Pike could safely say having a human child and a Vulcan child on board was a bit of a challenge. He'd been hesitant (very, very hesitant) about it in the first place. Kids on the enterprise? Didn't Starfleet know having children on board was not only a huge responsibility but could potentially be very dangerous?
But somehow he'd been roped into having custody of James Kirk (how that happened he honestly had no clue, he'd been just as off guard as everyone else) and looking down at the small blonde boy who looked far to broken and lost, he knew he couldn't abandon him. So he'd come to terms with the fact that Jim would grow up on the ship.
What really set him off, was that Serek, the ambassador for the Vulcans, seemed to think it would be a good idea to not only have his child continue his studies, but to also study how the Enterprise worked and how the crew interacted.
Why Starfleet approved it, god only knew.
"This isn't a nursery!" he protested. "How am I supposed to keep track of a Vulcan child I can barely keep track of my own!"
They responded by very calmly stating that Spock could entertain himself (study or whatever) and they only wanted him on the ship because they believed it would be beneficial.
Spock just happened to be the guniea pig in this situation.
Introducing the two proved to be a challenge, because at the age of 6, Jim didn't quite understand the meaning of personal space. Even though Pike had drilled into him he didn't know how many times that hugging was defiantly not aloud, as soon as the young Vulcan was introduced James bounded forward with barely contained glee and threw his tiny arms around the 7 year olds neck.
Stepping back in confusion when the other boy went completely rigid in his arms, Kirk tilted his head slightly, his shoulders falling at the odd stiffness the other child held himself with. Regaining confidence, he rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet. "Do you wanna come play?"
Peering down in distain, Spock sniffed. "Playing is illogical." Looking puzzled (why would any kid not want to play?) Jim rolled his eyes and reached for the other boy's hand, intending to drag him along regardless but was shocked when the Vulcan jerked back violently.
Open mouthed, Jim glanced up at Pike in confusion only to be on the receiving end of an amused chuckle. "Why won' he play?" Before Pike could even try to answer, Spock responded in his detached, indifferent tone. "Must I repeat myself? I have already informed you that playing is illogical and therefore I shall not take part in it." On that note, he turned on his heel and strode in the opposite direction towards his quarters. Staring after him with a bemused look on his face, Kirk shook himself slightly and pushed down the feeling of shock and hurt that came with being rejected.
Some people might call it being annoying, Jim called it being persistent.
Within the first week of Spock being on board, the crew members were already tagging them together, it was no long just kirk or just Spock it was kirk&spock, and it wasn't as if the Vulcan had a choice in the matter, Jim just refused to leave him alone.
They developed a pattern. In the morning Spock would do his studies and occasionally Jim would show up for a while, rattle off a few of the formulas he had picked up along the way before vanishing to the engine room for a while. For a 6 year old human, he was nearly as intelligent as Spock (his speech was a bit more garbled but what child actually spoke clearly?) But he preferred to roam the halls of the Enterprise rather then sit down and stare at a screen all day.
An activity he more often then not roped Spock into.
The other boy resisted at first, claiming it was illogical and silly, but at heart Spock was but a child (a half-human child at that) and soon his curiously won over, along with the want for a friend because he'd never really had one before and Jim really actually seemed to care.
"So wha's the who' thing with not be'in able to touch people?" drumming his fingers along the top of his stomach, Kirk peered at Spock from where he was perched on a ledge, his entire word turned on a top as he let his head flop down. "Vulcan's are touch telepathic." Undeterred by the stilted speech, Jim flipped over onto his stomach. "Yeah and what's that?"
"It means when we touch other people we can read or feel their thoughts and emotions."
Pondering this for a second, Jim slid down from his perch and sidled up close to Spock (as close as he could get without the other inching away) "So basically you read minds?" Repressing an annoyed sigh, Spock smirked. "In the crudest way of stating it, I supposed it could be considered mind reading."
