Summary: Five scars that Jim hates, and one that he doesn't mind.
Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek 2009, and I make no profit from this work.
One: The Shot Glass on the Bar
Spock has a fair few scars, even in this age of medicine, and Jim doesn't always appreciate them. His least favourite scar is his least favourite for very simple reasons: it's the one that nearly killed him.
Well, obviously the scar didn't, but the original wound nearly did. The scar - and the wound, really - is small: a circle, maybe the size of the ring of liquid a used shot glass always leaves on the bar, and filled in with pale, green-tinged scar tissue that's thick and rough to the touch.
As far as Jim knows, only he, Spock and Bones know about it. Mostly because it's right up on Spock's head, tucked under that perfect, unruffled hair, and hidden from the world by one arched ear and a thick layer of black hair. Now, it's just fine. Then...
Then it wasn't.
Jim can't even remember the mission. It's been blotted out by the gunfire on an alien world, and the weight of Spock in his arms when he was struck, and the green coating everything, even the sky (though Jim knows that's just his slightly traumatised memory of the day) and Jim's throat hurt because he was screaming for Scotty to get them out of there.
He remembers ripping his command shirt, permanently stained green and darkening to an odd, off-colour rust, into pieces before throwing it away.
Most of all, he remembers the three-week coma, the unhappy grooves in the lines on McCoy's face, and the cautious recommendation to start thinking about getting a new XO. "Because, Jim, even if he gets through this, he's not going to be the same. Even Vulcan voodoo can't deal with being shot in the head."
It had taken two weeks of that three-week coma for Spock to stabilise enough for McCoy to even remove the bullet lodged in his skull, leaving that shot-glass-on-the-bar scar. Shortly afterwards, Spock had shifted seamlessly from a coma into a healing trance.
Jim remembers, very vaguely, feeling the lump in his throat and the dangerous urge to cry (on the bridge, in front of everyone) when Bones called up to say Spock was regaining conciousness, some six weeks after the mission from hell.
He remembers very clearly the cheer that went up from the bridge crew.
McCoy had been half-right. The Vulcan voodoo did heal him completely - eventually. With copious drugs, sleep, meditation and some physical therapy to combat both the muscle wastage from several weeks without moving an inch, and the difficulty Spock's brain had initially with remembering what everything was supposed to do.
But it worked.
It left behind a shot-glass-scar, and a lot of nightmares for Jim (though, curiously, none whatsoever for Spock, but maybe that was a Vulcan thing) - and a distinct jumpiness around anything that sounded like gunfire. Which was irritating, as most things in engineering and the physics labs sounded like gunfire, if they made any noises at all.
No, Jim doesn't like that scar. Most of the time, he refuses to remember its existence - and if his fingers brush over it when he touches Spock's ears, he'll get that flash of fear and that'll kill whatever mood he was going for.
Spock knows - and Jim knows he knows. But neither of them talk about it.
Two: The 'Cut'
Jim's second-least-favourite earns its position because he is an illogical, over-emotional Human.
Even Jim will admit he's being stupid on this one.
It's not much bigger than the shot glass - it's a neat, thin scar on Spock's wrist, crossing over the radial artery just below his thumb joint. It's a glass wound - an accident way back when Spock was a cadet, involving an exploding test tube and the reflexive action of protecting his face with his arm. Half the test tube had ended up buried in the delicate underside of his wrist, and the scar had never fully disappeared.
Fully. It barely exists, in reality. Most of the time, Jim can only see it if he's deliberately looked, and he doesn't do that very often. He only ever noticed it after an alien got grabby and bruised Spock's wrist - and suddenly there it was, a brilliant white line against the teal bruise.
It just...it reminds Jim.
He wasn't one of them, but he knew about them. A fair number of cadets at the Academy had had the scars - up and down each arm. Jim had pulled a couple of people in first year with matching lines all over them - arms, thighs, chests, stomachs; one guy had them running up his back like a macabre ladder.
In humans, it's a reminder of frailty and destruction and the enemies that aren't outside, like Klingons and asteroid belts, but inside, and not so easy to cure as the chicken pox. It's a reminder of that very emotionalism that Vulcans raise their pointy eyebrows at - and Spock has a cut that looks just like them.
