Prequel/Companion to "Like a Rock in a Stormy Sea". Spock/Kirk
Spock has never before met a human child. The only humans he is acquainted with are his mother, his maternal grandmother, and Ambassador Kirk of Earth. He is as intrigued by the prospect of a human child joining his class as his Vulcan peers, though indeed his curiosity stems from altogether different circumstances.
On James Kirk's first day at the Vulcan Institute of Intermediate Study, he stands at the front of Spock's class with his mother. Ambassador Kirk is not garbed in traditional Vulcan attire, despite the fact that she has recently bonded with the Vulcan physician known as Sevak. She is, instead, dressed in her Starfleet Ambassador robes, which is, perhaps, acceptable.
James Kirk is attired peculiarly, in human garb. He is wearing short pants, the likes of which Spock has never seen before. They stop just above his knees, baring his shins to the open air, and are most unusual. With them, he wears a t-shirt that is garishly bright and seems to feature all of the primary colors of the spectrum. It is mostly red, with a green and yellow design upon the chest that Spock does not recognize, above which there are blue words which read "Captain Android and the Starship Ninja Monkey".
Spock does not understand. He has never heard of Captain Android, or of the Starship Ninja Monkey. It is an unusual name for a starship and he wonders if it truly exists. It seems unlikely.
James' mother does not hold his hand. She rests both of her hands upon his shoulders, however, as she speaks quietly with their instructor, T'Pran. Spock, and the other students, watch them openly and James takes the time to glare at each and every one of his soon-to-be peers. It is illogical to show hostility to an individual who has not acted in any manner as to receive such a reaction. It is illogical to be hostile in any manner.
Spock has known James for five point seven seconds, and already he concludes that the human is quite peculiar and highly emotional. Spock's theory that human emotionalism is a learned behavior may possibly be called into question by the presence of James, but even a disproven hypothesis is a lesson to which one can learn from.
T'Pran turns to the class. "This is James Kirk. He will be joining the eighth years in their study. James, you will have station thirty-seven. I will test you on your knowledge to see if eighth year placement is too advanced for your capabilities or not at the end of this week. In the mean time, the students are on lesson seven hundred sixteen. Children, back to your studies."
Spock's station is number twenty-five. The rows are done by ten. James' station will be one back and two over from his. He watches at James hugs his mother and then pauses to count out his station. As he moves towards it, Spock notices Stonn's station will be directly next to James'.
Spock momentarily considers warning James. However, he dismisses the thought. Perhaps Stonn only finds amusement in the torment of Spock and his half-breed nature.
After his lessons are completed for the day, Spock hurries away. He has become adept at avoiding confrontations with Stonn and others that would mock, degrade, and otherwise ridicule Spock in their attempts to illicit a response and prove once and for all that he is a disgrace to the Vulcan way.
Spock's residence is not far from the Institute. It takes him twenty-two point thirteen minutes to walk the distance, if he is not delayed along the way. He makes the trip quicker than usual, stepping into the cool expanse of his home, and finds his mother in the kitchen, where she often is.
She smiles at him as he steps into the room. "Spock, you're early. How was school today?"
"Adequate. There is a new student joining my peer group. He is a human from Earth and I believe him to be the son of Ambassador Kirk. His name is James."
His mother nods, "Yes, Winona mentioned her sons would be joining her and Sevak. James is the younger of her boys. She has another, Samuel. I believe he is several years older than you, however. He has entered into the Institute for Advanced Study."
The Institute for Advanced Study is the course of lessons required of children, ages fourteen to eighteen. Samuel was, therefore, at least three years older than Spock. Not a great difference in age between the brothers, then.
Spock takes a moment to consider what that must be like. His own brother had been nearly an adult when Spock was born. Spock can hardly remember Sybok and no one ever speaks of him. He chose to dishonor the teachings of Serak and has been cast aside, the memory of him forgotten and his life erased from their history and their records.
Spock is often reminded that he is an only child. He has no brother. It is a surprisingly hard lesson for him to retain. He wonders if that is a human compulsion.
Realizing he has been silent for some time and that his mother has paused in her stirring –Spock does not know what she is making, but it smells wonderful –Spock pulls himself from his thoughts. "James is most peculiar. I wonder if all young human males are like him."
His mother laughs. It is soft and musical and Spock is quite fond of the sound, though he is aware that a fondness for a sound is not logical. "Spock, I've never met two young boys of any race that were exactly the same. Human boys, as I remember them from when I was a girl, are generally, though not necessarily, rambunctious. They enjoy making noise a great deal and are not usually concerned with their manners." She turns, briefly, aware from Spock to lift a plate off the counter. She sets it down on the table before Spock and pulls a cloth away.
Spock does not attempt to suppress his joy completely at the sight of his mother's homemade Terran cookies. His lips twitch the barest amount and his mother runs her fingers through his hair in response to his slight-smile. She gently tweaks one of the points of his ears.
"Tell me more about this James Kirk. What else did you observe?" She asks, returning to her stirring.