"Could you read my mind?" There was a certain weight to that statement that Kirk tried to brush off because there was no way he was explaining himself to this Vulcan it had been a joke but by the way Spock tensed up he knew he'd hit a nerve.
"I do not believe it would be wise-"
"But could you." Taking in the disheveled boy in front of him, Spock tilted his head slightly before nodding, not prepared for Jim to launch himself through the air and latch onto his hand.
There was pain too much pain for a child he'd been left, beaten, lied to in every sense of the word and it was all so bright so fresh the loss of his mother the mother that wasn't ever there not really he'd been passed off to anyone and everyone who would take him but no one ever really wanted him and he didn't understand why, why wasn't he good enough for anyone. But his mind was the galaxy, endless and beautiful adorned with glistening stars like rain that threatened to fall, to put out the dimmed lights hung from shattering chandeliers and so much darkness hidden away in the crevices, shrouded by innocence and purity that had yet to be broken, oceans roiled and turned, boiling water burning paths along the shore, the shore of the consciousness the shore of the mind, the stars hummed but Spock knew he wasn't supposed to be here-
Gasping he wrenched his hand away, stumbling backwards to catch himself against the wall. "Y-you, y-you can't-" The small boy in front of him couldn't imagine what it was like to have emotion forced on you it was brutal and savage and it hurt
"Spock?" Jim felt very, very small. He hadn't meant to hurt his friend; he'd thought it was funny. I mean mind reading, that's cool right? But he didn't know the link went both ways, he didn't know he would understand how alone Spock felt, the first and last of his kind how utterly drained he was from trying so hard to keep up with his peers and please his parents.
The only thing he knew to do was hug him, because he knew hugs could make people feel better.
But he couldn't hug him because he was too scared that Spock might run, he was afraid that Spock would leave him like everyone else had and he didn't think he could bare that. It wasn't even that they were friends, but Jim found himself looking up to the older boy (not that he would admit it) he wanted Spock to like him he wanted to be around him.
Letting out a slur of apologies Kirk turned to run away, run away from the wall he had erected, run away from the blankness in Spock's eyes, run away from something else he'd ruined.
He waited for Spock to call him back.
He waited for him to accept the apologies.
He would laugh and smile and Spock would do that crinkly thing with his eyes that meant he was happy even though having emotion was illogical.
Jim would drag him around the ship like usual, wrecking mayhem and making Pike rue the day he'd adopted him.
But Spock didn't call him back.
So he kept running.
The following days were haunted with eerie silence, Jim locked himself in his room and Spock focused solely on his studies. Upon investigating, Pike found the small blonde piddling with figurines of space ships, his blue eyes vacant. "Come on Jim, time for dinner."
That's when he knew something was wrong. Jim hadn't let Pike pick him up since he'd met him, but tonight he lifted his arms in resignation. The cold in his gut didn't fade even when they got to the mess hall. Jim had curled himself up in Pike's arms, small fingers pulling at the fabric of his uniform. "James you need to eat."
"Not hungry." Clenching his teeth, Pike was reminded of the moody child he'd been instructed to care for a year ago. Dark, brooding, flinching away from physical contact and refusing to eat. In a last ditch attempt to maybe distract Jim long enough so he could get him to eat, Pike brought up the only thing that had seemed to make Jim excited the past few days. "I haven't seen you with Spock in a while, do you want to go see him after dinner?"
Jim stormed out of the mess hall without a backwards glance.
It was cold in Spock's room. He knew he could just get up and adjust the heating but he also knew that the chill in his bones had nothing to do with the temperature.
He was lonely.
Being alone wasn't a new concept for him. He'd had no friends on Vulcan, but then Jim came along and suddenly he didn't know how to survive without the boy's constant chatter and advice. (Which was illogical he shouldn't need anything like that to feel content)
A hesitant knocking rang through out his room and Spock shot up. Who would actually be knocking instead of just ringing knocking was such a traditional-oh.
