In any case, honestly? I had fun. Hope you will, too. ;)
Title: Aurora 1/?
Pairing: Kirk/Spock pre-slash
Rating: PG so far, will go up
Word count: ~ 3100 for this part
Warnings: in-touch-with-his-humanity!Spock, not-evil!Winona, some language. Also, your dentist is gonna hate me.
Summary: When Spock's parents die, his mom's old school friend Winona Kirk is appointed his legal guardian. Another one of 'Spock grows up on Earth' tales. The story starts when both Jim and Spock are 14.
A/N: I made them the same age here for plot convenience. So sue me.
Aurora is the Roman goddess of dawn.
“Come on, Spock, it’s gonna be awesome!” Jim nudges him toward the house impatiently. “Kelly’s parents are out of town; she and Gill have the house all to themselves. Sweet, huh? Mom would never leave us alone like this.”
There’s definite wistfulness in Jim’s tone, but Spock mentally shudders. Winona’s adamant response every time Jim asks her to surrender their house to a bunch of 14-year-olds might be a huge disappointment to her blood-son, but Spock is actually relieved.
Not that he’s foolish enough to tell Jim that.
“Maybe I shouldn’t go, Jim,” Spock repeats yet again, eyeing the house apprehensively. The sound of music and exuberant voices is incredibly loud even at a distance, and Spock is preemptively out of breath thinking about what might greet him inside.
“Spock, don’t start.”
“But I wasn’t even invited.”
“It’s a school party! No one gets invited; people just turn up. Come on, don’t be like that. You’re with me, remember?”
Indeed. It’s hard to forget when Jim’s hand is clenched around Spock’s wrist in an iron grip, tugging him forward.
Stomping on his own misgivings, Spock surrenders to the inevitable.
It’s mostly his own fault, anyway. When Jim mentioned another party and asked if Spock wasn’t even the tiniest bit curious about them, Spock made the mistake of saying yes. He was immediately roped into going, and all his protests about not being part of Jim’s circle were swept out of the way like they were nothing. Jim didn’t really understand about circles because he was welcome everywhere. Spock had tried to find an ally in Winona, but she’d just looked at him critically and sided with Jim for once, saying that it might do Spock some good to get out of the house. Spock had grumbled, but finally conceded.
He’s regretting his decision more and more with every step that takes them closer to the source of all the commotion. The silhouettes of their classmates hanging out on the porch induce Spock with a dim sense of unease. He protests fervently when Jim teases him for developing human intuition, but he can’t deny the growing trepidation he feels.
“Hi, Kells!” Jim waves cheerfully at the girl standing by the steps, sipping dark liquid from a tall glass. “Looks like a full house, huh?”
She turns to look at him, her face lighting up. “Jimmy! I was afraid you forgot!”
Jim laughs. “How could I have forgotten, beautiful?”
Kelly beams at him and stands on her toes to kiss his cheek when she catches sight of Spock. She pulls away from Jim with a frown. “What’s he doing here?”
Without looking, Jim reaches back to grab Spock’s hand again. “Spock decided to finally join the land of the living. Isn’t it great?”
“Fantastic,” Kelly drawls in a tone that suggests anything but. “Jim, can I talk to you for a second?”
She pulls him aside, and, because Jim’s hand is still holding Spock’s, Spock gets dragged along with them, despite his attempts to free himself.
Kelly narrows an irritated glance at him. “Look, could you maybe give us some privacy? Thanks.”
Spock jerks his hand back more forcefully this time, even as Jim scowls, and walks away, trying to put some distance between them. The girl starts speaking hurriedly, obviously forgetting about Vulcan hearing.
“Look, Jim, you can’t seriously bring him here. I mean, look at him – he’s like my grandpa when he wasn’t my grandpa, you know? He wears winter clothes, for God’s sake, and he smells funny, and his hair is godawful, and that nose can’t appear on any of the holos. I hired Doug Stanton for tonight; he’s gonna write in his column how this is the hottest party in town. I can’t let him ruin it!”
