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Title: A Second Chance, Part 3/4
Author: ayesakara aka [livejournal.com profile] laylafic
Universe/Series: Star Trek Reboot
Pairing: Kirk/Spock
Rating: NC-17
Relationship status: First time
Word count: ~44,900 (total), 6,717 (this part)
Genre: Angst, action/adventure, drama, h/c
Tropes: Accidental bonding, breakup, mission, grief, jealousy, mindmeld, telepathy
Warnings: Heavy angst, violence/torture, trauma
Additional Pairings: Spock/Uhura, Kirk/OC
Summary: ‘An incident during a shore leave gone disastrous leaves Spock with a link he never expected with his captain—a bond he needs but which he suspects Jim never wanted. The consequences of how he deals with that ‘belief’ change everything for them.’

Continued from A Second Chance, Part 2(b)/4


A Second Chance, Part 3/4




Spock comes to the awareness of searing, singeing agony.

Someone has drilled a hole into his skull, then affixed what must be a metallic tube to the opening, and is pouring hot, molten lava into his brain. He can feel that blistering, viscous, acrid substance filling his synapses, the lava sliding into his senses with excruciating slowness, bringing with it a scouring, rotting cacophony of whispers; whispers that he has heard before, a long time back when they were directed elsewhere, when he was attempting to save someone else, someone he cared for more than he could even admit to himself, attempting to save them from their vicious, toxic effect, but this time these whispers are directed towards his mind, aimed at his psyche, his thoughts, his memories.

He cannot comprehend anything beyond that agony. He does not know if he is awake or conscious. He does not know if he is alone or in the presence of others. He does not know anything. He just knows the pain, the hurt, the whispers, the lava, and the burning, caustic smell of his brain being broiled alive.

He just knows the pain and knows that he is screaming. He is screaming, and he does not know how to stop. He wants to fight, wants to regain his control, but he’s lost in the haze of pain.

And he cannot stop screaming.

He does not know how to stop screaming.

**

Leonard has never seen anything like this. And he has seen a lot of weird stuff in his life as a medical practitioner. He knew now that he should not have ignored the nagging feeling he’d been getting for the last few days.

He knew there was more going on to Jim and Spock’s Vulcan mind rescue fiasco on Antara than that green-blooded bastard had led out. Why did he not pursue that feeling then? Why didn’t he question Spock more? Why didn’t he examine Jim more thoroughly? Spock had, knowingly or not, done something to Jim’s brain. Hell, half of what his species did with their telepathy was a mystery, not only to him, but to 99 percent of Starfleet medical circles. Most everything about Vulcan physiology was so shrouded in mystery and then wrapped up in that superior Vulcan Code of Privacy, or whatever the hell they called it, that no one in Fleet bureaucracy had the fucking cojones to ever question their rampant secrecy. And if there was anyone more secretive, more tightlipped than their pointy-eared First Officer in the universe, then Leonard was yet to meet them.

And now the bastard had gone ahead and gotten in some kind of trouble, leaving their captain to turn into a fucking basket case.

He watches Jim holding his head in both his hands as he sags forward, and uncontrollable tremors wrack his strong frame, and a long moan, a most pitiful sound that goes straight to Leonard’s gut, comes out of his mouth. "Spock!"

He holds Jim’s left shoulder in one hand as he looks at the monitor, the numbers zigzagging up and down dangerously, feels his frown deepen but keeps his voice gentle as he says soothingly, "What about him, kid?"

"He needs help," Jim sobs, "We must find him, must find him."

"Yeah, I know." Leonard sighs. The same mantra, over and over again. Spock needed help. Spock was hurt. Spock was in pain. We must find him. But where the fuck was Spock? And since when did Jim have a direct comm. link into the Vulcan’s brain?

"Bones, we must find him," Jim pleads, still bent over in pain, his breath hitching as he curls into himself even further. "Please, he needs help."

"He’s missing, Jim," Leonard gives Chapel a look and she surges forward with a tray of hypos.

"God, please, he needs us," Jim seems to wilt at his words. "He needs us. He doesn’t know where he is. He needs us."

"I know," Leonard says consolingly as he removes the cap of a tranquilizer and presses it against Jim’s feverish skin. "Here, let me give you this...

