Sorry about the tardiness! As I said last time, Jim is still gone in this chapter. I don't know $#*! about legal stuff, so hopefully this doesn't all sound ridiculously unrealistic. And if it does, please just try to pretend that it's like that in the future! Enjoy!


Chapter Nine: Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Over the course of the next few weeks, Spock wrote back to Jim as soon as he had the chance. After that first letter, he'd meditated for two hours before composing his reply to Jim's message. He wanted to make sure his mind was in order before he accidently wrote something a little too personal like 'I miss you' or 'I want you to return soon'. Instead, he tried to just add a hint of personal meaning to the message. He ended up rewriting it several times before he was satisfied with his results.

Jim,

I have not been 'up to' much since your leaving. I have been working on various assignments and remain ahead of the other students in my class. I do little else besides work and as a result, I have already completed most of the year's assignments. I intend to use time between semesters to continue working, but also to explore more of what Earth has to offer. While Science is still my focus, I am planning to use the time I will save working ahead to take several smaller training courses in emergency first aid and engineering. I have also chosen to use the fact that my science courses are advancing so quickly to take extensively study another subject, perhaps xenolinguestics.

On that note, I did encounter Cadet Uhura again. She approached me in the library while I was researching possible topics for an assignment and she requested if I would be willing, if I had the time available, to tutor her in Vulcan to prepare her for her more advanced language classes. We are both fairly busy at the moment, so I agreed to assist her if we both have the time available for such a project.

How are you handling sorting out your family's legal affairs? How have you been feeling? I am no expert on human pregnancy, but I do not believe that stress is not at all conducive to a healthy one. I hope none of this is detrimental to you or the child. Hopefully your brother is not letting you overwork yourself.

I have yet to return to the park. I find that I prefer the company of someone who also has a curiosity and appreciation for the various sights and exhibits that matches my own. I hope your work is progressing satisfactorily.

Spock

Spock observed his final draft carefully before sending it. He'd started and ended the letter the same way Jim had, with no 'Dear' or 'Sincerely'. Perhaps he was being a little too presumptuous about suggesting that Jim would overwork himself without interference, but he did rather seem like the type to go without a healthy amount of rest in order to finish something important. He didn't want himself to come across as too eager or needy. He also didn't want to give into the need to describe every single detail of the days since Jim had left. That same part of his mind seemed to hunger for every detail Jim could give him about his absence. For that very reason of not wanting to appear too interested, he left out the fact that Jim's suggestion for a little free time research for fun was now becoming his ethics project. He might mention it later on, if he could find a way to do so without sounding overly personal about it.

In hindsight, he wasn't sure why he hadn't thought of using the multiple marriages of the king as his subject. It was really quite ideal for him as a Vulcan. If there was one subject that Vulcans could become impassioned about, it was fidelity to their mates. To do anything other than cherish one's life mate, barring a dissolving based on significant incompatibility, was considered reprehensible. He realized that his reason for not seeing what a good subject it would be was probably due to the fact that he'd worked so hard to ignore anything that reminded him of Jim for those first three days he was gone. Now that he had the promise of their correspondence, he had no trouble thinking back on the few times they had actually met with each other.

Indeed, they seemed to speak about just as much while they were writing as they had when they were just meeting on Saturdays with that one lunch as an exception. He found himself eagerly looking forward to messages that came every few days in addition to Jim's eventual return. Each message was not always very long, but it was still something.

Spock,

Little Fetus is doing just fine, and so am I. I'm feeling a lot better, actually. Not too much morning sickness going on right now. I'm not too stressed out about anything, since Sam is insisting on doing most of the work. I'm not complaining, since I hate all this legal crap, but I don't really enjoy being treated like I'm sick or something.

As for the all the paperwork, it's not going well. We found a document saying that the property would go to one of us, but that's all. There's nothing about any conditions that have to be met. They didn't say anything about how the farm is to be run. I knew what they wanted, since I lived there and kept it going, but now I have to make sure it's all written down that I knew and that I've been carrying out their wishes. We still have to specify that I'm the one getting the farm. And I'll still have to get some stuff drawn up to show what I want to happen with it if anything happens to me. I may end up hiring a separate lawyer of my own for that.

