Title: Journey to Babel
Universe/Series: Part Four of 'What Shouldn't Be' series, Reboot/TOS
Rating: NC17/R
Relationship status: first time, unresolved sexual tension
Plot: Love is a battlefield.
Warnings: always!girl Kirk, angst, action, character death, language, references to past child abuse, rom-com humor, sexual situations, violence, possible amateur world-building
Additional Pairings: Spock/Leila Kalomi (one-sided, unrequited)
Summary: During the second year of her captaincy, Jim Kirk experiences a closeness with Spock that comes as a surprise to both of them. Now comes a whole turmoil of emotions for both of them as they delve deeper into this fated relationship.


STARDATE 225312.11

Riverside, Iowa

Frank Emerson Residence

Jim and Spock have their first argument as a couple.

This is how it happens.

When they returned to Earth, spent the majority of their time in their private quarters, putting all their belongings in cardboard boxes for the temporary move and refitting of the Enterprise. Jim hates packing, okay? There is literally nothing she can stand more. And of course Spock, being the proficient worker he is, manages to get all his packing done in just under six hours on the first day. Which is fine because she bullies him into helping her.

Jim is a woman of many tastes, and she likes to shop, even if she never really had the means to do such. Jim is cleverly fashion savvy, and she's made an art out of spending on a budget. Which is why she has an extensive collection of clothes, jewelry, and shoes. This is like a thing, okay?

Spock strongly urges her to pile all her belongings in separate quadrants defined either by design, color, or make. Jim jokingly makes a comment about how he better hope that she doesn't want to live with him one day because he would have to deal with her hording on a daily basis. Spock merely gets this confused look on his face and remarks how he finds it unlikely that such a minor habit would sully a desire for him to want to cohabit a place with her. Jim kind of gets all gooey inside at that and they end up making out in her walk-in closet when they should be focusing on the job at hand.

Eventually they refocus, and between the two of them, they are able to get over eighty boxes packed (with Jim being mindful enough to label each and every one of them in permanent marker). They don't worry about the furniture—apparently they would be getting new furnishings (based on their specific taste).

Speaking of which, Jim is not envious of Rand because he is in charge of handling and managing the crew's furniture requests. That's a lot of shit he has to submit to Starfleet, while staying within the designated budget so that all the orders wont eat away at the funds designated to it. Then again, Rand does love that kind of stuff. He is an administrative junkie.

But back to the point of how they have their first fight.

So after they packed all her belongings, they had a little conversation—well it started off as a conversation—about whether or not she should place her things in storage.

Spock makes a comment about the condo he has on the academy grounds, and how it has more than enough space for both his and her things. Jim likes the idea, of course she does, it's reasonable. It gives her less to worry about while she's in Iowa seeing to her uncle's affairs.

Now, Spock knows about the little exchange she had with Winona and Frank's lawyer. She had discussed it with him that very night over dinner, and the problem is that Spock believes he should go with her. She adores Spock, she really does—but what he doesn't realize is that wintertime in Iowa would be like the below freezing weather in Antarctica for Vulcans. Why would she willingly make him suffer through that while she makes Frank's house into a home for his daughter and arrange his funeral while enduring that side of the family in what is sure to be an awkward even, since she hasn't really gotten a chance to know any of them?

Spock is adamant that he joins her for consolation and support. He believed that it would be remiss of him to allow her to bear it all alone. She also gets the sense that he isn't too fond of long distance relationships, and neither is Jim, but he doesn't have to come. They spend the majority of the day going back and forth about the issue.

Jim is vaguely worried about Spock's tolerance for cold temperatures and he maintains that his anatomy will allow him to adapt in ways evolution has imparted in Vulcans the means to regulate their own body temperatures. This is how they end up shopping at a local store for winter garments. She makes Spock buy at least ten pairs of thick socks, six pairs of gloves, eight pairs of hats, three scarves, a set of thermal underwear and a shitload of sweaters.

A day later, and nonstop shuttle flight to Riverside, they pile their luggage in a trunk of a cab transport before climbing in the back seat. Jim gives the driver the address and does not send Spock worried glances every three minutes (except that she totally does).

Its frigidly cold like Jim expected, and even under her royal blue trench coat, orange gloves, scarf, and hat, she can still feel that cold biting into her skin with little pricks.

Spock is bundled in a dark brown, extreme thermal jumpsuit made of elastic gusset with a banded collar, and a two-way zip flap. He's got on white gloves with a matching hat, and Jim just finds it adorable as much as she finds it comforting that he is taking careful measures to combat the winter chill of Iowa. Sliding over, she leans against him and he places a heavy arm over her shoulders as the static of the radio chimes in the background.

Jim doesn't remember falling asleep, but she does, even in the short drive to her uncle's decrepit house, that at one point was shelter to her. She rubs her gloved fingers into her eyes as she stretches and yawns, watching through the frosted windows as Spock takes care of the fare and aids the driver in transporting their luggage to the top of the porch steps. When she feels awake enough, she slides forward and out the door, slamming it behind her as she treks up the concrete walk to join Spock.

The driver gives them a pleasant goodbye before he climbs back into the cab and drives off. Jim watches the silver tube disappear in the distance with a sigh as she tugs down her scarf from off her mouth. She gropes her pockets for her chapstick and runs it over her lips quickly.

Frank's lawyer was supposed to meet them so he could open the house and have Jim sign off on a few documents, including the death gratuity and pension, which would automatically be deposited in her account when she did so.

Jim would be lying if she said that she wasn't looking forward to that. When you grow up in poverty most of your life, scratching and stretching every thing you earn, the desire to be financially well off is a constant thought. She'll be able to do things she's wanted to do, now that she has to means to do it, and she wont feel guilty for superseding a budget or forcing herself to make do with what she has. It's surreal.

