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Title: Riverside, Part 2 of 4
Author: ayesakara aka [livejournal.com profile] laylafic
Series: Star Trek Reboot
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: ~39,400 (total), 10,425 (this part)
Warnings: Some possibly triggery references to child physical abuse in the past
Genre: Pre-slash, Friendship, First Time, Angst, Fluff
Summary: The Enterprise is docked at Earth Station McKinley for repairs and upgrades over the holiday season. Jim invites his friend Spock to join him at his family home in Iowa, where he presumes the house to be empty, but his mother unexpectedly shows up. Things have never been easy between Jim and his mother, and now Spock is caught in the middle of a family rift. How will he ease the tension between his friend, for whom his feelings run deeper than he has let on, and Winona Kirk?
Summary 2: Written for [livejournal.com profile] ksadvent.
Beta: The absolutely wonderful [livejournal.com profile] secret_chord25 who did a fabulously detailed job on such short notice, and the lovely [livejournal.com profile] kyn_moonlight who came at the last moment to give me such helpful suggestions.




Continued from Riverside, Part 1 of 4

Riverside, Part 1 of 4


The next morning, when Spock woke up, it was to the sounds of activity in the house.

It was a commotion quite in contrast to the stillness that had surrounded the house the previous day, when he had found Jim sitting on the back porch, watching the sunrise. There was sound of movement on the first level, of utensils clinking, and, even through the closed door, the aroma of cooking food wafted through.

Intrigued, he rose and went through his morning routines with his characteristic efficiency, once again thankful for the sonic unit in the bathroom as he dressed. It had snowed heavily once again during the night, and the temperature had fallen to -12 degrees. As he looked out the window, he could see a fresh coat of snow covering the ground. He clicked on his PADD still connected to the data access port, to see if he had received any messages, and felt his brows furrow when he found the device inactive. The comm link appeared to be down. The house was warm enough, however, which meant that the temperature controls were still functioning. He decided to forego his extra layers and went down in only the thick cardigan over his shirt and trousers and the underlayers he’d opted to wear.

Winona Kirk was in the kitchen, busily cooking, her demeanor cheerful and energetic—a marked difference from the previous night. As he stood and observed her exuberance from the living room, Jim too came down, wearing a dark sweater over his blue jeans, and joined him in his vigilance.

It took Commander Kirk a few more seconds before she noticed them standing there. "There you are," she called out cheerily, as she deposited the contents of the frying pan she had in her hands onto a large plate. "Breakfast’s ready; come on over."

Spock felt Jim breathe in carefully next to him and looked at him. There was a strange expression on his friend’s face. He appeared puzzled, but that was understandable. The commander’s behavior this morning was certainly perplexing. But, after everything he had read about her the previous night, he suspected that perhaps this was more of the ‘norm’ than what he had witnessed the previous day. In any case, this change in attitude appeared to be some kind of a peace offering. He hoped his captain took it as such.

After a few seconds’ pause, Spock felt Jim’s hand on his elbow, as he was gently led into the kitchen. Normally, it would be considered a gesture of affection, but at the moment, Spock thought, it felt more as if Jim was taking comfort from his presence. As they sat down at the table, Spock realized he did not mind providing that small bit of reassurance through touch.

"I made your favorite," Commander Kirk addressed her son, a bright smile on her face. "Bacon and eggs with sausages. There are also blueberry muffins in the oven; I know how much you love them. They’re almost about done." She went over to the oven and took out the hot tray of muffins, laying them out on the marble top. She turned to Spock and greeted him. "Good Morning, Commander."

"Good morning," he replied, watching her carefully extract six muffins from the moulds and set them on another plate.

She joined them at the table. "Come on; what are you waiting for?" She stared at them, her eyebrows rising in question. "Dig in!"

Spock picked up his fork and looked over at the offerings. He was about to take one of the fruit offerings, when he looked at Jim and paused at the expression on his face.

The captain looked furious, his lips set in a thin line. He watched as Jim swallowed heavily a few times, his nostrils flaring and then turned to his mother. "Mom, Spock doesn’t eat meat."

Winona Kirk looked at her son closely. "So I made pancakes for him. There’s also fruit and cereal. And hash browns, too." She laughed lightly, though her eyes were intense. "Potato is considered a vegetable, at least in some cultures." She looked at Spock. "You like maple syrup, Commander?"

"I do not have a preference for it, but with the ample offerings at my disposal, it would more than suffice, thank you." He looked into his captain’s eyes, nodding slightly, silently urging him not to take offense when there was no need for it. He did not mind others partaking of a meal that contained meat, as long as he had meat-free options. However, he suspected there was more going on here than a simple matter of non-vegetarian food.

He looked at Jim until the human huffed out a breath and picked up a fork.

"See? The commander doesn’t mind." Winona Kirk smiled, her tone careful. "Now eat, before everything gets cold."

The next few minutes were spent in silence as they ate quietly. Spock could see Jim listlessly cutting into his eggs, his face dark, as he seemed to not have much of an appetite. It appeared that the dark cloud that had been hovering over his head last night had gotten stormier this morning, even as his mother’s demeanor had taken a more positive shift.

After a few minutes, Winona Kirk looked up. "So I hope you two had a good night’s sleep."

Spock looked at Jim, and when his friend didn’t answer, he nodded at the commander. "It was adequate, thank you. I hope you did as well."

"It was fine," she replied. "Just a little hard to get used to getting your feet on solid ground after months of living on a starship, isn’t it?"

He inclined his head, as he took a sip from his tea. "Indeed, it can take some adjusting."

She looked at him closely. "How are you adjusting to the Iowa weather, Commander? It’s not too cold for you, I hope."

Spock opened his mouth to respond and-

"Can you stop with the Commander shit already?"

Spock stared at Jim, feeling his eyebrow rise, as he looked at his friend’s enraged countenance. Apparently, the storm had touched down.

Commander Kirk looked at her son. "What do you mean?"

"His name is Spock," Jim snapped. "He may be my First Officer but he’s also my friend, and we’re not on duty right now. So you can quit with the formal hiding-behind-the-rank bullshit and address him with his given name."

"Jim," Spock tried to interrupt, but the captain talked over him,

"Or fine, don’t," he continued, a scowl on his face, "but stop with the passive-aggressive bullshit you’ve employed all your life."

"That I’ve employed all my life?" Commander Kirk’s voice shook as she stared at him. "Or that you’ve employed all your life?"

"Sure. Of course," Jim grated sarcastically. "Because this is all about me."

"I don’t know, Jim," Winona Kirk said neutrally, but her eyes were flashing dangerously. "You tell me what it’s about."

"Don’t play the blonde card, Mom," Jim huffed. "It doesn’t suit you."

"But I bet it suits you perfectly," Winona Kirk’s voice had turned cold, the warmth of the carefully prepared food no longer enough to sustain the geniality of the morning—forced as it had been. "It always has. All you ever had to do was flash those pretty blues and all your sins were forgiven, weren’t they?"