And Jim yanks back as if singed by a malfunctioning electric outlet. "No!" he howls as he cowers from Leonard’s touch, as the doctor tries to grab his shoulder, "....not this, don’t knock me out, Bones, you can’t." Jim’s face is wreathed in outrage, in horror. "I can feel him, I can feel him, I must feel him. You can’t knock me out, you can’t...."

"Jim, your blood pressure is going through the roof," Leonard snaps at him. "Your heart rate is too fast. You need to calm down."

But Jim is shaking his head vehemently, his eyes fearful, still backing away from him. "Don’t knock me out. Don’t do that to me. Don’t do that to Spock."

"What the hell is going on here?" Leonard growls. "I knew something was wrong. I knew that sonofabitch did something to your brain when he did that Vulcan hoodoo thing."

Jim looks at him with pained eyes. "He needs our help."

Leonard waves to Chapel and two other nurses as he picks up another hypo from the proffered tray. "Yeah, I know. But you’ve got to let me...."

Jim screams in anger as he jumps down from the biobed. "No, no, you can’t!" He shrinks back from their outstretched hands. "You can’t!"

"I’m not trying to knock you out, Jim." He moves to hold Jim’s arm. "I’m just giving you something for the pain. "

"No, Bones!" Jim shakes his head, his eyes bright with pain as he strikes back at them, his gestures desperate. "I need to feel this. I have to. God, Spock!"

But the two nurses grab him from both sides as he struggles to get away, but to no avail. "No!" he screams as Leonard presses the hypo in his neck and releases the contents. "No!"

"Jim!" Leonard holds on to his friend’s shoulders as he sags in his arms. "Jim!" he says again, as he touches the clammy forehead and looks at the monitor. The numbers are still zigzagging for the moment, the heart rate is still too fast.

Jim is quite for a moment, not answering, his head bowed.

Leonard touches his arm. "Can you still feel him?"

He watches in bewilderment as the captain raises his head to look at him and a single teardrop falls from his eye and makes its way down his pale cheek, watches as Jim gulps and gives Leonard a shaky nod. Jim’s face is still twisted but his breath has eased somewhat and the readings on the screen come down a notch. Leonard feels himself breathe a little easier.

They lead Jim back to the biobed and help him on it once again. Leonard has just turned to the monitor when the comm. beeps.

"Bridge to Dr. McCoy." It is Uhura.

"What is it, Lieutenant?" Leonard answers. "I kinda have my hands full here."

"Doctor," Uhura says, "There is a Vulcan shuttle about to dock with the Enterprise. They just arrived moments ago."

Leonard frowns. "Vulcan shuttle? What has that got to do with me?"

"There is a Healer onboard that shuttle whose arrival was in our itinerary," Uhura replies. "He was scheduled to arrive four hours earlier, but his shuttle got delayed. He is here at Ambassador Sarek’s request to meet with Spock."

Leonard stares at Jim who is looking at him with a strange look on his face. "But Spock is not..."

Uhura interrupts him, "Doctor, Vulcan Healers work with their people to help them with any problems they might be having with their telepathy." She pauses and Leonard blinks at her words, as realization slowly dawns. "I saw the captain on the bridge," Uhura’s voice is quiet. "I think the Healer might be able to... shed some light on what is going on."

He watches Jim swallow heavily and answers, "Lieutenant, bring the Healer to the sickbay immediately."

**

There is no physical wound in his head, Spock realizes that now. He realizes that the sensation he had felt previously was his mind’s natural hallucinatory response to the sudden plummet his senses had experienced into a realm of pain.

That plummet was the reason why his shields had dropped. He had been taken by surprise, the pain overwhelming him, making him lose control. He knows he must not let it happen again. He must not let his control waver. He has to scale back the walls that had crumbled. He has to put them back up again. He must raise his shields, must keep his control solid. He must not let his bondmate feel his pain anymore. He knows his bondmate became aware of his condition when the shields dropped. He will not make that mistake again. He has to reassert his control.

He knows he is in a room that he cannot assess the size of. He is lying on a structure in the middle of the room, the surface underneath him hard, held in a supine position, with his limbs tied tightly to the four corners. Too bright, too hot, overhead lights fill his vision, blinding him with their glaring, white-hot intensity.

