shall endeavour not to do so again," he says quietly, as close to an apology either of them will allow, and when T'Sela nods he brings up their latest study session, and lets science fill his mind.
It is only the next day when Spock turns a corner and finds T'Sela surrounded by a group of their peers. They are peering at her as though she is something curious, a specimen underneath glass, and something in Spock's side clenches at the familiar expressions. It is how they look at him.
"Why do you associate with Spock?" Stonn asks, his left eye still bruised and voice unable to hide his scorn. He does not yet have full emotional control, and Spock can easily picture the look in his dark eyes. T'Sela's gaze flicks from him to Starren, he-who-will-be-her-bondmate.
"I merely discuss our assigned work with him," T'Sela replies, voice calm as ever. "It would be illogical to not utilise the viewpoints of a student with his intelligence."
"You require a half-breed's assistance?" Stonn says coldly.
T'Sela tilts her head slightly, and does not look away from Stonn's gaze. "He is top of our year group," she points out. "It would appear that his biology does not impair his mind."
Starren steps up now, and T'Sela looks towards him with slightly wide eyes. They do not speak much, as is the tradition before their link becomes a full bond, but Spock is aware of the affection which runs between them. "You dishonour yourself, T'Sela," he says quietly, voice lacking the harsh edge of Stonn's. If Spock was to label it with any emotion, it would be concern. "Spock's disadvantage will become your own if you do not separate yourself from him."
"You would cast me aside?" she asks, and one of her hands flutters at her side, a sign of anger or distress Spock cannot tell.
Starren shakes his head slightly. "You would abandon us for him," he says quietly, and Spock can see the choice before T'Sela. She can have either Spock or their classmates – they will no longer allow her to have both. His loss of control has made that a certainty.
Spock knows before T'Sela shakes her head that she will not choose to leave him. She will see no logical reason to refuse his company based on his heritage, or the words of their peers, and will not appreciate having her choices limited. She has always been stubborn. As Spock watches her back straightens and her eyes become colder. She says nothing in reply, only nods once and then turns and walks away.
Based on his knowledge of Stonn, he anticipates that it will take only four days before she is targeted again for her relationship to him. If she refuses to bow to their apparent logic of the situation, they will merely press her until she is forced to, most likely damaging her own reputation in the process. His... pleasure at her company is not enough to force this upon her. The logical thing would be to advise her that he no longer requires a study partner, and allow her to discuss their classes with their classmates instead.
It is logical, but that does not stop him mourning the loss of her company during his evening meditation.
The next day, when T'Sela approaches him in the library, Spock turns to her with his most closed gaze. "I would appreciate solitude," he says, and ignores the quick flash of shock in her eyes. "I do not need your help with this workload, nor do I require your company."
T'Sela looks at him for a long moment, her face blank, before something like acknowledgement flickers through her eyes. "Very well, Spock," she replies, and the look she sends him before she turns and leaves him alone indicates that she understands what he was not saying, and is allowing his choice to stand. He admits relief that she knows his choice was not made due to anything lacking on her part, but it indicates that he must work on his subtlety.
When he sees her next, she has been included in a group study session, and Spock approves. There was no need to have his heritage smear her as well. He nods at the sight, satisfied, and then moves towards the library alone.
After his second move, Spock no longer unpacks his belongings when given a new set of accommodation. He does not have much with him beyond the clothing and equipment provided by the academy – some personal PADDs, his lyre, a few articles of clothing and a holo, and finds he can easily live out of his suitcase until he is forced to move rooms again.
Although, he admits to himself, forced is not the most accurate word for describing his situation. His roommates do not directly request that he leaves their rooms. Instead, their unhappiness with being allocated a Vulcan roommate appears in other methods, which are no less strong for not being aimed directly at him.
His first roommate, Cadet Starnt, expounds at great length to their shared mentor how uncomfortable he feels living with someone who can read his mind with a single touch. Although this is not strictly correct, Spock finds it much simpler to agree to move rooms rather than explain the delicacies of Vulcan touch telepathy. He was aware that he would have to learn to compromise; after all, now he was living among humans. It was likely that many of them would not understand or fully accept him, either due to his physiology or his personality. It was expected – that which is different or unknown is often viewed in a negative manner, and so Spock was prepared for reactions such as these.
