Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

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"Okay, okay," the man said carefully. He held up his hands, as if he was surrendering. "Jimmy I need you to take a deep breath and relax for me. Can you do that?"

His eyes peered around the pristine room, taking in the sleek surfaces and the bright lights reflecting off of them. There was a faint beeping, slowly increasing in tempo, which he realized was most likely his own pulse. He pushed himself farther back on the bed, eyeing the man warily. The sheets in his fists were stiff, sterile, and entirely too familiar to him.

"I hate doctors," the blonde muttered. He found joy in watching the man's face shift from concern to genuine annoyance. "Where am I?"

"Well at least I know you're fine with your pissy attitude," the man said flatly. He had a slight accent, somewhere southern, if Jim was listening correctly.

"What?" Jim breathed for lack of anything better to say.

"You're aboard a star ship, federation class, before you think you've been kidnapped by pirates or whatever," he said, crossing his arms, "Are you going to let me stick you with some hypos or are you going to bitch about it?"

"What's your name?" Jim asked, licking his lips. He was still holding the covers tightly, like they'd shield him from danger if it were to occur. He was watching the man carefully, eyes flickering all over his appearance, assessing. Leonard let him, knowing fully well how skittish Jim was going to be at this age.

"Leonard McCoy. I'm the chief medical officer on this ship."

"Where are we going? And why am I going there?" he asked, swallowing thickly. His throat felt too dry, lips ready to split. He licked them again, feeling the slight burn at the contact of moisture. The doctor had a feeling there would be some initial anxiety over his person being on a star ship.

"Well, we're currently orbiting Epsilon VI. I don't know where we're going after that, and you're here because you're normally the Captain of the vessel."

"I don't know if you noticed, Doc, but I'm sixteen years old," Jim snapped, "And why the fuck would I ever join Starfleet? They're a bunch of idiots running around in flashy uniforms."

"I ask myself that damn question every day," Leonard huffed, rolling his eyes. He searched Jim's face for any signs of relaxation briefly before continuing on. "I hate space. But here we are. In the black void of death. Now, if you'll quit it with the twenty questions darling, I've got some medications for you."

"What are they?"

"Vitamin cocktail, medication for your anxiety, that sort of stuff," Leonard said, tilting his head toward the side, "I know all about your allergies too. If that's what's got you looking like you've seen a ghost. I've been friends with you for years. I've got a whole list compiled if you'd like to check out everything you're allergic to by the time you're twenty six."

"For years?" Jim asked weakly. His eyes searched the pale sheets a moment, lips parting in confusion. He shook his head a moment, before pausing and looking positively worried. "I've never seen you before in my life."

"Yeah, if you let me administer your proper medication, I'll explain."

"Whoa wait," Jim said as the man stepped closer. He laughed, but it was sharp and dry. "This isn't 'Let's Make a Deal'. That always ends up turning to shit. How about you tell me now, and I'll consider you coming near me with those things." He pointed at the case of hypos sitting waiting for him. He met the doctors eyes, jaw clenching as he stared at him firmly.

"Okay fine. You see, I wasn't sure how to go about this whole fiasco until someone recommended just telling you the truth," Leonard said, rubbing at the back of his neck. He came forward, nearly snorting at Jim's eyes swiveling around, watching his every movement. He rolled up his sleeves, a habit of his, and sat down in the chair next to the bio bed. He met the blonde's eyes, familiar yet different. They lacked their usual light, and a few creases from years of smiling and smirking. "You can decide whether you believe me or not. You're James Tiberius Kirk, Captain of the starship Enterprise. You're the youngest man ever to gain captaincy. The only reason you're even in Star Fleet is because a man, Christopher Pike, dared you to do better than you're father."

Jim snorted at that, looking down at his bony fingers. They were shaking a little, and Leonard found that he wasn't sure if it was nerves or Jim's frail appearance. The kid was as thin as a rail and just as wide.

"Figures I'd join on a dare."

"Yeah suits you just fine," Leonard said dryly, "The night after he scraped your ass up off the floor of a bar near the shipyard in Iowa, you met me on a shuttle or so you say. I was pretty drunk at the time. Then we became friends. You were, twenty? Twenty one? So there you have it."

"That's it?"

"Well, you also call me Bones, much to my displeasure."

"Bones," the sixteen year old tested quietly.

"See, look. Already sounding like your older self," Leonard said, clapping his hands together. "So will you let me give you the stuff you need?"

"I," Jim paused, digesting the information. His skinny neck bobbed as he swallowed. "How was I de-aged?"

"Some alien voodoo punishment. You were being a little mouthy in public and they reverted you back to learn better manners growing up. Apparently it's not permanent. So don't worry. We're working on it."

Jim nodded once, looking around the private room once more. He let his legs, which had curled up close to him in defense, straighten out under the sheets. He flinched as the doctor placed a hand on his shoulder, expecting it to be cold. Doctor's hands were always cold. Leonard's hands were warm.

"Look kid, I know it's a lot to take in. I'm still kind of in shock, except you've been unconscious for a few hours, so I've had a little time to adjust. I'm not going to do anything if it makes you uncomfortable, but I think you'd benefit from a few hypos."

Jim stared up at him. A knowing smirk lit up his features. He knew that smirk. He knew it was full of bullshit.

"You're giving me a choice?" He sounded amused.

"Well yeah," Bones said shrugging, relishing in the confusion settling over the kids face. "Normally I wouldn't give a damn how much you bitched about it, but you're not really yourself right now. I just think you'd feel better if you let me give you your meds. I know everything you need to take. I went back a few years in your medical files."

"So, you won't give me the stuff that nurse gave me that made my throat close up?"

"Promise not to," he grinned, "I'm a pretty good doctor, if I'm going to brag about anything."

"So," Jim paused, biting at the inside of his cheek, "So, you know why I-"

"Yeah kid I do. But you told me yourself, if it's any consolation," the doctor said softly. He readied the first hypo, pausing to look at Jim who nodded his head in confirmation. "In fact, only me and one other soul aboard this ship knows, so no one's going to coddle you. I know how much you hate that shit."

"Who's the other person?"

"Ah, well," Leonard paused after clicking the medication into the hypo. "Well, he's been de-aged as well."

"What? Seriously?"

"Yes. He's your first officer. He defended you when you were told you needed to be punished."

"Oh," Jim said, frowning.

"Wasn't your fault kid. It's political shit. Don't worry about it. You were right, in terms of morality and such."

He eased the hypo into the kid's neck, and Jim flinched. He rubbed at the spot a moment, watching as the doctor readied another. After several minutes of silence and quiet breathing, Leonard stepped back and rubbed his hands together.

"There. All done. Took em' like a champ."

"Wish I could say thanks," the teen grumbled, rubbing at his red neck. Bones snorted, rolling his eyes.

There was a knock on the door and Jim flinched, eyes darting toward it.

Leonard strode over to it and opened it. Jim tried to peer around him, but was unsuccessful. He straightened back in the bed, sighing. Jim continued to stare at the doctor's back, wondering if it was a nurse or another crew member. He heard quiet murmurs.

Suddenly, Leonard whirled around and smiled. It wasn't consistent with his discussion before.

"You up for some company? I have to go check on your first officer."

"Is it a therapist?"

"No."

"Okay."

A pretty young woman walked in with smooth dark skin and long brown hair. She had a nice, friendly smile and kind eyes, done up in some make up.

"Hello Jim," she smiled. She came forward, resting down in the chair beside his bed that Leonard had been occupying earlier. "How are you feeling?"

"Sure sound like a therapist," Jim grumbled, tilting his head to stare at her. She had a small bandage over the corner of her eyebrow. He straightened his posture and sighed throughout his nose. He figured being rude wouldn't get him anywhere even though he just felt like bitching to everyone. "Fine."

"I'm not a therapist," she said, snorting, "I never liked them too much either. I'm a communications officer. My name is Uhura."

"Just Uhura?" he asked doubtfully.

"You got to work a little for the first name kid," she winked, "But we've been friends for a while."

X

When he awoke his limbs were stiff and rationally he knew he was lying down, but it felt like he was spinning. A man was peering down at him, running a tricorder over his face. His face was a blurry visage and his voice was a low murmur. Spock was unable to discern whether or not the man was addressing him, or another being in the room with them. He was definitely human however, because his hands were cold and the emotions that crept through were distinctive enough.

"You awake?" There was his voice, gruff and every bit emotional as his thoughts.

"Evidently," Spock responded, before swallowing away the hoarseness of his voice. The thrum beneath him, and the dull whirr of the ship gave away location. He peered at the man's blue medical uniform and licked his lips. A Star Fleet officer, judging by the insignia above his breast. "Why am I aboard a starship?"

"Long story. Sit up," Leonard responded firmly. Spock blinked a moment, his eyes adjusting as the man's face became clearer. He did as told, sitting up sluggishly in the bed. He was in a hospital gown, and felt unusually cold. "Anything hurt?"

"No," Spock responded, "I am adequate."

"Still the same guy," Leonard mumbled under his breath. He eased a hypo into the Vulcan's neck which caused the teen to raise an eyebrow. "For the head ache you'll be feeling."

Leonard was unsure of how to deal with this situation. Spock had lost his planet, his mother, and he was bonded to Jim in the next room over. That was quite a lot for a teenager to take in. Even if he was a Vulcan, but Spock happened to be half human.

The bond was something of a mystery at the moment. Leonard had no idea if the bond had been broken since they digressed in age. M'Benga had tried running some tests while Spock was out, but couldn't obtain anything from them. A computer couldn't read much into the mind of a Vulcan who is bonded by soul to another.

Spock opened his mouth to ask the doctor once again why he was aboard a starship when the door swooshed open with a soft gust of air. There, leaning heavily in the doorway was Jim.

"Doctor I tried to stop him," Uhura stopped behind Jim. He was shorter than usual, and instead of being hidden by the expanse of her Captain's back, she could just peer over his shoulder. Her eyes widened at what she saw. She had not yet seen Spock this way.

"Jim," Leonard said awkwardly. He was unsure how the two would interact with each other. "Go back to your room." He had no idea why he thought Jim would listen.

"Is that him? The other one?" Jim asked, unsure. His uncertainty did not waver his choice to step into the room, nor wait for an answer of confirmation. His eyes set on Spock, and took in the older teens inquiring gaze.

"Jim," the Vulcan said slowly. Almost as if to taste the name on his tongue. His head cocked slightly to the left as he studied Jim's face. Leonard was unsure as to what he was seeing, because all he saw was a pale face with a few freckles and tired blue eyes. The room was quiet for a moment as Leonard shared a look with Nyota. She came beside him, resting her fingertips against his forearms crossed over his chest.

"Why did he get up?" he asked lowly enough that she could barely hear him. She was watching the two before she peered up at Leonard, biting at her lip.

"He asked what his first officer's name was, so I gave it to him."

"Spock?" Jim asked, stepping closer. He kept doing so until he was standing beside Spock's bedside, eyes locked on the young Vulcan's face. "That's you."

"Indeed," he responded, voice distant. Jim raised a hand as if to touch the brunette but pulled it back against his chest. He looked to his bare feet, taking in his hospital gown.