However, while the aperture created into his brain may not be physical, it is no less real.

He also knows he is not alone.

The whispers are constantly there, now louder, more cunning, more vicious, more pointed. He knows why he is here. He is here because somehow, somewhere, in the midst of their investigation about the psionic device, his team found someone who did not wish to be found. Their queries, their digging up of long-buried links and facts has raised someone’s hackles, has caused someone some serious discomfort.

You like poking your noses where they do not belong, Federation. You and your little band of galactic do-gooders. James T. Kirk’s minions. You must think him very special, don’t you?. Well, we think he’s a pathetic, wannabe upstart who just got lucky a few times. Just like you, telepath. He will not listen to the voices. They are irrelevant.

Your words have no effect on me, he says. You will fail.

We’ll see who’s going to fail, telepath. Yes, you are quite special, aren’t you? Surviving our experiment on Antara while so many others perished. You must think this is all beneath you. You telepathic types think you can subjugate anyone to your will. That is how you conquer worlds, don’t you? The voices mean nothing to him. He will not listen to them. They have no power.

Your logic is flawed, he says. You are quite mistaken.

We will see who is mistaken, telepath. How would you like us to take that superior Vulcan logic of yours and give it a new, perfectly formed, shape? How would you like us to change your telepathic mind, you half-breed freak?

The voices mean nothing.

He will not listen to them.

He will not...

**

Healer Sonok is not at an age when he particularly enjoys many great benefits from travelling long distances in space. He is a hundred and seventy-two years old now. His place is with the other Elders in the Sor’jang sanctuary, spending time in meditation, helping the surviving Vulcans to rebuild his race.

But when Sarek requested that he take a small detour on his way back to Vulcan II from his visit to Ka’ton, in order to meet and spend a little time with Spock, he found it illogical to refuse. He has a certain regard for Sarek’s boy. He was one of the Elders in the Katric Ark when Spock had arrived to rescue them during the Nero incident. He saw the look on the boy’s face when he lost his mother. He was also the one who had assisted the young one in assessing his telepathic controls and reaffirming their adequacy for his continued functioning. Sonok is advanced enough in his years to not feel any impediment in admitting that he... likes Spock.

However, things are not as he had expected on the Starfleet vessel.

The young human female who meets him at the docking bay quickly appraises him of the situation as she takes his few belongings and gives them to another officer to take to his guest quarters. He is discomfited to hear of Spock’s sudden disappearance but keeps his face calm as she leads him to the turbolift and through a series of corridors to arrive at the ship’s medical facilities. He remembers this trip from the last time he was onboard the Enterprise.

He recognizes most of the individuals inside the medbay as well. He never ceases being curious at how very young this crew is compared to what he is used to seeing from Starfleet. The fair-haired young male he recognizes steps forward to greet him.

"I’m Captain James T. Kirk," the human says and Sonok notices the dark circles under his blue eyes. He gestures to the familiar man standing on his side with a grimace etched on his face. "This is Dr. McCoy, our Chief Medical Officer."

"I am Sonok of Vulcan." He inclines his head. "I was requested by Sarek to meet with Spock. However, it appears there has been some trouble here."

He watches as a look of pain passes the captain’s features, as he visibly swallows. "Yeah."

Sonok looks closely at him. "What appears to be the problem?"

Kirk shakes his head. ""I don’t know what’s really..."

But he is interrupted by the doctor, who scowls at him. "He can hear Spock in his head."

Sonok feels his eyebrow rise up. "I beg your pardon."

The doctor snaps, his voice loud, "I don’t know what Spock did to his brain but he’s been.... in agony ever since that..." he stammers, his anger quite apparent, "that.... stupid little..."

Kirk straightens up and glares at the doctor. "He’s in pain, Bones. He needs our help. So you can stop pontificating on what he’s done wrong because none of us have any idea what the hell’s going on."

It appears that Sarek’s son is a point of contention between the two officers. Sonok looks at the captain. "You can hear Spock in your mind?"

The human bites his lower lip and looks at him. "Yes."

Sonok asks, "You can hear his thoughts?"

