Title: A House of Cedar
Summary: After fal-tor-pan, Spock undergoes relearning on Vulcan...and when certain things are not included, a disgraced Starfleet Admiral changes that.
Length: 14,907 words
A HOUSE OF CEDAR, 2/3
link to part one
Spock had no idea how long he remained at his desk, unseeing, after the tape ceased playing. All his hard-won layers of Vulcan focus and control, worked for so diligently since his revival, now seemed fractured and useless. When he unclenched his fingers from the desk's edge, his arm was stiff and sore from the punishing, rigid pose he had held during playback. He stared at his cramped and unresponsive hand as it, too, betrayed his ability to control.
He could not imagine anything else that could be said or revealed to render him undone as totally as this. Not one thing, he was certain, short of finding out he wasn't, in fact, Spock, son of Sarek of Vulcan. For in truth, although the information of his heritage and birth had not changed, the image of what nature of person he really was, gradually constructed during his convalescence, was now changed completely because of what he had just heard.
Spock knew very well the basics of his life: half-Vulcan and half-human, scion and heir-apparent of the ancient House of Surak. Holding the rank of captain in Federation's Starfleet, decorated with numerous medals and citations for bravery and excellence. Second-in-command to James Kirk for many years on the Constitution Class starship Enterprise, NCC-1701. Most recently commander of the training vessel Enterprise, an adjunct to the Academy's teaching programs. A scientist with various advanced degrees and author of many published scientific papers. An adult Vulcan male whose original betrothal was severed during the kal-if-fee-the event in which he had fought and supposedly killed his captain-in Standard year 2267. An adult male who had not attained a bond during his first Time--
Spock suddenly halted in mid-thought.
2267. It was now Standard year 2285, eighteen years later.
He inhaled sharply, yet the facts remained. Eighteen years of his life since his first pon farr, and he innocently and naively had assumed-since no one had instructed him otherwise-that he had lived a life uninterested in all things sexual; that perhaps, miraculously, his Time did not visit itself upon him because of his human genetics.
Such a leap of thought was a mistake made only by the very young or the feebleminded, constructing an assumption to fill in a hole of missing data. How could such a fact exist, while he blithely ignored the fallacy of his assumptions? A primary level student could see the implications.
Obvious to him now was the irrefutable fact that he had, indeed, been a creature of sexual appetites...and had indulged in them, at least at one point, with his commanding officer and long-time friend, James Kirk.
As Spock contemplated that, a part of him acknowledged that his entire body now vibrated like a miscalibrated engine, not simply his hands, but every part shivering in unison. It was a disquiet on the physical level unlike anything he could recall, and it seemed to bleed over into his mind. It was awkward, almost horrifying. His control was useless to deal with the power of it.
I am a sexual being, an emotional being, he thought, not just a creature of mind and logic.
The package which the admiral had left-Jim, I once called him Jim, Spock thought-sat before him on the console. He forced himself to proceed logically, even while his body and emotions still made their presence known.
Best to start with the clues at hand.
With clumsy fingers, he removed the wrapping surrounding the package until the item itself was revealed: a simple box with a hinged lid, hewn of a smooth, fragrant and colorful wood he did not immediately identify. He breathed in its distinctive and pungent aroma, reeling as he felt a powerful reaction throughout his body.
Gasping, Spock nearly heeded an urge to thrust the box from him as if it were poisonous, but his curiosity won the struggle. Once again, hesitantly this time, he held it close under his nose and breathed deeply. The reaction came again. His blood sang, running warmer through his veins. His eyes closed as his blood pumped thickly, every beat a tattoo. A third deep breath, and he became acutely aware of his groin, pulsing in rhythm with his heart.
Desire stirred lazily, inspired and freed by the box, obviously made of cedarwood. This was the feeling that had been so blatantly revealed in the journal file. His younger self had experienced this sensation. His desire had run free when his tightly barriered walls, built of strong Vulcan reserve and control, were released under the influence of a potent stimulant. The feeling twisted like fire through his veins, sweet and heavy. He felt awash in sensation. How did human beings function when they were constantly susceptible to these feelings, Spock wondered. More to the point, how had he?
The only barrier Spock now felt was his awareness of not remembering. The confused frustration he had felt off and on over the past long weeks surfaced once again. He knew the memories were there. Hidden, surely, buried along circuitous routes far from usual ways of access, but there, somewhere within him. He needed those memories; he wanted those memories. They held necessary information for him, guidance on how to control and function in this new, aware state.
