First of all i would like to apologize if there are any grammatical mistakes as my mother tongue is panish, not English. I hope you all enjoy this story and I would truly like to know what you think about it. I have a thought of a another part or two but it will al depend on what you think of it. Thank you for reading this.
The cry of a baby filled the air as it opened his eyes to the world for the first time.
A Vulcan midwife cleaned the new-born and wrapped it in a blanket before passing it onto the tired but happy mother.
The mother took the little bundle with care and stared at the face of his firstborn with absolute love.
"Hello…" muttered sweetly Amanda with tears in his eyes.
"The baby is healthy. Why does she cry?" whispered the other Vulcan midwife.
"She's human." answered simply the other after a short pause.
They quieted down when a man appeared in the balcony, walking towards the woman and the baby, and they left.
After a few seconds in which both just looked at the innocent baby lying in her arms, the man spoke.
"I had a thought. That we might name the child after one of our respected early society-builders. His name was Spock."
Amanda looked down at her baby in silence.
"Your silence does not suggest enormous enthusiasm."
"No… Spock." muttered she trying the name. "Spock." the woman smiled at her baby and looked at Sarek with a small smile. "Spock it is."
"The child has your eyes." said the man after a few seconds of silence.
Smiling, Amanda moved the blanket till his ears were exposed and rubbed them gently. They unfurled, showing soft pointed ears. Vulcan ears.
"And your ears." added she unnecessarily.
About year later, the cry of a baby awoke them. Amanda tiredly left the bed and walked to her son's room. The woman turned on the light just as the crying stopped and approached the crib.
Saying she was surprised at the sight before her would be an understatement. Her one year old son was lying on his side, gurgling happily at another baby that still had traces of tears on his cheeks, and playing with the little tuft of black hair in the top of his head.
A human baby! Barely a new-born! What was he doing in her son's crib? Amanda called for her husband.
When the Vulcan arrived, it was to find his wife looking down at the crib with confusion but softness.
Though he didn't show it, he was surprised to find their son looking at an unknown human baby as if he was the most fascinating thing in the universe.
"What is a human baby doing here?" asked Sarek.
"I have no idea."
The ambassador approached the crib just as his wife took the baby in her arms, despite Spock's protests at having to let go of the lock of hair he had been playing with.
The infant opened his eyes and Amanda gasped. Even her husband had to admit those eyes looked like the most beautiful emeralds.
"Where do you think he comes from?" wondered the human woman looking down with worry at the baby.
Sarek doubted for a moment before placing a hand over the child's head and beginning a mind meld. After all, it was the most logical thing to do and he was skilled enough not to hurt the infant's fragile mind.
However, what he found wasn't what he had been expecting.
Instead of the weak and often chaotic mind of a baby, the Vulcan found himself in what appeared to be a stone room, like those that appeared in human films of old castles.
The room had wood shelves filled with books, paintings that seemed to move and a lit fireplace. In front of it was sitting the only other person inside the room.
It was a child, with dark black hair and bright green eyes. He didn't look older than four or five years. He was sure the child was the same that was in that moment in the arms of his wife.
"Hi." greeted the child.
"Hello. I am Sarek. May I ask who you are?"
The child seemed to think the answer before speaking.
"Well, my uncle called me freak, but my parents named me Harry."
The ambassador frowned a little, showing his displeasure at the use of the word 'freak' to refer to a child, but otherwise didn't comment.
"What are you doing here? Nobody ever comes here. Well, some of them did, but they did so to hurt me. Are you here to hurt me?" asked the child tilting his head innocently to the side.
Sarek blinked before shaking his head.
"No, child, I'm not here to hurt you."
"Then, what are you here for?"
"I came looking for answers. Where are your parents?"
"Dead." answered the child without even blinking.
He didn't seem saddened by it and Sarek understood that. It was logical. One cannot be sad for something they never had.
"Do you have other relatives?"
"Yes. They are dead too." answered the child shrugging.
Sarek frowned again and looked around at the room. This mind was so different from any other he had ever seen… where were the memories? Deciding the most logical action was just to ask, he did so.
"Oh, they're in the books and the paintings, the walls and the fireplace. They're everywhere. They weren't there before, but now they are all jumbled."
The child seemed distressed by this but Sarek still didn't know how to see the memories so he asked again.
"Do you know how I can see them?"
"Yes, but why would you want to do that? They're not pretty memories. Well, some are. Like Hedwig. I think that was her name. My best friend. It's hard to tell. They're not organized like before."
"I need to see them. You appeared in my son's crib."
"Your son? You mean the child with pointed ears." the human toddler giggled a little. "They remind me of someone, but I don't know who."
"Yes, that was my son Spock. Now, I really need to see those memories, if you don't mind."
The child tilted his head to the side and nodded seriously before hopping off his seat and walking to the shelves.
"When I want to see them I can open the books. Maybe you can do the same."
The Vulcan nodded and approached the shelves. He noticed the books weren't in any noticeable order, so he decided to select them by other means.
Some of them looked older and some newer so Sarek took one that didn't look too beaten up and opened it. Instantly, an image, like a hologram, appeared over the pages, showing him the memory lying inside.
A child a year or two older sat on a corner of a park, looking as the other children run and played. He was forlornly staring at an unused swing.
The child looked around and seeing no one was looking in his direction, walked carefully to the playground.
As if afraid it would bite him, the boy sat on the swing. A smile spread across his face and he started to swing back and forth.
Suddenly, a fat boy appeared and pushed him from the swing. The black haired child barely had time to put his arms in front of himself, scratching his elbows with the floor in the process.
"What are you doing? Freaks don't play, freak. Don't touch my swing again."
"It's not yours." protested Harry weakly.
"It is, freak. Wait till we arrive home. I'll tell my father that you weren't letting me play. You want it for a week." said the fat boy happily.
Harry looked down at the floor, resigned, and got up to return to the corner of the playground."
The memory stopped and Sarek frowned. Not only because of what he had seen, but because of the little sense it made.
The child in the memory was Harry, but he looked older. That wasn't possible, was it?
The man continued opening books while the raven-haired child played with something in a corner. The things he saw weren't pretty, as the child had predicted.
The memories didn't make sense and his logic told him that many of the things that happened there were impossible. However, the memories seemed real.
A black book, older than any of the ones the ambassador had already seen, attracted his attention.
Harry was little more than a year old and sat in the lap of a young man with black wild hair and hazel eyes. The man was waving a stick around and colourful smoke figures appeared in the air.
The toddler giggled and tried to catch them only for the figures to disappear.
The man was laughing when a woman with fiery red hair and bright green eyes entered the sitting room. The boys looked at her and she smiled softly.
"Dinner's ready, James. Why don't you head to the kitchen while I take Harry to wash his hands? Come with mum, dear."
The male nodded and the woman crooned at the child, taking him in her arms with care. The man, James, left the stick in the sofa and got up before yawning widely and stretching.
Suddenly, there was a loud noise, as if something had blown up. The man jumped from the room and saw the door of the house had been blasted off and a cloaked man stood there.
"Take Harry and run, Lily! It's him! I'll hold him up!"
However, as soon as the words left his mouth, a sickly green light collided with his body and the man fell to the floor, his dull hazel eyes staring unseeingly up at the ceiling.
The woman turned for a second in her place on the stairs and a sob escaped her lips at the sight of his husband lying lifelessly on the floor.
She soon turned around and run up to a room that looked like a nursery, the unknown man hot on her heels.
She left her son on the crib and looked at him with tears running down her cheeks.
"Mum loves you, Harry. Dad loves you. Be safe, Harry. Be strong."
She tried to stop the other man from opening the door, but it was for naught.
"Get out of the way you foolish girl." snarled the cloaked figure pointing a stick at her.
"Not Harry, please no, take me. Kill me instead…" begged the woman putting herself between the man and her son.
"No! Close it!" shouted the child standing in the corner of the room.
"This is my last warning…"
"Not Harry! Please… have mercy… not Harry! Please… I'll do anything…"
"Close it! Close the book!" pleaded the child trembling.
The child saw with wide eyes as the green light this time took the life of his mother. The man then pointed the stick at the crying baby.
"Goodbye, Harry Potter."
The sickly green light collided with the child before rebounding and hitting the man, who screamed and fell to the ground…
Sarek closed the book and tried to calm down the child.
"I won't open it again, okay? Calm down, little one, I'm not going to open it. See? I'll leave it here." said the Vulcan putting the book in the top of the shelf.
The child sighed in relief and went back to the corner. Still shaken by the experience, the ambassador took another book. This one seemed to be the latest memory and he hoped it would shed some light over what had happened…
A teen, no older than seventeen, stood in front of a stone archway. The veil. The Veil of Death.
It was clear in his bright green eyes what he was doing there. He was hoping to put an end to his life. He was tired, so tired of the suffering… their betrayal had been too much.
Determined, the teen walked forward and entered the strange artefact.
It was dark, and cold. So cold. He trembled. Wait, why did he feel cold? Wasn't he supposed to be dead? Why could he feel then?
"Do not fret, Little Master." whispered a voice.
It was warm and cold, loud and low, male and female, one and all. It was so strange, but there was no other way to explain it. The voice was simply everything.
"Who are you?" asked Harry worried. "Am I not supposed to be dead? I entered the Veil."
"Yes, the Veil of Death. But Death cannot take its master. Right now, you are neither dead nor alive. You are in between. You have suffered greatly, Little Master. But do not worry. You have another chance. I will send you to another world. I will send you to your soul mate's side. There, you shall find the happiness you were denied here. There are no wizards there to meddle in your life. But do not worry, Little Master, for you shall not be alone again."
A bright light engulfed him and, suddenly, the young one found himself lying in a crib with a point eared baby looking at him with dark black eyes.
His instincts told him to cry and he did, until the other child started to gurgle at him and pet his hair. He smiled. He didn't know where he was, he barely knew who he was, his memories were so jumbled… but he knew everything would be alright.
Sarek closed the book and looked at the corner in which the child was playing with what appeared to be a little ball of light. A slight smile curved his lips.
The little one had appeared in his son's crib. Could it be…? No, he would wait and see. Even though the evidence pointed in that direction.
"Little one, would you like to stay with my family?"
Sarek opened his eyes to find his wife looking at him.
"Sarek, are you okay? For a few seconds you spaced out."
"All is well, dear. I was just looking into his memories."
"What did you find?"
"It is a long story. The important thing is he is an orphan."
"Oh, the poor thing." muttered Amanda rocking the baby that looked up at her with big green eyes.
"He's had a hard life, indeed." agreed the Vulcan.
"What should we do now?"
"I had thought that he could stay with us. He does not have any family, after all."
The human woman seemed surprised, but soon smiled and looked down softly at the child.
"Well, then, welcome to the family, little one."
She rocked him for a while and Sarek took Spock in his arms. As soon as the toddler saw the baby, he reached for him with his little arms, making Amanda laugh a little.
"At least we can be sure they'll get along fairly well. How will we name him?"
The Vulcan thought for a moment.
"His name was Harry, but I think it would be logical to give him a new name for his new life." the man thought for a minute. "Mestral?"
The woman looked down at the baby and shook her head.
The man thought for another minute.
"What about Lyras? It means 'being who carries emotion'."
"I suppose it's not a very popular name here." said the woman ironically.
"No, it is not."
"Lyras. Hum, it does not sound too bad. What do you think, little one?"
The baby smiled up at him and she smiled back.
"Ly-ras." The babble made the two parents look at Spock that sat on Sarek's arms with his hands extended towards the new member of the family.
"Well, it seems Spock has already decided for us. Lyras it is."
Amanda sat calmly in the balcony reading a book when his son Spock appeared, his face calm.
"Mother, where is Lyras?"
The woman smiled at the mention of her youngest son. Harry, or as he as was now known, Lyras, was now six years old.
At first, she had insisted Spock and he be presented as brothers but his husband had dissuaded her from that by explaining his past and his suspicions about it. Therefore, even though they had the same mother and father, Lyras and Spock referred to each other as friends and not brothers.
In the end it had been a good thing too, because they didn't have many other friends. In fact, they were each other's only friend.
Lyras was a quiet and very sweet child. He was very intelligent too, at least for a human. He would probably be considered a prodigy back in Earth, though not so much amongst Vulcans.
It was that which didn't allow him to have any friends. His humanity. After all, he wasn't an overly emotional child; he had taken to the Vulcan culture like a fish to the water.
At least, even though he was ignored by almost every child his age, they didn't pick on him so much.
Spock, on the other side… he had it harder, what with being a hybrid of the two species and all.
Her son's voice snapped her out of her thoughts and she smiled apologetically.
"I believe him to be in your room."
The seven year old child nodded and entered back inside to go in search of his friend.
Lyras and he shared a big bedroom with views towards the mountains. When they were smaller, they had been offered separate rooms by their parents, but they had refused.
They had been comfortable sleeping in the same room and they often shared even the bed, especially in Lyras' worst nights. Those nights, Lyras would wake up screaming in a strange language and Spock would be there to wake him up.
Sometimes they would stay awake till morning, talking about anything and everything. Other times, they would crawl together in Spock's bed only to fall asleep in each other's arms. Amanda had always found it adorable.
The half Vulcan opened the door to their shared bedroom and walked in to see Lyras sitting in front of a table and looking at an egg in concentration. Not wanting to interrupt him, the child sat near him and remained silent.
"Oh, hi, I didn't hear you coming, Spock." said Lyras with a small smile when he finally looked up. "I think the egg moved!"
It was said with an enthusiastic but quiet voice. For a human, Lyras was different from how Vulcans described them. He always blamed the fact that Lyras had grown up surrounded mostly by Vulcans.
"It did?" Spock frowned a little, a gesture nearly unnoticeable. "Did you feed it your magic?"
The family knew about Lyras' abilities, which had been proven to be real magic, and about his past. Spock didn't know much about the last, though, because his father and mother refused to speak about it with him and when he asked Lyras he knew the human tended to end feeling sad.
"Yes, and then it moved. I think father was right and it needs my magic to hatch." answered the child.
Spock nodded. The black egg had been a mystery since it appeared beside Lyras one night when he had been only three years old. It wasn't from any animal known to the date, but Lyras had liked it.
They had simply kept it and his father had studied it in his free time. He hadn't found anything about it until Harry had accidentally brushed it with his magic.
The foetus inside had reacted positively to it and his father had deduced it fed from the magic to grow. Since then, Lyras always spent a few minutes every day feeding it, waiting for the moment when it would hatch, and imagining what the creature would be like.
"Well, if it moved, it should mean that it is nearly ready to hatch." commented Spock.
"Really? That's great! We'll finally know what it is!" exclaimed Lyras giving him a loose hug.