Kirk frowns. "Not exactly." He looks at Sonok. "I just... know that he’s hurt. I... can feel that it is him, even though, I can’t specifically know what is happening to him." He pauses as a look of pain passes his face but he schools his features to remove any evidence of it. He breathes deeply. "Except that... he’s hurt."

Sonok processes this information and comes to a conclusion. He looks at the human contemplatively. "There is only one situation that I know of that would make a connection like that possible."

Kirk looks at him in surprise. "What?"

Sonok looks at both the captain and the doctor with assessing eyes. He then notices Uhura, the female who had brought him to the medbay looking at him. There is a pensive look on her face, as if she sees what he is talking about. The facts presented as they are certainly seem to be pointing towards one conclusion. However, before he can voice his thoughts, they are interrupted by the arrival of another officer.

"Scotty," Kirk asks him, his voice urgent, "what did you find?"

"We’ve contacted Starfleet command, Captain, and the Potomac is on its way here to join us. I met with the planet authorities, and our security team is also down there questioning everyone," the human male says. "But they haven’t found any clues as yet of when and how the commander disappeared. However, we got the ship manifest from the station’s dock control center. And I think we hit pay dirt."

Kirk looks at him. "What?"

"One of the ships that was docked to the station grid, abruptly left at the same time Spock went missing. In fact it went to warp within a minute of our discovery."

"What ship?"

"A private cargo vessel, registered to the Daksan Conglomerate. It’s seemingly an unattached facility working out of the Vellentian system, but it has a base in several different non-Federation worlds. Guess where one of those bases are?

Kirk stares at him for a moment and then says, "Arkon III."

"Aye sir," the officer says. "Sulu can detect the warp trail going towards sector 138."

Kirk watches him for a few seconds and then takes out his handheld communicator. "Kirk to the Bridge."

"Sulu here, Captain," comes the reply.

"Lieutenant, tell the security team to stay on the planet and continue with their investigations. Then contact the Potomac and tell them of our new findings, and then lay in a pursuit course for the Vallentian vessel, maximum warp."

"Aye sir."

The order given, the captain watches as the officer leaves the sickbay, and then turns to Sonok. "Is there anything you can..." he has only said this before he suddenly doubles over in pain, a choked cry erupting from his mouth.

"Jim!" the doctor moves to grab his arm and Sonok watches as Uhura takes a step forward as if she wants to help the captain as well.

But the captain is already straightening up. "I’m fine, I’m okay," he says as he looks up but his face is tortured. "But he’s not, he’s..." he breaks off, shaking his head.

Sonok steps up to him. "There is a way I could possibly help you, if you would allow me."

Kirk watches him "A mindmeld?"

Sonok looks at the young human in surprise. "Indeed."

"No!" the doctor says, his tone vehement. "That is what screwed everything up in the first place... when Spock did the mindmeld with Jim on Antara."

Sonok looks at him. "I am aware of that incident, Doctor. That is the reason why I was asked to see Spock in the first place." He looks into the doctor’s troubled eyes. "I assure you that I would only attempt to assess the condition of the captain’s mind presently. He appears to be in pain that is somehow linked to Spock. We need to find the reason."

The doctor has no answer to that, even though the scowl remains fixed on his face. The captain watches Sonok for a few moments and then nods. "All right." He then looks at Uhura, who is still standing, watching them, listening to the conversation. "Lieutenant, I need you on the bridge."

"But captain..." she begins to protest, obviously interested in watching the proceedings.

However, the look on Kirk’s face is firm. "Lieutenant, I need you to go to the bridge and take the conn. Keep an eye on everything and report back to me once you have any update on the Vallentian vessel."

The young female looks at him for a moment and then nods. "Aye captain."

Once she is gone and the medbay doors are closed, Kirk turns to face Sonok.

"All right. Let’s do this," he says.

**

The pain continues. And so do the never-ending voices, filled with contempt, with hatred, with malevolence.

Yes, you are quite a half-breed slut, aren’t you, Spock?—they snigger to him. They call you exotic, but we know what you really are, you filthy, stinking piece of shit. You are nothing but a mutt, a mixed-blood, inferior, ugly, piece of crap that nobody wants.