His second room allocation, with Cadet T'Gurah, lasts three point seven weeks, until he returns to the room early to find the Andorian expressing the view to a peer that living with a Vulcan was stifling both his social life and freedom. T'Gurah felt as though he would be unable to enjoy himself with Spock standing over him, and so it was only logical to remove himself from the situation so as to also remove any offence. He would not choose to be responsible for the unhappiness of a fellow cadet, especially when it could be so easily averted.
The third room lasts only two point three days, after which he simply packs up his belongings and leaves. His roommate, a thin and pale human named Jaret McDonald, has spent almost the entire time mumbling under his breath about being unable to compete with a Vulcan, and planning increasingly severe study timetables. Spock is eighty-three percent certain that had he not left, McDonald would have damaged himself by attempting to match Spock's academic results, and this is not something he would ever wish to cause.
The fourth time lasts longer again, almost three weeks, until Cadet Jones explains to Spock that his meditation equipment – more specifically his incense, was causing him physical distress. Jones had appeared to be genuinely remorseful regarding the situation, and offered to be the one to leave the room. However, Spock is aware that Jones has many friends living in the adjoining rooms, and he was extremely familiar with the re-rooming process. It is reasonable that he be the one to leave.
He is currently awaiting his fifth room allotment, and has the illogical hope that this one will be more successful. He does not mind leaving when he is unwanted, or it will benefit the other cadet, but the lack of room is affecting his ability to complete his work to the standard he desires, and that is something he would like alleviated as soon as possible. That he would be satisfied to find a roommate who he might share some connection with, intellectual or otherwise, is a thought he only allows to rise in his mind during his deepest meditations.
He is given a single room, and is satisfied.
Spock is aware that Nyota feels great affection for him. It seeps through with every touch of his hand against hers, with every small smile she slants at him when they are practicing music together. He is also aware that of all the people he knows, Nyota is the one for which he feels the most for. It might be love, perhaps, although Spock is very unpractised at recognising it. He recognises, however, that Nyota's silent support and proximity make him feel... make him feel almost at peace.
But he is also aware that he is not offering her the emotional support which she deserves. They are physically compatible, it is true, but beyond the times when they come together to sate their urges, they are not as close as they should be. As they were. As he wishes they could be.
He cannot offer her anymore of himself than he already has, and it is not enough. The loss of his planet, his mother, the bonds which used to fill his head have lessened his already tenuous ability to offer human emotion freely, however much he might desire to understand more about that side of his culture. He touches her wrist now, instead of her face. He has not smiled once in her presence since his planet was destroyed, and he has not seen her laugh because of him since their return to earth after Nero's attack. He is unable to show her his emotions, and it is not fair.
Occasionally, he watches her interact with other crew members. She laughs at Kirk's incessant flirting, and smiles kindly at Chekov when he approaches her for help or guidance. It is only in his presence that she curbs her natural joy, and it pains Spock to be the reason behind this dimming.
She is well liked by all of the crew, but none more so that Commander Scott, whose eyes follow her whenever she is in the room, emotion in his eyes which Spock cannot fully decode. But he can guess. He can picture them together, heads thrown back in laughter, one of Scott's hands on her waist as he holds her close. It is a painful image, but one he suspects is inevitable.
One evening, as they sit and eat a meal in silence, Spock realises he must act. He cannot keep Nyota trapped with him because he enjoys her company. She would be happier, much happier, without him, and so the logical decision is to let her go, however much he will mourn the loss of her in his life, constant and trustworthy and precious.
"Nyota," he says quietly, breaking the silence between them for the first time in twelve-point-seven-six minutes. She looks up at him, dark eyes curious, but must see something on his face because she puts down her utensils, face falling into a frown.
"Spock?" she asks, voice low.
He shifts slightly in his chair, unable to find the words he needs. "Nyota, I," he starts, and then falls silent as she nods and stands. She walks around the table so she is stood beside him, and he must look up to see her face.
"Oh, Spock," she says softly, and brings one hand down to cup his cheek. He leans into both the touch and the feelings she is sending him; melancholy emotions which seem to be a mixture of love and regret and sorrow. "I know."
He brings one hand up to cover hers on his cheek, and when he speaks his lips brush against her skin. "I am sorry," he says, "that I was unable to be what you deserved."
She laughs, although it does not sound joyful. "It's not your fault," she replies, and he shakes his head slightly.