You talked to Uhura again? And she asked you to tutor her? She's definitely interested. It's a pretty big fantasy for some people to get together with someone they like for a 'tutoring' session and try to get them interested in more. The only way this could be a bigger deal was if you were her instructor or something! I think you should go for it. She might be a little uptight, but she's smart and totally hot. I bet she'd be more than happy to go to the park with you!

Well, I have to get back to work. Sam's thinking of taking some more old childhood stuff back home, some of our old toys, for their place. Most of the old toys are in the attic, so I'll be helping him sort through some stuff. He only wants to take the ones that could be considered 'androgynous' at this point, since we don't know yet if it's a boy or a girl. I also offered to let him take some pictures and knickknacks back with him, so he's trying to decide what to take and if I'll miss it if he does. Talk to you later!

Jim

This message was accompanied by an image of an old farmhouse, which sent a spark of delight thought Spock. Family land was considered very special to Vulcans, almost like a sanctuary from the constant judgment of the rest of the world.

The letters continued to go back and forth. Spock realized that he did not have much to say without being able to tell Jim just how much he wanted him to come back. Still, he tried to let Jim know just what was going on in his life. There was one thing he just couldn't resist

Jim,

I admit that Cadet Uhura is an incredibly intelligent and aesthetically pleasing young woman, there are certain factors that prevent me from feeling any interest in her. Vulcans are largely guided by instinct and by mental compatibility when it comes to choosing a partner. And we do not engage in casual relationships. While it may be that she seeks a serious relationship, I feel that there cannot be one between us. Hopefully, if I do not 'make the first move' she will understand that. I will make that clear to her if she suggests anything to indicate otherwise.

My studies and projects truly do offer me intellectual satisfaction. I am offered a variety of subjects to study here, more than I would have if I had remained on Vulcan and focused only on science as I had originally planned. It is quite agreeable, though I admit I look forward to the day I am actually making discoveries instead of recycling the work of others.

I am also researching more of Earth's history. I have begun to study ancient Earth, and the reptilian creatures called dinosaurs that once inhabited the planet. I am going from there down the timeline, studying the emergence of human life on the planet. It is quite fascinating to know that I have emerged from this line as well as the Vulcan one. I never actually considered my connection to human life other than my mother, as I was only taught Vulcan evolution as a child. I have 'a lot to catch up on' as you might say. I look forward to your next letter.

Spock.

Spock worried briefly that saying he was looking forward to Jim's letter was too personal a thing to mention, but if Jim thought so, he didn't mention it when he wrote back. It was a little longer than his previous letters.

Spock,

Well, if you don't think you can date her, at least try to be gentle when you tell her that. It can be pretty rough finding out that someone you like doesn't like you back. But it can be worse to try to ignore it then end up leading someone on for a long time, only to have it end badly.

I don't know if I'll be able to really write for a little while. I have to go back to Des Moines with Sam to get my Aunt's funeral set up and put her property up for sale. She left that to whichever of us gets the farm, so I have to oversee some of that process. Luckily, I'll be able to do most of that from afar, so I just have to let the realtors know what I want. The rest will be done through them and my aunt's lawyers.

Also, I may have to get that personal lawyer I mentioned that I got to draw up the stuff about the farm to take care of some stuff I want to keep secret from Sam and Aury, at least for now. They're already planning for future finances for the baby (Starfleet will pay for a lot of stuff since they're both members, like day care, school, and medical, to mention a few) but I want don't need the money I might get from the sale of Jenna's property, so I'm going to use it to set up something of my own for them, just in case. I'm only keeping it secret because I know they'd just say that I'm already doing enough, but I still think it's a good idea to have something set aside.