He must not focus on the pain, only on the shields. The pain does not exist. It is not real. The voices do not exist either. It is all in his mind.

There is a contraption, a netted mask like shape that has been fitted over his face. It has metallic protrusions that touch the surface of his face on his psi-points—his cheeks, his chin, and his forehead. Six points of contact on the most sensitive areas on his facial skin and through those points comes a scorching, piercing, biting blaze of agony.

Yes we do think your mind is an oddity, telepath—the voices sneer, their hateful, revolting glee filling his mind. It works in strange ways, this brain of yours, doesn’t it? Oh, but your shields are not really as strong as they would be in a full Vulcan. Let’s see what our little equipments can find out, half-breed. Let’s see if these little mechanical aids can find a way inside your brain. Your inferior, defective, vile little brain that is neither human nor Vulcan.

He feels the metallic tips of the mask press into his psi-points and feels a hot, burning pain fill his senses. He presses his lips together, unwilling to let another scream out, scrunching his eyes closed just as he attempts to shore up his mental defenses. He will not scream, he will not listen to the voices, he will not let them get to him. Your attempts to manipulate my mind will fail.

Oh we’ll see how long you can keep this up, telepath—the voices titter. We have a lot of time to work out the kinks in our little devices. You are turning out to be a good little testing subject for us.

The voices do not exist. The voices do not exist.

He will not listen to them.

**

This meld is different from anything Jim has ever experienced.

It is not an information dump. And it is not a rescue attempt in the middle of a psionic attack. It is, as Sonok mentioned, merely a probing exercise, to assess what is happening inside his head. He feels the Vulcan’s presence brushing against his conscience, searching, prodding, looking for something.

You must let me in.

I am, he says.

No, you are not. You must let me find it.

Find what?

The link.

What link?

The link you can feel in your mind.

I don’t know how to look for it.

You already know where it is. Allow me to locate it.

Suddenly a flare of unbearable pain washes over his senses, and he sees something spark in the distance, as his breath stutters and he feels his throat close with the anguish.

Rein in your control.

I don’t know how, he cries.

Yes you do. It is the link. You saw it.

And then he sees it with his mind’s eye. A soothing, restful coolness that washes over his breath and makes him feel safe, happy, secure. It is like a beautifully woven rope of silk-threads that are glittering with cool, bright, white light. Pulsing with energy, a gentle hum of contentment emanating from it, filling his mind, calming his senses.

But that beautiful, silky rope is on fire. There is an ugly, mottled piece of kindling that has started a conflagration at one end of it. And he can see smoke coming out of it. Filling his mental landscape. Making it murky, ugly, suffocating.

It is hurt.

Yes.

I don’t know what it is.

I do.



They come out of the meld to find Bones watching his face worriedly, a tricorder in his hand.

"Jim," he begins.

He answers, "I’m fine."

Then he looks at Sonok with questioning eyes. The Healer looks at him contemplatively for a few moments, then Jim sees his eyebrow rise.

"I do not understand," the Healer says.

Jim feels himself frown. "What?"

Sonok stares at him. "When Sarek requested my presence to assist his son, why did he not inform me that Spock was already bonded with someone?"

Jim asks him, "What are you talking about?" But he already has a feeling what the Vulcan means.

Sonok asks him plainly, "Have you two not solemnized your bond?"

McCoy asks, a scowl on his face, "What bond?"

Sonok looks at Bones calmly and then he looks at Jim. "You appear to be unaware of its existence. Surely you can no longer deny its presence in your mind."

McCoy’s voice rises in volume. "You’re saying that Jim and Spock are bonded? As in Vulcan-bonded?"

"There is no doubt about it," Sonok replies. "However, it is quite apparent that the bond existed without Captain Kirk’s knowledge."

Bones nearly yells, "You mean Spock bonded with Jim without his permission?"

"It would appear so."

"Why, that fucking, green-blooded sonofa---" he stammers.

Jim cuts him off firmly: "Bones!"

Sonok looks at them both. "It could also be possible that the bond was created by accident."

McCoy snaps. "How’s that even possible?"

"It could happen if a connection already existed between two minds, and in the course of a traumatic neural injury, an attempt was made to mend the damage, as was the case when Spock formed a telepathic link with Captain Kirk during his rescue mission on Antara from the attack of the psionic device."