"Of course," Jim leaned back in his chair and folded his hands over his chest, his face thunderous. "That’s exactly what you’d think."

Winona Kirk stared at him. "No, Jim, that is not what I think. I know you’re a captain now. A decorated war hero. I know all about your accomplishments."

"But you know nothing about me." Jim’s tone was accusatory, and suddenly, Spock had the urge to excuse himself and leave the room. This was a private familial matter. He should not be listening to this conversation. No matter how much he wished to intervene on his friend’s behalf and somehow make things easier for him, he knew it was not his place.

But neither of the Kirks were giving him a chance to walk away.

"I know you saved Earth." Winona Kirk was looking at her son incredulously. "What with the time travelling Romulans coming back through that wormhole to ruin all our lives." She huffed impatiently. "Hell, ask your First Officer; he knows all about them, doesn’t he?"

That made Spock pause as he turned to look at her before shifting his eyes to Jim, whose face turned even darker. "Leave Spock out of this. He has nothing to do with anything."

Spock once again attempted to interrupt, "Jim."

"Of course he has nothing to do with this," Winona continued in the same tone, her impatience apparent. "Only a future version of him."

That stopped all movement on the table, as Spock felt both his eyebrows rise. He heard Jim’s sharp intake of breath as he stared at his mother. "You think he’s responsible for..." He stopped and stared at her and then said slowly, "How do you know about that? That’s classified information."

Winona Kirk looked taken aback for a moment and then she laughed, the sound bitter. "What? You think that’s something only Starfleet’s Poster Boy for Heroism knows about?" Her tone was sarcastic, jibing. "I’m an affected party, too, remember? You’re not the only one who knows things. They briefed us all. I was on the Kelvin, sweetheart, when the timeline changed. When everything went to hell."

Her logic about her being an affected party to the Kelvin incident was sound. Her being present at the time of the Kelvin attack, especially since she was George Kirk’s widow, would make her one of the few people cleared to get a full briefing on the Narada incident. What puzzled Spock, however, was the insinuation that the commander somehow considered his future counterpart to be responsible for the Kelvin’s destruction. What he had read up on her experience last night negated such an implication.

However, Spock did not think that was what Jim was thinking about as he fumed, his teeth grinding together in anger, as the color in his face rose with every heartbeat. "Yeah, who better to know about things going to hell than Winona Kirk, right?"

"Jim." Spock started, even though he knew there was no use; neither of them seemed aware of his presence at this point.

"Have you heard back from Sam, by the way?" Jim growled, as he stared at his mother. "Any clue about how your older son is doing these days? Or are you too busy pursuing your duties and caring about your job to give a damn about your family?"

"Of course I give a damn," Winona Kirk snapped. "Not that you’d know anything about it, considering you haven’t been back home in four years!"

"Fuck this shit." Jim suddenly pulled back his chair and stood up. Spock got up from his chair as well. "I can’t sit here and listen to this anymore." Jim jabbed his index finger at his mother, snarling. "This is why I haven’t been back home; the only fucking reason!" And with that, he turned around, threw open the backdoor and stormed out of the house, the door slamming shut behind him.

Spock stared at the closed door, then he pushed his chair back and moved to go after his friend.

"Commander."

Spock paused in mid-movement. He knew he must follow Jim, as his friend was clearly in distress.

"Please." The voice was pleading.

He slowly turned to look at Winona Kirk and felt his brows rise at the spectacle. She had her head bowed, holding it in both hands. "I’m sorry," he heard her murmur. "I didn’t mean to say all that; to say any of that..." Slowly she raised her head to look at him, and he found himself surprised at the sight of anguish on her face.

He looked at her a beat and then asked, "Why, then, did you say what you did? I do not believe that you blame either myself or my future counterpart for the Kelvin’s destruction."

"Of course, I don’t." She looked at him strangely. "I’m a Starfleet officer. I know how these things work. I don’t know what made me say that." Her eyes were introspective. "It... just slipped out, for no reason at all." She looked confused. "I honestly don’t hold you responsible, at all."

He tilted his head and looked at her closely. "Why did you cause upset to your son, who, to quote yourself, has not been back home in four years?"

She leaned back in her chair and sighed. "Jim and I have... communication issues. We find it hard to speak to each other like normal people." She looked up at him, her eyes remorseful. "He always brings out the worst reactions from me."

Spock felt his brows come together as he pondered her statement. "I find that difficult to believe. Jim is a very sociable person, one who is very amiable towards others. He is equally admired and respected by his crew on board the Enterprise." He looked at her. "He has done much to earn that respect."

Something softened in her eyes. "I have no doubt about that, Mr. Spock." She looked at him, a frown appearing on her forehead. "Can I call you by your given name? I didn’t mean any disrespect by addressing you by your rank. You’re one of the most accomplished young officers in service today. Your rank is an honor to you, I’m sure."

"I did not take offense to your mode of address, Commander."

She smiled tiredly. "Please call me Winona."

He looked at her. "That would be... disrespectful of me."

"Then Mrs. Kirk would do." She sighed. "I wasn’t in a very good mood last night when I came home. I’m sorry I was rude."

"You do not need to apologize to me." It is not I to whom you should be apologizing.

But it appeared as though she had heard the unspoken words despite that. She nodded at him. "I think you should go and see to Jim now. He might be in need of his... friend."

With a nod, Spock turned around, opened the door and stepped outside.

**

Jim didn’t know where he was going - he just knew he needed to get out of that suffocating place. So he walked blindly, not seeing the path, not seeing where he was headed, just taking one step after another and feeling his blood burn in his veins, his breath coming out in puffs, as he heard the thundering beat of his heart in his ears.

He couldn’t pinpoint, what, exactly had made him finally snap. He’d lain awake most of the night, only falling into a fitful sleep at around six in the morning, so his mood was already shot by the time he came down for breakfast. And then she had to go and talk about Spock being somehow responsible for the Kelvin incident, which was fucking ridiculous. How could anyone blame Spock for that—either Spock?. That was unfathomable. And then all her bullshit about him ‘flashing his baby blues’ and getting away with things, as if everything had been handed to him on a fucking platter. That was what Frank used to say. And that crap about him not coming back home - as if she’d ever wanted him back.

As if she’d ever made him feel welcome in his own house.

You live in my house, buddy...

The words echoed in his head as if they’d been spoken yesterday - and he suddenly skidded to a stop when he realized where he was. He blinked, his heart beating fast in his chest.

He was at the old garage. He breathed hard as he stared at the rusted padlock that was on the door. So many memories, so much fucking painful shit he didn’t want to be thinking about.

It had never been Frank’s house. It had always been Jim’s, even though Jim hadn’t known that at the time.

And this is my car... you get one scratch on it, I’ll whip your ass so hard...

