Title: The Truth About Love
Original working Title: You Don't Have to be My Family.
Follow-up to the Series: You Don't Have to be my Boyfriend
Also A trekpod story
The overall song for the story is Pink's The Truth About Love
There are also going to be songs for each chapter. Sometimes more than one.
Sequel to the story: The Road to Delta Vega is Paved with Good Intentions
Summary: Love is the most powerful force in any universe. It can save a life or destroy a planet. It's complicated and messy. This is a love story about all the different types of love from romantic to familial and everything in between.
Because he lost his chance of a happily ever after with his first true love, Christopher Pike has made it his mission to rewrite Starfleet's outdated policies to make sure that doesn't happen again. This includes the policies about children in space. Spock sees this as his chance to have a family and do his part for the repopulation efforts, especially in light of the pressure from his T'Pau. The idea terrifies Jim the more it becomes a real possibility. Considering his fucked up childhood, no one really blames him. However, somebody already made that choice for the couple.
All things considered, Amanda is successfully adjusting to life after the death of her husband. She is still a member of the Vulcan Council and the Vulcan representative to the Federation. She is a wonderful mother to her two adopted daughters, and she has made great friends on earth including Christopher. (Really, he's just a friend.) They have bonded over their mutual loss. Then suddenly she becomes the victim of someone else's love of power.
Professionally, Nyota is at the top years before she expected it. Personally, she's still dodging calls from her father and doesn't do anything harder than a one night stand, even if a part of her really wants too. But unexpected circumstances are going to force her to deal with these issues head on.
Setting: This takes place about 3 ½ years after an AU version of the first film. Below are some of the differences and a few reminders:
1. Jim and Spock were together before Nero
2. Spock was the one who changed the Kobayashi Maru and was put on trial by his academic rival.
3. Spock and Nyota were never together like that but she had a massive crush on him.
4. Nyota was responsible for getting Jim on the ship.
5. Amanda survived Vulcan's destruction because she was already on earth for a surprise visit to meet her son's new boyfriend, her husband did not.
6. More Vulcans survived the initial attack
7. Spock does not send Jim to Delta Vega but his former boyfriend 'Cupcake' did.
8. Said ex-boyfriend is the one strangled on the bridge and Nyota is the one to incapacitate Spock via 'sanity in a hypo'. Before the incident happened Spock had a very deep conversation with his human side named 'Marshall'
9. Winona was murdered by Frank, thus triggering Jim's lost year before Pike knocked some sense into him or at least that's what happened according to Jim.
10. Pike was more upset about losing his 'number one' then losing his ability to walk.
11. In this universe Spock was the one who slept with Carol
survived and is making everything very interesting.
If you're confused, feel free to PM me.
If you haven't read the story in forever I suggest rereading the first chapter, the last chapter, and Gone.
Don't feel bad, I had to reread my own story.
The only thing I'm guaranteeing is K/S.
I have some surprises in store and I want to wait for the next chapter until I reveal the possibilities.
Rating: M for violence, language, and sexual situations.
This story is going to start M and stay that way
Warning: The last section depicts the aftermath of a very violent situation. Details are kept to a minimum. However, in light of recent events in Connecticut, I want to provide adequate warning.
Music for this chapter:
Love the way you lie by Eminem
Sad by Maroom 5
Wonderin if I really
Tried everything I could
Not knowing if I should
Try a little a harder
Oh but I'm scared to death
That there may not be
Another one like this
Timebomb by Pink
Screw fear, it's contagious
It makes me do such stupid, stupid stuff
I say things I never mean
Chapter 1: Incendiary Devices of the Emotional Kind.
Tonight was her 29th birthday and things were good. She was the Chief Communication Officer of Enterprise and if she wanted it she knew she could be the youngest female captain in Starfleet history. But she didn't want it. She enjoyed where she was. She was appreciated and had good friends who were always there for her. This is what Nyota wanted.
Okay maybe she wanted a best friend who didn't think getting extremely drunk when you have bridge duty in the morning was a good thing. Unfortunately, Gaila and Jim thought vast quantities of alcohol was necessary to enjoy her birthday cake. Although, this was an improvement over her 26th birthday involving everybody seeing the video file of her singing Fuck You after she realized that the guy she has been lusting after for the last year was completely in love with someone else. Fortunately, having to knock the guy unconscious to keep him from murdering his ex will help you get over a crush quickly. Now she can watch Jim try to stick his hand down Spock's pants at her birthday party without getting nauseous. Actually, she can survive being their neighbor in spite of extremely thin walls. Jim was a really good friend and so was Spock. She likes seeing the two together. It gives her hope.
Personally, she thinks they were using her birthday as an excuse to get wasted or do inappropriate things. Apparently, there was enough alcohol involved to convince her and several others to play the high school adolescent standard truth or dare. They were mostly playing because apparently Spock and Chekov had never played before. She personally didn't want to because it reminded her of the first and last game she played with her sister Ivy. It was some weird icebreaker to get to know each other and it did not go all that well.
So far, Spock had to admit that he had a crush on Admiral Pike, Sulu had to send a love letter to a certain personal assistant that had a crush on him, and a drunk Gaila dared Jim to convince Spock to have sex in her bathroom as the party continued. (Nyota chose not to mention that this would not be the first time something like that happened in their shared bathroom because she didn't want something worse to be suggested.) Apparently there was enough chocolate in the cake to make Spock very susceptible to the suggestion. Everybody could hear what was going on in her bathroom. When Jim started screaming 'oh fuck, harder." everybody knows only one thing could possibly be going on in there. She will be spraying down the whole place. At least, this time she knows not to walk in there under any circumstance.
"I didn't think he would do it." Gaila said slightly surprised. Nyota repressed the urge to laugh.
"It must be the alcohol." Sulu mumbled under his breath. Again, she didn't have the heart to tell anybody that Jim had actually been drinking Virgin drinks all night.
"It's best if we just ignore it. They could be a while. Can we just move on so I can leave soon?" Leonard complained.