"Sorry," he said suddenly. He stepped back, jerkily looking to the two adults, before back at Spock. His face was flushed. He took another step backwards, nearly bumping into the chair to the right of him. "I should let you rest. Sorry."

With that, he turned and left, head down and shoulders hunched. Nyota's hand left Leonard's arm with a smooth glide, following the blonde hurriedly out of the room.

"Who was he?" Spock asked after staring at the space that occupied Jim only moments ago.

"Like I said, it's a long story."

X

Once Spock was up to date with the events which had transpired over the last forty eight hours, the crew held conference in the dim setting of private medical room.

"Well, in terms of command, Sulu would be in charge," Nyota said pointing to the pilot, "He's the rank below Jim on command."

"Are you comfortable with that?" Leonard asked the man. Sulu simply nodded. It wasn't like they were in the middle of a mission. They were just trying to maintain peace with the planet below them. It was almost like babysitting the ship until the Captain and Commander got back.

"How far has zee research come?" Chekov asked. He looked rather sure of himself, aware he was no longer the youngest person on the star ship anymore. He had one below him. Standing at nineteen, almost twenty, the Russian was older than Jim by three years and about the same age as Spock.

"Research in regressing age was a scrapped project back in the twenty second century, as was the stuff on accelerating age. It was around the time they were beginning to genetically engineer people successfully. There's not much to work with," Leonard explained, crossing his arms. He looked as if to continue, but only shrugged his shoulders, mouth falling closed. What was left of the bridge crew looked to one another. The shadows of a mostly empty med-bay loomed over their features, setting the tone.

"Didn't the leader down there say it wasn't permanent?" Carol asked, looking to Nyota. Nyota had gone down there herself since this species language wasn't yet programmed into the universal translator. "Just that, it'd effect a human's memory storage differently than theirs. That a human would be reverted, and memories would be lost, rather than kept."

The whole point of them going down there was because of a distress signal they got. Apparently the high council of these people thought it right to exterminate a large mass of people due some different genetic coding. Jim, and his love of preserving life, jumped right on the cry of help.

"Yes," Nyota said, "They inflict de-aging treatments on a regularly basis down there. It's part of their culture. I'm sure the Captain wouldn't want any more of us down there, poking around and trying to find answers, but I think it's the only option we've got."

"Especially if we have to call in to the federation soon," Sulu added, "That wouldn't look very professional if we've got both commanding officers out of commission. Going down together on potentially hostile planets is against regulation anyways. I mean, they'd probably expect it of Jim but-"

"They get out of the regulation though," Nyota pointed out, lowering her voice, "They're bondmates."

Silence lapped over them again.

"I guess," Sulu paused a moment, gathering his thoughts, "I guess we should contact the people planet side and see if there is any way to speed up the process. It's probably a matter of time, right?"

"I can find out the basis of this," Nyota said firmly, "I can most likely do it over a video call."

"That can be arranged, and preferable since the last meeting went downhill fast," Sulu nodded, "And, as for Jim and Spock?"

"No one mention anything unless they specifically ask, in fact get that word around too. Not one peep about our superiors being hormonal teenagers leave this ship. Flag it, if it comes up in any transmissions," Leonard said sharply. He thought to himself a moment before rubbing at his left temple. "And I'm asking you guys not to overcrowd Jim right now. Be nosy with Spock for all I care, pile on the blackmail if you'd like, but don't go poking at Jim."

"Can we ask why?" Carol asked after a beat.

"No," Leonard said gruffly, "It's personal things that I'm not at liberty to share. He has to do that when he's ready."

Sulu looked like he was going to say something but shut up when Leonard glared at him.

"Understood," Carol nodded once.

"What about if they search themselves in the federation data base?" Nyota asked.

"I already asked Scotty to seal up anything regarding the more heavy stuff they've been through," Leonard told them, "I'm pretty sure he said that headquarters won't even notice the seals unless they're actively checking up on the two of them."

"You think a seal is gonna keep Jim out? He hacked into Star Fleet when he was fifteen," Sulu snorted.

"But this is Scotty," Leonard reminded him.

"I wouldn't doubt a determined and stubborn Jim Kirk, who's even more reckless now than he is as an adult," Nyota murmured, "Even if it Scotty who's set up the security on their files."

"Well, let's hope Mr. Scott knows his way around a computer then."

"He'd be offended if he heard you say that," Carol laughed. The all agreed silently.

"Dismissed then? I'll go relieve Scotty from the bridge, I know how much he prefers engineering," Sulu chuckled.

Everyone looked at each other a moment. Slowly, they dispersed back into the functions of their beloved ship. Leonard pinched at the bridge of his nose a moment before heading over to Jim's room. He knocked once before entering, finding the blonde adjusting the collar of his shirt. He and Spock had been given clothes a little earlier to change into. Jim was in a simple white t-shirt and a pair of black pants. His feet were no longer bare, dressed in a pair of black socks.

"Hey," the doctor said, "If you want, you can sleep in an actual bed tonight. In your quarters."

"You're letting me leave here?" he asked warily, "What's the catch?"

"No catches or fine-print shit. Seriously, you need some rest. Both you and Spock."

At the mention of the other teenager's name Jim's head dropped, hand coming up to rub at his right ear.

"What?"

"Nothing."

"Don't 'nothing' me," the doctor huffed, feeling every bit his age in that moment, "You can tell me. He wasn't mean to you was he? Because I'll make him stay here-"

"No," Jim blurted suddenly. It was the most emotion Leonard had seen on his face so far. "No, I mean, he wasn't mean. I just- thought I knew him."

"Really? Look familiar?" Leonard asked, trying to keep the eagerness out of his tone. It'd be useful to know whether or not the two brats were bonded still. Leonard bet M'Benga a bottle of Saurian brandy that the thing was still there.

"Just, like I'd met him before," Jim said quietly, "Deja vu shit."

Leonard nodded to himself, before leading Jim out of the room. He knocked on Spock's door and then entered there. The blonde lingered in the doorway, swallowing as he peered inside. The Vulcan was sitting up on his bed, meditating it seemed.

"Up and at em' kid. I'm taking you to your quarters so you can amuse yourself there," Leonard said jerking is thumb over his shoulder. Spock opened his eyes, turning to regard the doctor.

"I have a number of questions doctor, but I expect they can wait," Spock said, swinging his legs over the side of the bed. "I am to follow you, yes?"

"Yeah," Leonard said, already dreading that discussion.

Jim walked beside Leonard, and Spock a step behind them as they headed toward the lift. Once inside, traveling a brief moment to the senior decks, they stepped out into the bright halls. An ensign at the end of the hall looked up from their PADD, mouth falling open before hurriedly looking down.

"Here's your room," Leonard said, pointing to the door labeled 'Commander'. Spock regarded it a moment.

"Apparently so," he nodded. Bones muttered something like 'smart ass' under his breath causing Jim to smile a little.

"And there's your room Jimmy. Don't be surprised if you two have things of each other's swapped around in your rooms. You guys spend a lot of time together, as captain and first officer," Leonard warned, "So com me if you need anything."

The two nodded before each entering their own rooms. Leonard stood in the hallway a moment before rubbing at the back of his neck. He knew he was always the one to clean up Jim's mess, but this time just felt different.

He didn't talk to them for two days. Now, that was familiar when they didn't wanted to be pestered for medical reasons. He saw Spock around, conversing with the crew, nagging science officers to let him look at their findings in his own way, and having lunch with Nyota. He didn't see much of Jim. The only time he saw the kid in those forty eight hours was when he was entering the mess hall. Jim was slipping out, his hands behind his back.

He had been meaning to check up on the kid, but Nyota caught up to him and smiled that smile of hers and he was a goner.

X

Jim awoke with a start, his breath rattling around in his chest before it drifted past his lips in hoarse wisps. He loosened his grip on the sheets, slowing his breathing down as he stared at his dark ceiling. He sat up slowly, groaning at the ache in his back. He wiped the sweat from the back of his neck and forehead before cradling his whole head in his hands. There was something comforting about the hum of the ship permeating through his sore body. It felt natural.

After a moment, he stood on shaky legs and headed into the bathroom. He ran the sink, washing his face. His eyes traveled over to the other door, shut and locked which led to Spock's room. It was disorienting to think that that sight was a normal occurrence usually, that Jim was a captain and he had a Vulcan commander, and he resided happily on a starship for the federation. He wished he could talk to this Pike guy, but by the look on Leonard's face when he was mentioned, that would probably not be a good idea.

Jim straightened, staring at himself in the mirror a moment through squinted eyes. He looked back to Spock's door before stepping up to it and raising his knuckles. He was about to knock when the door slid open.

Jim's eyebrows popped up and he quickly lowered his hand.

"Are you in need of something?" Spock asked.

"No," Jim said turning away.

"You were initiating a knock, which leads me to believe you required my person."

"I changed my mind," Jim said, staring at the sink instead of the Vulcan, "You can use the bathroom."

"I only entered because you were in here."

"Was I being too loud?"

Spock faltered then, his mouth opening and closing. Jim braved a look during the silence.

"No. I felt your emotions. They are very," Spock paused, "Projective. Are you in distress?"

"No," Jim said, stepping back once more. "Sorry for bothering you."

With that he turned and fled from the bathroom, locking the door behind him. He took a moment to move away from the door itself, approaching his bed once more. The sheets were damp and rumpled, causing his nose to scrunch up. Sleeping wasn't very appealing right now.

He flinched at a knock resonating from the bathroom. He stood there awkwardly a moment, before hurrying to pull the thick comforter over the mussed sheets. He then headed toward the door, opening after staring at the controls for a moment longer than necessary.

"Hi," Jim said slowly. He peered up at the Vulcan, biting at his lower lip.

"Vulcan's require less sleep than the average human. Do you play chess?"

Jim took a moment to understand how those two statements were correlated. A smile threatened to make its way on to his face, but he reeled it back in.

"I haven't played in a while," Jim admitted, "I think I saw a board earlier though."

"Would you find it agreeable to engage in a game with me?"

"Engage in a game with you. Sure."

Jim turned a moment, feeling awareness crash down over him. His shirt was stuck to his back, his hair damp from washing his face and he was hoping he didn't smell. His eyes flicked back and forth in the room until they located the chess board resting on a desk. Walking when someone was watching you (and Jim was aware the Vulcan was staring) was incredibly awkward and difficult.

He picked it up and looked around. After deciding that maybe touching paperwork or books would be bad if they got messed up, he sat on the floor away from his bed. He looked up to Spock who stood there before joining him on the floor.

"I find that I do not want to disturb the contents of my room," Spock voiced. He was a quick one.

"Yeah, normally I wouldn't give a damn, but this is a star ship and I know how important some of this shit could be. I'm surprised that doctor let us come in here," he said, opening it up carefully. He began setting up the board, letting himself take black and Spock white.

"You go first," Jim offered.

Spock did as told.

"You are sixteen years of age, correct?" the Vulcan asked. His back was ram rod straight despite that fact he was sitting cross legged on the floor. Jim was hunched over hugging one knee, the other leg stretched out in front of him. He nodded.

"And you're nineteen."

