I want to thank everyone who kept reading although it took me so long to finish this. Thank you all for the wonderful reviews and I hope this chapter is not too... boring? I might do an epilogue, but I'm not sure, we'll see :)
Wings: Thank you for that very enthusiastic review, dear :) I appreciate it and I'm happy you liked the story!
Alright, not betaed, I did try to find my errors, please tell me if you find major ones :)
Between two Worlds
Chapter 24: I Belong To You
Spock shut his eyes, muscles tense, holding on tight to Jim's warm hand. Shocked cries rang out through the hall, almost drowning out the sound of two phasers going off.
He expected the searing heat tearing through his chest, past his lower ribs, maybe a part of his lungs and through the muscle beating in his side. He expected Jim's hand to slip from his own, his mother to cry out in terror and the mind link to evaporate from his dying mind.
Instead, he was pushed to the ground by a heavy body, eyes snapping open at T'Pring's outcry. Too winded to register anything but the ceiling above him, he simply stared at the stone tiles above him for 8.9 seconds, before he managed to gather himself once again. He sat up, his saviour shifting, a quiet, barely audible groan filtering into Spock's ears. The mind brushing against his own was familiar, but the last time Spock had come into contact with it had been years ago, when he was still a child of eleven. And that particular meeting had not been a pleasant one.
A mere second after Spock's realisation, Stonn was lifted off him by a pair of guards and Spock was able to see the tear in the Vulcan's side. The flesh had been seared through, the edges blackened from where the phaser's heat had cauterised the deep wound. Spock followed Stonn's departure with his eyes for a moment, until T'Pring, who had fallen to her knees beside her dead father, stood and rushed after the guards.
"Spock," Jim's breathless voice startled him for a moment, a pair of warm hands cupping his face as the younger man settled between his knees, "Spock, are you alright?"
"I am well," Spock leaned into the touch, the panic ebbing from his mind, leaving him exhausted, "I wish to vacate the premises."
"You were almost shot a minute ago, Spock," Jim whispered, his voice trembling as the first tear of relief slid down his cheek.
"I am aware," taking a deep, calming breath, Spock willed his panic into a dark corner of his being, using Jim's shoulder to push himself to his feet.
Wrapping his hand around Jim's elbow, the pulled the man up and against his side, burying his nose in Jim's hair for a brief moment to take in the scent of sweat and faded shampoo. Jim pushed himself against him, shuddering, fingers curling into the fabric of Spock's shirt, twisting and straining the material to the point where Spock was able to hear the stitches creak.
Spock's father's voice was quiet, almost gentle. Looking up, he found his mother clinging to his father's arm, eyes wide and her face pale. She did not speak, but when Spock met her gaze, Mother smiled, albeit it was a shaky expression she offered him. Jim shifted against him, but did not move away, "Your Majesty."
"While I am grateful for your help, I must ask you to explain what has occurred, for I and most of those within this hall are unable to comprehend the recent happenings."
Spock felt Jim nod, "Yes, Your Majesty. As I have said, T'Pring was the one who poisoned your son. I was merely her scapegoat. However, she, too, was unwilling to go through with the ceremony because of the simple fact that she had fallen for somebody else. Stonn, the Vulcan that saved Spock from being murdered minutes ago. Upon realising her mistake, she sympathised with me, for obvious reasons," Spock's lips quirked up ever so slightly at that, "and helped me escape. As for everything else...Spock and I have been trying to unearth the history of Vulcan, since most of it has been mysteriously dispersed of. While doing so, we stumbled upon a lot of inconsistencies and attempted to figure out what had truly happened. We got as far as to the disappearance of the Red Matter, but it was T'Pring who filled in the last puzzle piece by telling me of her father's insane plan."
King Sarek inclined his head, "I see... this, of course, changes matters."
Spock waited until his father gave them permission to depart, before he began to pull Jim towards the exit.
They made their way through the throng of people, evading various questions and finally escaping out into the garden.