"Fine, since you are so eager, truth or dare?" Nyota asked.
"Because I am already queasy at the thought of whatever is going on in the bathroom, I'll take truth." It took her a moment to decide what question to ask.
"Why did your ex-wife leave you?" She has wanted to ask him that several times over the last three years but every time his ex was mentioned the subject was changed quickly. Since she was too drunk to realize that probably wasn't the best thing to ask, she did it anyway, but not without adding, "Unlike most of the guys I know, you are not a dick. I just don't understand it. I actually like you." If she were sober Nyota probably would not have said that.
"She didn't." Nyota blinked at that. "I left her."
"But you were miserable after it. I remember you from the shuttle," she whispered, hoping that no one else was really paying attention.
"Glad to know I made an impression," Leonard said sarcastically.
"You got sick on my shoes. You delayed our shuttle from taking off by 20 minutes because you hid in the bathroom and you stayed drunk the entire time."
"I was like that because the soulless monster took everything from me including my daughter, but I'm the one who ended it. I had to," he said, taking another drink.
"Did she cheat on you?" Nyota asked.
"You know, not everyone is like your former boyfriend. I think I was truthful enough for one turn," Leonard said avoiding her question. "It's your turn."
"Because I don't want to risk contracting an STI, I'm going to go with truth too," she said after a moment. He almost looked disappointed.
"Why did you throw away the birthday gift that your father sent you?" Dammit, why did he have to ask her that question? How did he know about that? Only Jim was with her at the time.
"I have to be on duty tomorrow. I think it's time to call it a night." After knowing her for nearly 5 years, her former roommate knew it was best to get everybody out when she said that. However, the one person that didn't leave was Leonard.
"You know, you didn't have to end the party just because you did not want to answer my question," Leonard drawled.
"I really do have to deal with the young and incompetent in the morning," she said as an excuse.
"That's every day," he joked.
"You do not need to stay." That is when a string of expletives in Vulcan could be heard from the bathroom. Unfortunately, she knew exactly what dirty thing Spock was asking his husband to do. Her cheeks were hot just at the thought
"I'm not going to leave you here alone with those two going at it like horny teenagers."
"I'm used to it," she said sadly. "Usually, they are not this loud."
"How long do you think they will be in there?" he asked after a moment.
"It could be hours," she said, knowing from unfortunate personal experience. She loves having the first officer room but hates sharing a bathroom with the other two.
"I think I'm going to need more alcohol," she said, grabbing a shot glass from the table. Leonard joined her.
"I'm right there with you. I promise to actually take care of your hangover in the morning," he said, taking a drink before pausing. "Why did you throw away your gift from your father?" Leonard asked again. "I know you guys don't have a good relationship, but I didn't think it was that bad."
"It is that bad. I'll tell you mine, if you tell me why your marriage fell apart. I need a distraction from the sounds going on next door." She wondered what she had to do to get soundproofing.
"I think the entire ship can hear what's going on," Leonard quipped before getting serious.
"My relationship with my ex was never good. It was always volatile. I kept telling myself every time we got together that it was the last time, but then the birth control failed and I just had to be a southern gentleman. A shotgun wedding is never the best way to begin a marriage, but I love my little girl. Things got worse when the ball and chain started law school."
"How so?" she asked, intrigued. She wanted to know why her friend was the way he was.
"The only school that would take her was in middle of nowhere Iowa. I ended up doing 20 hour shifts at the local ER and the arguing just got worse. I started finding solace in a bottle." His words were broken.
"You still find solace in a bottle," she quipped.
"Not like back then. We were headed to a bad place. I don't think I knew how bad it was until I started treating this woman, I will just refer to as W." His voice was low and sad.
"I'm assuming that's not her real name?" Nyota asked.
"No, I can't give you that. She was a smart woman and ex-Starfleet. W was a regular Computer genius engineer who happen to marry a piece of shit that liked to beat the hell out of her. I can never understand why such a smart woman ended up with such an asshole." His words were bitter.
"Because we are too caught up in looking for Prince charming to realize that he's just a frog," Nyota said sadly.
"This woman had her Prince charming and he died on a mission. She then married some idiot on the rebound. She finally got the hell out of there when her oldest son went missing, although the bastard claims at the time that he just ran away. W. was convinced he had something to do with it. She had to flee the planet just to get away from the bastard." He paused to take another drink.
"So what happened?" she asked. For some reason this story seemed vaguely familiar to her. Then again a smart woman getting beat up by her husband seemed to be a little too normal.
"When her youngest goes off to college, she moves back to the old family farm. Said ex-husband comes around looking for her, claiming that he's changed. She falls for this story. Things are good until she starts becoming his punching bag again and she ends up in my ER on a regular basis. Fuck, I am going to need the bottle for this," he said, grabbing said bottle from the center of the table and taking back a swig.
"It kept getting worse each time she showed up in my ER. He broke her jaw twice. Crack ribs were the norm. It's a miracle he did not puncture her lungs. By that point, we were both convinced that the only way she was getting out was in a body bag." Now that reminded her of a very long conversation she had with Jim about what happened to his mother.
"Why didn't she leave?" she asked.
"She did, she just had to do it in a body bag."
"That doesn't make sense. You can't really leave if your already dead," she said as her eyes started to fill with hot tears.
"Remember during Spock's nervous breakdown, when I told you I knew how to make someone appear dead?"
"What did you do?" she asked, confused.
"I helped her get out," he said simply, not offering any details. "After that I just couldn't let things keep going the way they were. It wasn't good for my daughter. It definitely wasn't good for my liver. So I went back home and packed a bag and left. Being the vindictive bitch that she is, the harpy managed to use the whole thing to her advantage and got everything from me but my bones." She didn't know what to say to that. Her only reaction was to hug him.
"You did the right thing," she said, holding on to him. She could actually feel his breath on her neck. It made her skin tingle.
"It doesn't always feel that way. At least, the custody situation is better now and I get the occasional e-mail. Maybe if Pike is successful next week, I will have other options. Lord knows Joanna would be better off on this deathtrap then with her absentee mother who sees her as some sort of trophy," he said, looking directly at her.