Spock didn't have time to return it, as by then his friend was on his feet and running towards the door.
"I'm going to tell mum. Is dad home already?"
Spock stood up and calmly followed. He didn't mind the physical contact as Lyras had already great control over his mind. His father had already decided to teach him the Vulcan technic for mind melding. That was a thing he was sure many of his classmates envied from the human.
Sarek looked down at his youngest son's pleading eyes and finally nodded. He was ashamed to admit those eyes made him, as his wife would say, melt completely.
The seven year old child smiled widely at that and gave him a quick hug. The little one was very good at masking his emotions in public, but he didn't have to do it when his family were the only ones around.
"Thank you, dad. We won't be late, I promise."
"Indeed, we'll be back before dinner, father." promised his oldest son accepting Lyras' hand in his.
The two children run out and towards the nearest hill. It was only a few minutes away and it didn't take them long to reach the top.
Once there, they flopped down on the floor and stared up at the sky as it gradually grew darker.
"Spock, what will you do when you finish your education?"
The child remained silent for a few seconds, meditating his response.
"Father wants me to enter the Vulcan Science Academy."
"I know that but, what do you want?" asked Lyras rolling on his side so he could look his friend in the eyes.
"I don't know." answered finally the half Vulcan folding his arms behind his head. "And you, Lyras?"
"I don't know. I will never be accepted in the Vulcan Science Academy and anyways I'm not intelligent enough."
"You're very intelligent." said Spock.
"Not as much as a Vulcan of my age. I'm in class with children two years younger than me."
The other didn't say anything. It was true, after all, and both knew and accepted this fact. Lyras was intelligent for a human, but not enough for a Vulcan.
"There aren't many things for a human to do here, in Vulcan."
"You could become a translator. You know every language." suggested Spock.
And it was true. Lyras knew every known language, and some more that he was sure still weren't known, without having had to study them.
"I don't see myself working as a translator."
Thinking about it, Spock couldn't imagine it too. Except if he worked in the Starfleet, but Spock would never suggest such a thing. Working for the Federation was dangerous. Besides, Lyras would have to leave Vulcan for that and he didn't want his best friend to leave.
"Anyway, dad said the egg will hatch soon." said the child changing the topic. "It now moves even when I'm not feeding it."
Spock nodded and listened to some of the guesses Lyras made about the creature. Some of them were nearly incredible, but they had existed in the universe in which he had been preciously living, so Spock didn't say anything.
His father had finally deemed him old enough, despite his mother's protests, to know more about where Lyras came from. He had been fascinated by his friend's stories.
Finally, the stars were visible enough for Lyras to see and they stared up at them in silence for a while before Spock started to teach him all the constellations and the things he knew about them.
Spock's gaze was stuck in the sight before him. He had just arrived home from school when he had heard the song.
Silently, the half Vulcan had followed the voices to the sitting room's balcony. He saw his father standing in the doorway looking outside, but not daring interrupt.
Everyone in the family knew Lyras was very shy about his voice and, therefore, it was an unspoken rule not to interrupt the now eight year old boy when they managed to catch him unaware.
When you walk through the storm,
Hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark
His mother's smooth voice conveyed her love as she sang to her youngest son, that was right then sitting in her lap with a half cracked black egg held protectively in his arms.
At the end of the storm,
Is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of the lark,
Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Father and son contemplated them as Lyras took on from where his mother had left it with his sweet and rich voice, so full of the innocence he had been denied during his first childhood.
The child was growing up to become a very beautiful child and nobody could deny that.
Both Lyras and Amanda continued with the song while seeing the sun set behind the horizon.
With hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk alone.
(You'll never walk alone by Celtic Women)
They finished the song and the Vulcans waited a little to be sure they had finished before walking out onto the balcony.
"You have a very pleasing voice, Lyras. You should sing more often."
The child blushed at his friend's comment and ducked his head, earning a sweet laugh from his mother and a slightly amused look from his father.
A thirteen year old Vulcan boy pushed the nine year old human to the ground. Lyras felt his eyes water when his arm was twisted under his body but didn't cry.
"You are weak. Just as all your kind. I do not understand what the elders see in you. You are just a little weak orphan…"
"Well, there are many things you don't understand, aren't there, Stonn?" sneered the child.
The Vulcan teen nearly lost his emotionless mask and kicked the human in the stomach.
Something snapped inside of him and the child reacted. He sent a magic reinforced punch to the other's stomach, making him kneel before him while he stood up. Then, he grabbed his hair and yanked his head forward while lifting his knee, effectively breaking the older one's nose.
Green blood poured from his nose, but Lyras didn't mind for once. He was tired of being bullied by that idiot just for being human.
"Do not ever get in my way, Stonn, for this has been the last time you touch me if you do not want me to retaliate." warned the nine year old child.
With barely a last glance at the older Vulcan and his lackeys, Lyras carefully cradled his wounded arm to his chest and started to walk back home.
He knew he would be in trouble for this, but right then he couldn't care less. The only thing he wanted was to return home, let his mother take a look at his arm and cuddle in bed with Thanatos until Spock returned from school.
Thanatos was the name he had given the little creature that had hatched from his mysterious egg. None of his guesses had been even near from discovering what Thanatos was.
The creature was something he was sure had never been discovered in his world. Thanks to him feeding from Lyras' magic, they had a strong connection.
That allowed the creature to enter Lyras' mind and adopt the form of any creature Lyras knew about. He could take the form of a thestral, a phoenix, a hippogriff and many other creatures from his old universe. Lyras had been delighted to discover it and had at first thought to name him Hedwig or Buckbeak.
Finally, the child had decided that it would dishonour their memories to name him after them, as if he were replacing them. So, in the end, he had decided to name him Thanatos after the Greek god of Death and Mortality.
It had been strange, because the name had come to him as if by magic, which he wouldn't discard, and had just fit.
Absentmindedly, the child caressed the tattoo of a triangle with a circle inside and a line crossing them that was located over his heart.
"What is the square root of 2,396,304?" asked a computer voice.
"One thousand five hundred forty eight." answered Spock.
"Correct. What is the central assumption of Quantum Cosmology?"
"Everything that can happen does happen, in equal and parallel universes."
"Correct. Identify the 20th century earth composers of the following musical progression."
The bowl filled with the sound of the music and it didn't take him long to answer.
"Paul McCartney and John Lennon."
In another bowl, not far from this, Lyras was doing his own exam while the professors walked between the bowls.
The lights of every bowl went off as the child inside failed a question until, finally, Spock's was the only one left.
"Your score is one hundred per cent. Congratulations, Spock." said the computer voice.
The child walked out of the bowl and started to collect his things, knowing Lyras would be there soon.
However, instead of the familiar quiet steps of his friend, he heard the sound of three persons approaching him from behind.
"Spock." called someone.
He turned and saw three Vulcan boys, a year older than him, standing there.
"I presume you've prepared new insults for today."
"Your mother lies with many men." said one of them.
Spock nodded stoically, trying to ignore the sting. It wouldn't do for them to know how much their insults hurt.
"I have no such information." said Spock not noticing a frowning Lyras approaching them.
"You are neither human nor Vulcan and, therefore, have no place in the universe."
"This is your thirty-fifth attempt to elicit an emotional response from me. Logic dictates you would cease by now."
"Look, he has human eyes. They look sad, don't they?" said the first to have talked.
"Perhaps an emotional response requires physical stimuli." added the tallest of them.
The bully pushed him and Spock nearly fell inside one of the bowls. Still, Spock didn't react.
"He's a traitor, you know? Your father. For marrying her."
Spock's emotionless mask nearly fell at that, but Lyras stepped forward and put himself firmly between the bullies and his friend.
"I find your statement illogical." said the human looking emotionlessly at the three older Vulcans. "Our father married a woman from a planet with which Vulcan is firmly allied. How that could be considered treason is beyond my comprehension though I suppose you could simply have let yourselves be led by your envy towards Spock who, despite being just half Vulcan and younger than you, has repeatedly displayed more logic and knowledge than any of you. Therefore, not only are your insults a prove of your faulty use of logic but of your poor use of your Vulcan upbringing in regards to not letting negative emotions blind you too. Let's go, Spock."
Putting to good use his own Vulcan upbringing, the human coldly ignored them and tried to drag his best friend out of there. Unfortunately, another comment made him pause.
"You do not have a right to speak about our culture, orphan, for you are even worse than him. You may have been raised as one, but you are not Vulcan and you will not remain here for long."
Spock tried, he really tried to fight the urge to hit the bully, but he was unable. They could insult him, but he wouldn't allow them to threaten Lyras.
The half Vulcan charged at the taller teen and tackled him into the bowl. They landed inside and Spock released a cry as he punched the boy right in the face.
The other two stood atop the bowl, looking down shocked, stunned and completely unsure about what to do. Lyras was the same for a few seconds before snapping out of his daze and jumping inside the bowl to stop Spock from doing something he would end regretting.
A while later, Spock sat on a bench in a corridor from the learning centre staring sullenly at the floor.
Lyras stood nervously at his side, looking between their arguing parents down the corridor and his best friend. The child knew Vulcans had far greater hearing than humans, but he wasn't sure if Spock could hear what they were saying.
Finally, his mother walked away from their father and, for a moment, the Vulcan male stood there alone looking after her before walking towards them.
"Lyras, please, go with your mother. I would like to talk with Spock privately."
The child bit his lip looking between them until Spock gave a nearly imperceptible nod and the ten year old gave him an apologetic look before running after their mother. Sarek stood there, stoically looking down at his oldest son.
"I did not mean to create conflict between you and mother." apologized the child.
Sarek's face softened a little at that and he took a seat in the bench beside him.
"In marriage, conflict is…"
"Natural." the man paused for a moment. "Emotions run deep within our race. In many ways, more deeply than in humans. Long ago, they nearly destroyed us… that is why we followed the teachings of Surak. Now you must choose."
"Between you and mother?" asked the child trying to hide his worry.
"Never, my son." appeased the Vulcan. "But you may choose the ethic of logic. Logic offers a serenity humans seldom experience. The control of feelings… so that they do not control you."
"But Lyras is human and, yet, he is capable of brandishing logic against Vulcans themselves while still feeling."
"Lyras is special. His power comes from his emotions. He needs to feel and understand those emotions to be able to control his powers. He is logical and, yet, he is not."
"They called you a traitor." confessed the child. "You suggest that I should be completely Vulcan… and yet you married a human… and adopted another. Why?"
Sarek was clearly conflicted by these matters, but he held steady under his son's gaze.
"As Ambassador to Earth, my duty is to observe and understand human behaviour. Marrying you mother was… logical."
Spock seemed disquieted by his words, but didn't comment on it.
"As I have already said, Lyras is special. My reasons for taking him in were logical, but you'll understand that better when you are older." he paused and regarded his son with a serious look. "Spock. You are fully capable of choosing your own destiny. The question you are faced with is… which path you will take. This is something only you can decide."
While Spock continued to think about his father's words, nothing changed in the family. A few months later, however, Spock started to act more reserved as he decided to embrace his Vulcan side and repressed the human half.
A rift formed between the two friends. It wasn't obvious at first, but as time went on, it grew.
Spock started to dedicate more time to his studies and Lyras, feeling lonely, became quieter and sometimes disappeared for hours with Thanatos to train his magical abilities.
The two parents were concerned and saddened by this, but they could only see as the two friends slowly grew apart and isolated themselves. Sarek hadn't meant for this to happen. He had just been suggesting his son to learn to control his emotions, not to supress them.
It reached a peak when Spock was fifteen years old. He was finishing with the preparations for the rite of Tal'oth that he would undergo in two days when it happened.
Sarek and Amanda heard shouts from the sitting room and went to investigate. The sight that greeted them was not what they expected.
"So you're just going to purge them? When the time comes, you'll undergo the kolinarh and just get rid of your emotions, of your humanity, and that's all?"
"Lyras, I'm Vul-"
"Half Vulcan! You're half human too! Why can't you just be yourself?"
"Because being myself isn't enough!" said Spock raising his voice for the first time.
"It is for me!" shouted Lyras. "And for mother and father! It is enough for us! Why can't it be enough for you too!?"
They remained there, staring at each other and panting with fury, for what felt like ages when, in truth, it was barely a minute.
Amanda, seeing the pain in her younger son's eyes, was going to speak when a whisper broke the silence.
"Do you really think it isn't worth? Do you really think not feeling anything will make you better?"
"Yes. Emotions only get on the way of logic."
"Even love?" whispered Lyras.
Love had been the only thing he had left from the Potters, from Sirius, from Remus, Neville and Luna… love had been what had allowed him to have a happy life in this second chance. Love had saved him. Love was the thing he valued above everything.
Spock knew his words would hurt him, but he was scared. Not that he would ever admit it to anyone but himself. He was scared of his emotions. Of the warmth that filled his heart whenever Lyras smiled at him, of the deep hatred he felt when he heard some of his classmates insult the human, of the way Lyras' innocent touch seemed to awaken a powerful urge inside of him. He was afraid of the love he felt for his best friend.
He needed to get rid of those feelings so that he could be truly at control of his emotions, so that he could act logically. Even if that meant rejecting his human heritage.
"Especially love." whispered the half Vulcan.
Lyras closed his eyes for a brief moment and a tear escaped from the corner of his eye. Swiftly cleaning eat, the human took a deep breath.
"Then, there's nothing left to say."
The human turned around and paused for a moment at the sight of his parents standing on the doorway before pushing past them and exiting the house. And, then, he run.
Spock saw all this with pain in his eyes and contemplated going after him and stopping him, apologizing for saying something that he didn't believe even though he wished he could, but didn't. He stayed where he was, staring at the place where Lyras had been.
The clearing of a throat attracted his attention to his parents standing at the door to the sitting room.
"I'll talk with him later."
His mother sighed at her son's words and walked out, leaving him alone with his father.
"I still have to finish some preparations for the rite of Tal'oth." said the half Vulcan.
For once, the Vulcan took a page out of his wife's book and walked away without a word.
Only then, in the silent and empty room, did Spock allow for a tear to leave his eyes.
Spock had been planning what he would tell Lyras when he returned that night, however he never had an opportunity to do so.
Lyras didn't return that night. Nor the next.
Thanatos laid on Lyras' bed in the form of a big brown dog, mournful sounds leaving his mouth as he missed his owner. The family grew restless as time went on and no sign from the fourteen year old was seeing nor heard.
The day for the rite of Tal'oth arrived and Lyras still hadn't returned.
Spock was on his way to the desert in which he would have to survive alone for four months with only a ritual blade as help. He portrayed himself as calm and collected as he had been taught, but inside he was shocked.