He scrunched his eyes shut as he remembered the words. You’re worthless. You’ll never amount to anything. He felt his hands curling into a fist. You’re the reason why your mom doesn’t stay here. She can’t stand you. Just like your stupid brother couldn’t stand you. That’s why he ran away. He felt his fingernails digging into his flesh as he felt a snarl form at the back of his throat. You drive everyone away. You’re pathetic; such a fucking loser. No one can fucking stand you.

With an anguished cry, his eyes snapped open and he slammed his fist into the garage door.

You will never amount to anything. Never.

He hit the unyielding wood again. And again.

You’ll always be alone. You’ll always be a nobody.

Teeth digging into his lips, he kicked at the door, and punched at the padlock, over and over and over, remembering the words, not wanting to remember the words, unable to keep them out of his head.

"Jim."

He didn’t feel the stinging pain that accompanied each blow, didn’t see his hand turning red, because his whole world was pain, was full of red, full of angry whispers and hateful shouts. He saw nothing, heard nothing but for the blaring chaos in his head. Nothing but the memories of whimpers and cries and angry yells and slaps and punches to his face and to his stomach, and the searing pain that followed as he was thrown to the ground and beaten and kicked in a bout of uncontrollable fury.

"Jim."

Suddenly his hand was seized in a strong grip, and he turned with a snarl to push away whoever had dared to touch him when he realized... Spock.

The contact was only for a few seconds as he stared at the shock in his First Officer’s brown eyes, and then, with an audible gasp, Spock dropped his hand.

Jim saw the full look on Spock’s face and froze.

**

That brief touch was like an electric switch being turned on, sending a bolt of sizzling current into Spock’s system that went right from the nerve endings on his fingertips to the neurons firing along his spinal cord, to the sensory receptors in his cerebral cortex, lighting up his synapses.

It lasted a mere 4.3 seconds, but, in that brief moment, Spock saw the memory Jim had been trying to forget.

Pain, fear, and anguish wrestled with razor-sharp slashes of anger, misery and betrayal - and the connection amped up, the blazing heat of the current throwing every image, every sound, every single emotion into crisp, sharp relief. The looming presence of a tall, adult human male, sweeping down into his vision, his mottled, red face full of anger, hatred and disgust, his mouth opened into a menacing snarl. And the sound coming out of his mouth reminiscent of the slow mechanical whir of an engine rising up into the burst of hot, burning fuel firing into the combustion chamber to the roaring scream of metal skidding, and thrashing, and bursting into flames.

This is my dad’s house, not yours, he cries. And it is my dad’s car, I’d rather burn it down than let you sell it.

And the human male gripping his arms and dragging him across the backyard, dragging him through the dirt, dragging him between the trees, as he struggled and kicked and lashed out at him to get away, but he was strong, too strong, and he could do nothing as he was dragged into the garage and thrown against the wall.

When the fist connected with his face, the shock of it sent him reeling to the floor. This was not supposed to happen. That man never had the guts to raise a hand to him before; his mother had never allowed it. But his mother wasn’t there; she was off-planet. And that man, Frank, had warned him before - warned him he was going to kick his ass. But this wasn’t how it was supposed to happen.

When the fists came, unrelenting and vicious, he curled into himself as he sobbed into the concrete floor of the garage, watching his own blood drip to the gray surface. He thought this might have been a bad dream. But the fingers that jabbed into his sides and pinched at his bruised flesh and the fist that grabbed the neck of his shirt and lifted him off the floor—it was all very much real. And the words were real - the harsh, loud, shouted sounds, stringing expletives and harsh denunciations together, so that they rang into his ears like an unending peal of chaos. And the slaps that stung the skin of his cheeks, first left, then right, over and over, they were real, too. And the blood that colored his vision was real; the hot, burning, human blood, spilled in innocence, in human weakness, in illogical anger.

It was the blood that jolted Spock out of his trance, the red human blood as he had never seen it before, as he dropped Jim’s hand with a sharp intake of breath, feeling the jolt of the connection zinging in his nerves, his breath coming out in gasps, his eyes wide with shock.

Jim looked at him in equal disbelief, his blue eyes sharp with the echoes of the pain and betrayal lurking in them.

"What did you see?" he asked Spock, his face pale, his lips clenched together.

And Spock felt remorse like he had not felt in a long time. Remorse that his friend, his captain, this human for whom he felt great affection and protectiveness, had known such pain in his life. Remorse that he had, unknowingly, looked into a memory that was private and painful and not something his friend had wanted to share. Remorse that he had not been there to stop the event in the past from occurring.

"Jim," he began haltingly, his voice shaking, "I... apologize; I did not mean to intrude." He attempted to regulate his breathing to come back to its regular parameters, as he looked into his captain’s wary eyes. "I did not know ... I am sorry, Jim."

He did not know what Jim saw on his face, but suddenly, the human closed his eyes and took a deep breath, wetting his dry lips with his tongue, before opening his eyes again and staring at Spock. "Stop apologizing, Spock." Jim shook his head, a frown on his face. "It’s not your fault. It’s not..."

Spock had the irrational urge to touch his friend’s face, to seek out the meld points, so that he could ensure Jim’s emotional control was adequate. But he knew a tactile contact would be most unwelcome at this moment. Besides, he had never initiated contact of this nature with Jim before. This had been an accident - an unintentional touch that had shown him a window through which he had glimpsed a phantom of a memory that was dark, and ugly, and hurtful.

Spock felt his brows come together as he looked at his friend. "Jim." He swallowed hard, still feeling the sting of disbelief, that a child could be hurt in this manner. "You were.... hurt, in this place."

Jim shook his head hard, his face impassive, even if his eyes showed everything he was feeling. "I don’t want to talk about it."

Spock looked at his captain. "I am sorry."

Sorry you were hurt. Sorry I cannot do anything to assuage your pain. Sorry I intruded on your private feelings.

"I told you." Jim looked at him. "It’s not your fault."

That was when Spock noticed the state of Jim’s right hand. His knuckles were bruised, the skin of his fingers split into angry gashes, and blood was seeping out of the wound. "Your hand is bleeding." He reached out and took Jim’s wrist in his hand, making sure he touched only the cloth.

Jim looked down at his hand, looking surprised. "It’s just a flesh wound; it’ll heal."

"It needs medical attention," Spock said. "The wound will become infected if left untreated."

Jim shook his head, his voice tight. "It won’t get infected."

"The cut is deep, Jim," Spock urged.

"It’ll bleed out." Jim looked up at Spock’s face, a strange, glassy look in his eyes, as if he was not thinking of this wound, but instead remembering an entirely different injury. "Take out the venom."

"Jim."

"I wish I could get rid of all this venom, Spock." Jim was still not looking at Spock’s face, but he had not pulled his hand out of Spock’s grip, and Spock had not let it go. "I hate wallowing in it. It feels suffocating."