"I think you would be happier," she said in a whisper. His lips were mere millimeters from hers at that point. The distance was starting to close, until she heard a loud crash from the bathroom, followed by the sounds of rushing water. She also saw her BFF run out of the bathroom hard and with his pants around his ankles. Despite the fact that Jim and Spock managed to break the sink she was glad. It would be a bad thing if she kissed one of her friends, even if she was drunk at the time. It would be horrible even if a tiny part of her mind wished that she did.
Admiral Christopher Pike sat in his normal place among his peers at a meeting that he didn't expect to ever take place. They were finally going to discuss restructuring Starfleet's ridiculous family policies. He only wished this was done years ago. He wished his number one was here to see this. He wished he had challenged this before, then maybe she would be alive and they would be together. Instead, she is gone and he gets to sit at the big table trying to make sure that the next generation of Starfleet do not have the same regrets he does. Much of the top brass was dismissed in response to what will forever be known as the Vulcan incident. He was one of those brought in to make sure the mistakes of the past wouldn't occur. The new leadership has concluded that the organization needed to be changed from the ground up.
Part of that process, was a major restructuring. First, Starfleet was being decentralized. With the technology to destroy a planet in existence, it no longer made sense to have so much of operations in one place. A new academy and Starbase was in the works for the new Vulcan colony and two other planets yet to be determined. Also, a new research facility was moved to one of the rejected sites for the new Vulcan colony. In addition, a new North American campus is being built in Iowa on what was once the Kirk family property. Construction was starting now.
The second thing to go out the window was the mandatory retirement age, along with the policy regarding disabled service members. Too many people died in the Vulcan incident, many more like him were left permanently disabled. They couldn't lose well trained personnel because of something silly like age or disability.
Five years ago, he doubted he would be a member of the Admiralty, since he was paralyzed from the waist down. Despite the advancements in technology, the old guard were not comfortable with the disabled. For some dumb reason they assumed that he lost all his knowledge the moment that he lost his ability to walk. He would have been forced into medical retirement.
Now he was the new guard and they were changing Starfleet policy. You could now serve in space as long as you passed your medical requirements, even if you were the ripe old age of 70. You could now apply for Starfleet Academy if you have a visual impairment, utilize a wheelchair, have a hearing impairment, or another type of disability. He was the one who proposed the change: however, it wasn't just about him but the next generation. He could never tell the others that he came to this decision after speaking with the alternate universe counterpart of his almost first officer and hearing stories about disabled service members serving in Starfleet in the future.
The other thing he discovered during those chats was that at some point in the future families were allowed to serve together. Before the Vulcan incident, around 3% left Starfleet annually due to family issues including but not limited to sick parents, inadequate childcare, and falling in love with someone you're not supposed to because of the antiquated fraternization policy. There were days that he wished he had become part of the 3%. The number after the incident was 15%. He doesn't even know how many angry emails he has received from other captains about losing one of their best team members because he or she just couldn't do it any longer. Those numbers are just the ones leaving who have already joined, imagine how many good people did not join Starfleet just because of policies that were no longer in step with modern Starfleet. He knew these policy changes had to happen soon.
The decision to allow the disabled and to get rid of an age-based mandatory retirement went through easily. Most felt like him and easily realized that the one-size-fits-all policy was keeping a lot of good soldiers out.
Rewriting the fraternization policy was also easy. In his opinion, Captain Kirk and his husband were the sole reason why the policy was being thrown out the window. Not only did the fact that they were married not impact their ability to command the ship, it actually helped. They were the most successful team in Starfleet, proving once and for all that the old policies were stupid. They even worked well apart proving that they were not completely dependent on each other.
However, allowing children in space was a much more highly contested issue even under special circumstances. The mass casualties of the Nero incident made people wary. But the command shortage after what happened made discussion of the issue necessary. The old leadership would have tabled the issue for no other reason than the fact that they were afraid for their own jobs. The new leadership, commissioned a study. Maybe they were expecting said study to say that it was an absolutely horrible thing, but it did not. Now two years after he proposed the change it was headed to a final vote.
He was currently listening to Admiral Jackson, one of the few cronies of Admiral Johnson, that survived the purge. In Christopher's opinion that only happened because he was the head of some secret research project that no one else wanted to know about. He was against any change that Chris proposed. Personally, he thinks that's solely because he is the one proposing the changes. After the study disproved all of his initial arguments about productivity and safety, the only thing he could still argue was history.
"You're actually going to argue that because we've never done this before we shouldn't do it now?" Chris said, biting back the urge to laugh. One of his colleagues actually did snicker.
"That's ridiculous. Your initial argument was about the cost being prohibitive. The study that was commissioned proved that we would actually save money. Most of the ships can easily be retrofitted with minimal cost. New ships that we are building at higher than normal rates, due to the losses we sustained three years previously, can easily be modified for our new needs. Also the policy only affects individuals who meet a certain criteria.
A few years ago I would not be here. If we keep things as they are we will lose valuable personnel. We already lost an entire generation of cadets. We can't afford to lose anymore good people because we refuse to change."
"I have been a loyal servant of this Council for nearly 3.4 years and this is how you repay me, by forcing me out?" Dr. Amanda Grayson said, barely suppressing the urge to scream at the odious Vulcan sitting across from her.
"We are not 'forcing you out' as is your human colloquialism," he said in a voice that concealed his malevolence. Councilmember Sank was one of the few she sincerely wished fell off the rocks instead of her late husband. He was a distasteful Vulcan who despised her very existence simply for her DNA, before she became one of the most productive members of the new Council. She has been counting down the days until he relocates permanently to the colony, thereby allowing her to continue her work as the Vulcan representative to the Federation in peace. Unfortunately, he was one of the last to move permanently and it seems that it doesn't matter anymore. Today he decided to bring out obscure policies in an effort to take away her seat. Oh, she despised this Vulcan.