He had really expected Lyras to have returned, even if it was only to see him before he had to leave for those four months.
However, in that moment he knew he couldn't allow anything to distract him or his life would be at risk. He needed to focus on his task: surviving.
With that in mind, the half Vulcan pushed the thoughts of his best friend along with the sadness and despair at the memory of those beautiful green eyes full of tears to the back of his mind.
A day after Spock's departure, when Sarek had decided to go looking for his youngest son if he hadn't appeared by that afternoon, Lyras returned. It was Thanatos that announced his arrival.
The child… No, teen. Lyras was already fourteen years old, after all. The teen accepted his mother's hug before leaving to take a shower.
When he had cleaned up and dressed in dark brown trousers and a white robe, he went to the balcony and sat in front of them. He didn't utter a word for what felt like ages, his gaze lost in the horizon.
"I have spent these last days debating over my future and I have reached a decision. I have decided to enrol in the Earth Starfleet Academy." said finally.
"Wait, mum. Let me explain it first." requested the teen.
Sarek took one of his wife's hands in his and nodded at him to go ahead. Lyras took a deep breath and released it slowly.
"Vulcan has been, and I think it will always be, my home. But, as a human, I don't think I have a future here. The Academy offers me an opportunity to be useful. I know how to fight, I'm good at it. My magic gives me another advantage too. And my knowledge of different languages would also be helpful. It is also an opportunity to see how Earth has changed in this universe and time. The Academy is located in San Francisco, but I would be able to request permission for free time and visit London to see it by myself. Above any other reason is that, I need to feel that I have a purpose and I think that the Starfleet Federation can give me that, not Vulcan."
"Lyras, you're only fourteen."
"The sooner I start the larger opportunity I will have to have a lengthy career, mum."
"I see you have thought deeply about this decision, but are you sure you have done it logically? Your disagreement with Spock…"
"It's an idea I've had for quite some time now, dad." interrupted the teen looking him seriously in the eyes. "Our… disagreement hasn't clouded my judgement. The latest events have only compelled me to take the decision a little earlier, but otherwise didn't affect my decision."
His parents exchanged a look and, probably, a few mental words before looking back at him.
"If that is what you want." nodded Sarek.
"It is, father."
"Then, so be it."
"I'm going to miss you so much, my son." said Amanda standing from her seat beside her husband to sit at his side and embrace him tightly.
"I'll miss you too, you don't know how much." sighed the teen hugging her back and burying his face in her neck.
"You better call often." instructed his mother giving him a watery smile.
"Of course, mum. Every day." nodded the teen with a few tears in his eyes.
Two weeks later, Lyras said goodbye to his parents, knowing it could be the last time he saw them in quite some time, and boarded a touristic spaceship with Earth as destiny.
Thanatos was with him, in the form of an augurey, having refused to part from him. The loyal and proud creature perched on the teen's shoulder was a sight to behold and many passengers stared at it.
As he took a last look at Vulcan, Lyras couldn't shake from himself the feeling that he was leaving his home and his family. It hurt to leave, but it was for the best.
Everything he had told his parents was true. He needed to feel he was being helpful to protect their world. But the most important thing was that he needed to get away before Spock returned. He couldn't see his best friend turn into someone he wasn't. It hurt too much.
He needed to put distance between them before the Spock that he had known became only an emotionless shell of what he had been. It would destroy him to see that happen to the teen he had come to realize, too late, he loved more than a friend.
When Spock finally returned with a clearer mind from the survival of the four months alone in the desert that the rite of Tal'oth entailed, it was to the news that Lyras had left for Earth three months and a half before his return.
There had been no outward reaction to the news, but inwardly… it had been devastating.
His four months of solitude had changed him. After the first week in the desert, he had had an encounter with a wild sehlat.
Spock had been taken by surprise by the great bear-like beast, which had been enraged to find someone on its cave. He had nearly lost his life.
It had been in that moment, when he thought he was about to die and he wouldn't get to see Lyras or his parents ever again that something changed.
Fury coursed through his body. He had to return. He still had to apologize to Lyras for hurting him and explain why he had done it. He couldn't die there. He had to life.
It had been that fury and that determination that had given him the strength and level head enough to think with logic and find a weakness in the wild beasts attack. And he had survived.
After that, he had started to question everything he had thought until then. He had begun to doubt if undergoing the kolinarh would truly be such a good idea.
And when he realized upon his return home that Lyras wasn't there, that he had enrolled in the Academy —why couldn't he have chosen a less dangerous job?— and that he had left Vulcan —because, really, leaving for another planet?— he had been devastated.
He had realized that his tactless and foolish words could have made him lose his best friend, the person that better understood him and was always there for him.
Maybe it was true what humans said: you never know what you have until you lose it.
He hadn't truly appreciated the understanding and silent companionship Lyras offered him until he had lost it. And, now, it could be too late.
When Lyras arrived on Earth he was surprised at how different it was from his own. Not only because of the lack of wizards, but for the advanced technology.
Of course, Vulcan was also very different, but he hadn't known Vulcan in the 20th century. Seeing the changes on Earth was just much more obvious to him.
He had become a cadet without any problem, easily passing the admittance test. The classes weren't much harder. His Vulcan education paired with his own experience leading a war had prepared him for more challenging things.
Even the fickle demeanour of the wizarding world's public had helped him in this situation, remaining indifferent towards the admiration of some of his fellow cadets and professors and the scorn of the others.
In his first month in the Academy he had proven his right to be there not only by achieving the highest scores and manifesting one of the highest intelligence quotients, but by showing that, despite his short stature and weak appearance, he was the best fighter.
The first time had been the most surprising for everyone. The man, for he was at least twenty two or twenty three years old, had been an imposing bulk of muscle. In three magic infused movements, Lyras had broken him his right arm, three ribs and a collarbone.
"Next time, keep your wandering hands to yourself. I'm not here to entertain morons like you." had said the teen in a cold deadly tone.
He had demonstrated his proficiency in every language known, impressing every one of his professors. They hadn't been able to find a language, death or not, from the Earth or another planet, that he wasn't able to talk. One of his professors had nearly fainted when he had talked in languages that were supposed to be impossible to talk for a human, simply because they didn't possess the right physiology to utter the sounds.
Many of his professors and fellow cadets were enamoured with him, for one reason or another. And the shy beautiful and relatively innocent teen that had proved to also be strong and intelligent became nearly a legend to the Academy.
Lyras found that attention annoying and simply ignored it. He usually spent his time in his room, studying. He still had to learn the strategies of the Federation, after all.
What he had enjoyed the most had been his lessons as a pilot. He knew floating through space with a spaceship was very different from flying, but he had still wanted to learn.
Even with all the things that were often said about him and his evident talent, there had still been people surprised when he graduated from the Academy with honours after only two years, at the age of sixteen. The fastest ever.
He had brushed aside that achievement, thinking about how he had had the doubtful advantage of having fought in a war.
However, there had been some things that hadn't changed at all. He still called home every week to talk with his mother and, if his duties allowed him to be present, his father. And he still didn't have any friends.
Not because people wasn't willing, no. Many had approached him with the intention of befriending him, for this or that, but he had politely refused all attempts. They didn't really want to be his friends, he had thought, they wanted to be friends with the famous prodigy of the Academy, the most promising student.
He had acquaintances, people he discussed their lessons with in between classes. He had a dorm mate with who he sometimes discussed the latest news. But not a friend.
Spock had been his only friend since he was sent to Vulcan and his last words had hurt so much that Lyras hadn't been able to bring himself to talk again to the proud Vulcan.
The older teen had tried, despite Lyras' attempts to avoid him by calling home only when he was sure he wouldn't be there. Even his parents had tried to convince the young human to hear him out, but he had refused.
It was not that he was purposefully being cruel. He was just trying to protect his heart, which had already been hurt too many times in the past. He couldn't listen to Spock because he knew that, no matter what the Vulcan said, he would forgive him.
And if he did, if he allowed himself to get close to the half Vulcan, the feelings he had developed toward him and hidden deep inside himself would resurface with a vengeance. And when finally Spock underwent the kolinarh as he pretended to do, his heart would be broken again. But he would forgive him even that.
The twins had always said he was too forgiving.
He would forgive his best friend for breaking his heart and leaving him alone. For he was sure that, once all feeling was gone and only pure logic remained, Spock would see the little broken child inside of him that cried every night at the Dursley's home for someone to love him. He would be disgusted. He would realize he wasn't worth it. And he would be alone again.
And so, Lyras remained friendless.
Or at least he remained that way until a night in a bar.
He had graduated a few days ago and was waiting to be assigned to his first spaceship as a pilot. He had, at his mother's insistence, decided to go out and celebrate now that he still could. Fortunately, as a graduated from the Starfleet Academy he could already drink alcohol legally, even if he was only sixteen.
He was wearing tight black trousers and a deep green shirt under a black robe that reached to his middle thighs. On the chest, over his heart, he had pinned the arrowhead that identified him as a member of the Starfleet.
He went to a bar and sat at the counter, ordering a glass of Romulan ale. The people from Vulcan never took alcohol, seeing as its effects interfered with logical thinking, so he hadn't drunk any alcohol since he was sent to this universe.
However, Lyras knew his magic would burn it too fast for him to get intoxicated. Magical beverages were another story wholly.
"A strong drink for someone so young, isn't it?" said a friendly voice.
Lyras didn't turn in the stool, simply gazing from the corner of his eyes at the man. He seemed to be in his early thirties, with short brown hair and clear metallic blue eyes. The lines around his mouth gave him the air of a person that laughed a lot.
He was dressed in a black uniform of the Starfleet, though he didn't wear a distinctive indicating his rank. The only guess Lyras could make was that he was a senior official.
"No more than I can handle, sir."
The man nodded, obviously curious about him but not wanting to pry in matters that were not his.
"So have you just graduated?"
"Why would you think that?"
"Because you wouldn't be allowed to drink alcohol otherwise. You seem too young."
Lyras nodded, but said nothing.
"May I ask your name?" asked the man.
"Yours?" replied Lyras.
Not at all affronted, the officer smiled again.
"Captain Christopher Pike." answered the man extending an arm towards the teen.
Lyras recognized the name of the captain, but remained quiet about it, his face as carefully blank as always. If he was not mistaken, he had just returned from an exploration mission and had applied to instruct in the Academy until his ship was repaired.
"Hadrian Grayson." presented himself Lyras shaking his hand.
He saw recognition flicker in his eyes at the name, but Pike didn't comment. Lyras decided in that moment that he liked this captain.
He had opted to retrieve his name for his time in the Starfleet, knowing that a Vulcan name would stand out and not wanting people to bother him even more, and added his mother's surname since Vulcan surnames were unpronounceable for humans.
"Pleasure to meet you." said the captain truthfully. "Though I do wonder about your choice at clothes."
Lyras looked down, confused. He didn't usually use anything apart from the uniform, since he didn't take free time often.
"What's wrong with it?"
"Oh, nothing. It's just…" the man seemed amused more than anything. "Well, it's not usual to see someone wearing that kind of robe."
"Vulcans do." answered Lyras automatically.
"You do not appear Vulcan." said the man seemingly even more amused.
"Well, appearances can be deceiving."
"Did you not like the pointy ears and underwent an illegal surgery to remove them?" joked the captain lightly.
Lyras graced him with a small smile and the man relaxed a little more.
"There, see? You look more beautiful when you smile." stated the captain, his smile widening.
"I'm not beautiful." mumbled the teen, a faint blush on his cheeks.
The man arched an eyebrow at him, but sensed that it wasn't false modesty that made him say it and swiftly changed the topic.
"So, mind telling me why you decided to switch species?" asked Pike taking a sip of his own drink.
And that's how Lyras' and Pike's friendship started.
"Spock, come here. Let me see you." said Amanda from where she was standing in a waiting area.
"No." said softly the half Vulcan.
"Spock." pleaded Amanda.
The young adult hesitated a moment before reluctantly walking towards her. Spock towered over his mother's, having taken after his father in stature.
She smiled at him and began to adjust his collar. He simply remained in his place, trying to look impassive but not quite pulling it off.
"There is no need to look so anxious. You'll do fine."
"I am hardly 'anxious', mother." He stopped a second to breathe a little more deeply. "And 'fine' has variable definitions. 'Fine' is unacceptable."
"Okay." breathed she, smiling again.
She continued to work on his collar and, a little annoyed because of his nervousness, grabbed her hands in his. However, he didn't let go of them and finally looked her in the eyes.
"May I ask a personal query?"
"Anything." said the human smiling softly at him.
"Should I choose to complete the Vulcan discipline of Kolinahr… and purge all emotion… I trust you will not feel it reflects judgement upon you." explained he slowly.
She looked down with a smile, touched that he had thought to tell her.
"Oh, Spock." Amanda looked up and stared him right in the eyes. "As always, whatever you choose to be, you will have a proud mother."
He held her gaze, weighing her sincerity. Once sure that she wasn't saying that just to appease him, his gaze returned to the floor.
"Have you talked with Lyras recently?"
She sighed with a little sadness and nodded.
"Yes, he called two days ago. I think he made a friend a few months ago." added the woman a little hesitantly.
The Vulcan tensed imperceptibly. It hurt to hear about Lyras but, after all this time, he still couldn't stop himself from asking about him. He comforted himself with the knowledge that he at least was happy on Earth.
"Yes?" encouraged him the woman when he stopped.
"It… hurts. I do not know if I can bear it. The Kolinahr would stop the pain."
She adopted an understanding attitude.
"Pain is a part of life. Every emotion is just another experience. Ignoring the pain or fleeing from it won't make it better. Confronting it is the first step to stop it. But the choice is yours, Spock. You must never forget that."
The Vulcan nodded, lost deep in his thoughts about what she had just said.
A few minutes later, Spock stood in the Council Chamber of the Vulcan Science Academy. It was a beautiful yet imposing place, with his high ceilings, but the man stood straight and calm in front of the Vulcan High Council.
His father was among them, seated beside the Science Minister that presided the Council that day.
"You have surpassed the expectations of your instructors. Your final record is flawless. With one exception. I see you have applied to Starfleet as well." said the Minister of Science.
"It was logical to cultivate multiple options." replied Spock trying not to show the real reason for it. He still wasn't sure of what he wanted.
"Logical but unnecessary." cut the Vulcan raising his voice a bit. "You're hereby accepted to the Vulcan Science Academy. It is truly remarkable, Spock, that you have achieved so much despite your disadvantage. Welcome to the Academy."
Spock's face remained impassive, though his eyes shined with something different. The Council members stood up, all looking at him, and the half Vulcan decided to speak, unsettled by the leader's words.