His fingers curled tightly around the box, his face lowered over it as he breathed-and he opened his mind wide, willing the knowledge to become accessible to him.
Murmured words and the sounds of lovemaking from the journal file echoed in his mind. They reverberated deeper and deeper throughout his body, striking a keynote, and it was as if the visual feed absent in the audio recording abruptly snapped on. With no warning, Spock was suddenly there, breathing in the hot aroma from cedar walls and benches. He felt Jim's cool, damp body pressed all along his fevered length as he mentally and physically strained toward what felt like complete, integral dissolution.
Spock gasped out loud and his mind rebelled. No! His belly and thighs burned from an echo of naked skin scraping against them, even as his mind reeled away in shock from the unexpected intensity of memory. His sex throbbed within the close confines of his undergarments. Spock dropped the box on the console before him as if it had suddenly caught on fire, breathing hard as if he had climbed the thousand steps of Seleya.
Focus, he thought weakly, reciting the master's instructions in his head. Move beyond this merely physical feeling.
It burned and sang and roused the deepest parts of the ancient animal within. Surely even full Vulcans found themselves helpless before this power-was that not what the masters had said about Vulcans' enslavement to their biology? Was the strength of pon farr similar to that which he now felt coursing through his body?
No longer breathing in the concentrated scent of the wood, Spock found his mind and his body gradually calming as his insatiable curiosity demanded further examination of the box. He took it in his hands once more, keeping it at a safer arm's distance.
It was a fairly large object, approximately fifty centimeters in length and twenty-five centimeters wide. A beautiful design constructed out of the same wood decorated its surface, inlaid like a mosaic on its lid. The color variations in the wood, ranging from deep brown and various shades of reds to a creamy, pale beige, created the abstract pattern-no, not all abstract, Spock recognized. Within the pattern formed, there were two stylized Standard letters, J and S, intertwined in a pleasing way.
J for James, and S for Spock.
The memories were there, he could almost touch them, important memories just beyond his conscious grasp. They taunted and teased him with every breath he took, yet for all his struggle, they remained elusive to the orderly logic his mind attempted to apply to the situation.
Spock drew fingers along the smooth length of wood, knowing beyond certainty that it represented something of prime importance to him. With a weighty sense of expectation and unsteady hands, he settled the box on the console and, after a brief hesitation, lifted the lid.
Inside lay a variety of items in casual disarray. Abandoning an orderly approach, Spock reached in, grasped the first thing his fingers encountered and plucked it up. Smooth and rough, oddly shaped, its cool, crystalline structure flashed with the fire of Vulcan, a deep and rich red. He recognized it as a piece of na'ahtem, a rare and prized mineral native to Vulcan. Diamond and olivine crystalline structures clung to the side of the na'ahtem, having formed along with it, while a sparkling series vein of silver and gold highlighted the plutonic rock at its base.
As he examined the crystalline piece, images formed hazily in his mind. He heard laughter, echoing oddly-they were in a cave, the caves in the L-Langon Mountains. Jim, laughing as Spock retrieved the crystal from its place within the cave wall using a simple tool. Jim, laughing and putting an arm around Spock's shoulders and leaning in to deposit an enthusiastic kiss-
The edges of the crystal bit into Spock's fingers where he crushed it within his fisted hand. Spock's hand opened with a jerk, and the na'ahtem bounced out onto a wooden-bound book before rolling off onto the bottom of the box.
First on Earth, and then on Vulcan. When had they been together, here on Spock's homeworld, and why? He could not imagine Sarek's response if he had arrived casually at his parent's home with his...his lover. And yet...and yet his parents had made James Kirk, the man who had saved their son, welcome in their home at this time. Indeed, now that he thought about it, Spock realized that the admiral seemed on unusually comfortable and intimate terms with both Sarek and Amanda.
Pushing the crystal idly with his forefinger, Spock thought about the images playing in his mind, his ears still ringing with the delightful sound of the human's rich and carefree laughter. The admiral-Jim-seemed so much younger and happier in his memory than the careworn and tired individual who had left his room earlier. He wondered what had occurred to create the difference, then called himself a fool. Surely all the incidents from the past year of which he had been told were enough to explain the lines marking the admiral's visage, the brooding darkness in the changeable eyes.