Donald pulls up a few moments later, decked out in a suit under a thick wool trench coat with a briefcase in one hand. He joins them on the porch and shakes Jim by the hand. "Ms. Kirk. It's nice to meet you in person," he says and nods to Spock.

"Likewise," Jim returns.

Donald pulls out a set of keys from his inner pocket and they jingle sharply as he unlocks the front door and let's himself in. The screen door squeaks and snaps shut noisily behind him.

"Do you want me to help you?" Jim asks as she indicates to their luggage.

"That will not be necessary," Spock assures. "I will manage this while you attend to your affairs."

Jim smiles and kisses him on the cheek briefly before she goes inside, plucking off her gloves, even though it feels as cold in the house as it does outside. She takes a moment to think about how it all looks the same as she remembers.

Donald is waiting for her in the living room, where the furniture is draped in white sheets. "Mr. Emerson spent the duration of his illness in a hospital," he explains when he notices Jim's wary glances around.

Jim nods and says, "So what do I sign?"

Donald puts his briefcase on the dusty coffee table and clicks it open. He pulls free his PADD and takes a moment to set things up before he hands it over to her with a stylus pen. "This is to confirm that you have accepted the responsibilities Mr. Emerson has prearranged to you. Scroll through please and when you come to a signature line, sign your name," he instructs.

Jim quickly scans the virtual documents and signs. When she finishes, she hands it all back.

"Thank you," Donald says as he double checks. "Good." He pulls up a new set of documentation before handing it back. "This is to confirm that you agree to use the awarded sum of 250,000 credits for the purpose of making Mr. Emerson's house presentable for his daughter and her family, and also for his funeral arrangements, which you understand specifies his desire to be cremated. Scroll through and when you come to the signature lines, sign your name."

Jim quickly scans the virtual documents and signs. When she finishes, she hands it all back.

"Thank you," Donald says as he double checks. He pulls up a new set of documentation. "And this is the end of it," he promises as he passes the PADD over to her once more. He explains, "Now, as George Kirk's sole heir, the following documents indicate your acceptance of the death gratuity awarded to you in the sum of 30 million credits plus an annual pension of 350,000 credits, which will be deposited to you at this date and time as soon as you sign. The time and date of these yearly deposits of the pension will be based on the time and date of which you signed your acceptance, so keep this day in mind for future reference."

Jim nods as she quickly scans the virtual documents and signs, ignoring the way her fingers tremble this time.

Donald shuffles through some papers in his briefcase.

When Jim finishes she hands it all back.

"Thank you," Donald says. He presents her with the papers in his hand. "Here is a hard copy of everything so that you can have it for your own archiving. I'm sorry for your loss." He gives her a final nod before he packs up his things and exits.

Jim stands there for a long while, and the weight of the situation kind of bears down on her. She tries not to think about how she might actually feel sad as she unwraps the scarf from around her neck and tugs off her hat, her hair falling around her shoulders like a golden curtain.

Spock quietly rests his gloved hand on the small of her back and he kisses the corner of her mouth. The kiss says, 'I am here.' And when he pulls her close, resting his chin on the top of her head and she curls her fingers in the front of his jumpsuit as she squeezes her eyes shut against the tears, his embrace says, 'You are not alone.'

Despite it all, despite the fussing and the back and forth they went through to get here—Jim, in that very moment, is so very glad that Spock stubbornly held his ground and accompanied her. After all, this wasn't supposed to be difficult. She wasn't supposed to feel anything about Frank's absence.

But that's just the problem. Even in all the horrible things he's done to her, in the end he had tried to do right by her—he had showed himself to be human. And that's whom Jim weeps for—the person that Frank was in the end, that person before the world twisted him into something cruel.

She sniffs as her tears chill into icy trails down her flushed cheeks and she chews on her bottom lip to keep from making a sound.

Spock tightens his hold and his lips shape over the words he whispers into her hair. He takes a moment to remove his gloves, ignoring Jim's watery protests, and he cups his pale hands over the curve of her jaw, tilting her head up so that he can look into her blue eyes. His mouth folds into a grim frown and his brow furrows with his upset as he studies her flushed face. In Vulcan, he says, "It grieves me to see you suffer." He gently pushes her bangs out of her eyes. "It is because you are mine, that I share in this pain as well."

Jim hiccups as she looks at him with trembling lips because his words are cutting into the vulnerable pockets of her heart and under his probing gaze she can establish no defense against it. She makes a small sound as he kisses the corners of her eyes while tears leak down her cheeks from under her wet lashes.

"I grieve with thee," Spock whispers into her forehead before she wraps her arms around his neck and hides her face in his shoulder.

Jim cries for a good fifteen minutes. It lessens the dull ache sitting on her chest and in her gut. She's definitely lighter afterwards, when she finds the strength to pull away and wipe her face clean with the tissues Spock retrieves for her. She exhales heavily as she blows her nose and sniffs, feeling distinctly swollen about the eyes and the inside of her throat.

"God," Jim mumbles nasally. "This is going to be a nightmare." She takes a moment to look around as she sniffs. She sighs as she feels a headache coming on. "I'm going to need at least a foot of interior decorating catalogs." She sniffs again and balls up the used tissue in her hand. "I think we should start in the basement. See if we can't get some heat going."

Spock inclines his head.

Jim unbuttons her trench coat with a sigh as she evaluates a proper game plan in her head. In three weeks, the Emerson clan (not to mention Winona) would be traveling over to attend Frank's funeral, and she had to make sure everything was presentable long before then.

There was so much to do, and little time to do it.

Author's Note: Might be a while before you get the first chapter. I start school tomorrow and I don't doubt that it will take up a majority of my time. Please comment and remind me not to abandon or completely forget about this series.