Spock stared at his friend’s face, feeling a strange constriction in his chest at his misery. "I am sorry, Jim."

Jim looked into his eyes at this. "Stop apologizing. I should be apologizing to you." His face twisted in frustration. "For my mother."

Spock looked at him a moment and then replied, "There is no need. Your mother has already apologized to me."

Jim blinked at him in surprise. "What?"

For some reason, Spock was glad to be talking about this. At least this was a problem in the present, and could therefore be dealt with. It was the demons of the past, about which he knew so little, about that he did not know how to slay. "She does not harbor any ill will towards me or my future counterpart, Jim," he said quietly. "It was, as they say, a slip of the tongue. She did not mean to offend me."

"Huh." Jim looked amazed. "She apologized to you. Well, that’s a first." He looked down at the ground, his eyes searching for something he could not find, and then raised his head and stared into Spock’s eyes. "I didn’t want you to... see me like this."

For a moment, Spock felt puzzled at the words. What did Jim mean?

And then it was as if the pieces fell right into place. He looked closely at the captain’s face. "Jim, you are my friend. You are a courageous, strong, and kind man, and I do not believe there is anything in this universe about which you need to feel ashamed." He watched the breadth of emotions on his friend’s face and continued, "It is my honor to stand by your side, to share your burden. You do not have to... hide from me."

Jim watched him in what appeared to be amazement, and then suddenly threw his arms around Spock and pulled him into an embrace. Spock felt himself freeze for a moment, as he felt the full length of Jim’s body press against his frame, as his heart started beating hard at his side. He heard Jim murmur softly, "Thank you, Spock," his voice rich with gratitude, and, just like that, all the tension bled out of his body as Spock allowed himself to relax incrementally, winding his own arms loosely around his friend. He gently rubbed his palms over Jim’s back, feeling the hard muscles and sinewy strength of the human’s body under multiple layers of clothing, and hoped the simple touch could ease some of the human’s discomfort.

"If you ever wish to... talk, you know I am always here," he said softly.

"I know," Jim’s voice sounded huskier than usual and Spock felt himself shiver in the embrace.

And Jim felt it. He pulled back abruptly, his eyes widening with shock. "Christ, Spock. Look at you; you’re not ever wearing a coat."

Spock looked down at his attire and realized Jim was correct. In his haste to follow Jim, he had neglected to put on his outer protective layers. Then he looked at Jim and saw that he was no better attired. "Neither are you."

Jim huffed, "Well, I’m better used to this weather than you are."

"I assure you I am quite all right," Spock insisted, and, as if on cue, promptly sneezed. He looked at Jim in dismay, not quite sure what had happened.

"Jesus," Jim exclaimed, rolling his eyes. "Not if you get pneumonia, you won’t be." He threw one arm around Spock’s shoulder. "C’mon. Let’s get you inside."

Spock allowed himself to be led.

**

As they made their way back to the house, neither of them noticed the figure that had watched most of their interaction from the kitchen window move away, so as not to be spotted.

**

That afternoon, after Spock had been duly treated with a dose of decongestant and an antihistamine from the same medkit he used for the sterile swabs and regenerator to clean and treat the captain’s wound, Jim told Spock he was going out for a while.

Spock could see that, despite their conversation, Jim was still upset about the events of that morning. He may not have shown it since they’d come back inside, but the unease was present in the cool interactions with his mother, who had suspiciously been silent while Jim was settling Spock in front of the fireplace downstairs with a thermos of hot tea by his side and all the spare blankets he could find. Then, during lunch, which consisted of a salad for Spock and sandwiches for Jim, Winona Kirk had suddenly made herself scarce, citing an excuse to catch up on some official work as she disappeared upstairs.

His concern for his friend’s emotional wellbeing must have showed on his face, because Jim only smiled at him. "It’s okay, Spock. I just want to go for a walk. It’ll clear my head."

Spock started to get up. "Then I will accompany you."

"No, you won’t." Jim pushed him back into his nest of blankets and cushions. "You need to watch this cold. I don’t want you getting sick on my watch."

"I am all right," Spock assured him.

"I know you are." Jim looked at him imploringly. "Just... stay, okay? I’ll be back soon." He looked at the stairs, a faraway look in his eyes, as he took a deep breath, before turning to Spock. "Besides, something tells me that it’s my presence setting her off. She’s not likely to revert to her obnoxiousness with just you there."

Spock looked at him levelly. "You must remember that the weather forecast is for a severe snowstorm to hit this evening. Please keep your comm unit on your person at all times."

Jim chuckled. "Don’t worry, Spock; I intend to come back much sooner than that. And I won’t get lost. I know this place like the back of my hand."

Spock watched as the captain straightened up, adjusting his thick layer of clothing, and moved out of the door.

**

Winona waited until Jim had left before coming downstairs.

She knew she’d screwed up this morning. She’d thought that starting the day on a positive note would ease the way forward. But, as it turned out, things were not going to be that simple.

She could see Jim had been pissed off the moment he came downstairs. He’d probably been pissed off the whole night. From there, it was apparent the morning was inclined to go badly. It didn’t help that from that point onwards, apparently everything that came out of her mouth was either the wrong thing, or was taken that way.

She knew that she’d made remarks that, in retrospect, looked like a censure against someone Jim considered to be a good friend. She hadn’t really meant anything by what she’d said about Spock and his future counterpart; just another case of her mouth running off without consulting with her brain first. Add to that Jim’s remarks about Sam, which had hurt deeply - yet another failing of herself as a mother - and then her defensive reaction of putting the blame instantly on Jim when she knew she was in the wrong... Well.

Ironically, in the whole convoluted equation, Spock had appeared to be the cohesive factor. She’d seen the way Jim had jumped to his defense at the mere implication that he was being wrongly accused. Then Spock’s immediate inclination to go after Jim, to make sure he was all right. Followed by that impromptu hug at the old garage that she’d witnessed, and then the whole domestic scene in front of the fireplace, where she didn’t know which one of them won the contest of who could take care of the other better. It was apparent that these two were close friends.

She’d given them some time by themselves during lunch while she got her thoughts together, deciding on how she was going to go about trying to mend this situation. It was a lifelong accumulation of grievances and missteps; of wrong choices made at the worst possible times. She knew it was a chasm that not going to be easily bridged.

As she came down the stairs, she found Spock in the living room, quietly folding the blankets and putting all the cushions to their proper places. He turned to watch her as she came into the room, his face carefully blank and his dark eyes assessing her movement into the kitchen.

"How’re you feeling?" she asked him, pouring herself a glass of water and grabbing a cracker out of the box on the shelf.

"I am well," he replied, tone strangely flat.

She took a bite and drank deeply from the glass, her throat suddenly feeling parched, and watched him watching her, his face not giving much away. She felt like she was on a petri dish under a microscope - a biological specimen in one of his experiments he was trying to unravel.