He'll never admit it, but Jim checked out the story of the exploding chemistry experiment in Spock's third year.
Just in case.
Three: The Ring of Fire
The third one is in a grey area. Jim guilt-trips like crazy about it, because it's his fault (even Spock's logic can't get around that) but, at the same time, Spock didn't seem to have a problem with it. At the time, or later.
It scarred because Spock point-blank refused to see Bones about it. It was out of sight when he wore his uniform, and it was merely aesthetic damage. For once, absolutely all of Jim's persuasive techniques had failed, and so it scarred.
It's also a bit of an embarrassing one, from Jim's point of view.
He bit Spock.
Okay, so he'd had a bit much to drink, and he was horny and handsy and, okay, it had been after a diplomatic thing in which one of the delegates had been pretty obvious about her attraction to Spock, so he was kind of possessive too, but...
He'd only meant to leave a hickey.
In any case, they had woken the next morning to find that (and no matter what Spock claims, Jim knows that he noticed the second it happened and just said nothing) the sheets were clotted with dried blood, and Spock's collarbone looked like something had made a meal out of him.
Jim remembers (because whenever he thinks about it, it happens again) the guilt that crashed over him. He also remembers Spock's disinterest in the matter, and the way he'd been told that not only did Spock not particularly care, it hadn't hurt enough to warrant him preventing Jim's actions. Which just made Jim feel worse, actually.
(He also suspects Spock gets just a little turned on by a dash of pain, but after waking up with blood in his hair, Jim isn't too keen on rediscovering that kink.)
The scar isn't all that detailed, apart from the shape. It's oval - almost circular, like the shot glass - but definitely bigger, and lies right over the jut of Spock's collarbone. It has created a new ritual, however - now, whenever Jim is heading south, he kisses it on his way past.
He thinks it's an apology. God knows what Spock thinks.
Four: The Burn
Jim dislikes the fourth for a very similiar reason to his dislike of the third - it is his fault. This time, Spock does try to argue the point with him, but Jim knows the truth. He'd been responsible for it, and he is reminded of that fact every time he sees it.
It's a burn scar, glossy and gleaming in the crook of Spock's right elbow - the same arm that carries the cut - and it nestles between the flesh of his forearm and bicep as if it's laughing at Jim.
It was the Christmas after they first got together. Jim had wrangled shore leave - on Earth, no less - for the entire crew over the Christmas period, and had taken the opportunity to whisk Spock off to Iowa. Jim's mother had passed the house onto him and, as far as Jim knew, never returned.
It was a chance to get away from the world for a while. Riverside itself - the town, not the port and the engineering plant - was backward in its lack of technology anywhere. Jim's house didn't have replicators, and the charger for the hovercar had only been installed after Jim had got his hands on the deed. It was an escape.
It had been a good escape, for a while. Nights in the loft bedroom, curled up together under a pile of blankets to create their coccoon of warmth in the iron-frame double bed that Jim's great-grandparents had owned, long before George Kirk thought Winona Jones had nice legs, never mind their son idly wondering one morning what Vulcans were like in bed. Lazy afternoons reheaing in front of the fire in the front room, after long walks in the snow, hand-in-hand despite the gloves that Jim insisted Spock wore.
But the main reason for getting away hadn't been Christmas, or time alone, or even the normal, day-to-day need to relax.
No, it had been to let Spock recover away from anything he could call duties. He'd been shot with a disrupter rifle at the beginning of November - a direct hit to the chest that had had him on a respirator for three weeks, and strapped to the biobed for another three weeks while his torso healed enough to not let his internal organs fall out if he sat up.
It had been the most harrowing six weeks of Jim's life.
The retreat had been as much for Jim as it had for Spock. As the Vulcan spent most of his time sleeping, Jim had been able to just hang onto him and remind himself that he hadn't died out there.
Then he came to regret the choice of location.
The drugs that Spock was still taking from McCoy rendered his nervous system somewhat useless - his movements were slow and he couldn't feel much of anything. So when he'd spilled water from the kettle onto his arm, he had barely noticed the result.
Jim had nearly had a fit.
He'd snatched the kettle away and was ushering Spock towards the hovercar before the Vulcan really noticed what had happened. But it was Riverside - a two hour drive to the nearest hospital, and then an emergency transport from there to the nearest hospital with a xenobiologist. It had taken three and a half hours before a doctor had been able to treat the scalds (in Detroit, not even Des Moines) and so they had scarred.