The sun was already setting, tainting the scenery around them crimson. Spock led Jim towards the basket chairs on the terrace. In the end, exhaustion seemed to have claimed Jim, too, for the younger man settled down in one of the seats without further ado. Prompted by a yawn, Spock found himself convinced to follow Jim's example, squeezing himself into the space beside the blond.
When Spock woke, night had settled. The palace's lights cast the terrace in a warm, golden shine and through the open door he was able to hear people conversing. Lifting a hand to pinch the bridge of his nose, he sat up, careful not to startle Jim awake. However, Jim was already awake, eyes glittering in the light spilling out from the windows, "What happens now, Spock?"
"Father will discuss the situation with the council. After that, the various other planets that are part of the Vulcan Empire will send an ambassador and the next steps that need to be taken will be negotiated," Spock answered.
"What about us?"
Spock reached for Jim's hand, tangling their fingers intimately, "You will not be taken away from me, Jim."
The blond chuckled, "Possessive much?"
Instead of responding to Jim's quip, Spock leaned forward, pressing a human kiss to Jim's mouth. His eyes slid shut as the link between them flared open, bright and golden. For a brief moment, Jim did not respond. When he finally did, Spock was pleased at the blond's enthusiasm, granting the talented tongue entrance as soon as it prodded against Spock's lips.
Upon parting, Spock struggled to determine how much time had passed, giving up a mere 3.4 seconds later.
"J-Jim? Y-Your Hi...Highness?"
Pavel had approached their seat, face, for the first time, free of bruises, a small smile gracing the boy's lips. Jim scrambled to stand, taking Pavel's hands in his own, "Pav! Are you alright? I haven't seen you in so long-"
The boy giggled, "I-I am alright. L-Lady A-Amanda has... has made... made me her per-personal asss... assis...tant. Zat... zat is why I... I've not been around ssso often."
Jim laughed, tugging at the young boy's hands to pull him into a tight embrace, "Personal assistant? That's wonderful, Pav."
The boy nodded, looping his arms around Jim in return, before untangling himself once again, his expression serious when he addressed them, "Ze K-King vants y-you t-to meet h-him in hisss... his o-office."
Spock stood, "Very well. Thank you, Pavel."
Pavel bit his lip, smiling once again, "V-Velcome. I... I have... have to... Karu's vaiting f... for me," Spock shook his head, amused when the boy blushed and dashed away, vanishing through the terrace door.
"Well, that was interesting," Jim hooked his arm around Spock's, leaning into him with a sigh, "Let's go. There's no need to draw this out any longer."
"Indeed," Spock suppressed a sigh and made his way inside.
The guests were still present and had scattered throughout the palace. Ignoring the stares and whispers that followed their journey, Spock pulled Jim close to his side. It took them 6.8 minutes to reach Father's office. Spock untangled their arms, only to reach for Jim's hand once more. Pressing their palms together, Spock shut his eyes as the threat between their minds pulsated, heavy and nervous with Jim's anxiety.
"It will be alright," Spock whispered, leaning down until his lips brushed Jim's rounded ear.
"I hope so," Jim murmured and reached out, rapping his knuckles against the thick door.
Taking another deep breath, Spock tugged Jim's hand and opened the door. Father looked up from the documents he had been signing, nothing betraying his emotional state, as usual.
Spock could only imagine what Jim and he looked like. His own garments were wrinkled, the crown circling his head had been lost in the tousle back in the hall and one of the silver clasps of his robe was missing. Jim's hair was even more unruly than usual, he was not wearing shoes and the Royal Crest dangled from his neck, for the world to see.
Still, Spock held his head high and met his Father's gaze.
"The Council has come to the decision that the Vulcan Empire will be dissolved. Tomorrow, the ambassadors of the planets that have been part of the kingdom will arrive at the palace to negotiate further proceedings. Stonn's surgery was completed approximately 19.5 minutes ago and has gone well. He will make a full recovery. Furthermore, if the Council approves, I will take the place as Vulcan's ambassador," Father stood from his seat and stepped around the desk to stand before them, hands clasped behind his straight back, "However, that is not what I wished to speak to you about."
Jim's grip tightened marginally and Spock returned the squeeze in an instant.