Bones looks at Jim and then back at the Healer. "You’re saying that in his attempt to rescue Jim, Spock inadvertently formed a bond with him."

"It is possible."

Bones asks, "What is the nature of this bond?"

"Usually, in the absence of a formal bonding rite, the bond formed should be rudimentary at best." Sonok pauses, as his brows furrow. "However, I am surprised to admit that such is not the case with this link. The connection is as strong as any deeply-formed familial bond."

"Familial bond?" Jim looks at him.

Sonok replies, "Vulcans share bonds with those closest to them, their parents, their siblings, their family matriarchs. Their betrotheds."

"Betrothed?" McCoy asks him. "You mean like a fiancée?"

"Yes." Sonok inclines his head. "Vulcan children are linked at a young age to their intended mates. Their betrotheds."

Jim feels his throat get tight. "Does... Spock have a betrothed?"

"He did." Sonok looks into his eyes. "But she perished with Vulcan."

The tightness becomes nearly suffocating. "You’re saying... Spock is a widower."

"Crude, but in a manner of speaking, close," Sonok says. "Though, their bond was not yet solemnized into a marital bond, the pain of a broken link is always devastating. This was one of the reasons why Sarek asked me to assist Spock in reaffirming his mental shields after the incident on Antara. Like many Vulcans, his shields had to be reinforced in the wake of his loss after Vulcan’s end. The severing of a betrothal link, on top of the loss he suffered when he lost his mother, and with her the telepathic link he shared with her, can be hard on someone so young." He pauses again as he a thoughtful look comes on his face. "It is curious to note, however, whether Spock’s mind sought yours as a compatible replacement."

Jim watches Sonok for a moment, ignoring Bones whom he can feel stewing next to him. "Could it be that Spock is not aware of the bond either?"

Sonok looks at him a moment and then replies, "That is not possible. He is very much aware, which is the reason why he is blocking the bond at the moment."

**

They are doing something to his fingertips which scorches his mind and yet his body feels terribly cold. He feels himself writhe in the restraints, his breath catching in his throat. His shields drop, he pulls them back up, they drop again.

The pain is a constant presence now but to Spock, it is like being in a fog filled with choking toxic smoke.

What does your little human captain think of your abnormalities, Spock? Does he find you ... fascinating? Oh you don’t really think that, do you? You know he finds you an aberration, an abomination. He must be hoarding a lot of secrets in his mind. How would you like us to get our hands on him, half-breed? You took him from us once, but we could try grabbing him again. We think he might be a bit more useful than you are, a bit more forthcoming once we get our claws into his pathetic little human mind.

He feels something tingle at the back of his mind. Something familiar and warm and safe. He sees a spark of light come alive. He knows that flickering source of energy. He clamps down on his shields to keep it out.

Stay away, he wants to whisper, but Spock does not wish for the malevolent ones to find his bondmate. He does not wish for his bondmate to be here at all. He knows they will harm him if they ever got their hands on him. He wants Jim to stay away.

Ah, what is this... anomaly we see in your mind, half-breed? Is that a link? Where does it lead to? Why don’t you show me where it goes? Maybe we can get the one tethered to the other end of this rope and get them to join us. Who is it that you are hiding in your brain, telepath?

No, he must not let them find his bondmate. He has to keep him safe. He has to keep the walls up.

A new wave of sparking current is sent into his mind, using his fingertips as the conduit, the perfect conducting medium, and he gasps.

**

Something is wrong. Jim can feel it. He can feel the gap in the link. He can still feel that presence at the back of his mind, but it is getting weaker.

"Blocking the bond? " Jim looks at Sonok. "But I could feel him before."

He needs to get through to Spock. Why is Spock blocking him? Why has he been blocking him all this time? What did he ever do to warrant this evasion? Jim has never felt so confused.

"That is because he is most probably not in an optimal physical state to be able to discipline his mental shields properly," Sonok answers. "But he is unquestionably attempting to block it from you."

"Just as he was blocking it before now," Jim says, his voice bitter. "That’s why I didn’t feel anything. That’s why I wasn’t aware of the bond."