"If you would clarify, Minister… what 'disadvantage' are you referring to?"
"… you human mother. And your prolonged exposition to her human son." clarified the Minister as if that were obvious.
Spock's face changed minutely at the mention of his and Lyras' friendship and he gazed at his father. The Vulcan gazed back at him impassively, but there seemed to be a warning in his eyes, as if they commanded him to stay calm.
Spock struggled with his emotions and his logic. His mother's last words and his fight with Lyras resonated in his head. He realized then that he wanted to experience everything that life had to offer him. He realized that he didn't want to be like the Council, looking down on everyone that was different, and he didn't want to be like the Vulcans that had bullied him and Lyras for that same reason.
So, for the first time in his life, he chose to follow his emotions instead of his logic. Anyway, this wasn't the life he wanted. This was the life his father wanted for him.
And, maybe, in the Starfleet he could find Lyras and talk to him. Tell him everything, regain his friend and, perhaps someday, something more.
"Council, ministers, I must decline."
Everyone stopped at his words and the Minister regarded him coldly.
"No Vulcan has ever declined admission to this Academy."
"Then, as I am half human, you record remains untarnished." replied Spock containing a smirk.
"Spock. You have made a commitment to honour the Vulcan way…" remembered him Sarek.
"At the moment, father, I can think of no greater way to honour our race than to attend Starfleet as its first Vulcan." said the half Vulcan raising his chin a bit.
"Why did you come before this Council today? Was it to satisfy your emotional need to rebel?" asked the Minister.
"I came with the intention of enrolling as my father wished. However, you 'insight' has convinced me otherwise. Therefore, the only emotion I wish to convey is gratitude. Thank you, Ministers, for your consideration. Live long and prosper."
The last two sentences were said with sarcasm dripping from every word and defiance clear in his eyes for his disappointed father to see. Then, Spock turned to the side and exited the Council Chamber.
He had let his emotions guide his action. And I had felt really good. Now, he had a stubborn human to track down.
He was looking out the window over the large buildings of the city. He was clad only in a pair of loose trousers, with his pale chest bare and his hair falling in slight waves to his shoulders.
A gentle hand moved the hair to the side and a soft pair of lips pressed a light kiss to his neck.
Lyras sighed and leaned back against the firm body behind him while strong arms wrapped around his waist.
"What is it, Hadrian? You've been distracted lately." whispered a voice near his ear.
Lyras hesitated before answering, which told the other man that it was something important.
"I talked with my mother yesterday."
"Is she well? Has something happened?"
"No, no. She's okay. My father too. Well, he's disappointed but I think it won't last long." Lyras sighed again and tried not to appear too tense. "Less than a week ago, Spock was accepted in the Vulcan Science Academy."
The other human hummed a little, telling him he was listening.
"He declined. Right now, he's on his way to Earth. He has enrolled on the Starfleet Academy."
The man sighed at that and turned him around without letting go of him.
"Hadrian, I think you should talk with him."
When his words registered, the younger human pulled apart from him and wrapped his own arms around his middle.
"I can't, Chris. I know I will forgive him and he will break my heart. I cannot take that chance again. Besides, I'm happy as I am now. With you."
The man smiled softly at that. It hadn't been easy to get the younger man to open up, but he was proud to be one of the very few allowed to see the real Hadrian. He was even prouder to be one of the few Hadrian, or Lyras, had confided in with his past before Vulcan.
"I love you too."
Lyras smiled slightly. That was one of the things he liked from him. He knew what he felt and understood that he wasn't ready to say the words.
Thinking back on the topic they were discussing, he released another sigh and looked down at the floor.
"I just need to find a way to avoid him."
The man sighed, knowing that he wouldn't be able to convince the stubborn teen to change of idea. He could only offer his support and wait until Lyras was ready to confront his former friend, which could never happen.
However, he knew the Vulcan raised young man shared something special with the half human and he was sure they would someday find each other again.
"The Starfleet Command has been pressing me for a while to take the USS Armstrong in an exploration mission." finally said Chris wrapping his arms around the younger one's waist and resting his chin on the top of his head. "I want you to be my First Officer."
Lyras looked up at him with clear surprise.
"I would trust none other. I had been meaning to ask you, but I wasn't sure if you would want to come. It's a two year mission."
The teen smiled thankfully and kissed him lightly on the lips.
"Thank you, Christopher. I promise to do my best… Captain Pike." slyly added Lyras.
"I know you will."
Lyras had just turned twenty when Spock graduated. Somehow, Pike had convinced him to attend and there he was, dressed in his Starfleet Commander uniform, hiding in the shadows at the back of the room.
He half listened to the graduation speech given by the instructors, while looking for his only childhood friend.
And there he was.
Spock was standing straight, his face blank and hands clasped at his back. Lyras couldn't help but notice he had grown into a very handsome man. His Vulcan features made him appear even manlier and then there were those piercing brown eyes that had haunted his dreams for years.
The young human felt his body tremble and felt his hand being squeezed tightly. Looking at his side, he smiled weakly at Pike when the captain wrapped an arm around his shoulders.
With a sigh, he crouched down and left Thanatos that had taken the appearance of a snake on the floor. Following his instructions, the creature changed into a big brown dog.
Carefully, Lyras tied an emerald ribbon to his neck with a package and told him to look for Spock.
The graduation had just finished and Spock was going to leave when he heard someone shout at the sight of an enormous brown dog that seemed to be looking around for someone. One that he recognized immediately.
"Thanatos." whispered the half Vulcan.
The creature must have heard him because the next instant the dog had turned towards him and was running. He found himself tackled to the ground by the great beast and a pair of his fellow graduated cadets went to help him.
"He has a ribbon." said one of them after helping him stand up.
"Do you know the dog?" asked the other.
The half Vulcan nodded and kneeled in front of the sitting dog that was happily moving his tail from side to side.
"Thanatos, what are you doing here?"
The animal put his head on his lap, letting him see the package attached to the ribbon. The Vulcan raised an eyebrow and loosened the knot. Then, the dog jumped to his feet and run upstairs.
Spock tried to follow, but it was for nothing. He saw the dog reach the top of the stairs and exit the room with two men, but by the time he arrived there, they were gone.
He swallowed the knot that had formed on his throat at the thought of having lost an opportunity to see Lyras.
Looking down he realized he still had the package Thanatos had delivered him in his hands. He unwrapped it to reveal a black book with nothing distinctive on the cover.
Spock opened it to find a message in the first page written in a familiar handwriting.
I finished this not long ago. I still remember how fascinated you were with the creatures of my world so I hope you find the information inside interesting.
Congratulations on your graduation.
He passed some more pages and saw drawings of creatures he had never seen before with notes about every one of them.
Lyras had given him a book about magical creatures written by the wizard. Joy and sadness in equal parts filled him, but nothing reflected on his face.
Lyras looked around and took a deep breath as he walked out of the touristic spaceship. He was surprised when he spotted two familiar faces.
He tried to appear relaxed as he walked calmly towards his parents. The smile of his mother and the soft expression on his father's face when they saw him made his heart clench painfully.
Amanda enveloped him in a tight hug and Lyras fought hard not to start crying. She pulled back a little to look him in the eyes and a concerned look appeared in her face.
"I don't look older than seventeen, do I?" whispered the twenty two year old human.
Less than an hour later, Lyras sat in a sofa beside her mother cupping a cup of ice tea. He was back in Vulcan for a brief visit. He had needed to see his parents.
"Lyras, dear, what happened?" asked his mother in a low voice.
His hands shook and she took his hands in hers after taking the cup from them. He looked up at his father, who sat in front of him, and saw the hidden concern in his eyes.
And he broke down.
He told them everything.
He told them about his feelings towards Spock before leaving, about his dedication to the Academy, about the loneliness that Thanatos hadn't been able to quell. He told them about meeting Pike, about his insistence in being friends with him, about how they had become the best of friends and fallen in love without even realizing it, about the joy his Chris had made him feel when the man had finally gotten over the age difference and accepted his feelings. He told them about Spock's graduation and Christopher's birthday.
Chris had just turned thirty nine years old. And that same morning, when he had seen himself in a mirror, he had realized something.
He hadn't changed.
He looked around himself and everyone was older. He hadn't noticed it because he saw them regularly, like he saw himself.
But that day, he had seen it. While Christopher's hair started to turn grey at his temples, he still looked like a seventeen year old. Just an adult by magical laws.
He knew wizards aged slower than muggles, but the aging didn't slow down until they were at least twenty five. And even then, they still changed enough that it was noticeable.
His parents listened without interrupting, understanding that he needed to let it out.
When he finished telling them everything, tears were running down his cheeks and his eyes held such pain that it hurt to see them. But he realized he felt better. And he knew what he had to do.
He had to let Christopher go.
Lyras rested his head in Christopher's shoulder while he listened to the man sing for him, tears still falling from the younger one's eyes from their previous conversation.
Come stop your crying
It will be alright
Just take my hand
Hold it tight.
I will protect you
From all around you
I will be here
Don't you cry.
The tears slowly dried on his cheeks, but Lyras didn't mind. He still couldn't believe this was happening. But there had been no other option.
He didn't know what his lack of aging meant exactly, but he knew the legend of the Deathly Hollows better than anyone. The fact that he had been their last owner coupled with the tattoo over his heart was what made warning bells jingle in his head.
For one so small
You seem so strong
My arms will hold you
Keep you safe and warm.
And after explaining his suspicions to Christopher, the man had understood why this needed to happen. Why they couldn't continue being lovers.
Though that didn't mean they couldn't continue being friends. No, not all. The Captain had already been his best friend before becoming anything else to him.
'Cause you'll be in my heart
Yes, you'll be in my heart.
Chris looked down at him as if he were speaking to him. And Lyras realized he was. Chris was singing that song for a reason. He was trying to reassure him, to reassure them both, that nothing would change just because they couldn't be together the same way. That they would still be there for each other.
From this day on
Now and forever more.
The words echoed in his head and Lyras felt the weight in his heart lighten a little.
You'll be in my heart
No matter what they say
You'll be here in my heart,
The word rang through his mind and he knew, deep down, that Chris would always be there for him. Because Christopher was a part of him.
When destiny calls you
You must be strong
I may not be with you
But you've got to hold on
'Cause you'll be in my heart
Believe me you'll be in my heart
From this day on
Now and forever more
(You'll be in my heart by Celtic Women)
His Chris played the last notes of the song with the piano a few times more before finally stopping.
The Captain turned a little to him and manoeuvred them so that he had an arm wrapped around his shoulders and his chin rested at the top of his head.
Lyras closed his eyes, listening to the constant beating of a heart under his ear. The sound was familiar and relaxing.
"It'll be okay, Hadrian. I'm still here for you. And, even if someday you don't, I will still love you." whispered the man.
And Lyras knew then that he, too, would always love Christopher. Maybe he would someday fall for another man —Merlin knew that he had never hidden his feelings for Spock to his lover — but Christopher would always keep a special place in his heart.
A year had passed since Christopher and Lyras had agreed to keep their relationship as that of friends and, at the man's and his own parent's insistence, the wizard was now nervously standing before a door.
Inwardly, the human cursed himself for letting them convince him of this. Finally, gathering his courage, he raised a hand and knocked on the door.
He waited a little, but nothing happened. Lyras knocked again, but again nothing happened. Maybe he wasn't there? He could tell his parents and Chris he had tried…
The door suddenly opened to reveal the only Vulcan on the Starfleet with unusually messy clothes and a hard stare.
Spock's eyes widened when he realized who exactly was standing on his door and the half Vulcan exited his rooms before closing the door behind him.
However, he wasn't fast enough to stop the human from seeing a half-naked dark skinned pretty woman sitting in a bed.
Lyras opened his mouth but nothing came out. Feeling his throat constrict and his heart clench, he didn't wait to see what Spock had to say. He apparated away to Chris' room.
He didn't know why it felt so wrong, why it hurt so much to see Spock with that woman. After all, Spock was a man and it was completely understandable that he would have found someone with who share his own life just as, for a short time, he had had with Christopher.
However it did hurt. It hurt more than even he wanted to admit.
Spock stared wide eyed at the place in which Lyras had been standing just a moment ago.
He realized what Lyras had seen, what he had thought, and he couldn't believe it. Finally, after all this years, Lyras came to him and it had to be in the most inopportune of times.
When he had an opportunity to right things, to speak with the wizard and explain to him what he waited to tell him all those years, Uhura had to be there.
He closed his eyes and leaned back against the door.
Lyras had looked so beautiful dressed in black and green, his hair falling to his shoulders in river like waves, skin pale as snow, full red lips and bright green eyes…
He had thought he loved Uhura, or at least that he could bring himself to love her one day, but after seeing Lyras…
He realized then how stupid he had been.
He was attracted to Uhura, yes. He liked her strength and her intelligence; he was even fond of her. But he didn't love her.
Lyras… Lyras had been, still was and would probably always be, the only being he ever truly loved.
And he feared he had just crushed any hope he had of telling him.
However, he was nothing if not determined. He thought he must have picked that up from growing up with Lyras.
Lyras and Christopher entered a bar just in time to see a fight break out. A blond not older than twenty two and dressed as a civil was fighting against four Starfleet cadets.
Lyras had to admit the guy had balls and was a good fighter, as he managed to hold his own for a little while even though he was obviously inebriate.
However, soon the one that had started the fight pinned him to a table and started to punch him in the face.
"Stop it! Stop t, all of you! Enough! Guys, he's had enough!" shouted a dark skinned woman dressed in a cadet uniform.
Lyras recognized her as the girl he had seen in Spock's bed and felt a pang of pain at the memory before pushing those thoughts aside.
Having seen enough, he went to intervene, but Christopher stopped him whistling loudly.
Every one turned to look at the man that had just recently turned forty one and the cadets stood with their backs straight at the sight of his black captain uniform.
"Outside. All of you. Now!" ordered the Starfleet Captain looking hard at them
"Yes, sir." nodded the one that had been punching the guy.
The people moved out of the room and Lyras kept quiet until all were gone. The blond was still face up over the table.
"You all right, son?" asked his Chris looking down at the guy.
"You can whistle really loud, you know that?"
Christopher and Lyras simply looked amused at this.
Later that same evening, Christopher sat in a chair in front of the blond guy from earlier while Lyras stood at his side, his cloak's hood shading his face.
"You know, I couldn't believe it when the bartender told me who you are." finally said Chris after seeing the blond drink and tilting his head to the side.
"Who am I, Captain Pike?" asked the guy as if humouring him.
" Your father's son."
"Can I get another one?" asked the guy to the bartender showing his empty glass.