Spock has actually stumbled somewhere in the middle of that speech, knowing that his face is burning and trying very hard to control his breathing. He is, indeed, wearing thick pants and a woolen turtleneck while everyone else is sporting jeans and shorts, but he’s cold, not shy. The Iowan spring is far too freezing for his growing body that is torn between human and Vulcan responses. Two very different genomes are waging war inside him, fighting for dominance, and Spock understands how it could have an unfortunate effect on his appearance.
Until tonight, though, he’s never understood exactly how unfortunate it is. He’s Vulcan, at least in half, and he knows that his mother was one of the smartest, brightest human minds ever to exist, so Spock understands that true beauty has nothing to do with the physical.
Strangely, the thought doesn’t make him feel any better right now.
“Wow,” Jim says icily. “I didn’t realize you were such a bitch, Kelly.” He doesn’t bother lowering his voice. Unlike Kelly, he hasn’t forgotten the range of Spock’s hearing, having been familiar with it since they were both six years old.
“Jim!” Kelly sputters. “That was uncalled for!”
Spock can see how it would come as a surprise. Jim is usually all flirting charm and undisguised flattery where girls are concerned.
“Was it now,” Jim drawls. “Whatever. Go back to your stupid party, Kelly. And don’t worry; we’re leaving. Wouldn’t want to spoil your holo shoot.”
“But Jim!” She grasps his arm, halting him, her face registering open alarm. “You have to stay!”
“What am I, your star or something?” Jim sneers. “Sorry. If Spock’s not welcome, neither am I.”
“Wait!” Kelly bites her lip, smudging her glowing lipstick. Her eyes dart between Jim and Spock, as she searches frantically for a way out. “Look, we can maybe disguise him or something – or! Or maybe if he stays upstairs—”
“Goodnight, Kelly.” Jim walks past her, a thunderous expression on his face as he grabs Spock by the shoulder and tugs him on.
“Jim, wait,” Spock says quietly, planting his feet solidly into the ground. “You don’t have to leave.”
Jim scowls. “Sure I do.”
“No.” Spock leans closer, aware of Kelly and her friends watching them. He lowers his voice even more. “What about Pauline? You were supposed to meet her inside, weren’t you?”
Jim blinks, he obviously has forgotten, but Spock didn’t. Jim has been talking about the girl for two weeks non-stop, and, while this is hardly his first crush, Spock had yet to see him quite so invested.
“She is here,” Spock tells him. “I saw her through the window.”
Which is true. Spock saw Pauline in the middle of the living room. She wore the shortest skirt Spock has seen to date and a glimmering tank top that seemed two sizes too small. Spock has seen the way Jim reacts to Pauline at school and he is certain that Jim would not want to miss this.
But Jim shakes his head. “I’ll hook up with her some other time.”
He starts walking again, but Spock holds him back.
“Jim,” he says meeting his eyes. “You don’t have to leave on my account. I will have no difficulty finding a means of transportation—”
Jim rolls his eyes impatiently. “Spock, this isn’t about fucking transportation, okay?”
Spock holds his gaze determinedly. “I will not take offense, Jim. I didn’t wish to go in the first place.”
“Yeah, you did,” Jim says bitterly. “But those idiots...” He kicks a stray stone with his foot angrily.
“No, Spock.” Jim’s jaw clenches, forming a stubborn line, signaling that he won’t be moved. He grips Spock’s shoulders and shakes him slightly. “You’re awesome, okay? I’d much rather spend the evening with you than with those imbeciles.” He glares at the house. “And I’m not setting foot into another one of those stupid parties till they beg you to come on their knees.”
Spock blinks. Despite everything, his lips twitch with amusement at the ferocity of Jim’s declaration.
“That might be a long time, Jim,” he says carefully, as if talking to someone slow.
Jim senses his mood at once and snorts. “Their loss.” He presses his forehead hard against Spock’s for a moment. “You’re my brother, and I won’t let anyone give you shit, okay?” He suddenly grins. “And for the record, your hair is awesome.”
He pulls back and ruffles it, still grinning. Spock ducks out of reach, fighting back his own smile; the familiarity of their usual antics is soothing.
They walk back toward the road, Spock trying to maintain his distance and Jim closing it again, brushing their shoulders or elbows or just bumping into Spock. Spock knows it for what it is – Jim’s clumsy attempt to show comfort and solidarity – and doesn’t put a stop to it like he usually would.
