Fandom: ST XI Reboot
Pairing: Pike/Spock for now, later Kirk/Spock
Story summary: Struggling to find his place in the universe, Spock meets exceptional people along the way. Slow-building Pike/Spock, and in time slow-building Kirk/Spock.
Chapter summary: Spock is hurt. Pike offers comfort. T'Pol and T'Pau get an honorary mention.
Prologue | 1.1| 1.2 | 1.3| 1.4 | 1.5
Spock wakes up in the darkness, colored by the pulsing amber-red glow. He’s extremely disoriented and dizzy. It takes him a few moments to realize that he’s lying in his bed, in his room upstairs. He doesn’t remember getting here. Nor does he remember stripping to his underwear, which is the only item of clothing he appears to be wearing. There’s a warm weight of at least four thick woolen blankets on top of him, and it doesn’t feel good. He feels overheated and trapped.
Hardly knowing what he is doing, Spock bolts up in bed, jerking the blankets off of him abruptly. The sharp movement makes his head spin.
“Whoa, easy there,” Pike’s voice cuts through the haze of chaotic sensations. “Are you hot?”
Spock finds the task of focusing on Pike’s face very difficult. “I’m...” He pushes the blankets further away stubbornly. “I don’t...”
“Easy, easy, it’s okay.” Pike sits at the edge of the bed and presses the back of his hand to Spock’s forehead. Spock moans, arching into the touch that feels so deliciously cool. “Damn, you’re burning up,” Pike mutters with concern.
He pushes Spock’s sweat-soaked bangs out of his face gently, and his hand lingers, smoothing Spock’s hair. Spock bites his lip, coherent enough to be ashamed of how good it feels. He must have made some kind of sound, because Pike leans into him, stroking his hair.
“Shh, it’s okay,” Pike whispers, pressing his lips to Spock’s burning forehead. “It’s okay. You’re gonna be just fine. Everything’s gonna be fine. Here—” He pulls back and reaches for something Spock can’t see. “This will make you feel better.”
Spock hears the soft hiss of a hypo and falls asleep on the spot.
When he wakes up again, it’s morning. The sun is filling the small room, and the cheery voices of people having outdoor winter fun seep from the outside, muffled by the distance. Spock examines his surroundings and himself. He’s still somewhat weak, but no longer feverish. He lifts himself up on his elbows to look over the room.
Pike is sitting in the old armchair, which he must have pulled closer to the bed sometime last night. He is sleeping, his head bent at an awkward angle. He’s wearing the same clothes he’s been wearing at the party.
Spock shifts carefully, sitting up in his bed and resting his back against the pillow. He is very quiet, but his movement still wakes Pike, who straightens up with a start, eyes flying to Spock immediately.
“Hey,” Pike smiles at him. “Been awake long?” Spock shakes his head. “How are you feeling?”
“I am functional,” Spock half-replies, half-muses. He tugs the blanket closer around himself. “Perhaps a little tired.”
“Tired,” Pike repeats incredulously. He gets out of the armchair and reaches to feel Spock’s forehead. “Well, your fever’s gone, thank God for that. You gave me one hell of a fright.”
Spock shifts uncomfortably, dropping his eyes. “I regret the inconvenience. What happened?”
Pike resumes his seat and raises his eyebrows. “To tell you the truth, I don’t know. You disappeared from the party last night. I was ready to start a search, but then Claire told me you had a visitor. I didn’t know what to think, so I just waited. You came back at two in the morning, and you were freezing. Apparently, you decided to take a walk without your coat on. Not very logical.”
Indeed, Spock thinks blandly. He remembers now. The Vulcan ship sent him down to T’Pring’s original beam-down point, which was at the village. He must have made the five-kilometer walk from there.
“We tried to warm you up. Brian said you might get feverish later. He left something to take the temperature down. Looks like it worked.”
Brian, a physician from Cardiff. Spock looks at the empty hypospray idly, trying to recall if he’d said more than two words to the man. Pike has obviously spent the night here watching over him. This is unacceptable.
“I ask forgiveness,” Spock mutters, staring at his hands clasped over the blanket. “I did not mean to cause such an immoderate amount of trouble.”
Pike studies him for a moment, then leans forward slightly. “You scared me half to death, Spock,” he says quietly. “But it was no trouble. I’m just glad you’re okay.” He picks a cup from the mantelshelf and hands it to Spock. Their fingers brush. “I’m not sure what your favorite blend is, but I’m afraid the local shops don’t offer much of a choice of Vulcan spice tea.”
“It is ideal,” Spock says, inhaling the sharp aroma. “But you really should not have troubled yourself so, Cap—Christopher. I am undeserving of such an honor.”
“Hey. You’re a guest under my roof, and it’s no trouble and not an honor. And everyone deserves to be taken care of when they need it, Spock. You too.”
“No,” Spock states with conviction, his fingers tightening around the cup. “No. Not me. Do not be deceived, Christopher. I am not who you think I am.”
“Who do you think I think you are?” Pike asks softly.