Spock was quiet after that, turning his attention on the bored. Between each move, the blonde studied the Vulcans features. He had brown eyes, inescapably human in some ways like the way they widened or softened. His lips seemed rather full for a Vulcan's. He carried an air of confidence, or maybe it was arrogance (Jim often confused the two) but he was sure of himself all the same. Jim was too, he supposed, but in different ways and at different times.

Jim almost cursed when he lost a knight. He wasn't stupid, he knew he was getting his ass beat. He did manage to forestall the inevitable for quite a while though, and managed to capture a few pieces before he found himself locked in check.

"Your technique is peculiar," Spock said, still focused on the pieces.

"Yours is logical oriented," Jim shrugged his shoulders. "I knew from the start I was going to lose."

"Perseverance in times of uncertainty is often perceived as an admirable quality. It took me six point three two five minutes longer than the average time to beat you. You are a commendable opponent."

Was this guy for real? Jim was drawing a blank.

"Cool."

Spock raised an eyebrow but didn't say anything. They played two more games until Spock retired to his own quarters. Jim lost the second as well. He won the third. When he slept again, he did not dream.

X

Leonard was just finishing up regenerating a yeoman's hand when the doors to medical swooshed open and Spock strode in. It was strange, since he walked the same way and regarded everything in the same manner.

"Hello Doctor," he greeted. Leonard clicked the instrument in his hands off before meeting the teenager's steady gaze. Even so young everything about him just screamed 'Spock' which amused Leonard to no end. The kid was probably an even tighter ass than the Vulcan they were used to.

"Want those questions answered I take it?" It was later than Leonard would have expected. Perhaps he had done some research and now only required confirmation. He still didn't want to discuss anything of the sort with the poor kid, but the Vulcan was just as stubborn as Jim sometimes. He wondered briefly how Jim has been in his moment of thought.

"Yes, if now is an agreeable time."

"What would you like to know?" he asked, leading the younger into his office.

"I am feeling a void where one never was."

"Telepathically speaking?" Leonard asked pausing, "Because I'm pretty darn sure Vulcan's don't do metaphors."

"Yes," Spock responded, closing his eyes a moment, "I wish to know why. Please do not withhold information."

"Why do I get stuck with all the tough shit," Leonard groused. He placed the regenerator down on his desk, staring at it a moment. There were just so many things that shouldn't be unearthed, and yet here he was, fucking up right and wrong. "It's kind of hard to explain."

"I am Vulcan. The complexities will be simple to overlook."

"Can you overlook the destruction of an entire planet?"

Spock paused.

"I presume you are speaking of Vulcan?"

Leonard couldn't get a reading off his face. Normally, he could get some sort of idea in what was going through Spock's mind. Right now, his face was blank.

"Yes."

"How?"

"I'm no scientist, but from what I understood from my friends drunken babbling," He paused, voice losing its gruffness, "There was a black hole created in the center of it. The planet swallowed itself whole. Quite a few were able to evacuate, but a majority of Vulcan's citizens died with the planet."

Spock's eyes moved as if he were reading lines of a paper. The doctor watched, shifting uncomfortably. He always hated this part, as a doctor. Informing the parents, the lovers, the friends, that their loved one wasn't coming back.

"An act of genocide?"

"Yes."

"Doctor, I am aware two bonds were broken at the time of the destruction of Vulcan. After meditating, and taking into account that I am not in fact nineteen like you have informed me, I can only conclude they were of my mother and my intended," Spock said quietly. Spock usually never asked for confirmation, but that's certainly what he was doing. He was afraid and unsure and Leonard didn't blame him.

"Yes," he said quietly, "About three years ago now."

"I see," he said quietly, "I have one more question at this time."

Leonard gestured for him to keep going. He was surprised in all honesty. He would have assumed this discussion would be long and tedious. Leave it to Spock to keep things short and simple.

"Am I bonded to another? I sense that I am, more deeply so than if I were to be betrothed. I am unable to discern who their identity is however. The bond is, skewed, for lack of better terms."

Leonard knew it was inappropriate, but all he could think about at the moment was that M'Benga owed him booze.

He cleared his throat a nodded once.

"I think you should figure it out for yourself," Leonard said quietly.

Spock looked like he was going to argue, but refrained.

"Thank you doctor," he said, "If you will excuse me."

And with that he was gone, leaving the room and med bay all together. Leonard let out a breath he hadn't realized he was holding. He shook his head once, as if he had been punched and needed to shake it off.

Spock, however, strode out with his head held high. If he didn't meet anyone in the eye, and if his hands were rather tight behind his back, no one mentioned anything. The only place on the ship he felt at somewhat ease was in his quarters. That is where he left to.

He was just going in as Jim was coming out.

He met the human's eyes before the door slid shut behind him with a thud.

XXX

Spock looked like he was on a damn mission. Jim watched the door slide shut, eyebrows popping up. Despite wanting to knock and ask if something was wrong as he did for Jim, the sixteen year old turned away.

Jim shrugged his shoulders and headed down the hallway. He passed several people who all smiled and bowed their heads in greeting. One even clapped him on the shoulder. Jim was busy rubbing it as he stepped onto the lift.

"Hold the door!" a voice blurted. Jim stuck his foot out to prevent it from closing and a man squeezed in. He had a potted planet in his hands and a wild grin on his face.

"Oh Jim, hey," he smiled. He offered a hand, "Hikaru Sulu."

"Pilot, right?" Jim asked, straightening. His hand dropped from his shoulder. He stared at Sulu's hand a moment but didn't shake it. The man didn't seem to mind.

"Yep! Kind of a plant freak too," he nodded gesturing toward the plant. Jim wanted to question what he was doing with the tall, leafy thing but refrained. That'd create more conversation, and he found that he was alright with the awkward silence. "Where ya heading?"

"To get food, from somewhere," he shrugged. He was rather hungry and taking meds on an empty stomach was no good.

"Oh cool me too. You can meet, or re-meet Pasha. You'll like him, he's near your age," Sulu grinned.

"Sure," Jim nodded.

Sulu noticed that the teen held himself still, hands at his side and shoulders square. It was strange for a teenager not to fidget or shift on their feet. They got off the lift together and walked silently to the mess. Jim didn't seem to have much to say, so Sulu didn't push him. The got into the mess which was rather quiet thankfully.

"Sulu," a curly haired man waved. Jim watched him bump shoulders with the older man before peering at the plant. "How interesting. Safe, yes?"

He was Russian, Jim noticed.

"Of course," Sulu snorted, "Come on, sit with me and Jim."

"Oh! Hello Jim," he greeted, touching the blondes arm briefly, "My name is Pavel, but you call me Chekov."

Jim nodded once. He watched the two share a look before they all sat down at a table. He felt out of place. He had planned to get food and take it back to his room to eat, but it'd be rude to just leave the two. Especially when they were going out of their way to make things seem more normal. They were nice enough, he supposed.

He ate soup and listened to them bicker about the number of plants in Sulu's quarters. It seemed as though they lived together, from what he gathered from their discussion. He had found a number of things in his own room that didn't look they'd belonged to him. Leonard did say that Spock was often in his quarters and vice versa. The guy had seemed upset before, which was very strange considering Vulcan's didn't do emotions. The only reason Jim thought something wasn't alright was because Spock retreated, and the confidence he had showed Jim had been sapped. Those didn't seem consistent with his personality.

"Don't you zink eet is a bit excessive?" Chekov asked Jim. The guilt of losing track of their conversation washed over him. He shrugged it off. "He agrees."

"He didn't say anything!"

Jim bit into his apple.

X

He knocked.

There was no answer. Maybe there was no one in the room. Jims was turning to leave when the door opened. Spock stood there in a sweater and the same black pants as Jim, expectant. Whatever Jim had planned to say escaped him in that moment. He hadn't realized before how tall Spock was before, or maybe how short he just was in comparison. He shifted the board out from underneath his arm.

"Want to play chess?"

Spock stepped aside and Jim stepped into his room. It smelt faintly of smoke and was hot, but otherwise was set up in the same way Jim's was. It was just neater and had less things on the surfaces of the furniture.

Jim pointed to the table in front of the couch and the Vulcan nodded. He began setting it up slowly, breathing in the soothing scent of the smoke wafting through the room. It almost made him sleepy, but just relaxed enough.

"I like your sweater," Jim said after a moment.

"My mother made it," he responded. Jim felt his heart sink. So something was wrong.

"Looks comfortable." Spock did not reply. "White or black?"

"I hold no preference."

"Okay," Jim dragged out slowly, "Black then."

So they played in silence. It was a long game, dragged out and quite difficult. Jim won. Spock seemed as surprised as he did yesterday when Jim beat him. Together they began placing the pieces back inside the case. It was only when Jim was leaving through the joint bathroom did Spock pause him.

"Thank you, Jim."

The blonde smiled, his face heating at the simple words.

"Sure thing," he replied, turning and hurrying into his room.

X

Jim decided that staying holed up in his room would be beneficial somewhere along the way. He'd continue to hate Star Fleet, no one would have to inconvenience themselves with a kid, and he wouldn't get into any more trouble. Deep down he was still convinced that this was punishment for hacking through Star Fleets security.

He heard Spock leave his room several times. The fourth time he left, Jim put down the PADD he was reading and ventured through the bathroom. He had been sitting around doing nothing for several hours now and it was making him antsy. It only took three minutes to open the lock on the Vulcan's door.

He slipped inside and turned on the lights. Once he was in there, he wasn't quite sure what it was he wanted to do. He just wanted to be in there. He let his hand drag across the surface of the Vulcan's organized desk. The room smelt of spices, something foreign to Jim's nose. He was used to the smell of fresh cut grass, barn hay and rusty metal.

He noticed a book on the shelf across the room. Curious as always, he retrieved it and ran his fingers over the cover. It was Sherlock Holmes. It was his book. He has things written in this book. He sat down on the floor, entranced by the sight of it. He leant it to Spock? He licked his lips, opening it slowly. The spine creaked and the pages shuffled gently, kissing the tips of his fingertips. He always did love the feel of pages beneath his hands.

It was easy to lose track of time as he became engrossed with the content of the book. The sound of the door opening made him jump. His head snapped up, taking in Spock pausing mid-stride.

"Um."

"What was the reason for your forced entry?"

"How do you know it was forced? Maybe you forgot to lock your door," Jim argued. He realized maybe this was a discussion better done while standing. He stood up from the floor, leaving the book in his place.

"I am Vulcan. I do not forget. Even in the off chance that I had forgotten to engage the lock on the bathroom door, your entry is still considered forced, being that I did not offer consent."

"Caught me there," Jim breathed.

"That is not a reason."

"I don't have one."

"There is always motive behind one's actions."

"Is that a quote? That really sounds like a quote from a book."

"It is a mere fact."

Jim breathed out of his nose heavily, staring at the taller teenager. He was practically a man really, and it was only dawning on Jim that he could seriously be in some trouble right now. Weren't Vulcan's pacifists?

"Why were you upset earlier?" he asked. Spock ignored the question a moment, opting to remove his boots first. He placed them beside his bed before walking by Jim and picking the book off the floor. Jim had the page number he was on memorized and did not mourn when it was shut.

"I was not."

"Oh come on, don't give me that."