She put the glass down and sighed. "Whatever you want to say, Mr. Spock, feel free to speak your mind."

Spock observed her another moment, then inclined his head. "Very well," he said. He put his hands behind his back, straightened his posture further and looked at her directly. Then, "Were you aware of the fact that, when he was a child, Jim was physically abused at the hands of your second husband?"

She froze as the words registered in her brain. This was... not what she had been expecting. She looked into his eyes, trying to find any hint of accusation, of condemnation, her heart hammering in her chest - but saw nothing other than an intense sense of curiosity. But... she hadn’t been anticipating this. Not this. Never this.

She swallowed hard and nodded. "Yes." She looked into his eyes. "Did he... tell you that?"

Something flickered in his eyes. "Not... directly."

She looked at him, her chest suddenly feeling tight. "I’ve made some terrible mistakes in my life, Mr. Spock. My second husband, Frank Harrison, was one of those."

"He hurt your child." Spock’s eyes glinted dark. "No one should be allowed to cause physical or emotional harm to one so young."

"You’re right," she said, her tone brittle, as she felt that anger return - the anger she’d felt all those years back. Being betrayed by someone she’d trusted. She pressed her lips together. "That’s why he went to jail for what he did."

Spock blinked, and she realized he hadn’t known that.

"Jim didn’t tell you this?"

Again that flicker, as he shifted his weight from one foot to another. "We did not talk in detail. As I have stated, he did not... tell me anything directly." He looked at her. "I found out... purely by accident."

Whatever that meant, she had no clue. She looked at him warily. "I’m not sure how much I should say."

"I do not wish to intrude on a private matter." He looked directly at her. "That was never my intention. I am... merely curious how you allowed this to occur in the first place."

"I didn’t allow anything to occur," she bristled. "I was off-planet when it happened."

"As Jim’s mother, you were his primary caretaker." He looked at her implacably. "And while your other responsibilities were important, I do not believe Jim, as a child, would have seen things in quite the same way."

And all at once, the fight went out of her. Because that was the truth, and she knew there were no two ways about it. "You’re right." She sighed. "He still doesn’t see it that way." Suddenly she felt tired, so tired. "I tried to do right by him after that, but nothing was ever the same. That one miscalculation ruined everything in our lives."

She saw those arched brows come together, processing her reaction. No matter how many times she came across Vulcans, they never failed to amaze her, and this one was an enigma in himself. A hybrid with the strengths and potencies of both parents. Human and Vulcan alike. Both like her, and alien to her, at the same time. He had already seen too much in his life; had experienced loss, heartache, grief – as much as he would let himself feel.

"It’s hard to live under the shadow of a legend, you know." The words were out of her mouth before she could stop them.

He looked at her closely. "You are referring to George Kirk’s legacy."

Winona shrugged. "Who can ever compare, hmm? Jim never really forgave me for... abandoning him for the sake of my career; for my causes."

"You causes were... valid." He tilted his head as he observed her. "Have you ever attempted to sit down and talk with him?"

She exhaled. "You’ve seen how well we manage that. "

"Communication takes effort, Mrs. Kirk."

"Sometimes that effort can be too hard to bring together."

He paused for a moment, his dark eyes watching her inquisitively, a furrow between his brows. Then he asked, "Mrs. Kirk, do you regret the chance your deceased husband gave you?"

She blinked in surprise. "What do you mean?"

He looked at her. "When he made the decision to sacrifice his life for the lives of 800 individuals on the Kelvin; for the life of his wife and newborn son. Do you regret that?"

She frowned. "Of course not."

He gazed at her closely. "He gave you a gift; a second chance at life," he said quietly. "You have taken that chance and made a positive contribution to your service and to your career, and to your family as well, whether your children realize it or not. Your eldest son has settled down after a period of rebellious behavior as an accomplished scientist on Denobula." He paused. "And your youngest son has already surpassed his father’s legacy."

Winona felt her eyes watering and blinked hard. "Yes, they’ve done well," she said, her voice strangely hoarse. "Both of them."

"Indeed." Spock nodded. "It took me sometime to get past Jim’s... brash exterior, but I have grown to know him as one of the most courageous, dedicated, and creatively genius commanding officers I have ever had the honor to work with." Winona closed her eyes. There was something in Spock’s mellifluous tone that reminded her of a melody; the cadence of his speech was almost hypnotizing. "He is strong, brilliant, and the most capable captain with whom I have served. Each day working alongside him is a revelation to me." He looked at her, his eyes bright with something she’d never seen in a Vulcan. "You should be proud of him."

For a moment, Winona felt as if she would not be able to say anything in response to that speech. The depth of emotions the words had conveyed showed how much Spock actually felt. For a Vulcan, this young man was quite expressive as far as his emotions were concerned. "I know that," she finally answered. "I am proud... proud of all that he’s achieved. I always knew he would."

She watched as the young Vulcan frowned. "Then how is it possible that Jim does not know of this?"

Or perhaps, it was Jim... that made this man feel all those emotions. It was as if the pieces were suddenly falling into place. It was only a hunch, a kind of disjointed portion of a jigsaw puzzle, and some of the pieces were probably still missing, but she felt as if she could somehow make out a ghost of a picture here.

It was a long shot, probably not a very good idea at all, but she felt as if she had to pull the trigger and see where it went. She took a deep breath and looked at him closely, and asked:

"Mr. Spock, does my son know how you feel about him?"

She saw the deer caught in the headlights look in his eyes, and knew the shot had landed right on the bull’s-eye.

**

Jim could see the lights of the Utility Depot flashing from a long distance away, and wrapped his scarf around him tightly, shoving his gloved hands in the pockets of his jacket as he walked. His shoes crunched over snow-covered ground, the chill of the air surrounding him.

As he’d expected, the walk had cleared his head a little. He was still in need of a good night’s sleep, but he was feeling a lot more rational now than when he’d woken up. He suspected that while, his mom’s demeanor yesterday certainly hadn’t helped things, he might have overreacted a little this morning. Being alone for a while, walking through the snow-covered terrain, letting the cold air soothe his aching head - he was at least feeling lucid enough to think through things.

In the past, every time he’d faced an emotional hurdle, his inclination had been to run, especially when it came to shit at home. He’d been running all his life from problems with the family, from Winona, from the crap that was the whole... experience with Frank.

As a teenager, he’d been full of self-righteous anger. Fate had dealt him a harsh hand. His father was dead, his mother was always away, his brother hadn’t cared enough to stay, his stepdad was an asshole, his school sucked, his classmates were jealous of his genius, and his friends were all losers. Life sucked. That was all he knew.

Joining Starfleet had been a chance he hadn’t realized he’d ever wanted to take. Starfleet had always been the ogre that had taken his father and his mother away from him. As much as he was fascinated by the stories and legends of the heroes he’d grown up hearing about, Starfleet had been the bad guys, the ones who ruled by an iron fist and made little kids grow up without their parents.