"For my dissertation, I was assigned the USS Kelvin. Something I admired about your dad, he didn't believe in no-win scenarios." said Pike.
Lyras smiled at that. He knew about Chris' great admiration towards George Kirk. He himself would readily admit his admiration towards the man's action to ensure his family's safety.
"Sure learned his lesson."
The wizard frowned at the guy's clear dismissal of his father's great sacrifice and saw as he removed the paper stopping the bleeding of his nose.
"Well, it depends on how you define winning. You're here, aren't you?" answered the Captain seemingly calm.
But Lyras knew better. His Christopher admired George Kirk a great deal and was even less happy than Lyras about the kid's attitude.
"Thanks." Muttered Kirk when the bartender gave him a new bottle of whatever beverage he was drinking.
"You know, that instinct to leap without looking, that was his nature too, and in my opinion, it's something Starfleet's lost."
"Why are you talking to me, man?" asked seemingly getting tired of beating around the bush.
"'Cause I looked up your file while you were drooling on the floor. Your aptitude tests are off the charts, so what is it? You like being the only genius-level repeat offender in the Midwest?"
"Maybe I love it." replied Kirk, though it was obvious he didn't.
"Look, so your dad dies. You can settle for less than an ordinary life. Or do you feel like you were meant for something better? Something special?" Lyras sighed, knowing what was to come and that the Captain was being totally serious. "Enlist in Starfleet."
"Enli-" the kid laughed incredulously. "You guys must be way down in your recruiting quota for the month."
"If you're half the man your father was, Kirk, Starfleet could do with someone like you." intervened Lyras.
"And who are you?" asked Jim frowning at not being able to see his face. "And who uses a cloak nowadays?"
Lyras smiled ironically, remembering how Pike had commented on his robes when they had met for the first time.
"Hadrian Grayson and I think the answer to your second question would be 'me'." answered Lyras without lowering the hood.
James seemed to find the name vaguely familiar, though in his drunken state he didn't know why.
"You could be an officer in four years. You could have your own ship in eight. You understand what the Federation is, don't you? It's important. It's a peacekeeping and humanitarian armada." continued Pike.
"I'm done." said the Captain frowning in resignation and getting up from his seat while the guy simply took a sip of his drink. "Riverside Shipyard. The shuttle for new recruits leaves tomorrow oh-eight hundred."
Kirk didn't even blink at the information, lifting his already half-finished beer glass in a cheer. Lyras smiled in the shadows of his hood. He knew his type and he knew what buttons to push.
"You know, your father was Captain of a Starship for twelve minutes. He saved eight hundred lives, including your mother's. And yours. I dare you to do better."
With that said, Pike left a little replica of a Starship on the table and they walked out, leaving the guy with his thoughts and his drink.
Once outside, Pike stopped and turned to look at his companion.
"So where did you know her from?"
"The cadet girl. The one they were fighting for and tried to stop it." clarified the Captain.
Lyras sighed at the reminder and looked at the one that had been his best friend for the last eight years.
"What makes you think I know her?"
The Captain snorted and sent him a little lopsided grin.
"Come one, Hadrian, I know you better than yourself. Did you really think I wouldn't have noticed?"
The Vulcan raised human huffed in annoyance but it was belied by the fond smile he sent his friend.
"Yes, of course you would have noticed."
"So, who's she?"
The wizard sighed, his good mood disappearing and making the other man frown in concern.
"Remember what I told you about my visit to Spock last year? She was the woman I saw in his bed."
The Captain sighed and wrapped an arm around his shoulders in a silent offer of comfort. He knew how much it had hurt his younger friend to find Spock with another. He had been crying for days and Pike hadn't allowed him to leave his own room until he had been somewhat calmer.
The next day, Pike and Lyras stood outside a shuttle, the latter with his customary cloak, looking as the cadets loaded in. Some of them were new recruits while some others had just been on a shore leave.
"Don't worry, he'll come." said Lyras seeing the Captain looking around with a frown.
The words had just left his mouth when they heard the roar of a bike's motor. Lyras smiled inwardly and, not without nostalgia, thought back to his late godfather's flying bike.
The blond stopped the bike that had attracted a great deal attention from the workers of the shipyard.
"Nice ride, man." said an engineer.
"Live it up." muttered Kirk throwing the keys at the startled guy and walking towards their shuttle.
Lyras observed that he had nothing but the clothes he was currently wearing and tilted his head to the side when the blond looked at him.
"Four years? I'll do it in three." said the guy cockily before entering the shuttle.
Pike smiled slightly at that and looked at his companion.
"Well, you'll still have the record."
Lyras just arched an eyebrow in a very Vulcan way before turning around and getting inside. The Captain followed with a chuckle.
"This is Captain Pike. We've been cleared for take-off." announced Pike's voice through the comm.
Everyone made sure they were strapped to their seats.
"I may throw up on you." said the guy on Kirk's left.
"I think these things are pretty safe." replied Jim taking pity on the man and trying to calm him down.
"Don't pander to me, kid. One tiny crack in the hull and our blood boils in thirteen seconds. A solar flare might pop up and cook us in our seats. And wait 'til your sitting pretty with a case of Andorian shingles. See if you're still so relaxed when your eyeballs are bleeding. Space is disease and danger, wrapped in darkness and silence." ranted the anxious doctor.
"Well, I hate to break this to you, but Starfleet operates in space." replied Kirk trying not to show any reaction the previous words.
"Yeah, well, got nowhere else to go. The ex-wife took the whole damn planet in the divorce. All I've got left is my bones." confided the black haired man.
The doctor took a little bottle out of his jacket, probably containing something alcoholic, and took a gulp of the liquid before offering it to him. Kirk accepted it.
"Jim Kirk." introduced himself lifting the bottle in salute before drinking from it.
"McCoy, Leonard McCoy." said the grumpy man.
And that's how McCoy's and Pike's friendship started.
Kirk was sitting at a Hearing of the Starfleet Academy, just one more in a sea of red dressed cadets. McCoy sat at his left, dressed like him.
"This session has been called to resolve a troubling matter. James T. Kirk, step forward." said the Head of the Starfleet Academy Board. The dark skinned man waited till he stepped down before continuing. "Cadet Kirk, evidence has been submitted to this council, suggesting that you violated the ethical code of conduct pursuant to Regulation One-Seven point three of the Starfleet Code. Is there anything you care to say before we begin, sir? "
"Yes, I believe I have the right to face my accuser directly."
After a moment of silence, Barnett gave his approval and the only Vulcan in the Starfleet rose from between the audience.
"Step forward, please." the man did as asked. "This is Commander Spock. He's one of our most distinguished graduates. He's programmed the Kobayashi Maru exam for the last four years. Commander?
"Cadet Kirk, you somehow managed to install and activate a subroutine to the programming code, thereby changing the conditions of the test." said Spock.
"Your point being?"
"In academic vernacular: you cheated." clarified Barnett.
From her place between the audience, Uhura grinned, pleased at the way things were going.
"Let me ask you something I think we all know the answer to. The test itself is a cheat, isn't it? You programmed it to be unwinnable."
"Your argument precludes the possibility of a no-win scenario." said Spock looking back at the Board.
"I don't believe in no-win scenarios." replied the human.
"Then, not only did you violate the rules, you also failed to understand the principle lesson." said Spock seriously.
"Please, enlighten me." said Kirk as if humouring him.
"You of all people should know, Cadet Kirk. A Captain cannot cheat death." voiced the Vulcan a little smugly.
At that, Kirk's facial expression changed.
"I of all people." repeated looking down for a moment and not meeting Spock's eyes.
"Your father, Lieutenant George Kirk, assumed command of his vessel before being killed in action, did he not?" asked Spock as if he were asking about the weather.
"How long did it take you to look that up?"
"How long did it take you to program the virus that allowed you to cheat?" shot back the Vulcan.
The Head of the Board smirked, seemingly entertained with seeing them banter.
"I don't think you like the fact that I beat your test." pointed out Kirk.
"I am Vulcan. 'Like' is not a verb in our vernacular. I have simply made the logical deduction that you are a liar."
"What an idiot I am for taking that personally…" tried the cadet with irony.
"Agreed. Furthermore, you have failed to divine the purpose of the test." continued the Commander ignoring his words.
"Enlighten me again."
"The purpose is to experience fear." explained slowly Spock. "Fear in the face of certain death. To accept that fear, and maintain control of oneself and one's crew. This is a quality expected in every Starfleet captain."
Jim looked down, for the first time not knowing what to say. Still in his seat, McCoy looked concerned for his friend. Then, something clicked in Kirk's mind.
"So you're telling me the point of the whole thing is to be afraid?"
"Fear is necessary, yes."
"Have you taken the test, Commander Spock?" asked he seemingly from nowhere.
Pike, somehow sensing where he was going, could only think that he would have to let Hadrian see that day's memory when the USS Truman returned.
"As a Vulcan, I require no additional training to control my narcissism when making command decisions."
The crowd nearly clapped at that and Kirk's eyebrow twitched. He had gotten into fights for less, after all. Unfortunately, he couldn't do that in front of the Board. That didn't mean he was already done. Oh, no.
"You keep reminding me that you're Vulcan. And I'm sure you're really proud of that; who wouldn't be…" he left it hanging off, dripping sarcasm. "but isn't it true you people don't experience fear at all?"
The half Vulcan, though Kirk didn't know that fact, arched an eyebrow at him. However that didn't deter Jim. He already had him.
"And if that's the case… what's that say about your ability to make command decisions?"
The interruption of an aide walking to the Head of the Board saved the Vulcan the trouble of thinking a reply.
"Excuse me, sir."
The aide handed something to the Admiral and the man thanked him, reading the information before looking up at the audience.
"We've received a distress call from Vulcan." This made Spock's head turn to the Admiral as fast as it could. "Cadet Kirk, you are on academic probation pending the result of your hearing. With our primary fleet engaged in the Laurentian system, I hereby order all cadets to report to Hangar One immediately. Dismissed."
The Board stood up and the cadets follow hurriedly, Spock being one of the first in exiting the Hearing Room. Pike passed by his side and muttered something.
"Cheating isn't winning."
Jim winced imperceptibly at the clearly heard disappointment in his mentor's voice. McCoy stepped down and walked towards his friend.
"Who was that pointy-eared bastard?" asked Jim looking at his friend for the last three years.
"I don't know, but I like him." added the Doctor offhandedly.
Kirk stared at his back before following.
An angry Uhura walked past McCoy and Kirk in the hangar, not even sparing them a glance, right towards Spock.
"Commander, a word?"
The half Vulcan looked up at her.
"Yes, Lieutenant?" asked professionally.
"Was I not one of your top students?"
"Indeed you were-"
"And did I not, on multiple occasions, demonstrate exceptional aural sensitivity and, I quote, 'unparalleled ability to identify sonic anomalies' in subspace transmission tests?"
"And while you were well aware that my unqualified desire was to serve on the USS Enterprise, I was assigned to the Farragut."
"It was an attempt to avoid any possible discomfort our previous relationship-"
"No." cut the woman. "No. I am a professional and I am assigned to the Enterprise."
They held each other's gaze, before Spock finally relented. He changed something in the data pad and looked back at her.
"Yes, I believe you are."
Spock exited the turbolift at the Bridge and took his position at the science console, already dressed in the blue uniform that identified him as a scientific.
"Mister Spock?" asked Pike entering the Bridge.
"Captain. Engineering reports ready for launch."
"Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, the maiden voyage of our newest flagship deserves more pomp and circumstance than we can afford today. A christening will just have to be our reward for a safe return. Carry on." ordered the man
He then took his seat at the Captain's chair and turned on the comm in the left armrest.
"All decks, this is Captain Pike, prepare for immediate departure. Helm, thrusters."
"Moorings retracted, Captain. Dock Control reports ready. Thrusters fired, separating from the space dock." announced the pilot.
The spaceship began to move away from the dock. There were another five ships more already ahead of them.
"The fleet's cleared space dock, Captain. All ships ready for warp."
"Set course for Vulcan."
"Yes, Captain." answered the yellow dressed man. "Course laid in."
"Maximum warp. Punch it."
The ships ahead entered warp one after the other. However, the Enterprise didn't move. Everyone in the Bridge looked at the pilot, that was searching the controls with concern and confusion clears.
"Lieutenant, where's Helmsman McKenna?"
"He has lungworms, sir. He'll be fine but couldn't report to his post. I'm Hikaru Sulu, sir." said the yellow uniformed man that didn't look more than twenty five turning on the chair to look at his Captain.
"And you are a pilot, right?"
"Yes, very much so sir. I'm… uh… not sure what's wrong." answered turning back to the console.
"Is the parking brake on?" asked the Captain raising his eyebrows.
"No." half laughed Sulu. "I'll figure it out, just…"
"Have you disengaged the External Inertial Dampener?"
At Spock's words, Sulu paused before pressing a couple buttons.
"Ready for warp, sir." said trying to hide his embarrassment.
"The External Inertial Dampener. That's… the parking brake."
"… essentially yes, sir." nodded the pilot.
Pike just laughed.
"Let's punch it."
The USS Enterprise entered warp for the first time and Pike couldn't help but resent Spock a little. Hadrian should have been there for the first voyage of his new ship, he should have been his first officer, as always.
However, when Spock had been assigned to Pike's crew, the younger human had transferred to another ship. He contained a sigh. And he had hoped he would see Hadrian soon…
Amanda felt a small earthquake. Those were not usual in Vulcan. She went to the balcony of her home and she found what she saw terrifying.
In the distance, maybe a mile away, a massive column of light connected the sky with the planet's surface, slamming into the ground. Amanda's eyes widened with terror.
She didn't know how long she stood there, but the sound of a hoverspeeder was what finally took her out of her stupor.
"Amanda! We must get to the shelter!" shouted his wind trying to make himself be heard above the sounds of the wind.
"Engines at maximum warp, Captain." informed his new pilot.
"Captain. We're receiving a communication from the USS Truman, sir." announced the Communications officer.
The Captain's attention went to the man. The USS Truman was the ship Hadrian was on-board of.
"The Truman? What does it say?"
"They were returning to the Starfleet base from a two months surveying mission. The Starfleet Command has given them orders to join us in Vulcan. They're already in their way there."
A slight smile made its way into the Captain's lips, but it went unnoticed by everyone as they were busy with their own tasks.
"That's good. Russian whiz kid- what's your name again? Chanko? Cherpov?" asked the Captain.
Another yellow clad human turned towards him, though this time he didn't look older than eighteen.
"Ensign Chekov, Pavel Andreievich, sir." answered the boy with a rather heavy Russian accent.