For a moment, one cruel heartless moment, he thought about leaving Jim standing in front of his door. But the moment passed and he slid off his bed, padding softly towards the fidgeting boy on the other side.
Now that they were standing face to face, Jim had no clue what to say. He thought about rambling on about how he was sorry but that didn't seem to be good enough. "Spock listen I-" glancing down at his feet, he huffed angrily. Apologizing was hard.
Spock could tell by the conflicted expression on his friend's face that all he wanted to do was bound forward and hug him, because that's how Jim solved things. He was a physical person, he liked to be surrounded by people who would shower him with attention and after seeing inside his head Spock had more then one reason why he thought Jim was like that
Stepping aside Spock waved Kirk into his room; meeting the boy's surprised eyes with the cool façade he wore to mask the turmoil inside him. The human part of him really really wanted to feel that whirlwind of emotion, but the Vulcan beat it down, insisting it was childish and frivolous.
All at once Jim was sputtering out apologies (again)
But it was late and they were children and soon they wordlessly forgave and conversations ventured into other things, and when Jim started yawning Spock gestured to the couch, green tingeing his cheeks at Jim's cheery grin.
Just before the lights dimmed, Kirk glanced over where he could see Spock in his bed, about to close his eyes. "Thanks for forgiving me." He whispered shyly, bright blue eyes drooping with exhaustion. Spock merely nodded.
He didn't understand where was he why wasn't he on the ship flashes of black and green bombarded him, choking him, why couldn't he see why couldn't he breathe were those fingers around his throat he couldn't get out what was happening to him-
Eyes snapping open, Jim found himself shaking, his small arms slick with sweat from his lingering nightmare. Mind still heavy with sleep, he glanced around blearily, where am I? He could barely make out the silhouette of a sleeping person across the room, and somewhere in the back of his brain he registered them as someone he could trust.
Tripping over his feet, Kirk stumbled towards the bed, not quite asleep and not quite awake, only aware that for some reason he was freezing and if there was someone available to cuddle he wouldn't hesitate to curl up next to them. See James Tiberius Kirk craved attentions he craved solace that only touch could provide and he'd been robbed of loving contact the first 5 years of his life so in his mind, he had some catching up to do.
He shamelessly clung to every person he met, and in the dim lighting of the unfamiliar room, he needed someone to hold him he needed to feel like he mattered because to his mom and Frank he never felt like he mattered, especially when the belt caught him on the side of the face and his step-father's knuckles would tighten around his arm
Slipping between the sheets he glanced over bleary-eyed to the figure beside him. Oh- oh that's who it is. Smiling softly, the blonde leaned over and pressed a soft kiss to the Vulcan's forehead, not aware that he'd woken the older boy, not aware that said boy was now studying him in confusion, not understanding the tenderness behind his actions, not understanding the wave of emotions that came with it. All Jim did was turn on his side and let out a little puff of air as he slipped back into a slumber. He pressed himself against Spock's chest and at contact Spock tensed, expecting an onslaught of things he couldn't control but all it did was make him feel sleepy and warm and like he was at home
He was still confused but the middle of the night is never a time for solving problems, so instead Spock found himself curling around Jim, pressing his face between his shoulder blades, blonde hair tickling the end of his nose lightly. At some point his arm snakes around the boy, their legs entangled and when they're discovered in the morning, it's all Pike can do not to laugh and wake them.
Inside the galaxy they twist and turn, bathed in the glow of the stars that sing just for them, an angelic tune so sweet it lulls them into a state of serenity, they're flying through the clouds and the wind dusts their cheeks swirling pink and green stuck in a ruthless embrace
Sometimes black stallions thunder through their dreams bringing nothing but grey afternoons filled to the brim with lost and forgotten promises, the sting of a slap across the face turning backs and eyes that shy away from something different something unknown
The sun breaks over the horizon even though its shrouded by hazy clouds, drops that fall along the riverbanks in floods and wash away the hurt, wash away the agony they felt when they were alone.
Because they're not alone