So he’d run from that ogre. Telling himself he was better than them. He didn’t need Starfleet; he didn’t need to live with the ghost of the Kelvin hero. He could make a life of his own, on his own terms, without the help of anybody.

But he’d wasted his potential for too long, getting into fights and generally being a menace and a nuisance, in spite of his genius-level aptitude scores. So when Pike had made the offer, he’d realized that there were better ways of beating the ghost. Instead of running, he could best them - he could best all of them.

He’d thought that joining Starfleet would bring about a change in him. He was responsible now, more mature. He’d seen loss and destruction. He’d saved a planet. He’d made a fucking contribution.

But it turned out he was still running. That was always his gut reaction, to fold, to bail, to hide. The ghost was still out there somewhere, mocking him, laughing his ass off at his cowardice. He was still hiding from the shit that never ended, that was always there under the surface, waiting to get out every time he came back.

When he’d left the house an hour ago, his intention had been to walk to the Utility Depot and find out if he could get a couple of hotel rooms somewhere in the city. He’d wanted to run, as always - planning to drag Spock deeper into the mess. As if the poor guy hadn’t seen enough already.

Well, not anymore.

He stopped and stared at the Depot building’s blinking light, the sign now visible from this distance. He took a deep breath and turned around.

It was time to face the problems head on. He was through running.

**

Spock carefully schooled his expression into a look of absolute impassivity and looked at Winona Kirk. "I do not know to what you refer."

A smile played on the corners of her lips, the look in her eyes knowing but soft at the same time. He felt his brows come together. "Did I unintentionally state a humorous anecdote that I am unaware of?"

She looked at him. "You speak with the wisdom of someone much more advanced in years, Mr. Spock," she said. "But the truth is... in many ways you’re just a kid."

He raised an eyebrow at her words, his arms tightening behind his back, as he stood even taller, staring at her coolly. "I assure you I am very much an adult in standard years."

The commander mimicked his raised eyebrow and replied, "Are you, now?"

He kept his tone impartial, knowing he must not bristle. "Indeed."

"Then how about Vulcan years?" she asked him. "Are you an adult Vulcan?"

He paused; it was a fair question. He was an adult in the sense that he was old enough to leave home and pursue his studies on another planet, and a career in space. He had even pursued, and eventually ended, his first romantic affiliation with a human. But he had not yet had his first Pon Farr. So, in the traditional sense, he was not yet a fully adult Vulcan - not that it was any business of Mrs. Kirk.

He was still contemplating how to answer the query, when Winona Kirk smiled and continued, "You aren’t, are you? Like I said, just a kid, scared of being rejected. Even when the evidence suggests that there’s no way you would ever be rejected by the one from whom you fear it the most."

Spock stomped the urge to take umbrage at her words, for they hit too close to home. But he was not ready to admit that as yet. "You are making multiple assumptions."

"Let’s just say, I have eyes," the commander said. "I’ve lived a life. You can even say I’ve loved and lost, and loved again and lost again, over and over. I’m experienced in these things." She looked at him with a sympathetic look in her eyes. "I see how you look at him." She paused a moment, and then added, "Have you ever seen the way he looks at you?"

Spock pursed his lips. "I do not see how that is relevant to this most illogical topic of discussion."

"I see how this is going to be." Winona Kirk sighed and shook her head. "Are you telling me you don’t care for my son?"

"Not at all." Spock looked at her calmly. "I care for him a great deal. He is my closest friend."

"Do you wish there was more between the two of you?" she pressed.

Spock resisted the urge to sigh. "Wishing something to be a certain way does not make it so."

"Of course not." She held his gaze. "Not if you stay quiet. But it can make all the difference if you decide to take that first crucial step."

He frowned, realizing now that he had not denied what she was implying. "I am not sure that would be... the wisest course of action."

"Who said love was ever wise?" Winona Kirk watched him closely. "Don’t try to find logic in this, Mr. Spock - you will fail. Love is utterly illogical." She paused, looking into his eyes, and said, "As is... the courage needed to admit to its existence."

He felt a niggle of aggravation at the back of his head. "You think I lack courage."

"Not at all," she said, her voice soothing. "You’ve obviously broken through his layers. You’ve befriended him. I can see he is utterly... besotted with you."

What was she talking about? Spock stared at her, feeling an echo of muted disbelief filling his senses. "Jim is a highly sociable individual," he said slowly. "He has many friends." Some of whom had been friends with him much longer.

"Yes," she agreed, nodding, "but he doesn’t show his heart to many people. The fact that he has allowed you to see that... side of him, has allowed you to comfort him – that’s a gift too, Spock. Don’t let it get away."

Comfort him? Spock stared at Winona Kirk and wondered what exactly she had witnessed this morning. She knew he had gone after her son to make sure he was all right. But that was what friends did - at least, that was how humans showed their affection. It was true that what he felt for Jim ran deeper now than it had done a year ago. But... how had she come to these conclusions? Was he really so transparent? If he was, then had others noticed the same signs she had caught? Had Jim?

But it did not matter. Jim only thought of him as a friend. Didn’t he?

He looked at her and simply stated, "He means a great deal to me."

Her eyes were soft, patient. "I can see that. But he’s also a Kirk. I know how they are, Mr. Spock. Not the most perceptive creatures around." She looked at him pointedly. "You should tell him."

He felt a curious flutter at his side. "I do not wish to encumber him with feelings with which he may not be comfortable."

She stared at him a moment, her gaze sharp. "You think you’ll lose his friendship?"

He frowned. "That would be... illogical."

"Yes, and it’ll never happen," she stated.

The simple conviction of her words puzzled him. There were no absolutes in the universe. "How can you be certain?"

She smiled. "Call it... instinct. A woman’s intuition."

He tilted his head and stared at her. "It is hard to wrap my mind around the illogic of that statement, Mrs. Kirk."

She grinned. "Is it?"

**

Jim came back in the early evening, which prompted the three of them to have an early dinner. Spock informed Jim that he was going to try bypassing the cabling connected to the comm system and attempt to link it to the portable transceiver he had found in storage downstairs and which seemed to be in a working condition. He believed the fault was not in the main transceiver, but the wiring, and sounded hopeful that if the faulty wiring could be bypassed, the link could be activated again.

Jim was in the study downstairs, going through his father’s old books lining the walls, when Winona came in. They’d barely interacted during dinner, and Jim was still feeling a little put off, though he remembered why he’d decided to come back. He needed to face these issues head on.

Apparently, his mom had the same idea. She quietly closed the door and took a seat next to him. He looked at her sideways, an old edition of The Sound and the Fury open on his lap, and went back to the book.

"You can stop stewing," she started. "Whatever evil plan you thought I came here harboring exists only in your imagination."

He snorted, turning a page with a lot more vehemence than the age of the book called for. "Yeah. A lot of things only exist in my imagination, right, Mom?