"Spock, I am assuming your affair with James has been going on for longer than a day?"
"Yes, Father. We have established an accidental link while working together and our relationship evolved from then on," Spock glanced at Jim, "Since the Vulcan Empire will not exist for much longer I believe the necessity to take T'Pring as my bondmate has been eliminated."
"Indeed," Father inclined his head, "An accidental link is something very rare, Spock. I hope you are aware of this?"
"Spock told me about it, Your Highness," Jim answered, voice quiet.
Silence permeated the room for 8.9 seconds, before Father spoke once more, "T'Pau has agreed to lead the bonding ceremony for you should you decide to complete the bond. Please inform me beforehand, so your mother and I are able to prepare everything for you."
Spock opened his mouth, no sound escaping as he stared at his father.
For a moment, his brain was unable to comprehend his father's words, staggering as Spock willed it to understand their meaning. He was allowed to be with Jim. His father approved of them and they would be able to make their bond, their love, official.
A strangled squeak turned both Spock's and Father's to Jim. The blond flushed a deep shade of red at the sudden attention and ducked his head with a huff. Spock lifted an eyebrow, waiting for a moment then lifted his gaze to address his father, "Thank you."
"Thanking me is illogical, Spock. I am your father. All I wish is for you... to be happy."
Spock nodded, taken aback by his father's willingness to acknowledge the existence of emotion. He was used to logic, Father seldom let his control slip and when he did, it was only ever in front of Mother or Spock. Through the mind link, Spock was able to sense Jim's own surprise, coupled with the bright light of the blond's joy.
"You may go," Father graced them with another look, much softer and less controlled, before he returned to his seat behind the desk.
"That's all?" Jim blurted out and Spock would have sighed in exasperation, had he been human.
Father inclined his head, keeping his eyes on the papers in front of him, "Yes."
Spock squeezed Jim's hand once again to quell the young man's questions, turning around to make his way out of the office.
They retreated silently, shutting the door behind themselves.
For minutes they stood outside Father's study. In the end, it was Jim who broke the silence, "I can't believe this. Is it really so... easy? This shouldn't have been so easy. Why...?"
Spock cupped Jim's face between his palms, brushing his thumbs over the thin skin beneath those blue eyes, "Now that the empire is about to collapse, my mother will not have to hide herself anymore. Father would have been a hypocrite had he decided to keep us apart. Our journey to reach this point has not been easy in the slightest, Jim. I almost lost you."
"No, I almost lost you," Jim's warm fingers curled around Spock's wrists, "He was going to kill you, Spock. He was going to shoot you right before my eyes and I was paralysed. I couldn't move. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't save you."
Spock tilted Jim's head up and slanted their lips together, not able to find words to soothe the younger man's troubled thoughts. Jim looped his arms around Spock's neck, leaning into the kiss, curving into Spock's chest. Fingers pushed into Spock's hair, mussing it even further, tugging until Spock broke the kiss to give a questioning hum.
"Your room," Jim gasped out, "Now."
They stumbled into Spock's bedroom barely two minutes later.
Jim's shirt was missing three buttons, his trousers clinging to his hipbones due to sheer luck. Spock latched onto Jim's exposed neckline, sucking dark marks into the vulnerable skin as he pushed the shorter man towards the bed. After divesting each other of their clothes, Spock slotted himself between Jim's legs, accepting the rough kiss the other pulled him into.
Jim's skin was almost hot against his own, their hips grinding together in the same quick, sloppy rhythm their tongues slid against each other. Reaching out, Spock snatched the lube from the nightstand, flicking it open as he pulled away to flip Jim onto his front. The younger man shifted onto his knees, a loud moan escaping him when Spock twisted his fingers into Jim.
Spurred by Jim's vocal encouragement, Spock did not take his time preparing the other, pulling his digits out to fist himself with the lube-slick hand, tossing the lubricant bottle away with the other. Spock guided the head of his erection towards the pink pucker, pushing inside, dragging a heavy, drawn-out groan from the man beneath him. They established a quick, desperate pace, the room filling with their coupled sounds and the bed's rhythmic creaking. Spock's fingers left bruises where they dug into Jim's flesh, palms pressing against Jim's jutting hipbones.
