Jim ended up bring not only David and Spock but Joanna and Demora as well down to the beach. Now the kids were building a sandcastle while Spock and Jim sat under an umbrella.
“I did not know you were a performer” Spock prompted the human as he watched the children play in the sand.
“After Tarsus and Frank, I couldn’t go home,” Jim said quietly “Sam picked me up and I finished out school. I needed money to come back to Earth and join the Fleet and I got offered a job so. Despite it being a last resort, I had a lot of fun and made some interesting friends”
“Why did you withhold this information from me?”
“You never asked” Jim shrugged, unsure why he was even telling Spock this, like it mattered in the end, “I stopped performing after the first year at the Fleet. So, it wasn’t like I was secretly doing it”
“I find you are no less complicated than our first meeting” Spock confessed causing Jim to chuckle.
“Well I hate to disappoint but I’ve gotten pretty boring over the years”
“That is impossible” Spock responded confidently, yeah Jim maybe was blushing and that is why he looked away from the Vulcan
“David is quite intelligent” Spock commented causing Jim to grin as he watched his son play with the two girls.
“Yeah, he is. Last year he went on a science learning vessel and everyone in his class was 17 and up”
“He speaks Vulcan”
“Yeah I taught him”
“I was not aware you knew Vulcan” Jim turned to look at Spock, his eyes searching the Vulcans
“I took a class in Starfleet”
“You did not have Vulcan as an elective”
“Yeah well, I hid it from you. I wanted it to be a surprise for when… it doesn’t matter. I don’t have to explain myself to you” Jim stood quickly “Hey who wants to bury David in the sand?”
Spock pondered why Jim would learn Vulcan without telling him as he watched Jim and the children bury David in the sand, it reminded him of the first time they went to the beach together.
They had been dating for about four months now and were driving out to one of the beaches along the coast of California for the weekend. Jim had picked a spot that was deserted, not a single soul in sight. That may have to do with the semi-strenuous hike to get to this particular area but Jim was beaming and Spock could not find it in himself to care.
“It’s gorgeous here” Jim sighed looking out at the sea, stripping off his shirt and laying it by their stuff.
“It is quite pleasing” Spock agreed but his eyes were on Jim, looking over his mate in a swimsuit, Jim turned to look at him catching on to the Vulcan’s meaning. He wrapped his arms around Spock’s neck, bumping their noses together.
“Why, Mr. Spock, are you flirting with me?” Jim purred, his lips brushing against the Vulcans
“Affirmative” Spock pressed a kiss to Jim’s lips, pulling the human closer to him
“Hmm flattery will get you everywhere” Jim chuckled, drawling out the kiss before pulling away, “Let’s get the umbrella set up”
Spock was reluctant to release him but complied in helping set up the umbrella, towels, and chairs.
“Can I bury you in the sand?” Jim asked a gleam in his eye which made Spock raise an eyebrow at him
“Just lay down and I’ll cover you with sand”
“Is this a typical Earth customs to bury their mates alive?”
“Is it typical Vulcan culture to be sassy? Don’t answer that” Jim sighed “Fine but you can’t help me put on sunscreen”
If Spock were human he would have let out a huff of annoyance as he conceded, Jim grinned handing him the bottle of sunscreen. Touching Jim, Spock found, was addicting. His skin was warm and with his touch telepathy he could just feel Jim’s mind next to his. It wasn’t a meld, he couldn’t read his thoughts but he could feel the mind. Its presence was so alluring. Their minds reached for one another.
“Now lay down so I can bury you” Jim grinned, pressing a kiss to the Vulcans lips and pushing at his shoulders gently. Spock frowned slightly before he laid on the ground in defeat. He would allow himself to be buried but only to make sure Jim didn’t get a sunburn. “Sweet. Do you want to be a mermaid or a sea turtle?”
“I have no preference”
“Hmm as much as you would make a hot mermaid, you’d make a cuter sea turtle” Jim grinned as he started covering Spock with sand
“Vulcans are not cute” Spock stated but Jim just hummed in acknowledgment at him as he began shaping the left fin of the turtle. The Vulcan closed his eyes, relaxing in the warmth of the Sun, sand and Jim’s hands, listening to the soft music playing from Jim’s PADD.
“All done” Jim finally said, stepping back to admire his work “stay there while I get a picture” Once Jim had snapped the picture of Spock and then a selfie with Spock, finally he pulled up the video screen “Now jump free of your prison!”
Spock simply raised an eyebrow at his lover before standing up, letting all the sand slid off and back where it belonged. Unfortunately, Spock was still covered in sand and Jim was laughing at the Vulcan.
“Aww, you look so cute. I am sooo sending this to your mom”
“You will not”
“I will stop you”
“You’ll have to catch me first” Jim beamed before taking off down the beach, kicking up sand as he went and Spock sprinted after him, easily catching up to the human with his Vulcan abilities. Spock caught Jim around the waist, pushing him to the ground so Spock was on top of Jim, holding his wrists above his head. “You know if you wanted to be on top of me all you had to do was ask” Jim had whispered breathlessly; his pupils had dilated and his eyes kept falling to look at his lips. Spock leaned down, capturing his lips and pushing closer to the alluring human…
“Dad! It’s Uncle Sulu” David shouted, startling Spock out of his thoughts, David was pulling himself to his feet excitedly to wave at the helicopter. Demora and Joanna were waving excitedly at the helicopter. Jim pulled out a camera, taking a shot of the kids all waving at the helicopter, a grin on his lips.
“Hi, Daddy!” Demora shouted, Spock could make out the pilot waving back, “Uncle Jim can Daddy hear us?”
“No, but he can see you” Jim replied, the helicopter turned to carry on its tour of the island and the children calmed “Hey why don’t we have some lunch?”