She breathed out heavily. "See that? This is what I was telling Spock about earlier. I can never say anything that doesn’t set you off. It’s as if we’re hard-wired to always cause a short-circuit every time our connection is turned on."

"Yes." He said sardonically. "You’re right. We’re just predisposed to behave this way. Perhaps it’s my presence here that’s unwarranted. It’s my fault for showing up here without letting you know first. I should have gone to Bali or something."

"Jim, what the hell-" Winona started

"And you, of course, are absolutely innocent, Mom." Jim cut her off. "None of this sticks on you. Nope; nothing at all."

"That’s not what I-" she began again.

He interrupted her again, "And you know what? I wanted to get out of your hair. But I came home because I wanted to come home, Mom and I’m sorry it’s an inconvenience to you, but for once in my life, I’d like to actually stick around and not feel like I’m not welcome in my own home and-"

"James Tiberius Kirk," she snapped. "Will you stop blathering and let your mother finish?"

He stared at her, his eyes glinting with unsuppressed emotion.

"You’re not going anywhere," Winona told him flatly. "I am not pissed that you’re here, Jim." She scowled and then shook her head, breathing out impatiently. "I’m... ecstatic."

She huffed when he rolled his eyes. "Yes - this is how I show my delight at my son coming home after four long years. I snap at him; I can’t help it. But I’d like to, Jim. I’d like to... be different; to do... better." She looked into his eyes, her eyes shining as he watched her throat working.

"And no, I’m not innocent. I’ve done many stupid things in my life and while we’re talking time travel, I wish I could go back in time and change some things of my own, to get a chance to make different choices." She inhaled sharply and looked at him closely, the wetness in her eyes expanding, and he started to get that sinking feeling. "But I can’t, Jim, no matter how much I want to."

She paused, her voice suddenly small. "And none of it is your fault. If I could... if I could...." That sinking feeling became a sinkhole as her speech halted, her voice shook. "...If I could... ever get past the obvious... if I..." She gasped and then blurted out, "Jim, I’m sorry I’ve been such a horrible mother."

"Mom," he sighed, watching tears slip out the corners of her eyes.

She pleaded, "I never wanted you to get hurt. No mother ever-"

He reached out to put his hand on her arm. "Mom, please-"

"-wants their kids to get hurt. For them to hate her."

"Mom." He turned and gripped her shoulders in his hands and looked straight into her eyes. "I don’t hate you." God, he couldn’t stand this. Why did he always feel like shit when she went like this? He hated seeing her cry, hearing her apologize. He just couldn’t bear it. "Don’t apologize to me, okay?" he begged. "Please, just stop. It’s okay."

She shook her head, wiping the tears off her face. "No, baby, no, it isn’t. It’s not OK."

"It is okay," he insisted. "Everything’s okay."

She stared at him. "But it wasn’t okay, back then. There were a lot of bad.... decisions."

"Yes." He sighed. "But there were also... good ones. Why can’t we focus on that?"

She looked at him for a long moment and then shook her head. "You... are a marshmallow, you know."

"What?" He looked at her blankly.

She smiled softly. "You’re a big softie; just like your dad. He could never stand to see anyone cry either, even for a second."

"Mom."

"Look at you." She watched him, her eyes tired but amazed. "I’ve been at my worst behavior for years. I haven’t reached out to you more than a couple of times since you got the Enterprise. And all I have to do is sniffle for two seconds, and you tell me I don’t need to apologize."

"You don’t," he insisted. "You shouldn’t have to. You’re... you’re my mother."

She didn’t seem convinced, but she didn’t say anything. After a moment, she turned to him again, her brow furrowed. "Oh, Jim. I didn’t mean any of what I said this morning -about your command, about Spock. And the older one. About the Kelvin. I know it’s not this kid’s fault."

Spock had told him she had apologized to him. He looked at her. "No, its not. It’s not the fault of the older one either, let me assure you. He’s awesome too."

"Mmmhmm." She nodded, the expression on her face strange. "Not as awesome as this one, I’m sure. He’s a catch."

Jim rolled his eyes. "Trust me, that one is definitely very awesome." Still, he couldn’t help but concede. "But you’re right about my Spock. He’s definitely a catch." He allowed a small smile to break at the corners of his lips. "I’m so fortunate to have him on the ship. I can’t imagine what I’d do without him as my XO. He makes everything look so easy."

"I am glad... that you have such a good friend on the ship." There was still something in her eyes he couldn’t recognize.

He nodded. "Me, too."

She paused a moment and then asked, "How’s Leonard McCoy?"

Jim grinned. "He’s doing great. He’s spending time with his daughter this Christmas."

"Wonderful. His ex still a bitch?"

"As always."

She made a face. "Terrible."

"Yeah."

Another pause during which she looked down at her hands in her lap. Then she looked up. "Jim?"

"Yes, Mom?"

She watched his eyes. "Can we please...." She took a deep breath. "Could we make a fresh start?"

He sighed. It still wasn’t that simple. "Mom."

It was as if she’d read his mind. "I don’t mean I want to push all the bad stuff under the rug. I just... want to make a fresh start in our attempt to tackle all that stuff. I miss you."

"I miss you too, Mom," he told her sincerely. "But we always get on each other’s nerves. I’ve never been a particularly... ‘good boy’. Not like Sam."

She sniffed. "Sam is in a league of his own. But even he couldn’t take it." She looked away from Jim’s face, watching the shelves filled with the books dad had collected all over the years. "Even he had to leave."

He had no idea who she was actually talking about here. A strange bitterness filled the back of his throat. "Story of my life," he muttered. "Can’t get anyone to stick around."

She turned back to him, her brows drawn together. He didn’t know what she saw on his face, but her eyes widened.

"Jim, no, That’s not true. It wasn’t you I was running from, no matter how much it may have seemed that way to you. It was... this house..." She looked around helplessly, as if remembering something she had been trying to forget for years, for all her life. "This... existence, this presence that never completely left these walls."

"You mean Dad," he huffed. "But I’m inextricably tangled in those memories too, aren’t I? I mean, you got me at the same moment you lost him. So my existence from that day one has always been entangled with the ghost of my dead father. The ghost you spent the rest of your life running away from."

"But not from you, Jim." That pleading tone was back and he was suddenly sick of it. "Never from you."

"Well, how would I know that, Mom?" he retorted. "What would a ten-year-old kid know? And then you left Frank Harrison in charge." He snorted. "You showed remarkable character recognition in choosing him to be your kids’ guardian, Mom."

She tore her eyes away from him. "Frank was a mistake."

"And your kids paid the price for your mistake." He looked at her sadly, angrily. "Sam ran away. Your mistake put me in the hospital, while you were off in space, assigned to some ship while you had family on Earth."

"And I came back just as soon as I heard," she insisted. "I divorced him, kicked him out of our lives. He spent time in a detention facility for three years."