"The rules strictly state that all members of the Council must be Vulcan and you are not." She had to resist the urge to roll her eyes. Any display of physical emotion would be considered a show of weakness and Amanda was anything but weak. She survived the death of her husband and the planet she called home for decades. She survived losing most of her friends and colleagues. She can survive this.
"No, the rules state that all members of the Council must have Vulcan citizenship as outlined in article 70.2G of our Constitution. The rules of government have transferred to the new colony. I have had Vulcan citizenship for nearly 35 years." Amanda explained rationally, keeping the bitterness out of her voice. The slight flicker of annoyance in his eyes was her only indication that he was shocked by the fact that she knew the rules so well. He was one of the few on the Council who still doubted her intelligence.
"Yes, but you have that citizenship because of your husband, who is no longer living. According to rule 71.4 D, you lost your citizenship at his death. You no longer have a right to his council seat and therefore your position as the ambassador to the Federation should go to a true Vulcan." She smirked inwardly, but she kept her face completely neutral at his ignorant words. She has heard this argument before; however, in the last few weeks after her appointment as the Federation ambassador for Vulcan, his animosity has increased tenfold. Amanda knew he assumed that the position was his and was bitter because she was the one appointed to the position. Honestly, she was expecting him to call into question her citizenship earlier. Instead, he argued that she only received the new position because her son saved Earth, but was not fortunate enough to save the planet of his birth.
"That would be the case if I did not go through the official naturalization process. I lived on Vulcan for more than 30 years, I raised my son there. I am not Vulcan by blood, but by choice," she argued back, barely keeping the annoyance out of her voice.
"However, all naturalization records have been destroyed. There is no way to confirm this," Sank pointed out a little too eagerly. She should have known that he would try something like this.
"All records were lost except for those that were backed up on off planet servers. How can we know that you are a citizen?" she asked logically.
"It is obvious that I'm Vulcan, unlike you." On the old Vulcan Council many of his cronies would have agreed with him. The new council was made up of mostly ex-patriots that had left the planet due to extreme prejudice. The rest owed their lives to a half human, thus forcing these Vulcans to reevaluate their prejudice. However, there were still enough of those who held that opinion sitting on the screen in front of her. In addition, her favorite ally, Selek, was away on an undisclosed diplomatic mission. Maybe that's why this is happening now.
"Are you sure? You could be half Romulan?" she said, smirking as her comment instantly disarmed the annoying individual. T'Pe, a former professor from Cambridge University had to suppress laughter. She was another target of Sank because she showed too much emotion for his personal taste. Unfortunately, she was too heavily involved in the creation of the infrastructure of the new colony to get rid of completely. Fortunately, she was safely at the colony and only had to deal with the Vulcan via video conference.
However Amanda, despite her usefulness, was considered expendable due to her humanness. Both she and her husband's grandmother had anticipated this challenge and already had a backup plan in place.
"I assume that you are aware that if you strip me of my seat on these flimsy grounds, that I will just function as proxy for Spock until he is able to take over per regulation 76.6.a." It took her years of learning how to behave in Vulcan society to suppress the urge to smirk in such an instance.
"Yes but according to regulation 76.7d, to receive a hereditary seat on the council, you must be the recognized heir of that seat. Due to the lack of records, that cannot be proven in your son's case." She was about to make a snide comment about DNA tests before T'Pau gave her a sharp look that was still effective, despite her not being in the room physically.
"Therefore, according to regulation 76.3.h the seat will go into the custody of the next closest living relative which would be me." Sank was her late husband's cousin on his father's side. It became obvious to everyone that this was just a mere power-play and revenge for her getting what he wanted. Unfortunately, her fate was being voted on by a group of individuals that were more concerned with the letter of the law, then its spirit. She was screwed.
"I move that we vote on this issue immediately." Sank expected T'Panda to second him, as was evident by him turning to her. She was one of the few actually on the Council that would take his side. She equally dislikes Amanda, but for entirely different reasons. Despite the fact that Spock was already happily married, T'Panda approached Amanda to form a marriage alliance between the two families. Amanda refused and therefore she became another political enemy. T'Panda would question her suggestions merely because she was the one suggesting it. At least, T'Panda disliked her for something she did and not because of her species. Amanda was not expecting anything good to come from this.
"If you would have simply allowed Commander Spock to take his rightful seat, I would have gone along with your plan. However, you want to strip away his seat, one that has belonged to him since birth. A seat that will go to his children someday." Amanda was surprised at her defense until she said that. Apparently, she was still under the delusion that she would be Spock's wife someday.
"Dr. Grayson has been serving as an adequate proxy for Commander Spock during his service to the Federation. I see no logical reason why we should change course now. She has done many great things for our people including organizing the relief effort." Despite knowing her self-serving motives, Amanda was surprised by her kind words.
"However, the rules clearly state that Ms. Grayson no longer qualifies to hold the seat. Therefore she should be removed from the Council at once," Sank stated once more. "You on more than one occasion have objected to Ms. Grayson's continued presence on this Council. Why have you come to her defense now?"
"It is Dr. Grayson or Elder Grayson to you. At the time, I felt that her son should do more directly to help his own people," T'Panda said as an excuse for her previous untoward behavior.
"More than finding a suitable planet for the new colony? Many of us are alive because of him," T'Pau said swiftly.
"I no longer hold such opinions. That is exactly why his family should not lose their seat. We owe him our very lives," T'Panda defended.
"Yes, but as true Vulcans, we must respect the absolute letter of the law."
"Then I move that we table this issue for 90 days to allow further examination of the situation. So far we only have your word that Elder Grayson no longer meets the citizenship requirement. The Council should investigate these matters for itself.," T'Pe suggested.
"I second the motion," T'Panda told the group.
"All in favor?" T'Pau said on the screen. All hands went up except one, not including her own. She chose not to vote for the sake of appearance.
"The issue is tabled for 90 days pending further investigation," T'Pau said swiftly, ending the meeting.
"Why did you do that?" Amanda asked when she encountered T'Panda in the facilities a few moments later.