"It is. I have been... unable to fully support you emotionally. I am at fault for this, and for not addressing the issue sooner." He looks up, notes the tears within her eyes. "You deserve someone who can support you, Nyota, and I am forced to admit that it is not me." He is not worth the negative emotions he brings to her life. He will not have her suffer for his own weaknesses, his desperation to keep her close to him.
She says nothing for a long moment, face as still and blank as his childhood peers, and then she nods, just once. She moves down so she can kiss his forehead, once, and Spock closes his eyes at the gesture.
He does not open them again until he is sure she has left the room.
He places the completed PADD onto his desk and blinks twice. His eyes are becoming dry, and so he decides to take a few minutes to rest them, to centre his mind again before he goes back to completing Ensign Chekov's simplistic equations – work which is required to be completed, but not by the Ensign.
He decides to leave his room after ten minutes of failed meditation – perhaps in this case, what he needs is something more than silence in his office.
He is walking past the rec room when an Ensign exits and a burst of familiar laughter catches his attention. He finds himself drawn to the doorway, and leans against the wall just inside the entrance. Kirk is sat at a table, head thrown back in laughter. His face is flushed red, one hand grasping Doctor McCoy's shoulder, and Spock forces himself to look away. He scans the rest of the people at the table. Ensign Chekov is sat next to Lieutenant Sulu, with Mr Scott and Doctor McCoy flanking the Captain on the other side of the table. The surface of the table is covered with both cards and glasses, and the atmosphere around it can only be described as 'relaxed.'
"Spock!" Kirk shouts over to him, and Spock finds himself moving forward.
He comes to a stop slightly to one side of the captain, and looks down at his smiling face. His eyes are sparkling, a light blue Spock has seen only rarely, when the sky on Earth was particularly bright. "Yes, Captain?"
Kirk gestures to the table and the people surrounding it. "Why don't you join us, rather than lurking in the entrance?"
Spock hears McCoy scoff, and sends him a glance before turning his attention back to his captain. "I thank you for the offer, captain, but I have to decline. I am afraid that I have work to complete."
Kirk just looks at him for a long moment. "How can you still have work to do?" he asked. "You're like, a hundred percent more industrious than anyone else on this crew." He does not sound offended by this fact, something Spock can admit he is grateful for. He has been judged before, for his ability to work quickly and concisely, accused of trying to make other cadets or crew members look inferior. This is not the case with Jim.
Spock glances around the table, quickly. Each of the crew members sitting around this table might not have been able to attend this meeting if not for Spock silently taking some of their workloads onto himself, and it is rewarding to discover that he has made the right choice. After all, humans require both social interaction and time away from constant work. As such, it makes perfect sense that Spock take some of their burden from them while they become accustomed to their workloads, and new positions on board The Enterprise. It is not as though he is losing anything by filling his hours in this manner. Social invitations for himself are few and far between.
He tilts his head. "Perhaps I simply manage to fill my time more productively," he says dryly, and is pleased that Kirk smiles in response.
"It wouldn't surprise me at all, Mr Spock," he says, and the tone is almost fond. He ignores McCoy's mumbles to continue their conversation, and Spock feels something like warmth in his side. "Are you filing your hours with something exciting, at least?"
He glances quickly around the faces at the table, and cannot lie. Their work is not interesting, but it is necessary, and he is aware he has made the correct choice. "Something worthwhile," he allows, and then nods once to his captain, again to the table as a whole, and turns to leave.
He exits the room, aware of Kirk's gaze on him as he goes.
It is well over three meters tall, and a meter wide. Spock looks from its mouth, overflowing with teeth, to the claws which are as long as his fingers, and throws his hand out. He grips the Captain's gold jersey tightly and pulls him so he is behind Spock with one sharp motion.
"Spock," he protests, but Spock does not listen. He focuses his attention on the lumbering beast in front of him, trying to locate any weaknesses which will make their escape easier. There are only a few, but that will have to be enough. The floor is stained red, and Spock knows the Captain has sustained at least one wound to his chest from the beast's flailing limbs, although he can only guess the depth. The most important thing now is to assure that the Captain is returned to the ship with no further injuries, and if this requires Spock to become injured in his stead, then that is something which must occur. It is only logical.
"Take the Captain and return to the beam-in location," Spock says over his shoulder to the Lieutenant in red, one of the three security force officers who survived the first attack. "You must get him back to the ship." The Lieutenant nods, although he does not move. Spock appreciates his wariness – it is seventy-two percent likely that it was the sudden moves of the security team which resulted in them being attacked, and so what are required now are slow movements, obviously telegraphed. He will need to move the Captain to the security team, and hope the creature does not attack if not directly provoked.