Sam may be keeping something secret from me too, or at least he thinks he is. I heard them, before we left, talking about what will happen to the baby if anything happens to them. They talked about it some more over the comm after we arrived here. If they die while still employed by Starfleet, in a work related accident or otherwise, there will of course be payments that will go to help support the kid, but I think what they're really worried about is who the baby will live with if neither one of them can be there. I know Aury's got some fairly distant cousins who might be up for it, but I also think that they're considering me. I think my new responsible lifestyle has impressed them enough make them think that I might be able to raise him or her if anything happens to prevent them from doing it.

I wasn't totally sure at first, but now I kind of am. Sam told me that another one of the reasons they're working so many hours right now is so that they can attend a class for first time parents and they're hoping I'll take it with them. I think part of it is that they want to use this as an opportunity to show that we're all in this together, but also to make sure that I'll be able to take care of a baby if I have to, whether it's because I'm the backup parent or we're just having a family visit. I honestly can't imagine saying no if they ask me to be their backup. Maybe it's the fact that I'm already acting as their backup by having the baby. If it does come to that, I'll definitely need that side account, so I will be going through with it, whether Sam agrees or not. Even if the kid doesn't end up with me, I can still offer it to whoever does get that responsibility as a way of making it easier for them. Whatever ends up happening with the money, it'll go to good use.

Like I said before, I'll need to make sure that Sam and Aury or their kid gets the farm if anything happens to me. All of that may take a few weeks yet. I'll write again as soon as can, though it might not be much. I'm glad I'm getting close to the end of the first trimester, because I need all the energy I can get just to stay awake while those lawyers go on. I know it's important, and that it's to honor my Aunt's wishes, but I hate this. I'd rather be doing farm work again. At least I'd be getting some exercise.

I'll get back in touch as soon as I can.

Jim.

Spock felt a warm wave of affection roll through him when he read that Jim planned to set aside something for his niece or nephew, just in case. He was becoming astounded by the level of generosity Jim showed with his family, or even strangers. Though, he thought ruefully, trying to be accommodating of Nyota Uhura's apparent attraction to him was a misguided effort. He hoped he'd been successful in communicating his lack of romantic interest in her. If there was any chance that Jim could be attracted to him, he didn't want there to be any doubt that he was available.

He also felt even more impressed with Jim's character than he had when he first learned why he was pregnant. His brother and sister-in-law would be lucky to have someone like him looking after their child if the need ever arose. Jim was embracing his new responsible lifestyle incredibly well. And he obviously cared very much for his family. He had the potential to be an excellent father.

He turned his attention to the pictures. Jim had sent several images this time. There were images of the farm, and various places in his hometown that he had frequented during his teenage years. Spock saw pictures of chickens and cows, as well a couple of horses. This led him to wonder what else Jim enjoyed doing is his free time. But then, a farm was constant, ongoing work, even this small one that Jim only kept out of tradition. If Jim lived there and participated in its care in addition to working full time as a mechanic, it was unlikely that he had a significant amount of free time.

The pictures that really captured his attention though, were the ones of the inside of Jim's house. There were some of the kitchen, the living room, and a cozy room with a fireplace that had at some point been turned into a library. Spock could easily visualize Jim curling up with a book in one of the comfortable looking chairs and enjoying the warmth of a fire, perhaps in the wintertime. He wondered briefly what Jim's bedroom looked like. Were there books in there as well? Pictures of loved ones? What would he look like sleeping in his bed? Once again he wondered if his thoughts bordered on obsessive, because wanting to see the place where the object of his affections slept might seem a little strange to someone who didn't understand his feelings.

He also saw pictures of the shop where Jim repaired machines, his old school, and some places where he spent time as a teenager. Once again, he was warmed by the way Jim was sharing insight into his current life and childhood. He immediately began composing his reply.

Jim,

I understand the reason for a lessening in communication. I can only wish you good luck with your aunt's funeral and handling her property. Nothing of particular interest is currently happening here, at least not in my opinion. I have actually completed most of my assignments for this year. Apparently I cannot be given any assignments for the next year, since they may yet change something in the lesson plan. They made exceptions for me on this year's assignments because as a Vulcan, I was more than capable of handling the workload, but they will go no further. That is in part due to the fact that it is against Academy policy to give one student so much information about the coming year, and for the reason I mentioned before. I have a few assignments to finish, after which I will begin exploring more of what Earth has to offer, as I stated before.