Spock mused further on the facts he had learned this evening and their implications. The trail they created led him to a...remarkable conclusion, one he could not yet support without more data. It was too...too unexpected given everything that he had learned about himself during the past months.
But had he not already learned that being unaware of a truth does not mean that such a truth does not exist? He reached back into the box.
He snared the beautifully crafted book and drew it out. He could tell it was a hand-made, hand-tooled edition by the extreme care and artistry with which it had been constructed. The silken-smooth wooden covering boasted a simple engraved design, another example of the entwined letters J and S, along with the IDIC emblem and an ancient Vulcan pictograph that Spock could not immediately identify. The engraving had been rubbed with gold, glistening amid the deep brown grain. As Spock held the book in his hands, he noticed that some of the gold leaf had worn away where his fingers grasped the cover, as if he had held it before like this many times, wearing the gold rubbing thin.
As a deep sense of expectation welled up within him, he opened the cover. There, on the first blank page, lay handwriting: "To Spock, my North Star and my anchor: May our journey together into the great unknown always know the radiance of this moment, for with that light, we will never be lost. All my love, Jim. December 21, 2271."
Spock felt a pain in his side as if he had been hit and bit his lip hard to keep from exclaiming out loud. What was it that struck him like an assassin? Moisture blurred his vision, and he wiped at his face. Tears now, also. An alien pain and alien tears, because of an alien emotional, human declaration of love, a declaration of love made to him...one he did not remember. The grief and pain in the admiral's weary eyes came to mind, and although Spock didn't understand, his innate curiosity impelled him to try. He wanted to remember everything now, and wondered if that would halt the pain that burned in his side and in his head.
Spock turned another page in the book and found the stylized initials again, along with Standard Date 12.21.2271 and no further explanation.
Impatient, he flipped the pages and found.... His eyebrows rose high. Vulcan poetry by Sudet, one of the last of the great warriors from the time before the Reformation. Rigellian love poetry, quotations from Surak, Terran poetry, a sonnet by Shakespeare, and more-Spock's eyes widened as he reached the end of the pages. The last piece in the book was considered, or so he had read, to be one of the most erotic pieces of modern love poetry ever written, composed by a Deltan separated from his spouses. The words and images burned into his mind, unsettling and arousing.
He closed the book carefully between his palms, lowering his face to it thoughtfully. He had wanted more data and he certainly had found it, Spock thought. And yet...Spock knew he needed to research the subject more. If what he suspected was truth, there would be references to it in the databases. Vulcans were ever an orderly, meticulous race.
His eye caught a glint of light within the box. Laying the book aside, he reached in and withdrew a pair of long, perfectly formed feathers, banded together at the bottom. One was silver, fairly sparkling in the light. The other was a brownish-gold, mottled with white. Frowning, he considered. The one appeared to be plumage from ha'kiv hashek, the life-flyers, graceful birds whose silver wings flashed brightly as they soared in the thermals over Vulcan's Forge every morning. The darker feather was unfamiliar to him, possibly Terran in origin, and as he twirled them between his fingers, he wondered what particular significance they held that he would keep them, bound together, secreted away in a box of personal items.
He settled them on the book and reached slowly to pry the last items from the box. Made of platinum and gold, he deduced, while examining the larger of two pieces. Spock recognized it immediately, a Vulcan ornamental wrist cuff, such as those worn with full clan ceremonial regalia. Embedded in the metal of each were various semi-polished raw pieces of the same minerals he had examined before: na'ahtem, diamond and olivine. The red, white and green crystals reflected the lighting with fiery sparks as he turned the arm cuff to examine it; the chunks of precious minerals appeared to be growing organically from the beautifully fashioned metal. Automatically, Spock slipped the cuff on his wrist, noting the perfect fit. It was his, he knew it, made especially for him.
He picked up the smaller platinum item and ran a finger over the pieces of the same precious minerals decorating the ring. Again without hesitation, Spock slid it on the traditional left middle finger, not at all surprised by the perfect fit. He frowned at a sudden thought, and pulled the ring off, turning it up to the light to see the interior of the metal circle. As he knew there would be, an inscription was etched into the metal: My North Star.
He slid the ring back onto his finger, ignoring his hand's unsteadiness.
My North Star.
There existed no bond-link within him. Neither was there a raw, empty wound where once a bond-link had dwelled.
No, of course not. The way his body had been recreated by the Genesis wave.... Unconsciously, he touched a spot on his ribs where once he had borne an unregenerated scar from an old injury. Now it was smooth and unblemished, as was all his body.