"I am not currently 'giving' you anything."

Jim stared.

Spock stared back.

Did that really just fly right over the guy's head? Jim couldn't believe this was his life right now. T was a good thing the guy was attractive.

"That's my book," Jim said.

"I am aware. Your name is written on the inside cover," Spock responded, paused, added, "My mother read this story to me as a child."

"Cute," Jim snorted.

"How did you get into my quarters?"

Jim shifted on his feet, pursing his lips. He shrugged his shoulders a moment. Spock narrowed his eyes and Jim hurriedly spoke.

"I just screwed with it."

"I do not understand your choice of vocabulary."

"Hacked in. Broke through the security," Jim mumbled, "It's a habit of mine. You're not gonna get me in trouble are you?"

"You have not destroyed any of my belongings or absconded with anything, so I see no need to report your actions to the authorities."

Jim stared.

Spock stared back.

"Do you talk that way all the time?"

"I do not understand what you are questioning."

"Never mind. I'm gonna go," he said stepping by the Vulcan, "Have fun with your issues."

Spock opened his mouth to deny that statement but Jim was already escaping through the bathroom.

X

"Are you, friends?" Bones repeated. He was looking at the blonde teenager like he had three heads. He wondered if Jim was genuinely curious about he and Spock, or if it was his insecurity talking. It also had to do with the fact that this was the first time the kid came to speak to him after waking up sixteen.

"Yeah," Jim asked. He had on an ugly sweater, one Leonard had never seen in Jim's wardrobe before. It looked too big for him and unlike anything else Jim owned. "He's kind of an asshole."

"Are you telling me or yourself that?"

"Don't do that backwards psychology shit on me. I've had enough of that for a life time."

"Yes kid, you two are friends," he snickered, "Are we done here or are we going to continue playing therapist? I have a job to do you know."

"So, you're sure we're friends?"

Leonard paused.

"What did you do?"

"What?"

"You heard me you barn animal," he snapped. The kid narrowed his eyes, staring down McCoy like he was back to his twenty six year old self and captaining a star ship. There was something sharper in his gaze and Leonard knew immediately the kid was in his battle mode. He's known Jim long enough by now to know when something wasn't right. All of Jim's old tricks were being used by his younger self. Things Leonard had learned and has seen right through during their years the academy together. "Don't make me ask again Jimmy."

"I didn't do anything," Jim snapped, "Quit talking to me like you're my goddamn parent."

Leonard's eyebrows shot up as the kid turned and stormed out of medical. Nyota was just walking in at the tail end of their discussion, looking rather shocked. Leonard shook his head at her.

"What was that about?" she asked carefully. He shrugged, turning on his PADD.

"I have no idea. I don't have experience with teenagers yet. My damn daughter is only seven," he barked, throwing his hand up, "If you think Jim is a handful as an adult, try talking to him as a sixteen year old!"

"Alright, calm down," she huffed, "He's not gonna realize you're not actually mad at him right now. He'll realize it eventually."

"Kid makes me want to rip my hair out," Bones growled, "Did you talk to him again at all?"

"I tried to. He just sort of nodded and shrugged whenever I'd talk to him. Sulu and Chekov said that's all he did when they ate with him too," she frowned, "Can I ask a question?"

Leonard nodded.

"Why is he so skinny?"

"I don't know. He grew up on a farm, probably all work and no play. You know how Jim is," Leonard lied easily, "Always forgetting to eat. He's just worse at remembering food is a necessity as a teen."

She hummed to herself a moment.

"Want to join me for lunch Doctor? When your shift is over?"

Leonard blinked, fingers freezing on the PADD he was toying with since she walked in.

"Well ain't I lucky. The mighty Lieutenant Uhura requesting little ol' me for a lunch date," he drawled out.

"Yes," she smiled, "It's usually the other way around Leonard."

"I could see why," he shrugged, heading towards the cabinets. He heard her move behind him, and when he turned around from putting an emergency kit away, she was right in front of him. There was no use in ignoring the facts. She was an extraordinary person.

"I'm beautiful and intelligent," she pointed out, "What more could a man want?"

"You've just got oodles of confidence, don't you?" he said, crossing his arms. She mimicked his action, staring up at him with a teasing glint in her warm brown eyes. Of course her attitude was just a joke, but Leonard found it kind of endearing.

"Us ladies must, if we're to work with all of you men," she grinned, tilting her head, almost in a challenging manner.

"All us men," Leonard repeated, "Makes us sound like we're the bad guys."

"Of course not," she replied suddenly unsure if he understood she was joking, "You're not so bad."

"Duh, I'm beautiful and intelligent, what more could a woman want?" he said batting his eyelashes at her. She barked out a laugh, slapping his chest lightly before turning around, her ponytail swishing as she did so. She was playing with the little paper weight Joanna had given him before they left for their five year mission on the corner of his desk. It was a miniature glass statue of a man holding a little girl in his lap as they read a book. Joanna had one in her room on her dresser that matched his own. Jo had said it was them. Gb

Leonard watched her run her delicate fingers over the smooth glass of the figures, smiling. He grinned at her neutral expression, striding up to her and taking the figurine from her hands, fingers brushing over her own. She looked indecisive for a moment, caught off guard.

"I'll com you when you can come over," she finally said with a nod of the head. She stared up at him a moment longer before walking towards the door.

Had Jim been himself, Leonard might just have called him up to brag.

X

When Spock entered his room after consuming his mid-day meal, there sitting on his bed was Jim. Upon further observation, the older teen realized that the sweater on his person belonged to him. He had a scowl on his face and his hands were busy playing with a loos stitch at the hem.

"You have broken into my quarters again," Spock observed.

"Yeah well, mine were cold."

"A problem best remedied by setting the thermostat in your room to a higher degree," the brunette said, "And procuring clothes from your own closet."

"What?"

"That sweater belongs to me."

Jim's eyes widened as he dragged his hands over the expanse of the sweater.

"It was in my closet," Jim managed to say. He cleared his throat, and Spock noticed his face took on a reddish hue. When he looked up, his expression was no longer shocked but amused. "Finders keepers."

"I do not believe in the truth of that statement. The sweater remains mine."

"I still can't get in trouble though," Jim said, standing. The bed was rumpled from where he had been sitting. He was examining the sweater now, a curious and interested expression on his boyish features. His eyes still managed to look bright in the dim setting of the room. "I technically didn't steal it."

"But you did force entry into a room again," Spock responded.

"You'd think, after the first time, you'd amp up security," Jim chuckled.

Silence passed between the two.

"You were upset before."

"No."

"You are lying."

"No, I'm deflecting. Like you did earlier when I asked you why you were upset."

Spock closed his mouth, an audible breath leaving his nose. Jim nearly smirked at the victory.

"I was given information regarding several bonds to others within my mind that have been broken due to their death," Spock responded stiffly, "A bond is-"

"I went to school," Jim cut him off, tone condescending, "I know what a bond is. So, it was your mothers?"

"How did you-"

"You were wearing a sweater made by her when we played chess," Jim said. He shrugged his shoulders, hands disappearing behind his back. He looked to the floor and shrugged again. "Sorry."

"For what are you apologizing?"

"About whatever happened?" Jim said slowly, "It's what us humans do when others are grieving. We offer our apologies."

"What is, is," Spock told him, "There is no need to grieve over what cannot be changed."

"That's bullshit," Jim laughed loudly, "And you sound stupid saying that."

"I have been called many things-"

"-Oh I have no doubts about that-"

"-But the term 'stupid' has never been applied to me," Spock said despite the younger's interjection.

"Huh," Jim huffed, beginning to take off the sweater. Spock raised an eyebrow, eyes flickering to the pale skin of Jim's skinny torso as it dragged his t-shirt up with it. He tugged the rest of it off and adjusted his t-shirt before thrusting out the balled up garment. "Here."

"I was under the assumption that you thought this to be yours."

"Consider it a gift in your time of grieving," Jim huffed, "Because you don't go and put on a sweater your mother made you after hearing about her death unless you're grieving."

He pushed it into the Vulcan's arms before walking by him.

"Jim," he said and the blonde froze. He turned and flinched as it was handed back to him. The blonde stared at the article of clothing a moment, pure confusion on his face.

"It's yours," he said slowly.

"I am loaning it to you," the Vulcan responded.

"Why?"

"Vulcan's have superior senses to a human. I am aware of your distress last night. If you find comfort in a piece of clothing, take it."

Jim stared at it, again, his face turning alarmingly red before he snatched it from the Vulcan's hands.

"Jerk," he blurted before turning and exiting the room.

Spock allowed his brows to furrow, letting only the empty room bear witness to his confusion.

X

Jim didn't leave his room again until it was around time for dinner. His stomach was growling and he was getting tired of the same scenery. He was a kid of country, and not used to being confined in once space for too long. He lifted himself off the floor where he had decided to read and headed out the door in search of some food.

The hallways were very bright and bustling with crew members who all managed to spare him a glance despite their busy schedules. He managed to make his way down to medical despite his stomach growling at him to find some food.

There he found Doctor McCoy speaking on his communicator while checking and woman's left eye.

"You're alright Doreen," he told her, "Just flush it out if it begins to get irritated and remember to wear safety goggles next time."

"Thank you doctor," she chirped, slipping off the bio bed. Whoever Leonard as talking to on the communicator said goodbye before Jim could hear any of their conversation.

"Back to bother me again kid?" Leonard asked, turning around. He was removing rubber gloves from his hands and throwing them away in a bin.

"Are you busy?"

"Do I look busy?"

"No," Jim said peering around the mostly empty med-bay. He ignored the man's tone. "You don't."

"What do you want?" Leonard asked, "Feeling okay? You're not broken are you?"

"I'm hungry."

"Well that's dandy. I'm a doctor not a cook," he responded briskly. He was typing something into a machine, expecting Jim to leave again or throw another tantrum, but he remained quiet.

"Look," Jim huffed, tugging at the sweater he told himself he wasn't gonna wear again, "I'm sorry for being a dick before."

"Are you?"

"Yes you asshole," Jim grumbled, "Do you want to get dinner with me or not? I'm avoiding Spock."

"Why what happened now?" Leonard snorted. Some things, no matter what age, didn't change. Something shifted in the air and Jim felt his shoulders lose their tension. Leonard wasn't so bad, despite the fact that he was a doctor and old.

"Nothing," Jim mumbled, "Just avoiding him."

"Sure," Leonard said, nodding in understanding, "I do that too. Come on, let's get some chow."

Jim rolled his eyes but followed Leonard all the same.

X

Only was it when Jim was down in engineering did he realize that the Enterprise was pretty cool. The ship just seemed to stretch and stretch and he was constantly finding new rooms.

"Aye she's a mighty lass," Scotty smiled, patting a pole they passed, "Powerful as she is beautiful." Jim liked Scotty. Scotty, so far, was the only one who continued to talk to him like he wasn't sixteen years old. And he was a bit of a nut job. "Mind th' head though lad, we're havin' a bit o' repairs done down here. Crewmen running left and right with sharp objects and creative minds. Always a fun mixture. You know anything about warp cores yet?"

"A little," Jim responded, following the man's actions and ducking under a passing beam. He was carrying a large wrench and missing his red shirt.