"Spock does not deserve losing something that is his birthright because of one Vulcan's love of power and antiquated Vulcan supremacist viewpoint. When we were children, Spock was kind to me. He never mocked me because of my visual impairment. He has the potential to be a more than adequate leader when he accepts the position," T'Panda explained.
The young woman was born with a severe visual impairment and was ridiculed mercilessly by her peers. She moved to earth when she was 16 to participate in a research program to develop a prosthesis device that mimics sight, in addition to being a scholar of the law. She was currently wearing the device. Because of her research, she was safely on earth when the rest of her family died.
"It would be hypocritical of my son to do that to you when so many of his peers did that to him." The children ruthlessly tormented Spock because he was half human. He wouldn't treat anyone the way she was treated. Her son was too good for petty vengeance.
"I sought a marriage alliance with him because he is one of the few of our people that I could truly be comfortable with. I doubt that I will be able to find another possible companion among my own people who will not use me with contempt simply because of my perceived limitations." She understood. She discovered long ago that the Vulcan philosophy was not practiced as much as it should be by those at a certain level. She was hoping she could change that. Yet the Sanks of the Council were preventing her.
"Unfortunately, he is happily married to someone who sees him for himself and appreciate him completely." Amanda said kindly.
"I saw the couple together last year when I traveled to the colony with the second group of settlers. I could feel their regard for one another. It was foolish of me to ask that the relationship be dissolved because I am not sure such a bond could be dissolved even by death. However, I do not need a bond mate, but merely the means to contribute to continuing the species." Amanda wasn't expecting this type of acceptance. There has been too much animosity in the past.
"Yet, you continue to punish me for not giving you something that I could not give," Amanda said sharply. She no longer felt the need to conceal her emotions with T'Panda.
"That was unwise of me. I have tried to rectify such destructive behavior recently." Amanda has realized that the woman has been less hostile in recent months. "Sank sees my inability to see without technology the same way he sees the human blood that both you and Spock carry. However, it is not a handicap, but rather an asset. Because of your actions, you are more Vulcan than Sank could ever be," T'Panda asserted.
"I personally see you as a much more capable leader than him." Amanda quipped.
"That is because you see me and not my disability. You are that type of being. Even your boyfriend utilizes a wheelchair, yet is obvious to anybody that has seen you to interact that you hold him in the highest regard." She frowned at that. She knew that T'Panda was referring to Christopher. They were friends, very close friends but still just friends. They've known each other for years as acquaintances, but that connection became deeper when they attended the same loss support group. He lost the one that got away and she lost her soulmate. They understood each other in a way no one else could.
"Chris is a friend," She said almost automatically. This accusation has been made multiple times. Even the alternate version of her son has questioned the relationship. She's too damaged for anything more than friendship at the moment. She wonders if she will ever completely accept the loss of her husband. Amanda still wears her wedding ring. Although, now it was on a chain she wore around her neck instead of her finger. It took Amanda two years to get to that point. There are days when she forgets that he's dead. There are so many things that she wants to tell him, mostly about her two daughters. Sarek always wanted more children, but they couldn't have any more, and with his busy schedule adoption just didn't seem like a good idea.
Motherhood was easier when she had a co-parent, despite the fact that Chris was a big help. Then again it's probably easier to raise a child in your 20s instead of your 50s. She can't decide what's worse, a 13-year-old teenage girl with Vulcan level mood swings still trying to deal with the death of her parents or a four-year-old who still hasn't figured out how to share in Miss River's preschool class. However, she still absolutely loved both T'Pend and T'Pay.
"I apologize for my erroneous assumption," T'Panda said quickly. "I meant nothing by the comment. I know you loved your husband very much, but there is nothing improper about finding someone else." She has heard that many times mostly from her son in law and her friend Gaila. She is sure that when Gaila is back on planet she will be more actively urging Amanda to date again.
"The Council and my daughters keep me quite busy," Amanda said in response, avoiding the real reason why she has been celibate since her husband's death.
"Of course. I meant no offense. I am still not very eloquent in standard even after being on this planet for so long," T'Panda said as an excuse.
"I speak fluent Vulcan," Amanda offered.
"No, I must practice. What I am trying to say is that you see beyond a person's disability. You want to change the way this Council does things, so do I. We are allies."
"What do you want from this alliance?" Amanda asked, knowing that even the most logical of Vulcans would want something from her.
"I want Spock to be able to get the seat that is rightfully his, when you wish no longer to have it. I want his children to be able to inherit those seats even if they are created outside the normal means. That means keeping you on the Council by whatever means necessary, even if I have to marry you myself to get you citizenship again." If T'Panda were human, Amanda would consider that a joke, but she was probably serious.
"I doubt it will come to that," Amanda said with a annoyed sigh.
"I am sure there are other means. I have studied law for two decades. There are always, as humans say 'loopholes'. I will find something if given time." If anybody could it was the Vulcan in front of her. Amanda knew that she has spent years studying the law of Vulcan. She was an advocate for disabled rights before the planets destruction. Now she was using her seat to achieve constitutional change.
"So you want me to convince my son to use you as his surrogate and to change the laws so that your child will have the same rights as a child born in a traditional marriage?" she asked, not sure she could do that. Spock wanted kids of his own to save the species. The pressure that his grandmother was putting on him was making it worse. She knew that her son-in-law was absolutely terrified of being a father. His childhood was horrible. There was no other word to describe it. There was nothing she could say to convince Jim that the opposite was true. However, maybe Jim would be more open to an option that was slightly outside the box and would not require him to do diaper duty.
"You are very astute," T'Panda said confirming her assumption.
"As I told you before, I cannot force my son to do anything he does not want to do." Her husband learned that the hard way and she will not repeat his mistakes. "However I can present the option to him and his husband. I would also be willing to support any measure that will give equal protection to those previously disenfranchised," Amanda offered.
"I accept." T'Panda said with a smile.