"That does seem to be the case." The Healer’s eyes are almost sympathetic, as if he knows what Jim is thinking. And considering he was just in Jim’s head, he probably can.

"But I could feel him a while back, when the pain started." Jim looks at him. "I didn’t know what was going on but.... Oh." Once again, Jim abruptly cuts off and twists in pain as his eyes scrunch shut in agony. But the pain goes away as soon as it had appeared.

When he opens them back again, Bones is right next to him. "Jim."

He stares at his friend in confusion. "He’s gone."

"What?"

"I can’t feel him." Jim feels his heart thudding hard. "He’s gone. I can’t feel him anymore." He looks at Sonok in bewilderment. "Please, help him."

The Healer looks at him and then reaches forward.

**

We know you are hiding someone in your brain, half-breed. But how long are you going to be able to do that? Your captain is not coming for your rescue and you know that. The voices snigger.

He has to block the bond to keep his bondmate safe. He has to keep the walls up.

Your attempts to scale down my defenses are... inadequate, he says. You cannot... harm me.

How long are you going to be able to stop us, telepath?

As long as I have my last breath.

Yes, but after that is gone, we will find him. We will take him. What will you do then?

**

It is once again dark in his mental landscape. But Jim is determined. He will not let Spock hide. Spock needs him. He has to find him.

But he can’t find that link. He can’t find the bond. Where is it?

He does not wish for you to follow him.

But why?

That is something you will have to ask him when you find him.

I will. I fucking will have words with him.

Very well. For now, you must concentrate on that link.

I can’t see it.

It is still there. Right where you left it. Find it and hold on to it.

I will. I won’t let it go this time.

**

At some point in time, they remove his restraints.

He does not know why they do that. The malevolent presence behind the voices is trying to move him to a new location, trying to take him deeper into the pits of hell. But for whatever reason they have, his bindings are removed. This is their mistake.

He lashes out at them with a ferocity of a Xelion mountain lion. His mind is on fire, the whispers are digging into his brain, the toxic presence of the psionic torture choking his breath. But his Vulcan strength is still nothing to be sneered at. Like a rabid animal, he falls upon them, kicking, punching, striking, his face contorted in agony, his mouth opened in a snarl, his hands curled into fists, he strikes and beats and smashes into bodies crowding him from all sides.

We will find him, the voices say. We will take him.

His fists close around something long and sharp and metallic which he grabs and stabs into someone’s flesh, hears a howl of agony that infuriates him even more. He has to fight them. He cannot let the presence behind the whispers get to his bondmate. They cannot hurt him. They will never get their hands on him. He will not allow this. He has already caused his bondmate too much pain. He cannot let these evil ones use the bond that should have been severed a long time ago to reach his bondmate. He must shield his mind. He must keep Jim away. He will kill them, kill them, kill them.

We will take him. What will you do then? the voices snigger.

You cannot touch him, he says. You will never reach him.

He strikes out and kicks at and fights against them. But he is one, alone. And there are too many of them. They surround him from all sides. He feels something pierce his shoulder, slash against his back, cut into his arm, he feels blood gush out of his wounds. Still he fights, still he resists, still he strikes out.

He will not let his bondmate come to harm. He will not let them get to Jim.

He will fight, he will kill them all, he will kill them all.

He will die before they touch his bondmate.

He will die.

**

You must breathe—the Healer says. You must compartmentalize the pain. It does not belong to you. But the bond goes both ways. You can take what does not hurt and send it his way. So that he too can breathe. Tell him he is not alone. Tell him you will find him. Tell him to be strong.

I’m trying. It is too hard.

It is harder for him.

I’m losing him.

He’s trying to block you. You must put a wedge in that crack, do not let it close.

He’s not letting me in. He’s closing it.

Do not let him block you.

Suddenly, Jim sees that crackle of white-hot, soothing energy. It is getting dimmer with every breath he takes, but he reaches for it with his mental hands and touches the silky strands. The bond flickers at his touch, and Jim closes his eyes, and sends feelings of love, strength, beauty, happiness, completion, clarity through the link. He feels the air sparkle around him, feels himself break through the haze. He sends his strength through the bond.

And in turn the bond guides him.