"Ah now tha's what I like t'hear! So you'll keep up with me then," he grinned. That was where Jim sort of zoned out. He was sort of distracted by the crewmen hanging in harnesses creating sparks wear they mended metal. It looked fun.

The ship really was bigger than anything Jim had ever been on. He dragged his fingers across the metal railing they were walking beside, feeling the cool surface beneath his fingertips. The ship seemed to hum with energy everywhere he went, whether it was provided by the crew or the actual ship itself.

Jim was following Scotty down some stairs beneath several crew members perched on a structure, removing paneling to get a look at the wiring underneath.

The only reason he was down here was because he had overheard Nyota speaking to Doctor McCoy. She had said that Spock was in engineering. He had mostly been in the science labs, if Jim heard them correctly, but right now he was somewhere down here. When Jim looked ahead rather than to the side as he had been doing for the last five minutes, he realized Scotty was far ahead of him.

There was a shout from above them, and a distinct snap of the straps holding the paneling from falling. Jim swung around, head angled upwards. He would have been brutally hit by the descending metal had two hands not grabbed him and yanked him backwards. He stumbled, back falling against the surface of a crewman's chest as the panel crashed down, metal clanking against metal.

Scotty's angry voice filled the air, already telling off the crewmen who had managed to ruin the ship more rather than repair it.

Jim swallowed, gaining his footing, and turned around as the hands on his arms fell away.

"Are you alright?"

Jim's mouth went dry.

"Yes," he breathed. There was a crease between Spock's brows, notable concern on his features.

"You are certain?"

"Yes," Jim repeated.

Spock nodded once, glancing behind Jim at the crewmen already working together to pick up the sheet of metal and bring it elsewhere. His eyes fell back on Jim, eyes flashing down, taking in the sight of his sweater on Jim's smaller torso.

"Perhaps it would be best if we relocate," Spock said, voice a bit sharp. He looked like he wanted to rip the two crewmen hanging above them out of their harnesses. Jim didn't dare protest about wanting to hang with Scotty. In fact, oddly enough, a part of him gravitated to Spock's side.

"That's a good idea," Jim nodded. He allowed Spock to lead him away from Scotty's bellowing voice and on to the ship's lift. The man never even noticed he had left. He stood quietly beside the Vulcan, hands in fists at his sides. He wanted to say something, but his mind was utterly blank.

"Why were you in engineering?" Spock queried. Was that- was that possessiveness in his tone? Where the hell did Spock get off on policing him on where and where he shouldn't be?

"Scotty offered to give me a tour," Jim told him, shrugging, purposely looking away. "I have nothing better to do."

Spock found that the action of shrugging was pointless. It offered no answer and therefore was a useless act.

"Despite my extensive knowledge on a particular fauna two crewmen are currently dissecting and researching, I have been told to 'run along'. I too find myself with nothing to do," Spock replied. The lift doors opened and they exited side by side.

"I didn't think Vulcan's were capable of bragging," Jim snorted, tugging the sleeves of the sweater over his fingers.

"They do not. I was simply stating a fact," he responded. He watched Jim's fingers disappear easily into the length of the sleeves. There was something oddly engaging about the sight of the human wrapped up in an article of his clothing.

"Are we going somewhere?"

"I had one of the observational decks in mind, Jim."

"Oh," he said, looking forward again.

"Is this acceptable?"

"Yeah it's fine," Jim said tritely, never ever being so happy his voice didn't give out on him. Why did the guy need his approval? "Have you been on a ship like this before?"

"Not one of the size, no. I have been on smaller federation and Vulcan starships however," Spock responded. He took note of Jim nodding his head. His eyes were plastered to the floor as if he was trying to solve a puzzle written on it.

"Are you alright?"

Jim looked up, before laughter escaped his lips.

"You know, we don't even know each other and that question has been thrown around a lot."

"On the contrary, we know each other particularly well according to several crew members," Spock mentioned. Jim was still wondering how well they knew each other, considering the guy's clothes were in his closet and Spock had his damned book. They entered one of the observational rooms, empty and dark. The large glass windows were unblemished, smooth and rounded. It was almost as if you could walk right of the ship into the black.

Jim followed Spock up to the glass. His breath fogged the glass over, before it disappeared in time for his next delivering breath. He pressed his hand up against the glass, feeling the frigidness of Space through the simple window. He always loved the stars. They distracted him on nights where he wasn't safe to sleep, on nights when the house wasn't quiet enough to rest in, and most of all they were constant.

"I was born on a ship," Jim told him, "Well, in a shuttle actually."

"Belonging to the USS Kelvin, I presume," Spock nodded.

"How'd you know that?"

"I was three at the time of your birth. The news about the Kelvin being destroyed by an unknown Romulan vessel traveled," he explained. His eyes were trained on the stars when Jim looked at him. His pale skin seemed to glow by the light of the stars, highlighting the sharp contours of his face. Jim swallowed, crossing his arms.

"You remember stuff from when you were three?"

"I have an eidetic memory," the older said simply.

"That's pretty neat," Jim praised.

"It is useful."

Silence passed between the two. It wasn't uncomfortable, oddly enough. Jim liked the silence however. It was making him tired. He hadn't slept much the previous night. Spock probably knew that with his superior hearing and what not. That certainly sucked. He stifled a yawn with his wrist, eyes falling shut as tears gathered in the corners of his eyes.

"Thanks," Jim said after a moment. Spock's eyebrow popped up in question. "You know, for pulling me out of the way before I was crushed by the panel."

"No thanks is needed.

"Still," Jim sighed, "I don't normally freeze up like that."

"Indeed not. If a similar situation has occurred you would be dead."

Jim snorted at that, a grin plastered to his face.

"You just made a joke."

"I did no such thing," the Vulcan said, almost sounding scandalized, "I was simply stating a possible outcome of being hit with an item with that capacity and at that duration." He looked pretty damned amused however if his eyebrow and quirk of his lips were anything to go by.

"You totally cracked a joke. I can't believe it. A joke. Are you sure you're Vulcan?" The brunette immediately stiffened, posture whipping his spine straight and jerking his chin upwards. Any resemblance of humanity in him was wiped clean. Jim felt like ripping his vocal chords out. "I didn't mean for that to be mean- that was really xenophobic of me. I'm sorry."

Spock did not respond. When silence resumed, it lacked the comfort of the last stretch of quietness between the two. Jim shifted on his feet stealing glances at the Vulcan.

"Spock?" he asked, finally when he couldn't take it.

"Yes Jim?"

"Look, I don't want to be a dick. Especially to someone whose room I've broken into. But seriously what I said before wasn't right," Jim rushed out. He was met with silence. "Please say something."

"My mother was human."

That… Well that really wasn't what Jim was expecting.

"Well that's pretty cool," Jim tried, "Seriously."

"It was often seen as a disadvantage, and a point of ridicule."

"Well let's look at this logically then," Jim said touching his arm to gain the brunettes attention, "I didn't know that. I couldn't have known that unless I searched you on the federation's database- which I didn't if I might add because that'd be weird. So I had no idea that what I said would be considered even more horrible because of your heritage. I really didn't mean for it to come out that way. Seriously-"

"Jim." Jim's mouth shut and silently thanked the lord. "I understand this."

"So you aren't mad?"

"I am Vulcan. I do not get mad."

Jim opened his mouth to point out he was human too but refrained. Now would not be the time for that. He remained quiet, hand falling away from the guys arm. Didn't Vulcan's prefer not to be touched? His teacher back in high school referred to them as humanoid cats. That was kind of xenophobic now that Jim was realizing.

"Look at us," Jim said suddenly, "Learning things about each other."

Spock raised an eyebrow at him. Never had Jim felt more like an insolent child. They stood in quietness for the next few minutes.

"If I were you I'd punch me in the face."

"I am not you," Spock said simply. "Nor do I wish to cause you any means of harm."

"Oh," Jim said like the air was knocked out of him. "Well I feel like causing myself some harm."

"That is rather alarming. Perhaps you should see Doctor McCoy," Spock said, turning away from the glass. Jim flushed, shaking his head hurriedly. "Jim-"

"I was just joking," he blurted. A memory of driving a car of a cliff surfaced in his mind, a memory of climbing out on to his roof came about, a memory of going alone to gather food for children on Tarsus surfaced. He was going to repeat that he was just joking, but frankly he wasn't sure. He suddenly didn't feel like looking out at the stars anymore. "I'm not that stupid."

"It is not a matter of being stupid-"

"I know," Jim breathed out, "I know, Spock."

Spock looked like he was going to lecture him again, and Jim frowned. Instead the Vulcan glanced around the empty room. It was really just them in there.

"Hey," Jim said after a moment, "Want to go see if we can sneak into the shuttle bay? If this is the future, I want to see if they upgraded any of the old ones yet."

Spock opened his mouth to reply that they didn't have access to that location, only to shut it. Jim was already heading away, babbling on about possible changes they could make to help make them more efficient and 'cooler' to be in.

X

When Spock entered his room, he found Jim sleeping on his bed. Oddly enough, it was not one of the last sights he was expecting. He had expected not to see much of Jim due to their discussion and little adventure last night.

All logic put aside, sneaking into the shuttle bay with Jim was indeed an interesting and fun experience. He saw firsthand the teenagers advanced intelligence and was able to hold an engaging discussion with him. He was also faced with Jim's uncanny talent to sneak around undetected. It was only when security was notified that they were there did things get a little awkward.

Spock, for reasons he still wasn't quite sure why, pulled the blonde away from the security officer who had grabbed his arm a little too roughly. He had immediately let Jim go who barked at him that he didn't need protecting before marching away without the escort of a security guard to make him.

The whole experience had him rattled, and he was sure that Jim was angry with him.

Yet there he was, slumped over onto his side, dangerously close to the edge. He had gone to get breakfast with Lieutenant Uhura. He had even knocked on Jim's door to see if he'd like to come along, but he did not answer. Spock assumed he was sleeping.

Jim flinched slightly as the lights brightened and slowly his eyes opened. He jerked, tumbling off the bed in the process of realizing his surroundings. Spock stepped forward too quickly for his own liking, before calming his racing heart. Jim was already sitting up.

"Oh fuck," he blurted, rubbing at his collar bones. He looked particularly young with his hair in such a state of disarray and the sweater he has yet to take off nearly hanging off his shoulder.

"I presume you bare no injuries?" Spock asked.

"Just some injured pride," Jim groaned. He straightened carefully wincing at the pain shooting through his shoulder. Spock knelt beside him, eyes trained on the blondes pale exposed neck and shoulder. "I fell on it the wrong way."

"Yes, which leads me to believe you have sustained some injury," he nearly sighed. He became still as Spock's bare palm pressed against the ache in the juncture between his neck and shoulder. His hands were scorching hot against his flesh. Jim swallowed. Being that they were so close, Jim realized Spock had freckles. He could see the pale green veins across the teen's pale eyelids. Jim mentally applauded himself for again getting a rise out of the stoic teen once again. "We should let Doctor McCoy check you."