"Excuse me, but I have another commitment," she said looking at her watch, knowing that she had exactly 30 minutes to pick up her daughters at school before she was to meet Christopher for dinner.
"With your Christopher?" T'Panda asked.
"He's not my Christopher but yes, we are having dinner together with my daughters. As I stated earlier he is just a friend." Seriously why does everybody think there is something going on?
"Because you are fluent in the language, you are aware that 'friend' and 'lover' are interchangeable in Vulcan." With that T'Panda was gone.
"So how did the vote go?" Amanda asked as soon as her daughters were busy playing video games. Chris had the brilliant idea to take the girls to Fun Time House at Pizza complete with vintage video games and fuzzy robots singing disturbing children's songs. Her late husband would have found the entire experience disturbing, but T'Pend and T'Pay enjoyed it, much to her surprise. At least that gave the two time to talk. She hasn't seen him since the meeting three days previously and the results have not gone public yet. She was anxious to know the outcome.
"15 to 4," Christopher said with a great smile.
"Considering that you're smiling I take it that it was 15 to 4 in your favor," Amanda said taking a drink of her water.
"You assumed correctly. The only real opposition were Johnson's old cronies."
"Why am I not surprised?" Amanda said with annoyance.
"T'Pau will be happy. I think that she pushed for this change so much just so she could get great great grandbabies even if she will say such a thing is illogical. According to a very panicked conversation I had with my son-in-law, she has sent Jim multiple emails regarding the genetic engineering of a baby or in vitro. Then again she did the same thing to me at my wedding," Amanda told him with a sad smile.
"I'm not surprised. I had to listen to Jim complain about what happened when they had to shuttle her and the first group of permanent settlers to the colony. Apparently, she actually brought possible gestational carriers and egg donors with her," Chris said with a laugh. She had also heard about this. Spock was mortified, even if he would not express such a thing.
"How is the old Vulcan?" Christopher asked after a moment.
"Good, from what I can tell. We only got to talk for a few minutes before the rest of the earthbound council members arrived," she said, inhaling an entire mozzarella stick.
"You're stress eating, that's not a good sign," Chris said with a frown.
"I spent the day with morons," Amanda said, grabbing another stick.
"What happened?" Chris asked, touching her hand. She ignored the shiver that went up her spine at the contact. That's when she explained the entire Sank situation.
"God, he is such an opportunistic bastard. Before everything happened he was just an aid, and now he's trying to take over," Chris said after she was done.
"I personally think he is just upset about my appointment to the position that he believes is his birthright. Sometimes, I wish my son had not saved him," Amanda said with annoyance.
"Yes, but the Vulcan is an idiot if he thinks that he can do a better job then you just because of his DNA. Actually, I think he's the Vulcan equivalent to the disgraced and now imprisoned Johnson," Chris snorted. The former Admiral Johnson was serving a 252 year sentence on an undisclosed prison planet for everything from racketeering to statutory rape to manslaughter.
"I may agree with you, but regardless he is a dangerous idiot," Amanda said as she nervously played with her plate.
"You have 90 days to figure out how to outsmart him. I'm sure you only need three. Besides, Jim and Spock will be here by that time. I'm sure they will think of something if you can't." She couldn't help but smile when he told her that. "I wasn't supposed to tell you that."
"They're coming back to earth?" Amanda asked, ecstatic to see her son. The last time she saw Spock was two years ago when she visited Vulcan II to oversee the progress of the new development for three months.
"Yes, but you didn't hear that from me. I just told Jim about it yesterday."
"How did he take the news?" she said, not sure what to expect. Her son-in-law really didn't have any ties to earth anymore except her. His brother has been missing for years and his mother was dead. He wasn't close to any of his aunts and uncles. He even sold his ancestral home and was happy that they were turning it into the new Starfleet Academy. He wasn't that happy that they were turning his childhood home into a shrine/Museum. To Jim that was where his mother was killed. She knew he would be happy if it burned to the ground and she can't fault him for that.
"He's happy to be coming back, but not with the fact that he is going to have an Earth assignment for a few months as an instructor the Academy. Also he's freaking out about the new rules regarding kids on ships under special circumstances." Chris' words do not surprise her.
"What exactly did my son-in-law say?" she asked.
"It's not funny Chris. Spock's biological clock is already ticking because of the endangered species thing. I mean, he feels guilty because he's not helping as much as he thinks he should. He's going to start driving me crazy with a gestational carrier and egg donors search," he said, imitating Jim perfectly.
"I'm not surprised. Although, I don't know why Spock feels so guilty. He's doing more for our people than some working directly on the situation. He was the one who chose the planet that the colony is on," Amanda said, exasperated. Unfortunately, she knows that her son fills guilt harder than any other emotion. To this day, he still blames himself for not saving his father, even if she did not.
"There's a reason why your son sees a therapist three times a week. He has issues. One of those is his unrealistic expectations for himself. He thinks he was asked to be perfect."
"I personally blame Sarek for that," Amanda said with another sigh. Her husband had put too much pressure on their only child together. Long after his death, Spock was still contending with his metaphorical ghost.
I'm shocked you're admitting to that, although Jim said something similar. He also said 'I just know as soon as he finds out, we're going to be picking out booties and bassinets.'"
"I bet he was snickering the entire time," she said, smiling.
"He is terrified of becoming his stepfather," Chris said sadly. Amanda knew that was something that Jim had an issue with.
"Jim knows that hitting is bad. I personally think that he will make a good father someday. He was great with the girls before leaving," Amanda said, just as Chris's communicator went off and he grabbed it out of his pocket.
"I have to take this," he told her.
"Somebody better be dead," he answered, only to frown after a moment.
"I didn't mean that literally. I can be back in 30 minutes," Chris said, ending the call.
"That didn't sound good," Amanda said.
"It's not. When they were excavating the site of the new Riverside Academy they found a human body under what was the barn." His voice was grim.
"That's not good," she said before thinking. "Jim's brother disappeared about 15 or 16 years ago. Nobody's seen him in that time and there wasn't much of a search because Frank owned the local police department. You don't think…" Amanda stopped there.