Jim is mounting his bike when a group of his friends arrive – Brian, John, and Parker, and some other boys one year Jim’s senior, all of whom still consider him cool enough to be associated with. They all yell some kind of greeting at him, and Jim just nods. When someone shouts that they have beer, Jim yells back, “Good for you!” and waves them off.
“Jim,” Spock starts again hesitantly, not taking the helmet Jim is pushing at him. “Maybe you—”
Jim swivels around and glares at him, hard enough for Spock to swallow further protests.
Spock notices they aren’t going toward the farm halfway into their ride, but Jim ignores his shouted questions. By the time Jim pulls over at the mall, though, the answer has become self evident.
“I thought we were going home?” Spock asks, sliding off the bike and securing the helmet.
“Nah.” Jim grins. “We’re supposed to spend the night out, so we’re damn well spending it out. Come on, didn’t you want to see Legends of Creation?”
“I did, but Jim, didn’t you want to invite Pauline? I could go another time by myself—”
Jim actually growls and backs Spock up against the bike, hands trapping Spock’s hips on either side, blue eyes close and blazing.
“You – won’t have – to do anything– by yourself– while I’m breathing,” Jim grits out fiercely. “Got it?”
Spock blinks and nods carefully, transfixed by Jim’s burning stare. The tension between them is palpable, making it hard to draw a breath.
It occurs to Spock suddenly that Jim is taking the whole situation much closer to heart than Spock is. Certainly, Kelly’s remarks and her refusal to let him in hurt him, but the sting didn’t make him ring with fury the way Jim is now. Spock doesn’t understand this, wants to explain to Jim that while he didn’t enjoy it, it doesn’t actually bother him so much, that he has other interests and pursuits and is quite happy with the way things are. Something tells him, though, that now is a bad time to attempt this conversation.
Jim is too close, and, used as Spock is to his proximity, there’s something different about it now. His heart racing, Spock can feel something shift at the back of his mind, almost like a physical sensation, and he’s suddenly afraid to breathe out, or swallow, or even blink. Always a multitasker, a part of his mind is trying even now to calculate the exact amount of time he can spend without oxygen, but the result doesn’t make sense, seems impossible—
Abruptly, Jim steps back, eyes averted, lips pressed into a stubborn line. He’s flushed, probably with anger, and Spock knows that his own face is burning, too. They don’t say a word to each other as they make their way into the theater.
Halfway through the movie, though, they become sufficiently distracted by what’s happening in the holochamber before them to begin their usual exchange of comments and jokes. Spock’s snide remarks make Jim laugh, they always do, and Spock tries just a little harder this time, lays the sarcasm on a little thicker, because he feels that Jim needs it. They both need to feel like themselves again.
Jim’s mood has improved spectacularly after the movie, and he drags Spock into the shooting range, laughing and challenging him for best score. Standing back-to-back in their pod, they methodically eliminate gold and blue spots floating in the chamber around them and get so involved in one-upping one another that miss when they set a new record. The proprietor presents them with complimentary chips to the nearest ice cream parlor, and Jim laughs when Spock’s politeness earns them an extra helping of everything from the ice cream lady.
“I’d ask how we’re even related,” Jim manages, his eyes dancing, “but then I’d remember we actually aren’t.”
Spock gives him an indulgent smile. “I console myself with that notion every day, Jim.”
Jim smirks and leans over to steal a bite from Spock’s cone. Spock lifts an eyebrow. “Very mature.”
Jim grins. “You bet.”
By the time they get home, they are both tired, but buzzing with contentment. Well, Jim is buzzing; Spock is sort of humming. They say goodnight at the top of the stairs, as always, and Spock turns to go, but Jim suddenly grabs at him, pulling him into the most ferocious hug Spock has ever received.
“Jim, I cannot breathe,” he complains after a moment.
“Sorry,” Jim says, clenching his arms a little tighter before letting go. “Just, um... Goodnight.” He stomps away, leaving Spock standing alone in the corridor.
A note pinned above Spock’s bed reminds him that ‘Meditation is not optional.’ Spock smiles and obediently goes for his mat. Breathing, centering his mind, Spock skims through the events of the day, sorting his emotions as a Vulcan healer taught him so many years ago. For a moment, he even lets himself remember the early lessons in mental disciplines, the ones he received back on Vulcan, when his parents were still alive. He wonders, as he almost never does, what it would have been like to grow up on Vulcan, the planet he barely remembers by now, having consciously distanced himself from the past that seems vague and uncertain.
