Beta Lyrae - Chapter 12 - thornsword (2024)

Chapter Text

Jim couldn’t sleep.

Neither could Spock, but he suspected they had different reasons. Jim was torn between not wanting to touch him (touch telepathy, he was beginning to learn, was a double edged blade) and shaking him stupid.

Something had changed, he knew that much.

His head felt less… restricted? Alone? It was hard to put into words. And he kept catching Spock staring at him. That, plus all the bullsh*t Bones was saying… well, it was almost enough to give him hope. Which was probably stupid, especially with a touch telepath around.

So, no touching.

Spock seemed to be a practiced hand at that anyway - Jim could count on one hand the amount of times he’s touched Spock’s skinl.

He sighed and rolled over, back to the other occupant of his tiny bed. It was time to stop thinking about this - hope, however small, was no match for the solid facts. Of which there were many.

First, and most glaringly: Spock was leaving. There was nothing he could do about it, just like he couldn’t stop that Italian exchange students’ plane from taking off.

God. He thought about that moment for years. Them, alone, in that silent classroom as the rain drizzled down outside. They held hands. Just that, just the clasp of a clammy pre-teen palm in his own. And he thought about that for two years. Spock was…

Spock was going to ruin him. This was another fact.

The third fact was that there was nothing in this town that would power a whole spaceship, even for just a minute.

“...Jim,” a soft voice calls out from behind him. Jim rolls over and almost loses his breath. This is… dangerous. The moonlight casts Spock’s face in a halo of cool light, glittering in his eyes and deepening the shadows around him. They have been here, in this bed, at this time before but Jim is more aware of his actions than ever. Spock is leaving. He closed off the bond (he thinks?). He can’t let this spill out.

Later, Jim will let this ruin him. But not tonight.

He swallows it down. “...Yeah?”

“I…” Spock trails off. He pauses, even. A crinkle appears between his eyebrows. It’s all very un-Vulkhansu. “Do you not… feel the absence of your mother?”

Oh boy. “That’s… a complicated question, Spock.” Jim sighed and looked up at the ever-dimming artificial stars on the ceiling. “If you’re asking if I miss her - I guess I do? But I think I miss what she could’ve been more than what she is, y’know?”

Spock remained silent. Maybe he did know, maybe he saw all of this in Jim’s head already.

“It’s like, one one hand - she’s my mom, she’s supposed to be here looking after me an’ stuff. But on the other hand, I don’t think we, as people, in these circ*mstances were supposed to be mother-and-son. We’re too… reactionary. Neither of us can sit still or deal with authority or keep up with chores.” Jim shrugged. “Plus I look exactly like the dead love of her life, so. It was never meant to be.”

Spock still didn’t speak. He just nodded, digesting the information. Jim rolled over once again, curled up on his side.

“Do you miss your mom Spock?” Jim asked quietly, “It’s okay, you’re allowed to.”

“...I think I do,” Spock murmured, barely above a whisper. The admission looked like it hurt.

“That makes sense, your mom is the best.”

Spock nodded again.

“We’re gonna find a way to get that message out, Spock.” Jim reached out a hand before thinking better of the movement and simply placed it on the pillow between them. “I promise.”

When they woke up in the morning, their hands were almost touching.

Jim went downstairs the normal way as Spock jumped out the window. Yes, the second-storey window. It had taken a lot of whispered discussion about why on Earth Spock thought that was okay with Spock repeating what Jim already knew; Vulkhansu were three times stronger than humans, your atmosphere is nothing, blah blah. Either way, Jim was itching to get outside.

Just before he made it to the back door, there was a noise from the kitchen. He met Frank’s eyes as he poured himself a bowl of cereal with the last of the milk. Frank grunted.

“Your mom sent a letter.”

That stopped Jim in his tracks. His mom only sent letters for two things - delivering mortgage payments, and warning of her impending arrival.

“When?” He asked.

Frank shrugged. “Couple of days ago.”

A couple of days? That’s why he hasn’t been on Jim’s case as much. Why he hasn’t brought up any of the weird sh*t he’s seen recently. Frank was waiting.

“When’s she getting here?”

Frank gave him one last look before grabbing his bag from where it was slumped over in the entryway. “Tomorrow.”

sh*t.

“I’m sure she’ll be real interested in what you and your little friend have been up to lately.”

With that, Frank left.

Jim bolted outside, flinging the barn door open and interrupting whatever deep pondering Spock was doing over the remains of his spaceship.

“Jim-”

“Mom’s coming back tomorrow,” he gasped.

Spock raised an eyebrow. “I see.”

“So whatever we’re gonna do we gotta do it today, because mom cannot find out about any of the sh*t we’ve been pulling,” Jim said, then adds: “even though I have no doubt Frank’s gonna dob us in over the car.”