"I'm fine," Jim said. Normally he would have swatted the prying hands away, shrugged them off, but they felt far too warm and gentle against his skin. For a fleeting moment Jim wondered what it'd be like if they traveled elsewhere. He abruptly grabbed the Vulcan's wrist, pulling it away albeit gently. "I'm okay. Seriously."

"Fine has multiple variations and meanings. Fine is unacceptable," Spock replied. He glanced to Jim's bony fingers wrapped around the skin of his wrist.

"I don't want to go to medical," Jim sighed, dropping his head. Spock still stared at those offending fingers wrapped around him like a brand.

"Why were you sleeping on my bed?" he asked instead of continual persistence about medical. The smell of Jim, so pungent and excessive in his room seemed out of place, and yet natural. Like it was there all along, only now amplified by his presence.

"I know you went to breakfast," Jim murmured, "With that communications officer."

"Nyota, yes," Spock responded.

"No, Uhura."

"Nyota is her first name, Uhura her surname."

Jim let go of his wrist, fingers curling into his palm like a flowers wilting petals. Spock stared at the top of his blonde head, aware of the close proximity. He could smell Jim's shampoo. If he just leaned in an inch or so more, his nose would be buried in the blonde waves.

"I was waiting until you came back," Jim said, "And I just fell asleep again. Sorry."

Yes, he fell asleep again because Spock heard the teen shout and gasp through their double doors, terrified by whatever he was dreaming about.

"You cannot be at fault for a bodily function."

"I meant for falling asleep on your-" Jim stopped when he saw the small quirk on Spock's lips. Those lips, that were incredibly close to him. Any fight he had in him drained away. "You're screwing with me."

"Do not be insulting," Spock responded gently. He stood, adjusting his shirt. "Do you prefer to remain seated or would you join me for a game of chess?"

"Chess," Jim breathed out. He managed to get himself to his feet and join Spock at the table where the board was set up.

"Have you eaten anything yet?"

"No," Jim responded, "I will later."

"Would you like something to drink in the meantime?"

Jim shrugged. Spock sighed silently through his nose.

"Coffee? With milk and sugar. I don't care."

Spock refrained from pointing out the contradiction in that request and headed over to plug it into the replicator. He then replicated himself a cup of tea. Once they were both sitting with steaming cups and a board in front of them, Jim spoke.

"So, Uhura's pretty."

"Yes, she is aesthetically pleasing to the eye," Spock said, capturing already a piece of Jim's. Jim rubbed idly at his shoulder a moment, staring at the board. "Your shoulder is bothering you."

"What do Vulcan's eat for breakfast?"

"You have ignored my observation which therefore makes it valid."

Jim picked up his cup and took a long sip. He made a face at the taste before placing it back down and licking his lips. Spock watched the action intently. He continued watching even after Jim made his next move.

"Spock, your turn."

"I knocked on your door earlier. Nyota wished for you to join us. You heard me knock, and yet you did not answer. Why is this?"

"Just Nyota," Jim murmured. He picked up his coffee again despite his obvious dislike. He mouthed at the brim a moment before putting it back down.

Spock moved another pawn.

Jim moved another pawn.

"If you believe I am harboring any type of feeling-"

"-Oh god forbid that-"

"-over the events of last night, especially any negative feelings, I assure you this is not the case."

"Because you're really don't want to think about it, or because you're Vulcan?"

Spock opened his mouth, but any words he was going to say failed to come out. There was something so indescribably natural about this precise discussion, this bickering that had him reeling. Jim's blue eyes were mere slits in wake of his anger. His lips were turned downwards in a frown, and despite his obvious anger, there was a falter in his emotion that Spock immediately caught. His mouth became dry. His heart rate accelerated by 7.231 percent. That instant catch, where Spock could pinpoint that Jim was already regretting his words, made him even more uncomfortable with the developing situation.

"Spock?" Jim asked, voice clearly giving away his concern. Had he perhaps taken it a step too far?

"Jim, if I ask you to leave, I also ask you do not take it personally. I find that I- I am in need of-"

"I'm gone," Jim said standing. He left the room without another word. Spock closed his mouth, standing swiftly and beginning to light incense. He could not spare the time to think about how Jim was most likely very angry with him.

Jim. Everything in that moment was Jim. And it was suffocating. The room was clouded with the remnants of Jim's person, his scent, his voice still echoing off the walls and cool skin still beneath his palm. Jim's emotions radiating beneath his skin, thrumming through his nerves and rattling his bones. Emotions that could not be hidden, not even if Spock tried to valiantly run away from them.

There was very little Spock could think about right then and there that didn't lead him back to Jim in some way. A thought process without logic was foreign to him, and extremely disorienting. A thought process that was centered around someone whom does not seem to realize.

He hurriedly deposited himself a top his mediation mat and closed his eyes.

X

Leonard let out a much undignified yelp when he straightened and was met with Jim's scowling face.

"Jesus Christ kid! Warn a guy would you?" he shouted, still clutching his chest. It was a good thing he never usually beamed down with away teams. He'd be dead by now from shock or being snuck up on. Jim was unusually light on his feet, but Leonard was smart enough to not point that little trick out. Especially not when the kid looked like he was ready to knock some heads together.

"What are me and Spock?"

Leonard paused. His hand fell away from his chest.

"What?" he asked.

"What are we grown up I mean. What are we? Because there's no way that we're just friends-"

"What happened?"

"Nothing happened. I just- I don't like people. I make a habit of not liking people. And he's a Vulcan and here I am yelling at you about a damn Vulcan who just kicked me out of his room for simply asking him a question-" Jim laughed, running both his hands through his hair. His breathing was coming in shallow and raspy. He jerked backwards when Leonard reached forward to rest a hand on his shoulder. "Spock- he and me. Us," he wagged his finger back and forth, "Us. What are we?"

"You're bonded to him," Leonard said quietly.

"I'm what?"

"Bonded. Minds are linked. I don't know really the basis of it. Vulcan's keep a tight lip on this type of stuff."

"There's a Vulcan in my head."

Jim sat down in the chair across from Leonard's desk. He was rubbing idly at his chest, his face twisted into something akin to concentration.

"Jim?"

"Yes?" he asked weakly.

"What did you say to him that made him kick you out?"

"It's a long story," Jim sighed, shaking hands resting against his knees, "I just basically asked him if he was mad about something I said and about what happened down in- just- well he looked like he was having a fucking panic attack. I mean, what kind of person can make a Vulcan have a panic attack?"

"What did you say?"

"Something about him not acting Vulcan- and before you bitch at me about it, I know his mother was human and it created problems when he was little. But then he grabbed me away from a security officer and I yelled at him and well-. We sorted through that sort of but he was acting all weird and told me Uhura was pretty-"

"Wait what?"

"Doc, I feel like I'm gonna pass out," Jim huffed out. He rested his face in his hands. His heart was hammering away inside of him. He could feel each thump in his toes, racing up his insides until he could feel the beat of his heart in his temples. He winced as there was a pinch in his neck. There would be the hypo.

"Sit up." Jim did as told, only after he was sure he wasn't going to pass out. Leonard pressed his hand to the side of Jim's face, sighing heavily. Jim wondered if he had kids. "Look kid, the panic you're feeling right now might not even be all yours. There's emotional transference with a bond. If Spock was freaking out like you said he was, some of it is definitely his. Okay? So just take some big breaths."

A moment passed. When Jim didn't hear ringing in his ears any more, his shoulders slumped.

"Why am I bonded to him?" he asked quietly. "I don't even like him that much."

"Why are you wearing his sweater still?"

Jim's mouth hung open as indescribable frustration swirled within him. It was an expression Leonard knew on a different face.

"I hate you," Jim breathed out, letting his head fall against the doctor's chest, "You're a huge dick and I hate you. If I'm captain, then you're fired."

"Ah kid," he chuckled, patting the back of the kid's heads, "You feeling better?"

"No," Jim mumbled against the fabric of Leonard's blue shirt, "I don't want to be bonded to someone."

"It's scary," Leonard nodded, "You know, when you found out that you two were bonded, you came to me all happy and bright and ended up freaking out just like you did a moment ago."

"So I'm still an emotional train wreck with commitment issues when I'm old?"

"Twenty five isn't old," Leonard snorted, "And you're a lot better now."

Jim sighed, shaking his head. He lifted it slowly and rubbed the tears from his eyes. He sniffed loudly and Leonard made a face at the sound. Jim rubbed his wrist under his nose and let out a heavy sigh.

"Look, why don't I call up someone and you two can go eat. I know you didn't eat yet."

"Who?" he asked warily. Coming here so upset was a stretch, and now Leonard wanted him to go have lunch with someone? He was still trying to wrap his mind around why he decided to come down here instead of locking himself in his room and ignore everyone.

"I'd say Uhura but I don't think you want to see her right now. How about Carol? She's nice and always brightens everyone's day right up," Leonard chuckled, patting his leg. He straightened, grabbing his communicator.

Jim hasn't met Carol yet. He's seen her, and she's seen him, but they haven't met. He's been pretty clear in showing the crew that he doesn't want to socialize. Really, the only one he's talked to has been Spock, with the exception McCoy just now. He shifted in his chair as Leonard spoke to Carol across the line. Of course his thought's drifted to the Vulcan. Why hadn't Spock told him they were bonded? Did he not know? Did he not want to be any more? Jim swallowed, his throat constricting tightly.

"Doc," he said hoarsely, "I'm not hungry right now."

Leonard paused mid-sentence, taking note that Jim was not done freaking out. He apologized to Carol for taking time out of her day who immediately told him it was no problem and ended the call.

He rested his hip against his desk a moment, surveying and cataloging Jim's appearance in his head. Jim freaked out the same way he did as an adult, except there as no broken gym equipment and no sleep deprivation. Just pure and ugly anxiety leaking out of his pores practically.

"What's bothering you now kid?" he asked, crossing his arms, "Just tell me. I won't tell anyone. Doctor-patient confidentiality and all that."

Jim swallowed again, trying to get some type of moisture down his throat and preferably some air. He was beginning to feel dizzy again as his thoughts came a mile a minute.

"Why didn't he tell me?" he got out.

"He knew the bond was there, but because of you two being de-aged it was almost like it was dormant. Something you did, or he did, must've triggered it. Bonds are heavy stuff, or so I've been told by the older you." He hoped the steadiness of his voice would be enough to anchor the child.

"Is that it?"

"Be a bit more specific there?"

"Do you think he wants it?"

"Even all grown up I never know what the goblin wants," Leonard snorted, pushing off his desk. He pressed a hand to the kids shoulder, squeezing firmly, before adding, "But all I know is that whatever it is he's wanted or needed, you've always been a part of it."

"Really?" Jim asked quietly.

"Always you. In fact, it's kind of gross how mushy he gets about you. Make's me throw up a bit in my mouth," Leonard gagged. Jim snorted at that, before rubbing the back of his neck. He was still feeling light headed but the doctor's words sounded genuine. He hasn't lied to him so far. "You're gonna be fine Jim."

"Should I go talk to him?"

"I'd say so, yeah. I used to tell you to let him find you, but he's young and even more of a tight ass than usual so he's going to be in denial and what not."

"I'm going to sit here a moment though," he breathed quietly, "Figure out what I'm going to say." And finish freaking out went unsaid, but Leonard nodded in his agreement.