As his brain had been. Reborn smooth and unmarked, a tabula rasa. Blank and unbonded. Spock's awareness was limited to only the katra elements which the masters had reconnected to his physical mind.
Pain gripped him again. Taking a deep breath, Spock pushed aside the box and its contents to allow access to the computer.
"Search public clan records. Display the most current bonding record for Spock, son of Sarek, House of Surak."
The computer flashed compliance, and the screen lit up before him, displaying a standard data-record. He suppressed a violent shudder as a frisson went down his spine. There it was, with every legal detail revealed:
Officially bonded: Spock, son of Sarek, son of Skoan, House of Surak, Clan Xl'rakv'tajilm, and James T. Kirk, of Terra, North American Province, Iowa.
Current Residence: c/o Starfleet, USS Enterprise, NCC-1701.
Officiant: T'Pau, daughter of Skarn.
Witnesses: Staret, son of Srev; T'Mat, daughter of Skarn.
Addendum: On behalf of James Kirk tel'Spock, Sarek, son of Skoan, officially requested on 8557.35.9 to the full council of Clan Xl'rakv'tajilm, for admittance of his new son, James Kirk tel'Spock, to full Clan status, with all the rights and responsibilities thereof as a son of the House of Surak. Request granted and officially recorded the same day.
Proof, beyond any doubt.
"Computer, recompute Vulcan standard date of bonding to the equivalent in Terran standard."
Terran standard equivalent is December 21, 2271.
The date from the book. Thirteen years...they had been bonded for over thirteen standard years, nearly ten Vulcan years. Spock pondered. He could not imagine how the human had dealt with the sundering of a bond-link.
At last Spock understood the admiral's odd manner toward him, the intense feelings emanating from the human a majority of the time. Spock had honestly believed the emotion was impatience, thinking James Kirk only desired his subordinate to perform more efficiently, more like his old self prior to his death. The depth of his own ignorance appalled Spock as he recognized how unflattering and unfair his conclusions had been.
On the contrary, James Kirk was guilty only of suffering from a natural desire for the bondmate that had been taken from him. He was alone, waiting...waiting for Spock to remember. All this time, silently waiting.
Spock heard the ghostly laughter again, so young and carefree, felt the spontaneous embrace given him, filled with warmth and luminescence. The platinum and gems winked at him from his wrist and hand, and all of a sudden he remembered why Kirk had insisted upon those specific gems.
...Laughter, joy...it surrounded him, and he could not hold back his own reaction at the human's contagious mood.
"Look, Spock...look at the symbolism."
Spock frowned at the specimen in his hand, puzzled as to the other's meaning.
"The colors, Spock, the colors. Red, the deep, rich red of na'ahtem, both for the planet Vulcan and for my own Terran blood. Olivine, a rich, clear green for the vegetation which covers Earth, and for your own lifeblood. The very colors which define our worlds live and beat as life in each other." The human grinned irrepressibly at him. "Fascinating, wouldn't you say?"
Spock let a surge of love and lust push him forward to devour the smile from the human's mouth with insistent lips. "Yes, I believe it is. However, you have forgotten to mention one. What symbology exists for the colorless diamond?"
"Ah." The human held up the multi-mineral specimen to examine it, letting the light shine into it from all angles. "Up until space exploration proved otherwise, a diamond was the hardest mineral known to Earth, and one of the most costly. It was traditionally used in wedding rings to symbolize strength and constancy, beauty and the value of a relationship." Changeable hazel eyes flashed at Spock, no less brilliant than the crystals in the human's hand. "Think we can find any more of these, Spock? I've got an idea...."
There in the caves on his family's ancient lands, they had found more of each of the three minerals in the small deposit. Spock remembered it all clearly. Kirk had taken them to the premiere jewelry artisan in ShiKahr. Jim had known exactly what he wanted done with them.
Spock tilted his hands, watching the light reflect from the surface of the metal and sparkle in the stones. Thrust into a state of natural innocence after the refusion, he had spent months logically acquiescing to what his parents wanted and to what the Masters had instructed him to accomplish. For the first time since his reawakening on Selaya, Spock finally had a sense of something that he wanted solely for himself. It was an odd, disorienting experience, this desire. It involved a great internal gathering of power, a power that could be directed to accomplish many goals, a power that had the potential to be...incredibly strong. A power whose origin he could not fully identify.