In retrospect, Jim knows that his fear was largely down to the recent scare of the disruptor rifle, but he still hates the burn scar. It reminds him of that fear, and how he'd failed when he'd known Spock hadn't been up to par, or really able to look out for himself. How he'd failed to keep him safe, to look after him...
Spock tells him he's being illogical - but this is one matter in which Jim completely disregards Spock's opinion.
Five: The Invisible Teeth
The fifth scar is the reason Jim hopes that Vulcans don't go bald when they get old. Looking at Spock's elder self, he figures that he'll get lucky with that prayer, but he says it anyway, just in case.
It hides up under Spock's hairline, not two inches from his high forehead, and catches Jim by surprise when he runs his fingers through Spock's hair (one of his favourite activities). It's about four inches long, and half an inch wide - a surgical scar that hadn't healed despite McCoy's best attempts.
Mostly because Vulcans weren't too bothered about using dermal regenerators on surface wounds, and Vulcans had made the scar.
In the sixth year of their relationship, Spock had fallen ill. Dangerously ill. When McCoy had finally found the problem, he hadn't been able to do anything about it, and Spock had gone off-ship to receive treatment on New Vulcan. Jim had applied for leave, and had it granted only due to their bonding.
He would have resigned if it hadn't been granted anyway.
He had stayed with Spock's elder counterpart while his bondmate received treatment and - eventually - major brain surgery. A tumour the size of a golf ball had been removed, and the Vulcan healer in charge (a remarkably pleasant woman in her nineties called T'Peq) had theorised that Spock had been exposed to the red matter in the Narada disaster and the tumour had been growing ever since.
Jim had actually thrown up at that.
Major surgery to the Vulcan brain is no small feat, and it had been three weeks before Spock had regained consciousness. He suffered from weeks of lethargy, uncontrollable shivering no matter the temperature, and wayward telepathy. It was just as well that Jim was used to Spock wandering in and out of his head at will by then, because he did it constantly during his recovery.
And at first, Jim hadn't noticed that they'd left a scar. Spock's hair had grown back enough to cover it before he woke, and by the time he was well enough to welcome Jim's touch, it looked like he'd never had surgery at all. So it was over three months later before Jim found it - and freaked.
It was a run of tiny bumps, like invisible teeth behind a thin, closed mouth. The first time he'd felt it, Jim had dragged Spock right back to McCoy to make sure it wasn't anything weird. (Paranoia, gotta love it.) The second time, he'd shuddered and gone very still, before kissing the living daylights out of Spock and coming dangerously close to crying like a girl.
He doesn't react quite so badly anymore - but he's sure Spock's noticed the way he avoids touching it.
One: The Razor Wire
But there's one scar that Jim likes.
Okay, maybe likes isn't the right word, but Jim doesn't hate it, at any rate. It doesn't remind him of bad things. Sometimes, it makes him smile, and he's never been hesitant to touch it, like he can be with the others.
It sits at the base of Spock's neck, along the junction between his shoulder, his collarbone and that long, smooth column of neck that Jim likes to mark every now and then. It's hidden by his uniform, but only just - and the dress uniform doesn't quite hide it: a whipcord-thin line of white, about five inches long, as if someone had pressed the edge of a very sharp knife and not moved it for some time.
Which is more or less what had happened.
Negotiations had gone south when Jim turned down the sexual overtures of the ambassador. Apparently, this was a big no-no in that culture, and things went rapidly downhill. It was only when the ambassador began to act as if Jim's refusal wasn't going to play a part in his plans that Spock had stepped in.
Jim remembers word-for-word the line.
"I cannot allow it," he'd said, "because the Captain belongs to me, and Vulcans are not prone to sharing."
That had gotten the violent attention turned onto Spock - albeit briefly - and hey presto. One thin, white neck at the base of his neck.
But the reason Jim likes that scar?
He hadn't been Spock's, then. He hadn't even known Spock was interested, never mind warding off other people by claiming Jim publically as his own. It has been the biggest - and best - revelation of Jim's life to date.
He'd claimed Spock that night.
Two nights later, Spock had claimed him back.
The rest, as they say, is history.