"Take your shirt off too by the way. Don't think I can't see those bruises with that sweater on. What do you take me for, a damned fool? Get your ass up and on a bio bed so I can make sure you didn't screw yourself up, being that it is my job. Go, kid. March. And what's this I hear about you sneaking into the shuttle bay? Do you know how dangerous it is down there especially if Scotty's running around with new decorating ideas and…"

Jim smiled at the groused words leaving the doctors mouth and did as told. He could see why he befriended the guy after all.

X

Spock was just letting himself fall out of mediation when there was a few knocks on his door. It had been two hours and seven minutes since he had begun sorting through his thoughts and skimming over new emotions and images in his mind that did not rightly belong to him.

What he found was of darkness, swirling anxiety and fear, trust broken and continuing to crack, and memories that were not his own. Memories of rotting flesh and of hallow cheeks, of cracking belts and aching welts, of being alone, of begging and pleading and knowing. The knowing that things weren't going to get better, that he'd be alone, that he'd have to live on his own, that when he mother left again because why couldn't she just stay, he'd leave and he'd travel all alone-

But there was a light. Faint and flickering behind a maze of walls rightly put up by their owner.

The knocking resumed when Spock did not answer.

His mind supplied him with a name. It was no doubt Jim. It was always Jim. Determination and courage were swirling around inside Spock's now mostly clear mind, but there was an underlying hint of fear. It was a fear so distinct and plain that it consumed any other hesitance in its presence. It was that type of fear that you knew you had to face. It bred determination and anger and so many other human emotions that it was almost dizzying for Spock to sort.

That darkness, and yet that tiny abrading light across the stretch of pitch, it was Jim's.

He opened his door and there the sunny haired teen stood. His eyes were red and his face pale and all Spock felt like doing was pressing his hands to that cool skin and assuring him he was not at fault. Instead, he settled for quiet words.

"Hello, Jim."

"We need to talk."

"I agree," he said quietly. He allowed the teen in, wondering why now he decided to knock rather make use of his hacking skills. Jim made himself comfortable on the edge of Spock's bed. He looked around the room a moment.

"I'm still wearing your sweater," Jim pointed out needlessly. Instead of reminding Jim that he was capable of seeing this and was not worth mentioning, he merely nodded. He was, uncertain what would come out of his mouth regarding the sight of Jim in his clothes if he were to speak. "Doctor McCoy is an asshole by the way."

"Has he said something to upset you?" Spock asked. His jaw tightened, fingers twitching in their firm old behind his back. He reigned himself back in, carefully folding up his emotions and storing them away.

"No. Well he's said many things, but they didn't upset me," he breathed out, practically feeling Spock's pent up anger. "But I'm still wearing it."

"I fail to see the relevance."

"You're letting me wear it. Vulcan's are iffy about all that personal space and are private and you're letting a kid you barely know wear your sweater. And not for 'just because' either. You said it was because it gave me comfort, that you knew I was upset."

"I am aware," Spock said, because that was all he could come up with. There was no logic behind his actions other than the fact that he did not want Jim to be upset. It was an act of compassion, something that Vulcan's overlooked if it clouded the path of logic and the best outcome. "And you, who only speaks to me, who avoids crewmen by locking yourself away in your quarters, is still wearing it."

It was obvious that Jim hadn't counted on Spock realizing these things as well. He flushed, dropping his head to look down at his lap. He expected a well thought out response, and yet Jim's reply was juvenile at best, and caught him off guard.

"You smell good is all," Jim murmured, playing with the hem of the sweater. The sleeves were too long, falling over his fingers and swallowing them whole. The shoulders weren't filled, and drooped downwards on his skinny frame. "Like, like smoke or something."

"Incense?" Spock questioned, sitting down beside him. Jim shifted, not any closer and not farther away, but he moved as the older teenager settled beside him. "I often light it when I meditate. I suppose the scent could have fused with the fibers of the clothing."

"Sure," Jim said, shrugging his shoulders. They brushed against Spock's arm but he did not move away.

The warmth of Jim's body was comforting and familiar. He was no longer confused as to why he felt as if he'd known the blonde since he was a child. It did not intrigue him why he was aware of Jim's location in engineering without aid from a machine or another person, or why he could read his emotions so well.

Logically, he was aware he'd never met the young man before in his life. His katra however, seemed to buzz and hum in the presence of Jim's person. There was a pleasant thrum of energy whenever Jim shared the room with him, and it only intensified until sparks of fire lit beneath his skin and lit him aflame as they drifted toward each other. It expanded deep within him, drawing him to Jim, telling him that Jim was his.

"I feel like I've known you for a long time," Jim said quietly, "And it's weird because I live in the middle of nowhere in Iowa, and we don't see much of anyone down there, let alone Vulcan's."

"I too have a similar feeling. It his rare to see human's on Vulcan," Spock responded. He was not lying, but he was not giving everything away just yet. It was a trick he had seen his mother use many times when his father accused her of lying. He vowed never to use it, that technicality was very close to lying, and yet here he was, bending his own rules for Jim.

Jim nodded once, before his soft blue eyes peered up at Spock. The Vulcan was staring at his hands. Jim peered down at them as well, taking in the long spindly fingers, elegant and pale, contrasting with the dark of his pants they rested against. They bore no scars, no blisters, no dirt. They almost looked like glass, if it were not for the faint webbing of green beneath the fair skin, proving his life.

Jim pulled the left sleeve back to look at his own hand. His life was in his hands.

Every blister showed every struggle he grabbed and held on to, every scar that licked his palms and knuckles showed his trials and tribulations and each bone protruding from tan skin scorched in country sun, reminded him of his past.

He reached across the expanse of their legs and took ahold of Spock's hand.

The nineteen year olds breath hitched as Jim's eyes widened. Against their flush palms, their skin melded together, fusing emotions and tickling nerves with a sensation Jim never felt before. He could only compare it to the pins and needles one received from sitting still too long, except it was pleasant and soothing.

He meshed their fingers together slowly, watching them slip down against each other.

When he looked up, Spock's eyes were dark and lidded.

"Just seemed," Jim couldn't seem to find his breath, "Like the thing to do."

"Indeed," Spock said, once he found his voice.

"I know about the bond."

The words were like a punch to the gut.

"How?" He was sure he had shielded himself from Jim as he could the moment he realized it was he whom he was linked to. He had begun shielding the moment Leonard informed he was bonded to someone.

"Don't feel guilty. Doctor McCoy told me," Jim said quietly. His thumb was idly rubbing at the skin of his hand. Spock watched it, swallowing.

"Do you have a habit of following your instincts?"

Jim stared at the man's lips, at the gentle curve of them and the pale green hue.

"It's how I survive," Jim said with a chuckle, but it sounded tired. It was the truth. If anything, his instincts were always there when no one else could be. "Is this bond thing, why you were so pissy when we left engineering and that whole grabby thing in the shuttle bay?"

"I was not aware of it at that time. I suppose it was however. I did not want you hurt."

"And it's why you let me wear your sweater?"

"I find the sight of you in my clothes," Spock paused, "Endearing."

Jim laughed, shaking his head as he stared down at their entwined fingers. His face lost its mirth and his eyes took on a seriousness far ahead of his age. He met Spock's eyes and only realized then how close their faces were. Their shoulders were pressed together all the way down to their elbows. He felt like a child on a playground getting to hold their crush's hand.

"This doesn't make sense," Jim said quietly, "It doesn't happen this way."

"What does not?"

"When," Jim paused, licking his lips, staring at the nearly invisible freckles on Spock's face, "When I'm with you I feel, safe."

"Safe?"

"Yeah," Jim said hoarsely, "And I haven't felt that way in, forever. It's, well it's really fucking weird."

"Is it unpleasant?" Spock asked, thumb stroking along Jim's hand. Jim shook his head hurriedly, fingers tightening against the brunettes.

"It's just," Jim shook his head, a frustrated sigh leaving his lips, "I wish I was better at words, I just- ugh."

But Spock seemed to understand. Another dizzying realization, Jim noted, that he really was his fucking soul mate.

"Dependency is not in your nature," he said quietly.

He squeezed Spock's hand and swallowed.

"Yeah," Jim laughed softly, "That's it, and it scares the shit out of me."

"Do not allow it to," Spock said softly. Jim's body turned, his shoulders angling and his legs lifting off the floor until he was turned directly at Spock. He still gripped his hand tightly, almost tight enough to leave bruising.

"I think I'm going to kiss you now. See how it goes," Jim murmured. He leant in before Spock could reply. Spock found himself adjusting, acclimating to the new change in position by turning his body as well and drawing Jim closer.

It was soft, sweet and pure. Their lips seemed to slot together just right, and when Spock allowed himself to ease into the act, he found his hand slipped down Jim's waist.

The pulled away after a minute, breathing in each other's air. Spock watched Jim lick his lips.

"That went well," he breathed quietly, "I think, I might not be right, but I think I feel you. In my head."

Spock regarded him patiently.

"It feels, nice."

Spock leant in and kissed him again, this time taking control. Jim's hands snaked up around his neck hesitantly, eyes slipping shut and eyebrows losing their knot of concentration. Once Spock felt Jim submit to his actions, no longer trying hard and just feeling the motion of the kiss, he let up his shields slightly.

Jim moaned then, pushing himself closer against Spock. He pulled away, breathing heavily against Spock lips.

"Is that you? In my head? I feel you," he breathed, almost sounding excited by the discovery, "It feels good."

"Those are my emotions yes," Spock said softly, "What I am, feeling."

Jim swallowed, breathing through his nose a moment, letting his hands let go of the Vulcan's hair. He focused on it a moment, feeling the warmth of care and love soak through his thoughts, draining away his original worry and fear. It was like some type of feel-good drug, like he was overdosing and never stopping.

He kissed Spock again, a smile on his face.

X

Jim was lounging in med bay, making conversation with Nurse Chapel when Leonard walked in. He had been discussing with Nyota, as they had the day they had lunch together, what the beings down on the planet they were orbiting said regarding Jim and Spock being teens.

Basically it was soon to be over. It would be painless, supposedly, which Leonard was grateful for. They'd basically just age really fast. The only pain they'd feel would be of growing pains. She had also said she managed to work out an agreement with the people down on the planet, bless her heart, that would not lead in the extermination of several thousand's citizens due to their de-aging process being ineffective on them. The whole civilization was old as the hills apparently, and the leader who looked to be about twenty was nearly four hundred in age.

She was going to Sulu with the news and a smile on her face. Leonard never had a doubt she couldn't talk them into not killing a whole lot of people.

He pushed Jim's legs off his desk and they hit the floor with a loud thud.

"Gee thanks Doc," Jim huffed, sitting up.

"This is a work place, not an area for knocking back a few drinks and laughing with your neighbors. Now, are you sick, broken or dying?"

"No but-"

"Do you know someone who is sick, broken, or currently dying?"

"No-"

"Than scram kid, I've got a lot on my plate today. Go find something to do that doesn't break regulations or any bones," he griped, sorting through the several PADD's on his desk. Jim frowned at him a moment. When the doctor didn't hear him leave, he looked up. Jim was smiling. He was smiling like a damn fool.