They did not last long, too strung up by today's events. Spock came with a groan, muffling the nose against Jim's shoulder as he dragged the man up and settled down, Jim cradled in the basket of his crossed legs. Like this, they rode out their orgasm, Spock mouthing at Jim's sweat-slicked skin, palms placed over the other man's heaving chest.
The room grew quiet as their breathing returned to a more sedate patter.
"We forgot to lock the door," Jim piped up after 4.8 minutes of silence.
Spock allowed himself a tiny smile, hidden against Jim's shoulder, "Did we?"
"Mhm. If anyone came to see what the entire racket was about, we probably scarred them for life."
"I find that I do not particularly care," Spock pressed a kiss to Jim's shoulder blade.
"Of course you don't," Jim shifted, wincing, "Alright, time for you to get out, Mister."
Spock glanced at the ceiling, sighing softly in tender exasperation, before he began to slide himself out of Jim with careful slowness. As soon as Jim was free of him, the younger man turned around, placing a soft kiss to the tip of Spock's nose, "'Glad you didn't die'-sex is the best."
"I believe that we should have had that particular kind of intercourse immediately after you realised I was alive and well, Jim."
The instant he uttered his statement, he regretted it upon seeing a familiar smirk bloom across Jim's full lips, "Oh, kinky. Are you saying we should have had sex in front of the guests, your former bride, the guards and in front of your parents?"
Spock closed his eyes, attempting to dispel the image, "Jim. That was unnecessary."
"Aw, I thought it was kind of funny."
"Jim, you believe that a man slipping on a Terran fruit peel is funny. I refuse to trust you definition of 'funny'," Spock touched his fingertips to the crest around Jim's neck.
It was warm and shimmered in the artificial light shining down from above. Jim's hand came up to cover Spock's, the tangling their fingers together, "Guess I don't need this anymore. I have you anyway."
Spock gave a quiet hum of agreement then looked up to meet Jim's eyes, "Would you wear it still?"
Jim smiled, "Sure. It's pretty and I've been wearing it for so long already."
Spock quirked his lips into an almost-smile, "Thank you. Now, I believe it would be prudent to take a shower, in case Leonard decides to visit."
"You mean, in case Bones comes barging in here, demanding an explanation as to why I pulled such a stupid and dramatic stunt. And to see if you are alright," Jim wiggled off the bed with a grin, "Come on then."
Spock stood, following Jim into the bathroom.
They showered as quickly as they were able to, considering that they both had trouble keeping their hands to themselves. Upon stepping out, Jim ventured towards the bathroom mirror, writing their names onto the fogged surface, before darting out into the bedroom again, with a snicker. Spock shook his head, attempting not to let himself be infected by Jim's giddiness as he walked towards the wardrobe, discarding the towel around his hips on the way there. He dressed and began to search his drawers for something that might fit Jim, presenting the shorter man with a pair of soft trousers and a shirt he had outgrown but for some reason never removed from his wardrobe.
"Thank you," Jim chirped.
"You are welcome," Spock began to gather up the clothes they had strewn across the room in their frantic venture towards the bed.
"You know, maybe we should go to Earth."
Spock looked up, lifting an eyebrow at Jim, "What do you mean?"
"I mean... like, I want to show you what Earth's like. I want you to see the forests and the ocean," Jim tugged the shirt over his head and wiggled his arms through the sleeves, "What do you think?"
"I believe we may be in need of a vacation," Spock acquiesced, "However, we do have matters to attend to here. My father needs my support, as does my mother."
Jim waved Spock off, "I know, I know. I meant... after."
Spock stepped closer to the bed, bending down as Jim tilted his head up for a kiss. It was slow and soft, nothing like the heated expressions of need from before. Jim's hands clasped the hem of Spock's shirt, not pulling, merely holding on this time. Tilting his head, Spock slid a hand into Jim's hair, fingers gliding through the damp strands as he pulled away to speak, "After."
Jim smiled, "Yeah."
And that was it :)