He wanted what was his--every last experience he had ever claimed as his own. He did not yet understand the portions of self which were beyond his grasp, but it was only logical to want to reclaim the totality of his own being. The teachings of the Masters, the instructions of his father all lay as a necessary foundation upon the bedrock of his being. Without it, he surely would not have regained even a fraction of the knowledge at his disposal.
Yet it was not enough. By adhering solely to the Vulcan Way, he seemed to be missing parts of his previous self. And Spock was beginning to understand that even the Masters, with all their knowledge and logic, were incapable of helping him to become all that he had been, all that he was. Just as all children must attain adulthood and forge their own lives, he too had now reached a point of growth where he must choose for himself and reach out beyond his instructors' limitations.
The light in the room began to increase, and Spock turned toward the windows. While he had been lost in contemplation, the night had fled, and Eridani now began its ascent on the sere horizon.
It was time to talk with Kirk as the admiral had requested. There were many things to discuss.
The hallway glimmered with pale dawn light. Spock walked quickly and silently from his rooms to the guest wing at the rear of the house. The door to Admiral Kirk's suite stood ajar, light shining with a welcoming glow into the corridor. The family compound was old, the doors plain and old-fashioned. He cleared his throat and announced himself.
"Admiral, it is I, Spock." He waited. "Admiral."
When adequate time had passed with no response, Spock pushed the door open and entered the room. The light near the computer console was on. Nothing else stirred. A brief glance into the bedroom and accompanying bath proved the suite was indeed empty. Where had the human gone at such an early hour?
The drapes at the large windows stood pushed back, baring the dawning vista. As he watched, a cargo flitter passed over the compound and began to descend to the plateau below the compound.
The ship. Yes, the humans had been working industriously to repair the ramshackle Klingon vessel in which they all had arrived. Spock thought it an eminently practical choice of activities for the humans while they remained guests of the Vulcan High Council. But bits of conversations overheard and not fully comprehended at the time came back to Spock as he made his way out of the house, following a path that led down to the cliff edge.
Many weeks previously, Kirk and Sarek had conversed sotto voce while Amanda and Spock were occupied with his studies.
"I won't hide behind T'Pau's skirts any longer, Sarek, or cause Vulcan any more trouble with the Federation Council. If Starfleet wants my head, then I'll deliver it to them on my own terms. But I damn well refuse to let them drag me back in chains and turn it into a public spectacle."
"As you wish, Kirk. However, know that the Council willingly extends sanctuary to you and your crew for as long as you wish it. Vulcan is not at all pleased with Starfleet's errant dismissal of our culture and beliefs by the narrow-minded officials in charge, simply because they are beyond human comprehension. It speaks of a serious problem within the Federation and Starfleet, one that may have long-term effects. But that is an issue we will address within the Federation Council Chambers. As for what can be done now, I ask that you let me sponsor the refitting of the Klingon vessel. Afterward, it will be yours to do with as you wish."
Kirk's intent had been far beyond Spock's grasp at the time the conversation had taken place. In light of all the information Spock now commanded, it now became clear to him. The human planned on leaving Vulcan and returning to Earth, and soon, if Spock's assessment of the activity below was correct.
The robe's hood shaded his face from the quickly heating sun as he looked down upon the scene. Vulcan technicians crawled over the vessel, hard at work, while others directed a steady stream of provision crates from the cargo flitter to the alien ship.
The humans stood at parade rest in the shade of the vessel as the admiral paced up and down their length. The distance, coupled with the noise from the technicians, made it impossible for Spock to hear their words, yet the formality of their behavior leant an official air to their behavior. Without understanding how he knew, Spock realized the humans were deciding upon their course of action. They would return to Earth and face the charges brought against them for their illogical actions in saving his life.
One by one, the group eventually dispersed, leaving Kirk standing alone amid the orderly chaos. As he turned to leave, Kirk slowly looked up at the cliff's edge. Despite the distance between them, Spock could sense the almost tangible intensity of the human's gaze.
Abruptly, Spock broke the spell as he turned away from the cliff's edge. There was much to be accomplished in a short time, as he had every intention of being on that Klingon ship when it left Vulcan and headed back to Earth. It was the next logical step toward comprehending that which continued to elude him, and as Admiral Kirk's gift of the tape implied, to possibly reacquiring that which he had possessed years ago.
end part two
link to part three