"Fine, Chekov, Pavel Andreievich, begin ship wide mission broadcast." ordered the Captain leaning forward in his chair.
"Yes, sir. Happy to." And the kid did seem happy to as he talked to the computer. "Ensign authorization code: Nine-Five-Wictor-Wictor-Two…"
"Authorization not recognized. Please, try again." said the computer.
The teen sighed, annoyed at not been understood because of his accent. It seemed this wasn't the first time to happen.
"Aigh, this is the 23rd century. What good is woice recognition that doesn't recognize your woice?" then the teen proceeded to repeat the code: "Nine-Five-Victor-Victor-Two."
"Access granted: intra-ship communication active."
Chekov's face started to be broadcasted through all the screens in the ship.
"Your attention, please: at twenty-two hundred hours, telemetry detected an anomaly in the Neutral Zone. What appeared to be a lightning storm in space. Soon after, Starfleet receiwed a distress signal from the Wulcan High Council that their planet was experiencing seismic actiwity. Our mission is to assess the condition of Wulcan, and to assist in the ewacuations if necessary. We should be arriwing at Wulcan within three minutes. Thank you for your time."
"Captain Pike! Sir, we have to stop the ship!"
The calm in the Bridge disappeared when a panting James Kirk, followed by a very harassed looking Doctor McCoy and a dark skinned tall woman dressed in the red uniform of the Operations Division that seemed familiar to him.
"Mr Kirk! How the hell did you get on board the Enterprise!?" asked Pike standing up.
"This man is under the influence of a severe reaction to a vaccine. He is delusional and I take full responsibility for…" started McCoy immediately.
"Vulcan isn't experiencing a natural disaster, it's being attacked. By Romulans."
Pike frowned at the young cadet that he and Hadrian had convinced to enlist and wondered, for the first time, if maybe they had been wrong about him.
"Cadet Kirk, I think you've had enough attention for one day. Doctor McCoy, return to medical, we'll have words later." ordered the Captain with clear disappointment.
"Yes, sir." answered McCoy without meeting his eyes.
Just as Kirk was going to say something more, Spock decided to intervene.
"Sir, as you know, Mr Kirk is not cleared to be aboard this vessel. By Starfleet regulations, that makes him a stowaway…"
"Yeah, I get it, you're a great arguer, I'd love to do it again with you, too." interrupted Jim barely sparing a glance at the Vulcan.
"I can remove the cadet from the Bridge, sir…"
"Try it! This cadet is trying to save the Bridge!"
"By recommending a full stop in trans-warp in the midst of a rescue mission?" finished the Vulcan ignoring the cadet.
"It's not a rescue mission… listen to me! It's an attack!"
"Based on what facts?"
Christopher's frown deepened as the two argued and he thought he finally understood what Hadrian had commented once in passing about two twins giving him a headache whenever they discussed.
Kirk paused for a moment at Spock's question and looked more serious than Pike had ever seen him.
"Fact: the same anomaly —a lightning storm in space— that we saw today also occurred on the day on my birth, before a Romulan ship attacked the USS Kelvin." the man turned to face the Captain. "You know that, I read your dissertation. Which was good." he started to alternate between looking at the half Vulcan and the Captain of the ship. "This ship —which had formidable and advanced weaponry— was never seen or heard from again. Fact: the Kelvin attack took place on the edge of Klingon space and at 11-hundred hours last night there was an escape from a Klingon prison planet —Rura Penthe. Fact: the escaped prisoners were Romulans, sir, and it was reported that they stole a ship from the prison dock."
"And you know of this prison escape how?"
At the Captain's question, the cadet turned to the side to look at someone, the woman that had come in with him.
Seeing Spock, Kirk and the woman in the same room, a memory surfaced in his mind. She had been there the night they had recruited Kirk in a bar. She was the woman Hadrian had seen in Spock's bed, the reason that the young raven had had his heart broken when it was just beginning to heal.
"Sir, I-I intercepted and translated the message myself. Kirk's report is accurate." said she.
"We're warping into a trap. There are Romulans waiting for us, I promise you that." insisted Kirk bringing the attention back to him.
Kirk looked him in the eyes. He didn't think Jim was lying and he looked at Spock to see what he thought. The half Vulcan seemed to be trying hard to keep a blank face while looking at the younger human and forced himself to say his next words:
"The Cadet's logic is sound." he looked back at the Captain. "And Lieutenant Uhura is unmatched in xenolinguistics; we would be wise to accept her conclusion."
"While I'm sure that I know at least a person that can, not match her, but surpass her in xenolinguistics, I'll take your word for it this time, Mr Spock." without giving him time to figure out an answer to his statement, the Captain looked at a communications officer. "Scan Vulcan space. Check if any transmissions are being made in Romulan."
"Sir, I'm… not sure I could distinguish the Romulan language from Vulcan." informed the man.
"How about you… you speak Romulan, Cadet…?"
"Uhura, sir. All three dialects." answered the woman firmly.
Pike nodded and kept the name in his mind. Containing a sigh and thinking about how much easier things were with Hadrian around, he looked her in the eyes.
"Uhura, relieve the Lieutenant. Mr Hannity, hail the USS Truman."
Uhura sat at the console and put on the earpiece, intent on doing her work.
"The other ships are out of warp and have arrived at Vulcan, sir, but we seem to have lost all contact."
"Captain, I pick up no Romulan transmissions —or transmissions of any kind— in the area."
"It's because they're being attacked. Captain, please."
There was a tense moment of silence after Kirk's words and, finally, the Captain returned to his chair.
"Shield up. Ready all weapons. Hannity, continue trying to contact the Truman."
Everyone started to work, putting up their shields as a red light lit the Bridge. Pike looked out through the viewer with his face set in a hard look.
"Arrival at Vulcan in five seconds!" announced Sulu. "Four, three, two…"
The first thing they saw when they dropped from warp was the flaming hull of a Starfleet ship coming right towards them.
"Emergency evasive!" shouted the Captain.
"On it, sir" answered Sulu.
The pilot dipped the Enterprise as fast and hard as was possible and the giant piece of debris just scratched the ship.
"Captain, they're locking torpedoes on us." snapped the Spock.
"Full reverse, come about Starboard ninety degrees! Drop us down under them! Prepare to fire all weapons!" instructed the captain.
The ship dropped and tumbled in a wild move to try and escape the torpedo. It managed to do it, mostly, but a piece impacted on the ship and the Bridge shook.
There was debris floating everywhere and, above Vulcan, floated the Narada. Their eyes widened with fear at the sight of the monumental ship.
Everyone looked to where Kirk was pointing and they saw something even more incredible.
There was a Starship still standing in the middle of the floating pieces of Federation's ships. The ship was surrounded by a green glowing light that seemed to be barely holding against the force of the torpedoes.
"What kind of shield is that?" asked someone.
"Sir, we have communication with the USS Truman!" exclaimed Hannity in surprise.
However, the Captain wasn't so surprised. He knew that the Starfleet Command had given Hadrian permission to link magically every Starfleet's ship's communication consoles. It was just for precaution, but Christopher Pike had never been so grateful for it.
"Put them on screen. Now."
The communications officer did so and the image of a Bridge appeared. The officers inside were all looking at the attacking ship with wide fear filled eyes.
But what at first attracted most of their attention was the lone dark cloaked figure standing in front of the screen with his hands stretched outwards, as if stopping something.
And he was. He was stopping the torpedoes.
He must had his eyes closed and be in deep concentration for he didn't notice the screen in front of him flaring to life with the USS Enterprise's Bridge's image.
Pike knew immediately who it was and couldn't stop his eyes from straying to his First Officer. Spock didn't seem to have recognized him. Still.
He knew that was one of the purposes of the cloak. Hadrian usually wore it when he was in public, including in a ship, so that no one would recognize him. And so that people didn't base of his appearance to form a first impression of him. God only knew how many times the young man had had to teach someone a lesson because they assumed his lithe and feminine appearance was a sign of weakness.
"Captain Ridge, here Captain Pike from the USS Enterprise." said the man as calmly as he could, given the circumstances.
The other Captain's eyes fixed on his and he saw the fear, the helplessness and uncertainty before every one of those emotions was cleaned from his face.
"Captain Pike, are you within range of beaming?" asked the USS Truman's leader.
"Captain, the Romulan ship has lowered some kind of high energy pulse device into the Vulcan atmosphere. Its signal appears to be blocking our communication and transportation abilities." informed Spock in a low voice.
"There seems to be something interfering with the transportation and communication system." answered Pike shaking his head with regret.
"The communication system? But we're…" a look of comprehension entered his face and both of them sent a significant glance in the dark figure's direction.
The exchange didn't go unnoticed, but no one else knew what it meant. Hadrian's powers were a well-kept secret in the Federation, only known between the Starfleet Command and some of the Captain's that had been lucky enough to have the young man as a member of their crew.
Captain Ridge took a breath and closed his eyes in resignation.
"Lieutenant Sarian, I want you to fetch the children. Fast!"
A woman stood from one of the consoles and ran for the lift.
"What have you planned?" asked Pike appearing calm but dreading the answer.
"As you already know, we've only been two months out. We were in a survey mission in which wasn't expected any confrontation so three children came aboard. That's not unusual. But the shields won't hold for long. We're already condemned. That doesn't mean they are. I want Hadrian and the children out of this ship before it is destroyed."
Pike gulped. Hadrian wouldn't like the plan. Hell, he didn't like it.
"It won't be easy to convince him."
"I was hoping you would be able to help with that." confessed the other Captain.
"Wait, what the hell are you going on about? How do you pretend to take them out with the transportation systems inoperative?" asked disbelievingly Kirk.
Pike sighed in annoyance, but right then the door of the lift in the other Bridge opened and out stepped the Lieutenant with three children of about six years in toe.
"Okay, we need to do this now." instructed Ridge seeing the green shield weaken under the onslaught of the torpedoes.
"Hadrian. Hadrian." called the two men.
However, the young man didn't seem to hear them. Then, understanding entered Pike's eyes. If Hadrian had thought that the noises would distract him, he would have…
"Ridge, you have to shake his shoulders lightly. I think he put up a silencing charm over himself."
The other Captain nodded and did as told.
"Silencing charm?" repeated Kirk as if he were crazy.
Pike didn't bother to answer and looked at his First Officer to find him looking at the figure with wide eyes. Or as wide as a Vulcan's eyes could get. It had finally clicked, it seemed.
Ridge managed to catch Hadrian's attention and the wizard lost his concentration for a moment. That resulted in the blast of one of the torpedoes hitting full force the ship's shield.
"Shield at thirty two per cent!" informed one of the officers.
Hadrian lifted his arms a little more and concentrated back in the green glowing shield.
"What is it, Captain?" asked the young man through clenched teeth.
"Hadrian, you explained you can appear in a place with your powers. If I were to give you some coordinates, would you be able to appear there?"
The human slowly shook his head.
"No. The ship is too big and complex for me to side-along apparate with it."
"I was not referring to the whole ship. I meant you and, if possible, three children."
"If I did that, I wouldn't be able to maintain the shield. You would be dead the moment I disappeared."
"I had already supposed so. Can you do it or not?"
The wizard's head snapped up and he stared hard at his Captain.
"I'm not going to abandon any of you here."
The spaceship shook again when another torpedo managed to get passed the shield.
"Shield at seventeen per cent, Captain! It won't hold another attack!"
The wizard infused more energy into the shield.
"Hadrian, there is nothing any of us can do to stop this ship from being destroyed, not even you. The best you can do now is get out of here."
"Do not be stupid."
"I'm not being stupid."
"Hadrian, if not for yourself do it for the children." intervened Pike for the first time, knowing about his friend's weak spot.
"Christopher." breathed Lyras in disbelief. He hadn't noticed the man.
The Captain smiled a little, but it soon disappeared.
"Hadrian, please, get out of there. There's nothing you can do anymore."
But the man was nothing if not stubborn.
"Lyras, be logical."
He knew that voice. Hadrian looked astonished in the pleading eyes of a very familiar half Vulcan. How could he have forgotten that Spock was now Pike's First Officer?
"It would be of no use if you were to die because of pure stubbornness. And you're the only hope of those children surviving too."
Lyras stared helplessly into the eyes of the two men that meant most in his life, one with who he spent all his free time and had been his first and only lover to the date and another who he hadn't seem much for years and he had once considered his best friend.
Blue and brown eyes begged him to give in, but he couldn't do it. How could he just abandon everyone in this ship to save himself?
"Hadrian, it's an order." finally stated his Captain.
"It's a good thing then that I've never been really good at following those."
The wizard looked around at the Bridge and the faces of all those that he had been working with for the last two months. They looked afraid, but determined. Every one of them held his gaze and nodded at him, encouraging him to leave.
Then he looked at the three terrified children.
He remembered having felt like them, afraid in the middle of a war that had nothing to do with them. He couldn't leave to save himself but he also couldn't let those children die.
"Even if I try, there's no guarantee that it would work okay. Apparating with coordinates is more difficult than apparating to a place you've already seen."
"It would give you more opportunities than staying here."
Lyras closed his eyes. The choice was taken. He would follow his orders. He knew the coordinates would be forever engraved in his mind.
"It's been an honour to have you as my First Officer, Hadrian Grayson."
Startled gasps were heard from the other Bridge as the cadet's recognized the name from the stories still heard in the Academy.
"It's been an honour to work with all of you." returned the wizard finally accepting his fate. "Come on, kids. You need to hold on tight and not let go for anything, okay?"
The three children nodded and obediently gripped strongly his uniform. Lyras closed his eyes and a tear slipped down his cheek. He knew what was going to happen. The shield was definitely down. There was nothing between the Narada and them.
With his eyes still firmly closed and holding the scared children, he concentrated on the coordinates and twisted in place, disappearing with nary a sound.
Seconds later, a torpedo impacted on the Bridge.
The Bridge held his breath in horror as the communication was lost and they saw as a torpedo hit the other ship, effectively destroying it.
Spock and Pike stood there with their fists clenched at their sides, as if waiting for something.
Pike held his breath as he waited, for what felt like ages when in truth it was just a few seconds, for Hadrian to appear in the Bridge.
Three figures appeared with a 'pop' and he hurried forward to catch the stumbling teenage-looking man, ignoring the startled gasps of his officers.
The wizard tensed at the feeling of a pair of strong arms wrapping around his waist and stopping his fall, which would have meant the children's falling too.
Green moist eyes glanced up and the body relaxed at the familiar face of Christopher Pike. The human looked concerned but also so relieved.
Hadrian gently pulled away from him, his face blank but his eyes revealing everything he was feeling. The pain was the most prominent emotion.