"Thanks Bones," he said, catching the man completely off guard.

Leonard squinted his eyes a moment when he spotted something out of place. Something on Jim's neck that was purple and full of things Leonard didn't even want to think about.

"Is that what I think it is on your neck?" Bones asked suddenly. Jim, with an audible slap, snapped his hand over his neck and was up and racing out of medical before anyone could catch him. That kid was quicker than lightening.

Leonard let out a slew of curses and angrily snapped the case of hypos shut.

"Doctor McCoy?" Nurse Chapel queried after a moment of him brooding around his desk, "Is everything alright?"

"No everything's not alright because I sure as hell don't wanna give the whole sex-ed spiel to my two commanding officers, one of which isn't even of age," he barked out. Chapel's eyebrows flew up staring wordlessly at the grumbling doctor. Before she could even question what he meant, he was walking by her heading toward a yeoman complaining of bad headaches.

X

"Have you been arrested?" Sulu asked dryly.

The conversation had come up after Chekov mentioned he was once sent to the station in his home town for loitering around a shop with some friends. Nyota then chimed in that her record was untarnished, except for one time she ran away from home for a few days and was filed missing. Spock of course, said nothing, reading something on his PADD. Jim had chuckled at both of Nyota and Chekov's declarations but flushed when Sulu aimed the question at him.

He thought about shrugging his shoulders but then he decided against it.

"Fourteen times," Jim told him. He continued swirling his soup around, not all so hungry. He normally didn't mind chicken soup, even from a replicator. He had eaten a rather big breakfast with Spock earlier on. He smiled at the memory of the Vulcan eating waffles across from him. He was glad he witnessed his first taste of them, even if they were just replicated. He looked up when the empty silence continued longer than usual.

The entire table of four was staring at him.

"What?" he asked.

"You're sixteen."

"Yes," Jim said slowly, "Wasn't like I killed anybody. I just, did some stuff."

"Like what man?" Sulu snorted. They were all curious to hear what he had to say, being that this was the first time he was actually choosing to speak with them. Jim blinked, letting go of his spoon with a clink. He thought a moment, kind of grateful Spock liked him as much as he did.

He liked being able to feel the guy's emotions and what not. He couldn't be lied to, or fooled. It was nice.

"Trespassing, wiring cars, blew some stuff up, lit some stuff on fire," he shrugged his shoulders, "Iowa's boring. I have a lot of free time."

"Vhat about school?" Chekov asked confusedly.

"Oh I got in trouble for that, not going I mean. My record is a month and nine days before they realized my mom was off planet and couldn't be the one calling me in. The lady down at the auto shop likes me," he smiled, laughing a little. Yeah he remembered that afternoon alright. He also remembered the night of being yelled at through a video call.

"You have also broke through Star Fleets security systems," Spock said, neither sounding approving or disapproving. Jim pursed his lips a moment, wondering if he was going to bring up the fact that he has broken into his room several times.

"Oh yeah, but that was worth it," Jim chuckled quietly, "It's funny when old people get frustrated. Only reason I'm not getting killed in prison is because my mom's got some pretty bad shit on a few admirals."

"What, really?" Nyota asked. She even leant forward in her chair slightly. She wasn't sure, but if she was reading things right, which she usually did, something had shifted between the two. Something good.

Jim just nodded in confirmation before picking up his spoon and having some of his soup.

"Couldn't ask me what," he said.

She caught it. Right as Jim sat back, his allowed his arm to brush against Spock's and stay there. It was a simple act, but it spoke in volume about the two. She felt a smile form on her face. She had a feeling the two would get along, even if they were younger. They complimented each other, no matter what age, sex or universe.

As lunch ended and the three older officers headed back to their posts on the bridge, Jim and Spock took a stroll around the ship. It was only when they were going back to their quarters did Jim break the comfortable silence.

"Are you hurting anywhere?"

"Physically?" Spock asked.

"Yeah. I've got an ache in between my shoulder blades that just won't quit," he huffed, stretching and reach his hand down his back.

"I have had pain in my legs since this morning," Spock responded, watching Jim interestedly, "I am certain it is what Humans call 'growing pains'."

"Huh," Jim said distractedly. Maybe he'd go to McCoy for some pain killers, of the pill kind. Once he and Spock were in there quarters, he kicked off his shoes and fell onto Spock's bed easily. He stretched his limbs out across the expanse of the bed, yawning.

Spock ventured into the bathroom, leaving Jim alone a moment.

When he came out, Jim was sitting on his knees, abdomen stretched, as he tugged the sweater and t-shirt over his head. He was struggling a moment, trying to get the static filled shirt away from the sweater. Spock thought it'd be right to help, but he didn't feel the desire too.

Jim finally managed to get the sweater away from his shirt, and upon noticing Spock was watching, he reddened and jerked his arms down. The t-shirt caught around his skinny biceps stretched over his narrow chest in an attempt to cover himself up.

"I apologize," Spock said and Jim didn't think he sounded that sincere. He was scrabbling to get the shirt on correctly, not noticing Spock coming closer to him. The brunette stopped in front of Jim, resting his hand on the teen's shoulders.

"Don't look," Jim said shyly, eyes darting away.

"Why?" Spock asked, though he obeyed the request. He helped Jim right the shirt on his torso before sitting beside him.

"I'm all skinny and stuff," Jim mumbled. Spock had already seen the long scars marring the blondes pale skin. It looked as if he had been whipped. "And you're all developing muscle and Vulcan confidence and what not."

"Confidence is not a gene shared by-"

"I know," Jim sighed, resting his hands in his lap, "I'm just me. And you're you."

"You are just you," Spock nodded, "There is no denying that statement. Are you not happy with being just you?" Jim rubbed at his ear a moment, tugging at it in his anxiousness. Spock found it astounding that a person as unique and dynamic as Jim, someone excessive in all aspects, could find so much fault with himself. "I find you to be quite enjoyable."

"Enjoyable?" Jim asked confusedly, "I thought Vulcan's didn't enjoy things."

"I am half human," the nineteen year old reminded him, "And I find both your mind and your aesthetic pleasing."

All Jim could do was gape. How on Earth was he supposed to respond to that? Apparently with silence, since he couldn't string together two intelligent words. After a moment, he shifted on the bed, closer to Spock.

"You know about parts of me," Jim said slowly, resting his hands on the older teen's arm to hold him as if Spock would up and leave at the mention of his thoughts, "Like how I know the exact words which made you break that Vulcan child's nose. When you were thirteen. Even though you never told me."

"I do," Spock said softly.

"And you're still telling the truth?"

"If I were lying, ashayam, you would be able to tell."

Spock watched the way relief seeped into the blondes face and body. He rested his hand against Jim's, allowing his touch to linger on Jim's skin.

"What does that mean?" Jim asked after a moment. "Ashayam."

"Beloved," Spock responded gently.

"Oh," he said, his fingers twitching underneath Spock's firm hold. The Vulcan's lips quirked upwards in the corner at Jim's noticeable embarrassment. "Okay."

Okay indeed.

X

It was in the night when Jim shifted beside Spock, obviously uncomfortable. Spock tightened his hold on the Human, hoping it was not another dream scaring him. He nuzzled the back of the blondes' neck, feeling him relax almost instantly.

When the ships simulated morning came around, Jim felt Spock stir next to him. His eyes opened and he was greeted with the sight of wiry black hair on a chest that did not have hair when he fell asleep. He blinked, head spinning as he sat up too fast. He ran a hand through his hair to feel that it was shorter, and that his hand was connected to a muscled arm.

"A pleasure to see you again, Jim," Spock said softly. The blonde man looked down at Spock, his Spock, lying there looking quite content.

So they had grown back into themselves over night. Had it been anyone else, he would have most likely started to freak out. That was for later, when they ran into the crew. But it was Spock who knew all his secrets and his memories, so he didn't mind. That would explain the aches in his body all night, just barely able to sleep due to them. He looked back to Spock who was watching him.

"Do you remember?" Jim asked, almost amusedly.

"I do recall," Spock nodded, "You were, just as I expected you to be."

"Oh was I?" Jim snorted, "Well I'm glad I could please."

Spock pulled him close abruptly, making Jim laugh as he fell against his chest. The clothes he was wearing were too tight. He pulled the blankets over him and Spock, with the goal of shimmying out of the too tight pants underneath. He saw that Spock had already done just that.

"Bones is going to be annoyed we didn't go to him right away," Jim said, hips swaying and feet kicking as he got the pants off. Spock was already pulling the t-shirt over his head, being elbowed in the process.

"The doctor is prone to anger. It is nothing new," Spock said, lips latching onto the skin of Jim's neck. Jim let out a laugh.

"Well, I'm of age," Jim snickered, "He shouldn't really be surprised."

Spock simply hummed against his skin.

Once they were done with their morning activities, melded, showered, shaved and dressed, they reported to med-bay like responsible adults.

Bones looked up as soon as they walked in, a scowl immediately on his face. He was already scurrying across med bay, collecting his usual instruments and approaching them.

"Glad to see you two had your growth spurts," he groused.

"I thought you'd be happy to see me Bones!" Jim said clapping him over the shoulder, "I missed being as tall as you."

"So you remember everything then?" he asked, already scanning Jim for any abnormalities, "Feeling normal?"

"As normal as always," Jim responded brightly, "We're cleared for duty right? How are things down on the planet?"

"Just dandy, and you can thank Nyota for that by the way," he responded, clicking his tricorder closed. He looked at Spock a moment before shaking his head to himself. "She's already filed the reports, which you two can read somewhere else that's not my med-bay."

Jim was already dreading the amount of paperwork that accumulated over the last few days in his 'absence'. He was going to have to pull an all-nighter and plow through it. It was a good thing he had Spock to help. And get him coffee. And maybe convince him to give him a shoulder rub. God his body was still too stiff.

"So everything's good then? No problems since I-"

"Look, I had the unfortunate liberty of watching you two sad sacks fall in love all over again during the last few days. I have work to do. Consult with the paper work on your PADD's for all missing information and Sulu," McCoy barked, "Leave! Scram! I'm prepping for a surgery!"

"You aren't even in surgery get-up," Jim pointed out, but Spock was tugging him gently away from the grumpy doctor. "I would know what that looks like!" Jim called as they left medical.

"Come, we have work to do," Spock told him. Jim nodded, straightening his shoulders and holding his head high.

"Yes, us adults do, Mr. Spock. Let's head up to the bridge."

"Yes Captain."

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Authors Notes: So, this ended up being like a million times longer than I meant for it to be. I went back about seven different times and added things in and took things out and tried to progress their relationship but I'm never any GOOD at that stuff. Progression stuff it like my worst enemy.

Also, sorry for spelling mistakes, grammar and all that. Sorry. It's late, I sort of proof read (but not really) and I just wanted to give you guys this before I pass out. Sorry again for the annoying mistakes that I know are hiding.

Anyways, I thank you all for sticking with me through times of trouble. I'm really hoping you enjoyed this chapter. It's kind of funny, since someone requested this while I was in the process of already writing it. I hope you enjoyed!

Katra means soul in Vulcan.

Have fun in School kids! I know I'll be tired and crying in my workload!

~rousey