Spock closes his eyes. “Someone worthy.”
“No!” Spock’s eyes snap open and he looks at the human sharply. “I do not know how I do this, but it is obvious that I am deceiving you somehow. I do this unintentionally, but I understand that this is no excuse. All this” - Spock’s gaze surges around the room - “and this” – He lifts his cup for emphasis - “is for someone who doesn’t exist. Someone I can never be. Your regard for me is unwarranted, Christopher. It’s based on a lie.”
Pike contemplates him in silence for a moment. He gets to his feet, unhurriedly but determinedly, takes the cup from Spock’s unresisting fingers and sets it on the nightstand. Then, he sits on the edge of the bed and takes Spock’s hands in his own, eyes never leaving Spock’s face.
“Why don’t you tell me about what happened last night?”
Spock nearly whimpers at the flood of concern seeping through the contact, none of it deserved. He tries to pull his hands free, but Pike doesn’t let him. Spock slams a shield in place and gives in. There’s no point in hiding the truth anyway.
He tells everything. The Vulcan tradition of prearranged marriages. The betrothal ceremony with T’Pring when they were both seven. Her growing resentment toward him. His own inability to adhere to the Vulcan way. The DNA test. The only thing Spock doesn’t speak of is pon farr and the danger he’s now in because he no longer has anyone to turn to.
“Well,” Pike shakes his head. “And here I was, thinking that you were dating Moira.”
Spock lifts an eyebrow. “Cadet Jones? We never shared a romantic relationship.”
“I see. I’m still mad at you, you know? You could have told me last night where you were going. And you could have dressed properly, for God’s sake.”
Spock nods guiltily. Pike’s fingers press under Spock’s chin, urging him to look up.
“Hey. I’m mad because I care. What she did... Spock, I won’t pretend to understand Vulcan customs, so I won’t say anything. Except… if she didn’t want to have your children, it was her loss, not yours.”
Spock shakes his head. “She was within her right. And it was logical.”
“Maybe.” Pike sighs and frowns. “And I can’t tell you how to live your life, Spock, but tell me this. Why did you decide to enlist in Starfleet?”
Spock thinks about it. Having several options was logical, but the truth is, he enlisted because... “I wanted it,” he says. “I share its goals and ideals, and I believe that for a scientist, the service is very rewarding. However, there was another reason. The first Vulcan in Starfleet, Admiral T’Pol, is a close friend of my grandmother, T’Pau. The experiences she spoke of, her years of serving with humans, fascinated me.”
“A little case of hero-worship?” Pike asks with a smile.
Spock shakes his head. “Vulcans do not ‘hero-worship,’ and I seem to be Vulcan enough for that. But T’Pol’s stories inspired me to explore this path. I found that Starfleet is better suited for me, considering my skill set and my… disposition.”
“I see. But when you enlisted, it was in defiance of standing tradition, wasn’t it?”
“Indeed. The ministers at the VSA considered it a childish rebellion. I was convinced, however, that I was doing the right thing. I still am.”
“Well, as ranking Starfleet official in the room, I can say that their loss is our gain,” Pike says, smiling. “But I want you to consider this, Spock. You made a life-defining choice and you stood by it, despite the fact that it had given you a lot of grief, because you believed you were right. You could have taken the easy way. You could have let other people define who you are and shape you into what they wanted you to be. This early in your life you have already come as a person who makes his own choices and accepts the consequences. It requires courage and it requires integrity. You have proved you have both.”
“It still doesn’t make me a proper Vulcan.”
“Maybe not.” Pike smirks. “But if memory serves, T’Pau was considered a terrorist when she was your age. Who knows – a hundred years from now, you might be the most respectable Vulcan alive.”
Spock’s lips twitch in amusement. The reaction is fleeting, but Pike catches it.
“There you go.” He grins. “Now, I want to grab a shower. If you feel up to it, meet me downstairs in ten minutes for” - he glances at the chronometer - “brunch?”
“I will be there, Christopher. Thank you.”
Pike looks back at him from the doorway. “I’m not saying it’s easy to be you, Spock. But you’re not alone.”
“Indeed,” Spock says quietly, when the door slides shut.
The rest of the holidays pass uneventfully. Thanks to Vulcans’ healing abilities, Spock has recovered remarkably quickly. They go skiing again the next day, and Spock feels completely at ease on blue trails, though Pike wouldn’t let him try the red.
Pike gives him a copy of Surak’s Teachings translated into five different Earth languages as a Christmas gift. Spock has a present for Pike, too. It’s kal-toh, a table game sometimes called Vulcan chess. It takes years to master, but both Spock and Pike enjoy playing against each other. The week ends far too quickly, and suddenly it’s time to say goodbye to everyone. They are back at the flying lounge of the Academy in no time.
Nothing is the same. Immediately upon arrival, Spock gets sent to a three-week field training course. When he comes back, he finds out that Pike has been reassigned for active duty because of some kind of emergency, and his lectures are to be filled by another professor. Spock doesn’t see Pike for four months.