One of his hands moves from his grip on the Captain, still keeping him contained, and lets it inch down towards his phaser. The creature's eyes remain on his, ignoring the movement.
"Spock, I'm not leaving you," Kirk protests from behind him, and tries to escape Spock's grasp. He fails to break Spock's one-handed grip, which only emphasises the fact that he is injured. The fact that he does not renew his actions indicates that his wound is severe – Kirk does not usually allow injuries to impair his movements unless they are serious.
"You are the Captain," Spock replies, and starts to move to the left slowly, steadily, towards the security officers, always keeping Kirk behind him. The creature's deep green eyes remain on his, unblinking. "Your safety is of paramount importance, and as such you will allow the security force to escort you back to the ship."
It is a logical action. The good of the many outweighs the good of the few, and Kirk's survival will benefit the many. The crew needs his Captain, and so Spock will return him to them. He does not think about the fact that he would save Kirk even if he was not the Captain, because of the way he draws Spock into him, emotions tempting and bright as a flame.
Kirk's breath is warm and heavy on his neck. "And what about you, Spock?" he asks lowly, and Spock does not allow himself to think about the warm weight of Kirk along his back, the wetness which must come from Kirk's blood.
"I will do what I must to assure your safety," he replies, and knows he has never uttered anything more truthful. He has reached the security team now, a line of red out of the corner of his eye, and he knows he has to move.
"What, and that includes sacrificing yourself for me?" Kirk asks, incredulous, and Spock just nods, feels his hair brush against Kirk's face where it lies on his shoulder.
"A logical action," Spock replies, "as your life is worth more than mine," and then shifts again, so the security team could touch Kirk if they reached out. "Although I assure you that a simple sacrifice is not my complete plan." The beast's eyes are following his movements, curious, and Spock plans out his trajectory for once Kirk has been handed over.
Kirk whispers into his ear just before he makes his move, obviously warned by the tightening of his muscles. "If you don't make it back to the ship I'll kill you myself, Commander," he says, and the weakness of his voice only cements Spock's plan.
"Noted, Captain," Spock replies, and then explodes into action. With one hand he pushes Kirk to his right, into the waiting arms of the security team, whilst the other raises his phaser and shoots the creature in the chest. As expected, it does nothing more than anger it, but it keeps the creature's attention on Spock, not the swiftly departing crew.
Spock allows himself a quick glance over his shoulder, to watch Kirk's gold hair disappear into the trees, and then focuses all his attention onto the angered creature which is running towards him. He gets off one more shot, which manages to crack the armour on its shoulder, before it is on him, and all his attention goes onto stopping his neck becoming trapped in its mouth.
The next few minutes blur into a desperate struggle against the creature – its weight pressing him down, claws scratching at his sides and teeth gnashing above him. He manages to gain the upper hand only briefly - the nerve pinch does not affect the creature, and so he is rolled back to the floor with a claw to the shoulder. Spock can feel his strength failing, blood seeping from his sides into the sandy soil. It is only a matter of time before one of the claws pierces his heart. As his vision begins to grow spotty, Spock allows himself a warm moment of satisfaction at getting the Captain back to the ship successfully before he feels his arms buckle and the creature's breath, hot and rancid, across his face.
"No way in hell," Kirk says, and Spock can do nothing but look at him in frozen amazement. The Ambassador that Kirk has just refused blinks all three eyes at him, shocked.
"Captain Kirk," he says stiffly, bristles raising on his neck and one long fingered hand pointing at Spock. "I do not think you understand. I will not have that on this planet. It's an abomination."
Spock attempts to hide the sting of the words, of the emotions which swell within him as the Ambassador looks at him scornfully, disgusted with what he sees. He is familiar with this kind of reaction, however illogical and... painful he finds it, and so can see no reason why Kirk has reacted so badly.
"Captain," he says quietly, averting his gaze to the back of Kirk's head. "I shall beam up at once."
"No, Spock," Kirk replies instantly, although he doesn't look away from the Ambassador. "You don't need to do that. If you have to leave, then we all will."