Jim opened the basket disrupting the fruit and sandwiches. Spock did not take a sandwich from him assuming they had meat in them. “Don’t worry they are peanut butter and jelly. Uncle Jim and David are vegans” Joanna supplied with a mouthful of grapes. Spock took a sandwich and looked over at Jim who refused to meet his questioning gaze. Once all the kids were finished eating, they resumed their sandcastle construction with a renewed energy.
“Would you like to play chess?” Jim asked, Spock, inclined his head and Jim pulled out his PADD, a holo of a 3D chess board appeared between them and they began to play, “How is your mom?”
“She is well” Spock responded, Jim and his mother had gotten along extremely well. Scarily well if you asked Spock or Sarek.
“Damn is it weird for me to say that I missed your mom?” Jim asked as he took one of Spock’s pawns.
“Negative. I believe she missed you as well” Spock responded by moving his rook from the clutches of Jim’s knight.
“Really?” Jim grinned, looking at Spock “You could invite them here… I am mean once we figure out everything. David has always wanted to have grandparents but Winona doesn’t even care if I’m alive so there’s that.”
“I believe my parents would very much appreciate being able to meet him” Spock responded, the Vulcan knew Jim’s relationship with his mother was not a good one but somehow, he had hoped she would have helped Jim with David.
“Well, I’m sure he would be glad to take an actual grandparent to school instead of me every grandparents day” Jim hummed, taking Spock’s rook.
“Oh, its where you bring your grandma or grandpa or both to school with you. They have all sorts of fun activities you do together. Last year, we made solar panels together as a fun bonding project” Jim explained, a fond smile on his lips.
“Fascinating. Do that also celebrate other members of the family?”
“Yeah. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. David likes celebrating both” Jim chuckled, moving one of his pieces it what seemed a pointless move.
“You play illogically” Spock sighed, well he sighed for a Vulcan and Jim laughed
“I’m glad to know I can still keep you on your toes” Jim beamed over at his chess mate and it felt right to Jim. It always felt so easy and right with Spock, they worked so well together. David walked over and grabbed a water from the cooler part of the basket, sitting next to Jim.
“T’Pring did not like chess” Spock commented, realizing too late that was not a wise thing to say. The response was immediate, Jim looked away from Spock a frown settling on his lips.
“Who is T’Pring?” David asked looking from Jim to Spock, the distress through his paternal bond signifying she wasn’t someone his father liked.
“T’Pring was my bondmate” Spock answered, wishing he had not brought that up and illogically wishing he could turn back time to stop himself from ruining the serene mood. Luckily Joanna and Demora came over before things could get any worse.
“Uncle Jim” Joanna poked at Jim’s arm to get his attention “Can you take me to the bathroom?”
“Yeah. De? David? You guys need to go?” Jim asked and both shook their heads “Okie Dokie” Jim hoisted Joanna on his back and carried her over to the bathrooms a little way down the beach.
“Papa said you were David’s other dad,” Demora said, looking at Spock with a tilt to her head “Does that mean you love Uncle Jim?”
“I…” Spock began looking at the child and then at his son who was looking at him as well.
“David says Uncle Jim still loves you” Demora continued “and that’s why he always looks so sad because you don’t love him back”
“De” David hissed
“Is that true?” Spock interrupted his son, looking at David now a serious expression caught on his features.
“Yeah” David responded quietly “I can feel it through the parental bond”
Jim and Joanna chose that moment to return, debating whether cookies and cream ice cream or cookie dough ice cream were better. “I’m sorry, Jo but cookies and cream will always beat every flavor in the universe, it’s a rule”
“No, it’s not” Joanna giggled
“Who says it’s not?”
“Oh, I didn’t know at eleven you unlocked the rules of the universe. Forgive me, Queen of the Universe” Jim finally caught a look at the awkward tension that had formed between Spock and his nine-year-old son, “Everything okay?”
“Affirmative”’ “Yeah,” Spock and David said at the same time, Jim gave them a suspicious look before settling on the blanket.
The group left the beach as the sun started to set, packing up their things they headed back to the little town. Jim ended up holding a sleeping Demora and David on the way back but Joanna somehow managed to walk on her own, even if that meant holding on to Jim’s shirt the whole way. Spock had been thinking about what David said all afternoon, he could not help but wonder if it was true or maybe David was mistaken. He was after all a child. Spock had carried all the beach supplies since Jim’s arms were full, he led Spock through the house where he set down Demora, David and Joanna before moving into the kitchen where Spock stood.
“Thanks for carrying all the stuff back” Jim smiled at him, the house was just as Jim had described it, small and with a good view of the sea. “These three were having a sleep over anyway, Chekov is supposed to be watching them since he is 17 still and can’t go to the bachelorette/bachelor party, are you coming?”
“You are welcome, Jim” Spock responded, a smile lighting his eyes “Nyota invited me this afternoon”
“Awesome. So, I’ll see ya there” Jim said as he started to close the front door but stopped at Spock’s voice and the Vulcan took a small step closer.
“Yeah?” Jim looked at Spock expectantly, the human’s eyes were dilated, his heartrate was slightly accelerated these were all signs he recognized on Jim from the first time they met. Gauging on this reaction, David’s earlier statement was correct, Jim still loved him. Spock blinked several times in this realization that he did not realize how long he had waited to answer. “Spock?”
“I…I wish to apologize” Spock began, moving his hands behind his back to prevent touching Jim, he had forgotten how alluring touch was when it came to the human. “I was in error ten years prior, it is illogical to regret what cannot be changed but I find that I do. Although my intention was not to hurt you, I did and I ask for your forgiveness”
“Kaiidth” Jim murmured softly, the Vulcan word sliding off his tongue “What is, is. You apologized earlier so… I’ll see you tonight Spock”