"I met the bastard. I know what he was capable of and it is definitely a possibility," he growled.
"I'm going with you."
"You can't. I'll tell you everything later. Don't say anything to Jim until we know," he instructed her.
"Okay," she said, kissing him goodbye on the cheek, not entirely sure why she did it.
Jim and Spock have both been avoiding her whenever not on duty since the birthday incident eight days earlier. This is an amazing feat considering that their rooms are next door to each other and they still have to share a bathroom (even though it has been completely renovated, thanks to those two idiots doing something in there that managed to break the sink). Even Spock was not making eye contact with her right now. Of course, she knows this is entirely possible because she was currently avoiding Leonard at the moment. She wasn't completely ready to face him after that almost kiss.
However, unlike her, her bosses had no reason to be that embarrassed. Because Jim and Spock are married and have joined quarters, she has the traditional first officer room and the walls were unbelievably thin. This wasn't the first time that she's heard things that she shouldn't, but this was the first time major property damage was involved. So she was slightly shocked when Jim showed up at her quarters with a large box of chocolates and a bottle of something very alcoholic.
"What are you doing here?" she asked, eyeing him dubiously.
"Is that any way to treat your best friend?" Jim said, walking past her.
"You have been avoiding me since my birthday. Apparently, breaking the sink was too much for you and you really do have shame."
"We were not avoiding you because of the thing with the sink. I know you've seen worse." She just gave Jim her 'you have got to be kidding me' look.
"Okay, I was not avoiding you. Once the chocolate wore off, Spock was mortified but only because of the broken furniture. I was avoiding you because of what I interrupted," Jim said, sitting on her bed practically bouncing.
"You didn't interrupt anything," she snapped back.
"These walls are very thin," he said with an evil smirk.
"Yes and I'm going to throw you at one," she said with a glare as she opened the box of chocolate.
"You're so touchy."
"So why are you here?" she asked with annoyance.
"Starfleet is completely rewriting their family policy. Good for Bones, bad for me. I could deal with it in the abstract, but not now that it's becoming a real possibility. This means that we will have toddlers running around as soon as my husband successfully talks me into it. We both know he can convince me to do just about anything," Jim said as he opened the bottle and took a drink directly out of it before switching to the chocolate. She would say something smart at that moment, but she felt it was best to let Jim talk about the entire conversation with Chris that covered everything from the policy change to Jim's very irrational fears about fatherhood. He also mentioned his irritation over the fact that his childhood home was being turned into a Museum, even though he wanted to burn it to the ground. Finally, he told her about his new assignment.
"They want me to teach," Jim said in a whiny voice. Nyota's response was to laugh.
"It's not that funny," he said, eating another one of her truffles.
"I'm just laughing at your reaction. You're acting like dealing with new recruits is the worst thing in the universe. At least they are not sending you to some remote research facility like Delta Vega without your husband. Also, I'm going to be with you." Unlike the majority of the current Enterprise crew, she was signing up for a second tour. She had already received an e-mail yesterday telling her that her next assignment would be six months at Starfleet Academy in San Francisco teaching the advanced Romulan classes. Apparently, she was one of the few who mastered all three dialects well enough to teach. (Unfortunately, her old instructor was one of the casualties of the Nero incident.)
"That's like the one silver lining. That and the fact that Spock will be with me. I just can't believe any member of the admiralty would be stupid enough to make me teach Leadership 101. I think Delta Vega would it be better as long as Spock was there and not in 'let's make a baby mode'."
She couldn't help but laugh at Jim's comment.
"I don't think Delta Vega would be better. Also, as much as he wished he could send you there I don't think Johnson's BFF can touch you," she said, referring to Admiral Jackson who was now the new chair of the We Hate Jim Club.
About 80% of those who were in charge when she and Jim were cadets were no longer there. Most did not survive the hearings after the Vulcan incident. A few were incarcerated like Johnson. Some like Jackson only survived by the skin of their teeth and because they still had friends in high places. Jackson hated Jim for multiple reasons. He also had multiple reasons to hate her as well. Her testimony regarding the fact that everyone ignored the message she intercepted from the Klingons was the reason why most of his cronies were gone.
"Shouldn't you be whining to your husband or has the baby talk already started?"
"He wants to go over options," Jim said with a frown. "That may be the reason why I decided to break into my emergency chocolate supply and make amends."
"So instead of speaking to him like a rational person about why you are scared, you're hiding in my bedroom?" she asked, mimicking Spock's trademark eyebrow raise.
"You've known me for how long? When have I ever been rational?" he asked, taking another drink.
"Also, how many emails have you ignored from your father today? Did you even thank him for the birthday present that you trashed? It was a really nice necklace that I rescued in case you decide to act like a grown-up."
"Six, and I am acting like a grown-up," Nyota snapped back.
"I doubt that," Jim mumbled under breath. "Are you actually going to read any of the letters?" He asked this out loud.
"Are you going to speak to your husband about why talk about children makes you squeamish?" she asked in turn.
"So when are you going to tell Bones that you want to jump his bones?"
"Do you want to watch a movie?" she asked trying to ignore everything Jim just said.
"See, I think we're friends now because we are equally screwed up and we believe avoidance is an acceptable coping strategy."
"Probably," she said before thinking better of it. Of course, just as she pressed play they were both called out of their free time for a distress call from a science outpost under attack. She was already looking forward to her planet side assignment.
"I did not say that we must make plans immediately to produce a child. Now that the regulations have changed, we should examine the possibility," Jim's husband said ever so logically as they marched through the jungle-like environment. He was beyond annoyed that they couldn't just beam directly into the research facility. Instead he, Spock, Bones, and three members of the security team were slowly walking to the research facility. Seven hours earlier they had received a distress call from planet NCX17, also known as the backup for the Vulcan colony. The planet that was ultimately not chosen for the colony was currently serving as a new Starfleet research facility where they were working on a project so top-secret that Jim barely has the clearance to know that there was a lab on this planet. The fact that they were being attacked by ground troops made Jim uneasy.