"Lieutenant Sargey, why don't you take the children to the medical rooms? They'll need to have a full check-up." ordered Pike softly without looking away from his distressed friend.
The three children reluctantly let go of Hadrian's uniform and followed the kind officer.
When they were gone, the wizard gave a few steps forward, his gaze fixed on the destructed carcass of the USS Truman. He started to shake.
"Hadrian?" hesitantly called the Captain.
The man took a few deep breaths, his shoulders tense. Pike was sure that, if the hood of the cloak wasn't drawn up, they would all be able to see tears tracing their way down his cheeks.
However, his voice was firm and colder than ice when he finally spoke.
"Captain Pike," started very formally. "I would like to make a formal request for permission to re-join your crew."
"With immediate effect." cut the man.
The Captain walked till he was in front of him, blocking the sight of what had been a proud Starfleet ship and looking him right in the eyes for a full minute, not a word slipping past his lips.
Everyone remained silent at the tense mood in the room and, just when someone thought they were going to say anything just to get rid of the discomfort, the Captain talked.
"Welcome back to the crew, Commander Grayson. I'm afraid your restitution as First Officer will have to wait till this is all over."
Some sounds of disbelief left the officers, but the Captain had taken his decision. He had seen in Hadrian's eyes what he had been looking for. As always, the man was above what anyone in his situation would have done.
It was clear in his eyes that he didn't want revenge. He wanted justice. And probably to protect Vulcan, too.
"Do not worry for that, Captain. Being a Commander is more than enough."
He knew Hadrian was being serious, but he also knew that neither he nor the other Captains and Starfleet Admirals would allow him to be below the First Officer rank. They had tried to get him to accept a promotion to Captain for years, but the man had always refused.
Just as he saw that his First Officer was going to add something, Commander Uhura spoke.
"Captain, we're being hailed."
Pike saw Hadrian look over at her and knew he had recognized her when his eyes hardened and his expression closed off. Spock noticed that too, if the nearly unnoticeably widening of his eyes indicated something.
The Captain nodded at the Commander to put the call on the viewscreen and she did so.
The screen showed a pale bald man with what appeared to be tribal tattoos covering part of his face. Undoubtedly Romulan.
"Hello." greeted cordially the man.
"I am Captain Christopher Pike, to whom am I speaking?"
"Hi, Christopher. I'm Nero."
Lyras clenched his fists at the sides. This was the man responsible for the deaths of his comrades. He saw Kirk leaning forward, his eyes showing the same fury as his.
Curious to the reason, he allowed himself to scan his superficial thoughts. It wasn't something he normally would have done without permission, but right then he needed something to distract him from the idea of killing the other bastard.
However, what he found out didn't appease his wishes of doing something stupid. This Romulan, this Nero, was the man that had destroyed the USS Kelvin all those years ago. He was the reason Kirk had grown up fatherless.
"You've declared war against the Federation." Lyras concentrated on Chris' words in order to maintain his cool. "Withdraw and I'll agree to arrange a conference with Romulan leadership at a neutral loca-"
"I do not speak for the Empire." cut the Romulan. "We stand apart. As does your Vulcan crew member… isn't that right, Spock?"
The half Vulcan stood up from his place at the console just as everyone turned to look at him and neared the screen.
"Pardon me, but I do not believe we are acquainted." intervened the Vulcan.
"... no, we're not. Yet."
Something about that statement made warning bells go off in Lyras' mind and he narrowed his eyes.
"I want you to see something, Spock. Is you precious Lyras in Vulcan?" without waiting for a response, the man looked firmly at Pike. "Captain Pike, your transporter is disabled. You will man a shuttle and come aboard the Narada for negotiations. That is all."
The transmission went off and everyone looked at their Captain in worry. The man got up from his seat, jaw set in determination.
"He'll kill you, you know that." protested Kirk already knowing his decision.
"Your survival is unlikely." agreed Spock.
"We gain nothing by diplomacy. Going over to that ship is a mistake." continued Kirk.
"I, too, suggest you rethink this strategy."
"I understand that." they knew then that the decision was already taken.
"I'll go with you." said suddenly the unusually quiet Lyras.
The officers around them held their breaths.
"I am trained in nearly any kind of combat, I speak every language and I'm able to withstand any known form of torture. I am qualified for this kind of mission."
The Captain frowned and, after a moment of thought, shook his head.
"I need you somewhere else." He turned to the rest and spoke. "I need officers who have been trained in hand-to-hand combat!"
"I have training, sir!" answered Sulu immediately.
"Then come with me. Kirk, you too. You're not supposed to be here, anyway. Hadrian, with us. Chekov, you have the control."
Spock didn't wait to be ordered to follow and walked with them to the lift. Hadrian, Kirk, Spock and Sulu continued to walk through the corridors in the direction to Shuttle Bay Five with their Captain walking at the front.
"Without transporters, we can't beam off the ship, can't assist Vulcan, can't do our job. I'm creating an opportunity: Mr Kirk, Mr Sulu and Mr Grayson will space-jump from the shuttle. You'll have chutes. You'll land on that machine they've lowered into the atmosphere that's scrambling our gear. You'll get inside, disable that thing and then beam back to the ship."
Kirk and Sulu shared a wide eyed look, but Lyras' gaze didn't stray from the Captain.
"Mr Spock, I'm leaving you in command of the ship. Once we have transport capability and communications back up, you'll contact Starfleet and report what the hell's happening here."
"That still leaves you alone."
Pike ignored Hadrian's words and continued giving instructions.
"Something you've got only precious few minutes to figure out. If all else fails, fall back and rendezvous with the fleet in the Laurentian System." He saw Spock seemed slightly freaked out, but didn't pause. "Kirk, I'm promoting you to First Officer."
"What!?" exclaimed Kirk.
"… Captain?" asked the Vulcan at the same time.
"While I'm gone we need to keep the chain of command. And you too make a swell team."
He saw Hadrian snort and let a slight smile show.
"Captain. Please. I apologize, but the complexities of human pranks escape me."
Lyras wondered how his old friend managed to say that with a straight face. Maybe he was a little biased, what with being able to see his face when Christopher announced Kirk's promotion and all.
"It's not a prank, Spock. And I'm not the Captain. You are."
"That still leaves you alone." repeated Lyras.
"You've already pointed that out, Commander." was Pike's only answer.
Spock stayed in the same place as they all entered another lift.
"Once we knock out that machine… sir, what happens to you?"
"I guess you'll have to come get me." the man turned to the newly named Captain. "Careful with the ship. She's brand new."
Spock raised an eyebrow in that way so typical of Vulcans. Kirk and Sulu shared a glance, Pike's courage rubbing off on them. Lyras just sighed soundlessly.
"Suit up, gentlemen." ordered Chris.
The lift's doors opened and Spock entered the Bridge, walking directly to the Captain chair and taking a seat before pressing the comm.
"Doctor Puri, report…"
"It's McCoy. Dr Puri was on deck 6. He's dead."
"Then you have just inherited his responsibility as Chief Medical Officer." answered Spock a beat later.
"Yeah, tell me something I don't know."
"Shuttle eight nine, USS Enterprise. You are cleared forward…" announced a voice.
Pike entered the shuttle and strapped himself to the seat. Kirk, Sulu and Lyras followed, all of them dressed in airdrop armour.
"You'll have to take that cloak off before the jump." reminded Pike.
"I know." said Lyras with a slight frown.
"You got the charges, right?" asked Jim looking at Lyras with wider than usual eyes.
"I have something better."
The mysterious answer did nothing to calm the man's nerves. Kirk sat near Sulu and Lyras stayed standing near the cockpit of the shuttle, gripping tightly an iron rod from the ceiling to maintain balance when the shuttle departed.
"So, what kind of combat training do you have?" asked Jim to Sulu.
"We should spar someday, mister Sulu. It's been a while since I last had a worthy opponent." muttered Grayson ignoring the even wider eyes of the recently named First Officer.
"Whenever you want." answered Sulu smiling at the shorter figure.
The feral grin that spread across Hadrian's face was seeing only in Pike's imagination.
"Pre-jump." announced the Captain a while later.
"Christopher. I'll go to get you. That's a promise."
The man sent a quick smile at his good friend while the three put on the oxygen mask, Hadrian facing the cockpit and giving his back to the other two men.
"Gentlemen, we're approaching the drop zone. You have one shot to land on that platform. You may have to fix this to pull you're chute as late as possible. Three… two… one…"
They get mentally ready for the fall that is awaiting them.
"Remember, the Enterprise won't be able to beam you back until you turn off that drill. Good luck."
Pike pulled a lever and the three men fall through the open door of the shuttle. The planet under them looked bigger every second that passed. Lyras felt a soundless giggle leave his lips. It was better than flying and he had missed the speed, the feeling of freedom. The peace.
The crew in the Bridge tracked the descent of the three men in the screen.
"Away team is entering the atmosphere, sir." announced Chekov.
Nobody noticed the intensity with which their Captain was tracking Hadrian Grayson's dot.
"Twenty thousand meters." the team enter the atmosphere. "Approaching the platform at fifty-eight hundred meters."
"Kirk to Enterprise." was heard through the comm. "Distance to target, five thousand meters."
"Forty-six hundred meters from the platform."
"Forty-two hundred meters to target." countered Sulu.
"Four thousand meters." said Kirk.
"Three thousand meters." updated Lyras.
"Two thousand meters."
"Pull your chute." said Sulu.
Sulu and then Kirk pull their chutes. Lyras didn't. he was enjoying it too much not to risk it a little. Well, not really risk it, but as close as he could be.
"Two thousand meters."
"Come on, pull your chute, Grayson!" shouted Kirk.
"Not yet. Fifteen hundred meters." counted Lyras calmly.
"Open your chute!" shouted this time Sulu.
"Grayson, pull your chute!"
"One thousand meters."
"Hadrian!" shouted Jim.
Lyras pulled his chute and stabilized it with his magic, lading perfectly in the platform before picking up the chute. He smiled.
"Grayson has landed, sir." announced Chekov finally vanishing some of Spock's hidden worries. "Kirk too has landed."
Lyras saw Kirk land in the platform, but his chute dragged him towards the side. With a little push from his magic, the chute returned to his keeping place and the wizard helped the First Officer regain his balance.
"Chris and I didn't convince you to enlist just for you to die today, Kirk."
"Jim. And you're crazy."
"I'll warn you now. It's contagious." joked Lyras.
The opening of a panel in the platform's floor and a group of Romulans ready to fight exiting distracted them.
Kirk charged against the first and struggled for his weapon. However, it fired and shot at Sulu's chute. The man began to lose height too fast.
Lyras lifted an arm and steered the chute towards the platform with his magic. He looked back at Kirk to see him holding back two Romulans, but Sulu's matter was more pressing.
The man was dangling from the side of the platform and was at risk of falling or being dragged into the energy beam of the drill.
Lyras managed to help him get onto the platform and Sulu thanked him while taking out a retractable sword and charging against one of the Romulans.
Lyras saw another one exit the passage on the floor and blasted him off the platform. He wasted no time in melted the metal in the edges of the door, closing it to prevent any more enemies from reaching them.
Turning around, he saw Sulu helping Kirk get off where he was dangerously dangling at the edge of the platform. The other two Romulans were nowhere in sight, presumably dead.
"What now?" asked Kirk looking at him expectantly.
Lyras took off his own helmet, throwing it to the side and leaving his two comrades gaping at him, before lifting his arms in the direction of the platform's support.
A black stream of pure raw magic slammed into the drilling platform's control panel. And, as everyone should know, that's not a good combination.
"The jamming signal is gone. Transport abilities are re-established." informed Uhura.
"Transport control is reengaged, sir." added Chekov.
"Chekov, run gravitational sensor. I want to know what they are doing to the planet." ordered Spock.
"Aye, Commander-Keptin, sorry. Captain."
"Kirk to Enterprise. They just launched something at the planet. Through the hole they just drilled. Do you copy, Enterprise?"
"Yes, sir." answered a Commander.
"Captain, gravitational sensors are off the scale…" informed Chekov with worry. "If my calculations are correct, that pod they launched is creating a singularity… that will consume the planet."
Spock's face remained stoic as he assessed the situation.
"They're creating a black hole… at the centre of Vulcan?" asked calmly.
"… yes, sir."
"How long does the planet have?"
"Minutes, sir. I would say minutes."
Spock looked at the young prodigy for a second without reaction before standing from his chair and walking towards Uhura.
"Tell transportation to beam up Misters Grayson, Kirk and Sulu. Alert Vulcan Command Centre to signal a planet wide evacuation —all channels, all frequencies. Maintain standard orbit…"
"What? Spock, wait." called Uhura following him to the lift. "Where are you going?"
"To evacuate the Vulcan High Council. They're tasked with protecting our cultural history. My parents will be among them…"
"You can't beam them out?"
"It's not possible. They'll be in the Katrik Arc." And, really, for the first time he nearly cursed the elders for asking Lyras to put protections up around that place. "I must get them myself. Chekov, you have the control."
The doors of the turbolift closed again, separating the crew and the Vulcan.
"Aye. Uh, yay." muttered the prodigy turning back to the console.
"Kirk to Enterprise. Beam us out of here!" shouted a voice through the comm, reminding them of the others.
The drill platform suddenly began to move and Sulu and Lyras lost balance. Kirk run after them, jumping down while shouting their names.
Kirk managed to grab Sulu during the fall, but Lyras was too far away.
"Pull the chute, Kirk!" shouted the wizard against the wind.
Kirk closed his eyes for a brief second but he knew there was no time to do any other thing and ordered Sulu to pull his chute.
Unfortunately, it seemed the double weight was too much for it as the rope snaps and they find themselves freefalling towards the ground.
"Enterprise, we're falling without a chute! Beam us up! Beam us up!"
"I'm trying! I can't lock on your signal! Your falling too fast!"
"… no. I can do that." Said another voice. "I can do that!"
Lyras saw it happen with wide eyes. His own chute had jammed down. Without a chute, there was only one thing to do. Use his magic.
He couldn't concentrate on two different points moving as fast they were so he would have to choose. He hoped the guy would really be able to beam them up and concentrated his magic in them, slowing down their fall as much as he could.
His own descent's speed increased and he aimed for the hole the Romulans had made in Vulcan, hoping to get enough time to save the other two Commanders before colliding against the floor.
Kirk and Sulu saw the approaching floor with wide terrified eyes. Was it their imagination or were they slowing? Looking towards where Hadrian had been, they saw no one there.
"Enterprise, where are you!?"
"Hols on, hold on, hold on, hold on…"
They finally located Hadrian, ahead of them and to their right, falling into the drilled hole.