**

Stop. Do not look for me. I can feel your presence but you should not be here. Do not come after me. You need to be away. You need to be safe. Stay safe, ashal-veh. It is not your place to come running to my rescue. It is entirely my fault.

But he feels his bondmate grab the connection and hold on to it with all his strength.

**

"We’re going in the wrong direction," Jim says as he comes out of the meld, his face pale. The Healer hovers nearby.

McCoy stares at him. "What?"

"It’s a wild goose chase." Jim gets up. "Spock is not on that ship."

Bones frowns. "What are you talking about?"

Jim takes out his communicator. "Kirk to the Bridge."

"Uhura here."

"Lieutenant, I need Sulu to turn the ship around," Jim orders. "We’re following the wrong trail."

Both Uhura and the helmsman start speaking together. "Sir? But we’re only hours away from the Vallentian...."

"Captain, the ship manifest showed that this vessel was..."

He cuts them both off. "Uhura! Sulu! Both of you, listen to me. Spock is still on the planet. Turn the ship around and get back to Merak II now."

There is a pause for barely seconds, during which Jim holds his breath, before they reply in unison, "Yes sir."

Jim turns to face McCoy and Sonok. Bones looks at him. "How do you know this?"

Jim takes a deep breath and stares at him. "I know."

**

The room has been dark for a long time now.

Spock does not know how much time has passed. Hours. Days. Weeks. He is not sure anymore. He is just tired, so tired. Trying to keep his shields up against the whispers, the never ending whispers that just do not quit. He is exhausted.

That echo remains at the back of his mind. Reminding him of that illusion of warmth and protection. But he can no longer see its spark in the darkness of his mental landscape. Not even when he closes his eyes. Or maybe his eyes are open. Yes, it is the room that is dark now, he remembers.

His whole world is dark. Cold. He is freezing. Maybe after having subdued him from his frenzied struggle against them, his tormentors have finally left. But they have dropped the temperatures around him, because he feels as if he is suffering from hypothermia. He cannot feel his fingertips anymore. The pain is all in his mind now. The pain is cold, so cold. He would do anything to feel warm again.

All of a sudden, he feels a shift in the whispers, hears them get louder, more jarring, more penetrating, their venom caustic in its maliciousness, its cruelty. Until they are screaming into his head, screaming vicious, accusing, murderous threats. He hears his heart racing in his ears as he writhes in the restraints, his eyes shut tightly against the noise, so much noise, his lips pressed tightly to keep his screams in. Go away, get away, stop—he wants to tell them, but they do not stop. Back away from me, stop, stay away, stay away! But they keep screaming and shrieking and howling in anguish, in absolute anger, until he feels as if his ears are going to burst from the screams, the hatred, the loathing, and the disgust.

And then they’re gone as unexpectedly and as abruptly as they had begun. The sudden and absolute plunge into silence startles him. The burning, caustic smell that had pervaded his mind-sense also disappears, and he is left with the first clean breath of air that fills his lungs with icy coolness, amidst the buzzing in his ears.

And that’s when he feels his bondmate’s presence. No, stay away, he wants to whisper. But the echo breaks through the ringing of his ears, breaks through the haze, the confusion. Spock! he hears his name called.

Stay away, you have to be safe—he wants to say. But he feels enveloped in sudden warmth, as the feeling of absolute and certain safety fills his senses.

It’s all right, you’re safe now, the voice says. Everything’s all right, it assures.

He opens his mouth to say something, to tell him what he needs, how he feels. But his breath is stuck in his throat and no words come out.

I’ve got you, the voice says, as he is held tight, safe, cherished. I’ve got you now.

And Spock lets himself be carried into the shelter of that promise, as the world falls away and he loses his awareness into a thick, weary fog of oblivion.

**
End part 3

Go to Part 4

Date: 2010-10-02 08:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zephyr-macabee.livejournal.com
Phew! What a chapter! Very exciting and oh the angst!

Date: 2010-10-04 09:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laylafic.livejournal.com
Thanks, hon! Angst is almost always good. :)

Date: 2010-10-03 05:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] margarks.livejournal.com
Poor Spock! My heart aches for him and his crazy protectiveness.

Date: 2010-10-04 09:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laylafic.livejournal.com
Thanks, hon. You and me both! :)

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