Spock picks up a cookie and bites into it. He chews slowly and thoroughly (as to not chock, he rectifies. It has nothing to do with his preferences in taste, as it is illogical to prefer that which has no nutritional value over that which does) and swallows before he speaks. It's impolite to speak with one's mouth full.
"He does not appear to be loud," Spock tells his mother, in regards to her personal observations of human children, "He did not attempt to vocally converse with anyone; not even T'Pran. He walked slowly and his footsteps were light. He made no more noise than a Vulcan. Though, I am under the impression that humans alter their behavior when they are in unfamiliar settings, especially if they are uncomfortable, anxious, or frightened."
"I'm sure he was all three of those, to a degree. Not only has his mother has remarried to a virtual stranger, he has had to move not just to a new home, but to a new planet, where he is considered an outcast. He must prove himself at school in a way no Vulcan will ever have to. He will have to strive exceedingly hard to make friends. Humans, especially children, crave the attention, affection, and companionship of others. It is vital to their emotional well being."
Spock cocks his head at that. "You do not."
"I do. I get lonely sometimes, Spock. However, there are those that are polite to me, that treat me well, and, when I get very lonely, I always have Ambassador Kirk."
Spock has never paused to consider his mother's emotional wellbeing before. He frowns, nose scrunched up, but catches himself and quickly smoothes out the expression. "I apologize, Mother, for not having noticed before."
"Shush, Spock. It is nothing for you to worry about. I am happy with my life and I would not change it. We are not discussing me, anyway. We are discussing your young human. I think perhaps James Kirk could use a friend."
"You wish for me to be that friend." Spock says flatly. He does not wish to be responsible for the emotional well being of a human child.
"I think you would be good for each other."
Spock does not see how James Kirk could be, in any way, good for him, but he does not say that. He says, "Alright, Mother."
Despite his agreement with his mother, Spock makes no attempt to engage James Kirk in any fashion. He continues to observe the human over the course of several weeks.
It becomes almost immediately apparent that Stonn has lost interest in Spock in favor of James. The first time that Stonn approaches James, Spock prepares himself to intervene, no matter the promises he has made to his mother concerning fighting. James is human and therefore smaller, slower, and weaker than Stonn. It would be illogical to stand by when his assistance may be required.
Stonn launches into his typical array of insults, targeting mainly James' human ancestry and concentrating on unsavory name-calling of his mother. They are techniques that Stonn has perfected with Spock; he is fully aware of which ones will infuriate James the most.
James keeps his temper in check longer than Spock would have hypothesized. It takes three full minutes before a particularly nasty barb angers James enough to illicit a response and a rather remarkable one at that. James launches into an attack with surprising speed and intensity, managing to strike Stonn squarely in the jaw before Stonn throws him to the floor and kicks him in the face.
James' lower lip splits open, a jagged cut that sprays blood down his chin, leaving red residue behind on Stonn's boot. Spock takes a step forward, but James is laughing through his bleeding mouth, lips twisting into a smile.
"That all you got? I've taken worse hits from human girls." James taunts Stonn. Spock is amused by his words, lips quirking before he thinks to supress the emotion.
Stonn kicks James twice more, "You are not welcome here, human. Sevak is a traitor to his people. You should return to your home planet."
"Not going anywhere." James pants. Stonn had perhaps broken one or two of James' ribs with his last kick, judging from his shallow, pained breaths.
Stonn leaves and James pushes himself up onto all fours. Spock regards him for a moment longer before turning and leaving the human in peace to gather himself and retain his dignity.
It becomes a routine. Stonn continues to ignore Spock in favor of their new human classmate and with each encounter, James holds his head high and never once shows Stonn an ounce of fear. He is angry and defiant, highly emotional, but he is clearly not intimidated by any of his Vulcan tormenters. Spock lingers behind each day to ensure James is not alone, should he require assistance.
Spock will never admit it, but he is intrigued by this human who refuses to back down, almost admires him.
The first time James reacts to his presence, it is after a particularly cruel encounter. James' nose is broken, red blood flowing down his mouth and chin, dripping on his clothes and the floor. Spock watches, head cocked unconsciously to one side, wondering if perhaps this will be the day the human requires his aid, but James only glares at him.
"If you wanna start something," the human snarls, "Go right ahead. I don't need my nose to fight."
It is slightly garbled, his obstructed nasal passages making normal speech impossible. Spock does not react to his anger, though he is surprisingly stung by it. "I do not wish to engage you in confrontation. Do you require assistance in ceasing the bleeding?"
James struggles to his feet and scowls at him further. Ambassador Kirk is approaching from behind him, but James shows no sign of noticing her arrival. "I don't need your help. I don't need anyone'shelp."
"Oh, Jimmy," Ambassador Kirk sighs, cupping James' cheek in her hand. She examines his face intently. "What have you done now?"
James gives her no answer, remaining silent, and the ambassador glances over at Spock. Surprise flutters across her face before she offers Spock a smile. "Spock. I didn't realize you and Jimmy knew one another."
Spock inclines his head politely. "We are classmates, Ambassador."
"Wonderful!" There is a slight influx in her voice that a Vulcan would not have. Spock's mother keeps her own voice more or less impassive, even if she does not fully achieve the discipline a Vulcan has. "How is your mother? I haven't had the chance to go and visit her in a while."