"And then you left again," Jim snapped. "You threw me in the boarding school and went back to your work." His voice rose as his anger mounted. "You weren’t even supposed to be on active duty, were you? You couldn’t have been. You had family here."

"I didn’t throw you anywhere," she countered. "I had commitments."

"To the rest of the quadrant," he said bitterly as he got up from his seat. "To Starfleet." He looked down at her. "But not to your kids."

He turned and moved to the door.

"Jim," she called after him.

He turned the door handle, opened the door.

"Stop," she cried. "Please!"

He paused in the doorway.

"I know I messed up," she insisted. "Big time. But tell me one thing." He looked at her. "Was your life so awful after I left.... because of everything I did, or didn’t do after Frank was gone?" Her eyes shone with unshed tears. "Was it so bad, so horrible that... you can’t even bear to look me in the eye? Can’t bear to sit and talk to me for two seconds like a civilized person?"

She looked into his eyes. "Or are you going to punish me for those mistakes for the rest of our lives?"

He watched her for a moment, his thoughts in a jumble in his head. He didn’t have an answer.

Then he stepped out of the room and let the door close behind him.

**

That night, the forecast storm finally hit Riverside.

First came the lightening storm accompanied by howling winds, banging against the windows and doors, making the whole house reverberate against the elements like a toy ship shaking in a tumultuous sea. Then came the freezing, torrential sleet, with chunks of ice eventually falling on the ground and making every surface dangerously slippery and wet. The temperature dropped to -22 degrees.

And when that was through, the blizzard came, snow falling heavily all through the night, covering everything in white sheets.

In the middle of the night, the storm knocked down one of the transmitters that provided power to the farmlands in Hickory.

The Kirk house was plunged into darkness.

**

Continued in Riverside, Part 3 of 4

Date: 2010-12-09 10:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] putigress2012.livejournal.com
I love the interactions between Jim and Spock. And between Spock and Winona. I think you portrayed them very realistically.

I just wish Jim and Winona could get along and work some of their issues out... *sigh* I hold out hope for the next two chapters.

Date: 2010-12-10 02:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laylafic.livejournal.com
I enjoyed writing those interactions very much too, so I'm thrilled you find them realistic.

Angst is fun, isn't it? ;)

Date: 2010-12-09 10:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karmic-fic.livejournal.com
you know what was pure genius? you having winona call jim on being a marshmallow.... seriously, i think that scene is going to stick in my brain forever, just PRICELESS

Date: 2010-12-10 02:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laylafic.livejournal.com
Haha, thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed that. :)

Date: 2010-12-10 12:44 am (UTC)
ext_354884: (Default)
From: [identity profile] awarrington.livejournal.com
Oh, this was a painful chapter to read. So many strong emotions, so many unresolved tensions between mother and son. Clearly the issues are very deep-seated and aren't going to magically disappear. And Spock, so stoically standing up for his friend.

Interesting that Winona picked up on Spock's feelings. She's given him advice, the question is will he act on it.

I'm enjoying your writing - you're doing the dynamics between the three of them really well. It all feels very realistic.

And now, even if Jim wants to leave, he can't. They're snowed in.

On to the next chapter...

It's 12:45...I knew this was going to be a late night...

Date: 2010-12-10 02:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laylafic.livejournal.com
Thank you so much for letting me know the character dynamics felt realistic to you. The dialogues were the first thing to come to me, but I wrote them so far back in time - literally about 2 months ago - and then there was a huge gap during which I did nothing, except sit on those scraps of dialogues written in a notebook by hand.

When I finally started writing the narration around them, I wasn't sure if they even worked anymore.

So, yeah, thanks. :)

Obviously

Date: 2010-12-10 08:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elfqueen55.livejournal.com
you have talent on loan from God...and you KNOW how to smoothly construct a story and build real life into and around your characters...this is where the story gets so could I CAN NOT PUT IT DOWN...I'm reading it online and that's something I never, ever do, I usually print online stories out so I can curl up in my favorite chair with a piping hot mug of cocoa, but I am so rooted into this story and all of its fabulously created tension and complexity (without which, imho, no K/S story is worth even reading, I like my K/S MATURE) that I cannot turn away...on to Part 3, and yes you do seem to like 'em nice and long...another feature I absolutely enjoy and demand! :)

Re: Obviously

Date: 2010-12-11 01:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laylafic.livejournal.com
Thank you so, so much for reading it, and enjoying it. I'm thrilled you find the character dynamics realistic. I agree, K/S needs that complexity of plot and characterization to be enjoyable. That's my fav kind too. I'm glad you enjoyed this.

Re: Obviously

Date: 2010-12-11 04:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elfqueen55.livejournal.com
teehee...you have NO idea how much...mmmm...way too good...I especially resonate to your take on the dominant factors in Spock's personality...he's powerful, confident and very well aware of his actions, along with his own desires, human though they may seem, imho those same "feelings" are very much part of being a Vulcan...great the way you can demonstrate that reality without diluting or subverting his character...brilliant!

Re: Obviously

Date: 2010-12-11 06:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laylafic.livejournal.com
Dom!Spock is my favorite too. Well, so is vulnerable!Spock. I just absolutely adore this guy. This... complex duality of the character, his constant struggle between his Vulcan and human halves, is delicious to play with. :)

Date: 2010-12-11 07:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tprillahfiction.livejournal.com
oh my gosh you captured the emotions here perfectly. I was horrified at Frank. The very vivid description of his abuse of Jim was perfect. I can only imagine it must be very very difficult to come back to this house. I don't think I could do that, actually. I wouldn't be able to face the ghosts. I'm glad Jim's got Spock with him.

I can really feel the winter tone of this. I really like this.

I also love the characterizations here: Kirk, Spock, Winona. All perfect.
Really great chapter!

Date: 2010-12-12 06:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laylafic.livejournal.com
Thank you for letting me know the emotions impacted you the way they did. I'm glad the characterizations make sense to you.

Date: 2010-12-12 07:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] margarks.livejournal.com
Wow, Winona is so flawed. I like that Spock now has to confront his own feelings, but the whole time I was kind of like - wow, how can Winona give anyone relationship advice? lol

I hope things get better for Jim...

Date: 2010-12-13 01:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laylafic.livejournal.com
Yes, she is, isn't she? LOL, you have a point about the advise thing. :)

Date: 2010-12-28 09:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] firesen.livejournal.com
I'm about to start part three and already I've run out or tissues! I think your trying to kill me here by angst overload.

Date: 2010-12-29 05:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laylafic.livejournal.com
Hey, angst can be fun --- as long as there's an adequate resolution. Right? ;)

Date: 2011-01-03 02:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blcwriter.livejournal.com
I love how you're handling this, and I love all the time that you're taking, because it just takes this much time. Bravo, and brave.

Date: 2011-01-03 08:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laylafic.livejournal.com
Thanks, it was a lot of fun to delve into the character dynamics.

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