Of course, most of this uneasiness was because before the feed went dead, they saw footage of the person making the distress call being shot in the head by someone who seemed to be human. It was hard to tell when a person is wearing an old-school ski mask. They have been unable to contact anyone since the initial call.
"Do you really think I should be responsible for a small life?" Jim responded. The whole reason why he was hiding out in Nyota's room was to avoid this argument. Instead, thanks to this crazy distress call, they were going to have to have this out now. He and Spock have a good marriage filled with love and copious amounts of sex in inappropriate places. There was just this one little thing: his husband's ticking biological clock and Jim's perfectly logical fear that he shouldn't be allowed within 10 feet of a growing adolescent. Once the honeymoon period was over, the concept started to terrify him again.
"You are responsible for 1000 lives aboard the ship. You perform your duty more than adequately," Spock said, grabbing his hand in a not so discrete kiss. Even after knowing each other for more than four years, Spock still enjoys his hand-holding make out sessions even when they're fighting. Actually, those sessions usually end their fights really quickly.
"Adults are different. I don't have to change their diapers," Jim said with a frown.
"If that is the major issue, adoption is a viable possibility," Spock said, being way too logical.
"You two are freaking insane," Bones complained. "You're arguing about kids now? Can you two table this argument until we're not walking through a unknown jungle trying to access a remote Starfleet research facility. Especially when we don't know if we're going to run into a group of thugs with big guns. We are not even sure if the group has left the planet or not. If anyone was still there they would hear you from here." Bones looked like he actually wanted to slap both of them upside the head.
"That does not seem possible. All scans show only one life signed located in a room that prevents beaming," his husband said in the most matter-of-fact way possible.
"Forgive me for being worried. After you warp into a trap one time you become a bit wary. Who knows if they left us some nasty surprise. It just makes perfect sense that we would get blown to pieces six weeks before vacation and my six month assignment on solid ground," Doctor McCoy said with his normal biting sarcasm.
"Which is why we are the ones doing the reconnaissance," his husband said with an annoyed look.
"We will send others down to take care of the bodies after we know it's safe. You're here to help stabilize the one person that's not dead," Jim snapped.
"Fine, but I don't need to hear your foreplay. Save it for the bedroom. I'm a Doctor dammit, not a therapist. Work out your daddy issues on your own time."
"I do not have daddy issues," Jim said in his defense. 'You have to have had a dad to have daddy issues and I never had one and I don't count the bastard,' he said mentally, and judging by his husband's raised eyebrows he heard that. Sometimes having a husband that can hear your thoughts is a really bad thing.
"The true reasons for your objection to us having children together is your stepfather and your fear that you could not be an adequate father due to your lack of role model?" Spock asked cautiously as he caressed his husband's hand. The gesture was the only type of affection he showed when the couple were on duty. He wished he could do more but the situation was too critical for that. They needed to keep moving.
"Possibly, and we don't have time for you to give me all the reasons why you don't think that way. I will make you a deal, if I can survive taking care of your four-year-old sister for a day without having to call the police or the fire department we can discuss options," James offered. Spock felt that it may be a good idea. Jim's opposition would most likely dissipate when he is able to prove to himself that his fears are illogical.
"Okay." Spock agreed simply because he knew when not to push his husband after more than three years of marriage and they really did not have time for further discussion.
They stayed silent until they arrived at the research facility. Contrary to Dr. McCoy's assumption, there was no ambush or incendiary device waiting for the group. However, they did encounter the bloodied bodies of several colleagues. Spock recognized one as a friend of his former girlfriend Carol. Her name was Rebecca and she was kind enough to bring Spock an entire chocolate cake after Carol ended things the way she did. Rebecca also stopped speaking to her for a year because of the incident. He will have to call her mother personally.
"I think they took the server," Jim said, pointing to an empty space where something was obviously missing.
"What the hell were they working on here?" Dr. McCoy asked.
"Something so classified that they sent us to check out what the hell happened," Jim responded.
"I am sure they took other stuff. We will need to take a closer look as soon as we find the one person not dead," Jim said as they moved forward. Suddenly Jim stopped moving as he took a deep breath.
"Spock, don't look," he said, grabbing Spock's hand again as if to hold him back.
"Why?" Spock asked.
"I'm pretty sure that the person lying in front of me is your ex-girlfriend. You don't need to see her like that." Mentally, Jim added 'I'm so sorry.'
Spock ignored his husband's advice and walked towards the body. Despite the blood, he knew it was her. Despite the device in his hand telling him otherwise he placed two fingers on her neck to feel for a pulse but felt nothing. He felt shaky. After three years of therapy, he was more comfortable with feeling his emotions. Right now he felt overwhelmed.
"I know it's hard but we have to keep going," Jim said, putting an arm around him despite the fact that they were on duty. "Judging by the phaser in her hand and the body across from her she at least took one of them down with her," Jim said with a whisper.
They followed Leonard into what appeared to be the kitchen area. Spock could not get the scene from before out of his mind. A woman that he loved once upon a time was dead.
"Check the cabinets," Jim said quietly. "I used to hide there a lot when I was a little kid. I'm sure a small adult could do it too."
"Or scared little kid being hidden by his mommy," Doctor McCoy said, opening the door to find a small child of approximately 3 years of age with brown hair. "He has a pulse. I want to get him up to the ship, now," the doctor said scooping the young child up.
"This is why I don't want to bring a small defenseless kid on a starship despite what the regulations now say. Considering his hair color and what we saw outside, I'm pretty sure that Carol died protecting him, so I guess I have to hate her a little less," James said sadly. "Another Starfleet orphan."
Spock really did not pay attention to his husband because he was too preoccupied with the fact that the young boy had ears like his.
To be continued.
This is pretty much the darkest chapter in this story. It will get lighter. Those of you that read the original or anything else that I have written know that I tend to mix the light and the dark together. The last story started light and got more serious. This story will start serious and become fluffier as time goes on.