Spock thinks about how his mother has appeared sad in the last few days. Lonely, perhaps, because she has not had a chance to be with her friend. "Mother is well," Spock says.
Ambassador turns her attention back to her son. She pulls a handkerchief from her pocket an d presses it to Jim's nose, addressing him. "Spock's father is the Vulcan ambassador to Earth, Jimmy. You may find you have many things in common."
James does not appear to agree. He jerks the cloth from the ambassador's hand and pulls away from her touch. "Doubt it."
The ambassador frowns. "What on Earth did you do to deserve this?" there is a scolding tone in her voice, and Spock frowns. Has James not told her about his encounters with Stonn?
"Excuse me, Ambassador, but," Spock is not sure of what name to use, settling finally on the name the Ambassador has been using, "Jimmy did not engage Stonn in confrontation. Stonn takes pleasure in the emotional responses of humans. He verbally antagonized Jimmy through the use of several unsavory statements concerning you and the human race at large."
Instead of appearing grateful for his honesty, James sends Spock a look of anger and disgust. "Its Jim," he spats out, "Not Jimmy."
The Ambassador looks at Spock for a long, careful moment before turning to her son. "You must keep your temper. I know what is said about me. It does not bother me and you should not let it bother you."
Spock thinks of all the times his mother has given him the same speech and thinks that, perhaps, his mother and the ambassador are correct. There are similarities between himself and James.
"Wait here while I find Sam." Ambassador Kirk orders James firmly, before she walks off in the direction of the Institute of Advanced Learning.
Spock lingers, for a moment. He watches James, thinking that perhaps, now, he would follow through with his promise to engage the human in a social manner. He opens his mouth, but thinks better of it.
James is still clearly angry and volatile from his encounter with Stonn and Spock will wait until he is calmer before instigating a conversation. He turns and leaves the human without another word.
He can feel James' eyes on him as he leaves.
Soon after, Spock finds himself caught up in his studies, attention caught as he begins an intensive study of genetics. His parents support his interest and he is allowed to examine not only his own genetics, but each of theirs. Spock marvels at how much of him could have been so vastly different, if not for the careful graphing of his DNA.
He is so caught up in his examinations, his forgets momentarily about James Kirk. In class, or on the rare occasion Spock sees him outside of class -usually in the presence of the ambassador or Healer Sevak -Spock will find himself watching the human, but when James is not there to remind him of his existence, Spock allows himself to forget.
That is, until James unexpectedly marches up to Spock after class and blurts, "Why didn't you tell me your mother was human?"
Spock raises an eyebrow. "I was not aware it was information that you were not privy to."
James seems to take this under consideration. After a pause, he nods, as if to himself, and then shrugs his shoulders, an easy roll of muscle and bone. "I wasn't. I thought you were making fun of me, just like them."
Spock bristles. He is nothinglike Stonn. Stonn is unbonded and is emotionally and mentally unstable, more volatile than the average Vulcan. He is more similar to their violent ancestors than to the calm, logical beings Surak had envisioned their race would become.
James' eyes suddenly alight and he beams, grin spreading across his face. Spock takes an alarmed step back; it is as if the sun is shining upon him for the first time. Spock feels his blood rush towards the surface, the beginnings of a blush, and he fights the reaction.
"I think we should stick together," James says. "We should be friends."
Spock cocks his head to the side. He is surprised by James' offer, but it seems his mother was correct about the human need of socialization.
"Vulcans do not require friends." Spock informs James, though he already plans on accepting James' offer for friendship.
"But humans do," James says with another easy shrug of his shoulders.
Spock watches him for a minute, eyebrow raising just a fraction more. "Yes, my mother has informed me that socialization is fundamental for the emotional well-being of humans. I will consent to being your friend, James."
"Call me Jim."
Spock does not fully understand the concept of "friendship" as it pertains to Jim Kirk until several days later. After their afternoon classes, Jim throws an arm around Spock's shoulders. It is a shocking experience; Spock has not been touched physically by anyone outside his immediate family but on the rare occasion a healer finds it necessary. Jim's arm is bare, the shirt he is wearing that of Terran style and the sleeves cutting off above the elbow. The contact he makes with the skin at the back of Spock's neck forms an electric connection between the two.
Jim's mind is beautiful. Spock's mind is neat and orderly, laid out in the manner of an Institute with many rooms and traditional architecture. Jim's mind resembles the a rain forest. It is wild, overgrown and chaotic, sunlight streaming brightly. There is a waterfall that crashes into a lake that is calm and cool, brightly colored animals all around. Spock has never seen a mind like such before.
The contact lasts only a few seconds, Spock pulling away after he glimpses Jim's mind. He is panting hard, fighting back the stream of emotions that Jim had flooded him with.
Jim is wide eyed. "Are you okay."
Spock inhales through his nose, lets it out slowly through his mouth, and nods curtly. "I am adequate."
Spock requires extra meditation that night to fully purge the experience from his mind. Spock does not think he is fully prepared for friendship, but it appears he has little choice in the matter now.