It is my hope that when you return we will be able to resume our trips to the park. There is still much to see there. I will also continue to research about the history of Earth's politics, evolution, and customs. I am already studying the ancient supercontinent Pangaea. I find it fascinating that such an event could have occurred. I will also be studying the concept of a superocean. Being a native of a desert planet, such a concept is almost difficult to believe.

Spock

Spock sent the letter, knowing it would be the last one, or at least the last fairly detailed one for quite some time. Jim still did not know how long he would be gone, but at least he'd promised to try to write. He realized after he'd sent it that he might have come across as sounding a little conceited in stating that he had worked so far ahead of his classmates. Humans sometimes seemed insulted when Vulcans pointed out their physical or mental superiority. It was simply a fact, but humans found it demeaning to hear it. Hopefully Jim would realize he hadn't meant anything rude by it.

Spock spent the nearly the next month going to his classes and doing little else. He spent some time in the library, researching points of interest on Earth. At some point, he began to research facts about his mother's homeland, Canada. At one point, he actually declined to go into the library because he saw Nyota Uhura going inside with an Orion female. He wasn't sure why, but he was concerned that if she saw him, she'd be inclined to speak to him and he might accidently lead her to believe that he was interested in her romantically, 'leading her on' as Jim had warned him about. That, or he might accidently be too cold in his rejection, should the topic of dating come up.

This incident was something he did not mention in his next message to Jim. They came somewhat infrequently and were nothing but updates, really. He mentioned that the funeral had gone smoothly with a nice turnout. His aunt's home had actually sold immediately after being placed on the market, so Jim was set to start the 'emergency backup account' as he called it.

Jim had been gone nearly five weeks when another, slightly letter that was more than just a few sentences appeared on Spock's padd.

Spock,

We're finally coming back the day after tomorrow. Jenna's house is sold, the farm is in my name, and will be left to Sam's family if anything should happen to me. I've also successfully created my secret account. I'll definitely keep that to myself for the time being. I may tell them about it later, especially if they ask me to be the kid's legal guardian in the event of their deaths. Either way, it's done. I'm not sure if I'd be any good as a parent, but it doesn't hurt to be prepared.

I'm a little sad to be leaving again, but the farm was pretty well taken care of, so I'm sure it'll be fine when I get back. I am glad that I'll be able to start going to the park again. I have a lot more energy now that the morning sickness is pretty much gone. I'm starting to show, though. Pretty soon people will either be able to look at me and tell I'm pregnant or just think that I'm fat. I want to explore as much as I can while this energetic streak lasts.

I'll definitely be wearing some of those new clothes Aury bought me. I can't believe the way I look. I have never in my life had a stomach bulge, so it feels pretty weird. I can't go to the park this coming weekend, because I'm finally at twelve weeks, and Sam and Aurelan are coming with me to the ultrasound that might be able to show them the sex of the baby. I already heard them debating over the comm last night about whether or not they want to know if it's a boy or a girl. This ought to be fun!

Jim

Spock felt a great feeling of elation. Jim was returning soon! He'd see him again, and they'd start visiting the park together once more, and they'd continue to learn more about each other. Then, something gave him pause.

Jim mentioned in his letter that he was now showing outer signs of being pregnant. Spock wondered if this would have any effect on his more primitive instincts. He knew that the scent of a pregnancy had a negative effect on a male Vulcan who was not the father of the child, but he had no idea how visual evidence of the situation would affect him. He might be able to use the nasal numbing agent to cover up the smell, but there was nothing he could do about seeing it, other than perhaps trying not to look at Jim's midsection.

Spock resigned himself to the fact that there was really nothing he could do but wait and see, and focused instead on the fact that he was going to see Jim again soon.


So, Jim will be back next week! Like I said, this was a way to skip forward in his pregnancy a bit. Something else to skip over a few weeks (or a bunch) will happen later down the line.

Please review so I'll know people haven't lost patience with me! See you next week!