The eyebrow lowers. “I see.”

“Any chance you dreamt up an amazing plan that solves all our problems?”

“Vulkhansu do not dream, Jim.”

“I didn’t think of anything either. Wanna go back to the couches and hang upside down?”

“No.”

Jim clapped his hands. “Cool! That means we’re talking it out.”

“This is illogical. Why would that be the next step?”

“Because Earth works in mysterious ways, Spock.” Jim scoped out a section of barn floor that looked mostly tetanus-free and sat down, indicating for Spock to do the same. “Now. What do we know?”

Spock paused for a moment (practically a sigh of exasperation), and humored him. “The subspace communicator requires power from the ship, which is impossible to get on Earth.”

That did pretty much sum it up. “Okay, so how about we drop subspace as an option completely? Is there anything else on Vulkhansu ships that can send out a signal?”

“Vulkhansu ships are equipped with a full communications array, capable of emitting and receiving four hundred and seventy types of signals,” Spock rattled off, “as an escape pod, this ship contains a subspace array and a rudimentary scanner - both of which require engine power.”

“I bet that scanner’s only one-way too, huh,” Jim mused, “can’t emit signals, can only receive?”

“An oversimplification, but correct.”

“And there’s no way to power your engines using Earth power?”

Spock looked at him. They both knew the answer.

“Yeah,” Jim sighed. He shifted to lean up against the cool metal of the ship and closed his eyes. “It doesn’t help that I’ve forgotten a lot of stuff from the mind meld. Maybe we would’ve been able to splice together something if I was able to hold on to more.”

Spock moved so they both sat side-by-side, up against the ship. “Humans are allegedly psi-null. You cannot blame yourself for not remembering another being’s worth of memories. I must confess I, too, find my memory of your mind failing.”

“You too?” Jim opened his eyes. They’re closer than he expected to be.

Spock looked mildly uncomfortable. “... Our bond was, as I have stated before, unconventional. They do not usually involve a transference of that strength. I admit I was… unprepared.”

“Didn’t you have one of those… child bonding things though?” Jim asks, “you said our bond was a Telsu bond, isn’t that the same?”

“It was not, as I’m beginning to realise, that simple.”

Jim waited for him to elaborate, but it seemed like that was all he had to say about it. “Okay, cryptic.”

“Whatever our bond was, I was ill-prepared for the consequences,” Spock said, staring determinedly at the barn wall. “And whatever those consequences are… logic dictates I ignore them.”

Oh. Jim was kinda getting what Spock was trying to say now. That maybe he wasn’t being too hopeful, that maybe he wasn’t making things up, maybe there was something and maybe Spock felt it too, but that logic would always triumph over emotion. Spock was leaving. Spock had a whole other life waiting for him up in the stars. He couldn’t waste time or emotion on a simple Earth farm boy.

“...oh.”

“However,” Spock said, and it sounded like the words caused him physical harm to say, “I do not believe this is something I can simply… ignore.”

Jim looked up so fast he gave himself whiplash. “What?”

Spock looked back at him and it felt like those dark eyes were staring into something deep within him. His soul, maybe, if he thought they existed. They had, without realising, become much closer than they were mere minutes ago.

“I think that… even when I am back on T’Kasi, that there will be some part of me left here on Earth, too.” Spock lifted a finger and gently, with more care than Jim has been awarded in years, brushed his temple. “In here. Parted from me yet never parted.”

Jim knew those words. They fell past his lips without much conscious decision, under his breath and without warning: “never and always touching and touched.”

He kissed him. And as he did, even though their contact is so very human and so very soft, the semi-blocked bond in their minds is forcibly blasted open.

It was different from last time - not so much a clash of minds and species and principles, but a merging. A settling into this hybrid mind-state like one would settle into an old, well-loved chair. It was comforting, and warm, and it felt right, despite how they had been taught to view interspecies bonds their whole life. But long-standing Vulkhansu tradition had been broken before - by logic, by t’hy’la, by his parents - so-

Abruptly, Jim broke the kiss, leaving them both slightly dazed.

“Your parent’s ship - can it pick up radio waves?” Jim blurted out.

Spock paused, blinking a few times to re-orient himself. “It’s possible. All communications arrays can pick up low-wave signals by design, but non-subspace frequencies are not monitored. My father will be waiting for a distress signal on frequency three, as per Vulkhansu emergency protocol.”

“But your mother,” Jim pressed, “your mom’s from Earth. She knows what kinda garbage we have down here.”

“We would still need a signal to get to space.”

“Yeah,” Jim grinned, cheeks hurting, and kissed Spock again. “Yeah, we’re gonna need a big f*cking antenna.”

Beta Lyrae - Chapter 12 - thornsword (2024)
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