Due to his scientific gravitas, Spock was admitted to the Academy skipping a year, which makes his next year the final one. Which in turn means he’ll be assigned to one of the starships come May and will serve as an acting ensign for three to four months.
Spock is walking outside Academy grounds, watching the bay. Spring is a lovely time in San Francisco. Spock reflects upon the message he has received this morning from his mother. There wasn’t anything unusual in it, but Spock is sensitive to the tiniest variations of her tone. She is unhappy. Spock doesn’t know why, but she sounds almost lonely. For the first time since he left Vulcan, she asks if he could come home to visit.
Spock tilts his head, watching the seagulls. For a moment, their cries seem almost desperate to him. They sense the storm coming.
Several days later, Spock is standing at attention alongside his classmates at the Academy flying field, ready to hear the name of the ship he’s assigned to. His heart most certainly doesn’t skip a beat when he hears his name followed swiftly by the Resolution. It just stops beating and doesn’t start again until Spock’s standing at the hangar deck of the said ship, waiting for the captain to arrive. At least, that’s how it seems.
“Welcome to the Resolution,” Pike says with a warm smile, looking over a dozen cadets assigned to his ship. “May your service here make us all proud.”
Spock doesn’t dare to look anywhere but straight ahead, even after the “Dismissed” command has sounded.
The Resolution is a relatively small vessel, with a complement of fifty-two. Spock’s duties are to assist the science officer, and he’s never been more motivated to be at his best in his life. He feels Pike’s presence in the room like it’s a physical substance in its own rights. It’s a little distracting, and Spock privately blesses his Vulcan training.
The ship leaves orbit and resumes its normal patrol pattern. The captain finds Spock nearly eight hours later in the science lab. Spock is monitoring an experiment, while another cadet assists the science officer on duty.
“How have you been, Spock?” Pike asks, stopping at Spock’s working station. He’s grinning.
Spock stands up automatically, and Pike waves him back to his seat, chuckling softly.
“We don’t give formal salutes around here,” he says. “But feel free to look me in the eye whenever you feel like it.”
Spock blushes, despite his effort to suppress it, and their eyes finally meet.
“I have been... well, Captain. And you?”
“Peachy,” Pike says. “But I missed my kal-toh partner. What would you say to a game at my quarters tonight? Seems like we have some catching up to do.”
Spock is hesitant. He glances quickly at the other side of the lab, and although he’s fairly certain they haven’t been overheard, he still feels uneasy about the arrangement.
“It’s all right if you don’t want to,” Pike says, still smiling, but it’s somehow not the same. “You don’t have to; it’s not an order or anything.”
“No,” Spock says quickly. “No, Captain. I would enjoy a game of kal-toh very much.”
“Great.” Pike beams at him. “Then meet me there in an hour. I trust you’ll find your way.”
Spock isn’t exactly sure why, but he makes certain no one sees him entering the captain’s quarters. It’s not as if they are doing anything illegal, but Spock still feels it better to be discreet.
“I missed you,” Pike tells him quietly, once they face each other over the kal-toh set. “I’m sorry I had to leave like that, but there was some trouble at the Klingon border, and...”
“You hardly need to explain, Captain.”
Pike looks at him. “Let’s make it Christopher when we’re not on duty and in private, okay?”
Spock nods, feeling a good measure of tension leaving him. “I heard you were in battle,” he says calmly, placing another stick in the midst of the peculiar looking construction. He hasn’t hit a chord and it remains immobile. “The news outlets were... sparse.”
“We’ve been through a couple of fights,” Pike nods, contemplating his move and frowning. “Lost two very fine people there.”
“I heard about your injury,” Spock says, his voice dropping. “But they would give us no details.”
Pike looks up at him sharply. Spock drinks in that gaze, as if it was water and he was dying of thirst. Pike takes a deeper breath.
“I’m okay,” he says gently, reaching out to briefly squeeze Spock’s arm. “I didn’t know you knew about that. It was just a scratch.”
Spock nods as if he believes it. Pike sighs and makes his move. The structure remains immobile for him, too.
“Damn. I practiced, I really did,” he tells Spock earnestly. “I just can’t concentrate tonight for some reason.”
“You are fatigued,” Spock says instantly. “I should not be imposing on your time.”
“No, no, it’s all right,” Pike assures him. “Please don’t go. You won’t be able to meditate until your roommates are asleep anyway. I’m sorry about that, but there was simply no way I could offer you your own quarters without it looking like blatant favoritism.”
Spock has to suppress a smile. “I believe my assignment to your ship has covered that particular ground.”
Pike chuckles. “No, we’re fine. You’re top of your class, Spock. No one familiar with your record will believe you require any favors for a second. And the truth is, if I didn’t ask for you, you’d have been assigned to the Excalibur, so I guess I owe you an apology. I know it’s like a dream ship for all of your friends.”
Spock shakes his head, looking at him fixedly. “There is nowhere else I would rather be right now, Christopher. I am honored to serve with you.”
Pike holds his gaze for a moment before looking back at the board.
“It’s your move, Spock.”