Spock blinks then, in astonishment. He has never been defended in this manner, and it is both unexpected and touching, that Kirk obviously respects him in the same way Spock respects Kirk. It is also foolish of Kirk. This meeting is of upmost importance to Starfleet, and as such Kirk has been informed that he must do all in his power to make them join the Federation. Spock is certain that threatening to leave the planet unless they allow him to stay will not be seen as the correct choice by the Admiralty, the majority of whom are all looking for something to use against him; Kirk threatens his commission with this reaction.
"Captain," he says again, at the same time as the Ambassador interjects with a "Captain Kirk!"
Kirk cuts them both off.
"Commander Spock is a decorated war hero, Ambassador Steinghtd. He's the best First Officer in the Fleet, as well as one of their greatest scientific minds. He is not, in any way, an abomination because he's the mixture of two races. Instead, he is one of the most intelligent, loyal and amazing people I know. And if you're not willing or able to see that," he shrugs. "Then I don't know if you're ready to deal with the Federation."
Spock blinks and then feels his cheeks heat in a blush. He has never heard such praise of himself before, expressed so vehemently, and it makes something near his heart clench with an unnameable emotion, one he has been feeling around Kirk with increasing intensity lately. It fills him with warmth, and his blush deepen. The Ambassador's face is also flushed, but in anger.
"You will not speak to me that way!" he yells, and Spock notes with interest that his lips are flecked with spittle. "If you don't show me some respect I will report you to your superiors."
Kirk shrugs again, a movement Spock has noticed he uses when he wants to appear nonchalant and casual, but does not always mean that he feels so. "If you can't move past your bigotry then I'll tell them about this myself, when I'm also recommending that you aren't allowed to join the Federation."
The Ambassador narrows his eyes. "I want him gone, Captain."
Kirk shrugs, and pulls out his communicator. "Five to beam up, Scotty," he says into it, and the last image Spock sees before they disintegrate is Ambassador Steinghtd's face as his mouth gapes open in shock.
It is altogether pleasing.
The next time Spock gets to speak to Kirk alone is that evening, in his quarters. Kirk has risen the temperature in the room to something approaching the norm in Spock's rooms, and the heat settles into Spock's bones. He sits down with a small sigh, looks at the steaming cup of tea which is placed in front of him, and looks at Kirk with a quirk of his lips.
"Thank you," he says quietly, and Kirk sits down across from him with a smile.
"No problem," he replies, and Spock gets the feeling they are speaking about more than beverages. He sips from the cup, enjoying the comfortable silence between them for a moment, until he has to ask the question which has been on his mind since Kirk first spoke up in his defence.
"Why did you do that?" Spock asks, and Kirk does not pretend to misunderstand.
"It was the right thing to do, Spock." His face is stern. "If you think I'm going to let someone get away with treating you like that, then you're going to be disappointed."
"But, Captain," he replies, not quite sure what about him Kirk sees worth putting his career on the line for. "I am not worth placing yourself in jeopardy for. The Ambassador spoke only his opinion, and I have heard opinions such as his before. I have no doubt that the Admiralty reacted badly to your choice - why would you react in this manner?"
Kirk's face has darkened, and Spock almost wants to back away from the expression on his face. He does not.
"Just because you're used to being treated badly, doesn't mean I'm going to stand for it, Spock," he replies, leant forward in his chair. "You're worth ten of Ambassador Steinghtd, and he needed to know that. And maybe you needed to know that I thought that, as well."
Spock blinks at the statement. He is aware that Kirk respects him, of course, but he had not thought that his Captain might feel the same way that Spock did about him – that he was worth more than respect, worth protecting and fighting for.
Something must have shown in his expression, as Kirk's face softened and his gaze feels heavy on Spock's face. "If you'd let me, Spock," Kirk says, and suddenly this is not Kirk, nor his Captain. This is Jim, the man who has been slowly stealing his way underneath Spock's skin until the Vulcan is not sure how to name the emotions which flow through him when their eyes meet and stay connected. The man who has played chess against him, and covered him back and never, not once, made Spock feel the way others have throughout his life. "I'd like to spend all my time putting you first." His face is flushed, but he doesn not look away.
The words hit Spock in the stomach, the heart, and he cannot speak for a long moment. When he can, he keeps his answer simple. There is no need for more – they have been building towards this for longer than Spock had realised, and something in him is singing at the knowledge that this, between them, is something real. Jim's eyes have never looked so blue, or happy.
"Only if you allow me to do the same, Jim," he replies, and Jim's smile lights up the room.