It’s rare that Spock allows himself to dwell on such things. Earth has been his reality for too long, and Jim and Winona, even Sam, are his family, and he is grateful for them every day of his life. But sometimes, like tonight, something would happen to remind him that he is not truly part of this world. He doesn’t belong here, like Jim does, and maybe, deep down inside, Jim can feel it, too.
Spock goes to bed with a strange sense of longing mixed with satisfaction, and although the nature of it isn’t clear at all, he feels like he understands.
Spock is usually the first one out of bed in the morning, but the next day, Jim and Winona are already up when he walks into the kitchen.
“Good morning?” Spock says, glancing from one to the other.
Jim grins at him, but looks away almost instantly, blushing slightly.
“Good morning, honey.” Winona walks up to him and pulls him close, planting an affectionate kiss on his forehead. She has to bend his head down to do it.
This is definitely not routine. While his adoptive family touches him way more often than Spock imagines Vulcan parents would, the Kirks are not this tactile, especially not toward him and certainly not out of the blue.
Spock puts two and two together and frowns at Jim.
Jim throws his hands up in the air. “Hey, she tortured me!”
“Lies,” Winona says dryly, pouring herself more coffee. “He woke me up to tell me.”
Spock goes to retrieve his breakfast, ignoring both of them. He settles at the counter, busying himself with pouring jam over his multigrain toast.
Jim makes a show of chasing a piece of bacon around his plate. Winona tries to appear engrossed in the morning paper. The silence is becoming oppressive.
Spock sighs, looking up. “You need not concern yourselves,” he tells them. “I’m fine.”
“They’re all assholes anyway,” Jim blurts out readily. “If Kelly wasn’t a girl, I would have kicked her ass.”
“Now, Jimmy, that’s just sexist,” Winona notes mildly.
Spock surveys Jim’s face for a moment and decides that Jim deserves it. “Indeed,” he says. “And besides, the last time you attempted to do any such thing, your ‘ass’ was ‘handed’ to you. In quite a spectacular fashion, if I recall correctly.”
Jim’s jaw drops as he stares at Spock, shocked at this betrayal. Winona, predictably, drops her paper.
“Did you get into another fight at school, James?” she asks, her eyes narrowed.
“Thanks a lot, Spock,” Jim grumbles, glaring at him.
Spock is unrepentant. “I could say the same to you.”
He picks up his plate and walks out of the kitchen to finish his toast out on the terrace, tuning out the argument he has witnessed numerous times before. It always ends with Winona telling Jim that he should only start a fight if he's certain he'll be the one to finish it.
The day promises to be beautiful, and Spock takes a deep breath, the moist air long familiar to his lungs if not exactly comfortable. Spock looks at the endless lines of grassland stretching on toward the far horizon, shimmering slightly in the morning breeze, and tries to imagine another terrain in its place – dry and reddish, emanating delicious heat and hard as desert wind. He can still remember the way it felt to step out there early in the morning, walking between night-frozen rocks and glimmering dunes.
A door flips open and closed behind him.
“You okay?” Jim asks. “Ready to go?”
Spock turns to look at him. All of a sudden, Jim seems older, more serious. He’s standing there, holding Spock’s backpack as well as his own, and waiting for something – something more than just Spock’s reply.
For the first time since they met, Spock cannot read him, neither his human nor his Vulcan senses coming to his aid. Standing in direct sunlight, Spock is suddenly cold, because the young man in front of him is closer to him than anyone in the universe and yet, at the same time, he’s a complete stranger, someone Spock can’t begin to comprehend.
Jim shakes his head suddenly and smiles. “You’re thinking too loud,” he says quietly, nudging Spock’s shoulder with his own. “Come on. We’re gonna be late.”
The spell is broken. Spock takes his bag from Jim and follows him down the steps.
“By the way,” Jim says cheerfully. “I know that it's your turn, but after what you just did? No way you’re driving.”
Spock’s lips twitch, but he doesn’t argue, giving in for once without a fight.