"Now, now, now! Do it now!"
"Compensating gravitational pull and… gotcha!"
Kirk and Sulu were engulfed by a bright white light just as they were about to hit the floor. They slammed into the Enterprises' transportation pads with a heavy thud.
The two Commanders pulled themselves up from the floor, relieved.
"… yeah, not a problem." answered Kirk.
The transporter engineers gaped in amazement at Chekov, but the man's gaze was still fixed on the screen. The men's relief was short lived.
They hurried to the transportation control were Chekov was still trying to lock on the third signal —that meant he was alive! —and didn't look up until a voice cut through the silence.
"Step aside- Where is Commander Grayson?" asked an ice voice.
When no one answered, the Captain walked to the comm on the wall.
"Lyras, where are you?"
"He's still falling, sir." answered Sulu swallowing and looking back at the prodigy working on the control.
They didn't think they were imagining the pallor of the Vulcan's face at those words.
"Lyras? Report your current status."
This time it was an order and everyone waited with baited breath for the answer.
"Falling, sir." were the clipped words. "What are you doing there, sir? I thought you were going to rescue the Vulcan High Council…"
"Not until you're here."
"Do not be stupid."
"I'm not being stupid. I'm…"
"No. But you're being irrational." The transmission cut for a few seconds. "I'll be okay. Go help evacuate them."
"Go get our parents, Spock! For once in your life just do what I'm telling you, you bloody annoying and stubborn Vulcan!"
The present staff held their breaths, waiting to see what their Captain would do. They were surprised to see the Vulcan clench his jaw and nod to himself before walking to the transportation pad while putting on a belt and looking at one of the officers —unsurprisingly not the already busy Chekov.
"Beam me down to the surface."
"The surface of what? You're going down there!? Are you nuts!?"
The Vulcan ignored the First Officers warnings and crouched down in the pad.
Spock raced through the tunnels as the world shook around. Finally, he arrived at the massive Ark Chamber. Atop the enormous stairs five Vulcan elders stood, his father between them, their minds melded with the ark.
His mother was there too, kneeling beside Sarek. She was the first to notice him running towards them and she stood up.
The half Vulcan rushed up the stairs.
"The planet's not safe, it has only seconds left. We must evacuate. Mother, now!"
Spock took her hand and they all run towards the exit as the statues around them began to collapse, killing some of the presents.
They reached the tunnels, Spock at the head of the group gripping his mother tightly at his side and Sarek following closely behind. Some were left back as the tunnel too began to fall down around them.
They finally managed to exit the Chamber and stood on the stone surface of the planet, seeing their world being engulfed by chaos. It was an equally terrifying and fascinating sight.
"Spock to Enterprise. Get us out now!"
"Locking on you. Don't move. Stay right where you are." instructed Chekov.
The glow that indicated a transportation began to surround them as they waited.
"Transport in five… four… three… two…"
The collapse of the cliff approached their location fast. Spock's logical part realized what was going to happen as Amanda turned around to look at him, her eyes wide. Their gaze's locked and her eyes softened.
"It's okay. to be scared." Whispered she quietly.
A slight smile was on her lips as she fell and the half Vulcan lifted an arm towards her, but it was too late.
A bright orange light, like a fire, was the last thing he saw before dematerializing.
"I'm losing her. I'm losing her." muttered frantically Chekov. "I'm losing her! No… I've lost her."
They looked up, faces solemn, to see the Vulcans materialize in the transportation pads. All but one. Spock's arm was still raised, as if reaching for someone. His face was frozen in shock.
At this sight, Kirk understood. He learned then what the Kobayashi Maru hadn't been able to teach him: that there's no cheating death.
Spock looked at the empty pad in front of his and then at the crew members standing in the room.
Silence and guilt filled faces was the only answer he needed and he stumbled down the stairs of the transporter. He couldn't have lost his mother and Lyras. He couldn't have lost both of them.
A sudden brightness filled the room and a soft trill reached their ears. They saw in amazement as a red and golden bird appeared seemingly from a fire blaze.
He recognized it right away from Lyras' graduation gift. A phoenix.
Two figures stumbled to the ground, but all the others in the room were too shocked to even try and catch them.
One of them raised her head and Spock's breath hitched when Amanda's face was revealed. She looked confused but then it changed to affection when she realized who had saved her.
Spock didn't try to hold himself back as his Vulcan heritage would have demanded. He strode forward and pulled them into a fierce hug that his mother returned instantly.
He felt Lyras tense, but he soon relaxed a little and returned the hug just as fiercely, burying his head in the Vulcan's chest.
It was with no little amount of surprise that they found themselves enveloped in Sarek's arms too.
The four of them ignored everyone around as they held onto each other and saw their beloved planet being swallowed into itself until there was nothing left of it but a memory.
After so many years, the family was finally reunited again, grim as the situation was. Things were far from being back to normal, but Spock thought that there was still hope.
"Captain…" called a hesitant voice. "We need to leave now or we won't reach minimum security distance."
Lyras was the first in react, leaving his mother's embrace and taking a deep breath to visibly compose himself. His stare was blank when he turned to look at the half Vulcan.
Spock's hope shattered as if it had never existed.
The Captain turned around to avoid those emotionless eyes and walked to the comm, giving the Bridge the order to take them out of there.
The lift stopped at the Bridge, but a woman entered before he could exit and the doors closed.
"I'm so sorry." Spock looked away, not wanting to see the pity in her dark eyes. Eyes so different from the ones that, just a minute ago, were looking at him with unnatural coldness. "What can I do? Tell me what you need."
"… I need…"
He needed... he needed to wake up and find it had all been a nightmare. Not only that day, but every one since that fateful morning in which everything had changed because of his careless words to Lyras. He needed to wake up in his bed back home, in Vulcan, with Lyras still asleep, and find that everything had been just a bad dream and he hadn't been stupid enough to lose his best friend. But, above everything else, he needed Lyras.
The words nearly left his lips, but he realized it in time and his face blanked.
"I need for us all to continue performing admirably." said instead.
His eyes involuntarily travelled to her lips. He knew how they felt against his, he had felt them, and he knew she wouldn't deny him if he kissed her… but he wouldn't. He couldn't.
He felt suddenly furious at that. Why couldn't he kiss her? Everything would be so much easier… It wasn't as if Lyras returned his… affection. And he had seen the way the human had looked at Captain Pike.
The Vulcan opened the doors again and stepped out of the lift. He had to get a grip of himself. He couldn't allow his emotions to get on the way of his judgement.
Lyras sat on a chair in the Sick-bay, watching his parents being examined. He wasn't surprised to see that his father didn't take his eyes from his mother. After all, he had nearly lost her.
He shuddered at the memory. He was very thankful towards Thanatos. Thanks to his phoenix form, the creature had known they were needed somewhere and had fire-travelled them there after rescuing him from the drill hole.
If he hadn't his mother wouldn't be alive right then.
The wizard stroked the bird's head with fondness and Thanatos purred under the attention.
Looking around, he saw Kirk sitting on one of the bio beds, getting his hand bandaged. The Vulcan elders that got hurt on the escape of the Katrik Ark were being treated alongside some of the officers.
"Okay, I don't know why but I can't get a good lecture from you."
"Don't worry, Doctor McCoy, I assure you I'm perfectly healthy, if a little tired."
The Vulcan raised human gave the Doctor a warm smile, one of his few real smiles, and the man sighed with a faint blush.
"So you know what's causing these strange readings?"
Lyras' smile took on a mischievous touch and he leaned forward to whisper the answer.
Sceptical, the Doctor raised an eyebrow and Lyras' smiled softened again.
"I mean the real cause."
"If I told you, I would have to kill you." stated the man with a straight face.
The other blinked and, before he knew it, there was no one sitting in the chair. He turned around and saw Lyras walking towards Sarek and Amanda. The Doctor shook his head and moved onto the next patient.
"Lyras." muttered Amanda gripping her younger son's hands in hers.
"Mum, I have to return to the Bridge."
The woman nodded with a smile.
"I understand, Lyras. Be careful and… don't be too hard with Spock." added she after a moment of hesitation. "Give him a chance."
Lyras nodded with a sigh, deciding to go along with it for now.
"That's all I ask of you."
They smiled at each other and Lyras didn't feel ashamed of the hug she gave him, as many others his age probably would have felt.
He was surprised when his father rose from the place he had claimed as his beside Amanda to accompany him to the lift. Lyras entered the turbo lift and looked at his father questioningly.
The Vulcan remained silent for a few seconds, looking him right in the eyes.
"I wanted to convey to you my gratefulness for…"
"Dad, stop." interrupted the raven haired human crossing the distance that separated them and giving the older male a brief hug. "She's my mother and I would have done the same if it had been you. If you want to thank someone, it should be Thanatos. He was the one that brought me there, after all."
Sarek looked his younger son in the eyes for a few more seconds and nodded. The wizard left a small smile grace his lips and took a few steps back inside the lift.
"I hope you don't mind taking care of Thanatos for a while." Said seeing the dog sitting next to his mother.
"Of course not, Lyras."
"Thanks. I'll see you later, dad."
"Be patient with him." advised the man just as the doors closed.
"Acting Captain's log. Stardate 2256.42: I have assumed command of the Enterprise. We have heard no word from Captain Pike. I have therefore classified him a hostage of the war criminal known as Nero." reported Spock from his place in the command chair, ignoring the watchful gaze of a concerned Uhura. "Nero, who has destroyed my home planet. And most of its six billion inhabitants. I estimate no more than ten thousand survived." he kept silent for a moment, lost in memories of his birth planet. "While the essence of our culture has been saved, in the elders who now reside upon this ship... I am now a member of an endangered species."
The door of the lift opened and Lyras stepped out in time to hear the last part of the Captain's report. The wizard gave an almost inaudible sigh, his thoughts racing back to his promise.
He would try to act friendlier towards Spock and, when all the mess was over, he would talk with the half Vulcan and at least try to mend their relation.
He was startled to notice dark brown, almost black eyes, watching him from the command chair with an inscrutable gaze.
The man stood from his seat and walked past him into the lift. Lyras' followed him with his eyes, confused.
"Commander Grayson, a word, if you please." asked the man with strain in his voice signalling for him to enter the lift.
Lyras did so, and the doors closed at his back. It seemed their talk may be arriving sooner than expected.
"What is the nature of your relationship with Christopher Pike?"
Lyras blinked. Where did that come from?
"Of what relevance would that be?"
"Answer the question, Commander."
The wizard frowned.
"Christopher is a very good friend."
"Just a friend?" asked the Vulcan arching an eyebrow.
"I am asking you if Christopher Pike and you are lovers."
Okay, so he hadn't seen that coming.
"No." answered the human firmly and truthfully.
"But you have been."
"Again, excuse me? And, anyway, I don't understand how that would be any of your business, 'Captain.'"
"Everything that happens in this vessel is now my business, Commander."
"Only when it concerns the mission."
"And it does not? Your personal relation…"
"Don't you, precisely you, dare talk to me about personal relations during a mission. Do you really think I didn't recognize her?"
"If you are referring to Commander Uhura, she and I are not invol-"
"Oh, for Merlin's sake! I saw her on your bed!"
"Our relationship ended that same day…"
"Well, then, as Christopher and I are not romantically involved anymore and we are perfectly capable of keeping a professional relationship during missions, it has no relevance whatsoever to the mission and, therefore, to you."
"He's seventeen years older than you, Lyras." argued Spock through clenched teeth.
"And it's still none of your bloody business. What I do in my personal life and who I decide to love does in no way concern you, 'Captain Spock'." the Vulcan's eyes widened imperceptibly at that and he realized too late what he had said, but didn't retract from his words. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I think we have more important things to be doing right now. Like pursuing Nero."
The wizard pressed a button and stormed off into the Bridge as soon as the doors opened, leaving the Captain to stare after him. There it went his promise to his mother.
He wasn't giving Spock more opportunities to break his heart.
Pike found himself looking up at the dark ceiling of the ship, strapped down to a table. He was sweating, but felt cold. Nero was looking down at him with… curiosity?
"You are only the second human I have ever met face to face. You must have so many questions for me… I only have one for you. I need the subspace frequencies of Starfleet's border detection grids. Specifically those surrounding Earth."
Christopher looked up at the Romulan with rage filled eyes, but kept quiet. He wasn't going to give him what he wanted. Not to the man that had destroyed his beloved's home. Not to the man that could have killed Hadrian. Not to the man that had destroyed the USS Truman along with almost all of its crew.
"Christopher Pike, Captain, USS Enterprise, registry NCC-1701."
"Christopher, answer my question."
"No. You answer for the genocide you just committed on a peaceful planet-" whispered the Captain, his voice hoarse.
"I prevented genocide." argued hotly the Romulan before visibly calming down. "Where I come from, Christopher… this ship is just a mining vessel. I chose a life of honest labour to provide for myself… and the wife who was carrying my child."
A hologram of a young pretty and very pregnant woman with curly hair appeared in the room.
"I sit here now… knowing you as enemies. Not just of today, but of tomorrow. I watched as your Federation di nothing. They let us burn to death… as our planet broke in half. And Spock… he didn't help us. He betrayed us."
Curiosity and confusion shined in Pike's eyes. He had heard nothing of that.
"Then, Nero, you're confused. Romulus has not been destroyed. How can you blame the Federation for something that hasn't happened…?"
"It did happen! I remember it! I saw it happen!" shouted the Romulan losing his calm façade for a moment. The hologram vanished. "And when I lost her… I promised myself I would not speak another word until the day of my retribution." Pike closed his eyes for a moment. "In twenty five years I forgot the sound of my own voice… but I didn't forget the pain. That feeling cannot be erased."
Christopher tried to imagine it. Tried to imagine how it would feel to think that the person you loved most was gone, forever out of your reach. But he couldn't allow himself to feel compassion for the man. Not when he could very well be Hadrian's killer.
"A feeling that every surviving Vulcan now shares!"
He felt a pang of pain in his chest at the thought of Hadrian feeling that way and not being able to help. Having seeing his home world be destroyed, consumed. Hadrian's family lived there. They could be dead. Once more, he tried to ignore that Hadrian could too. Bloody Spock better be taking care of him.
"If what you say is true," started the Captain deciding to follow with the story for now. "you can save Romulus. You have a second chance to-"
"Yes." cut the alien. "Which is a gift I won't waste on mercy. My purpose, Christopher, is not simply to avoid the destruction of the home I love..." he paused for a moment. "... but to create a Romulus which exists, free of the Federation. Only then will she be saved."
He didn't know if 'she' referred to the planet or Nero's wife, but it didn't matter. The purpose was clear. To destroy the Federation. And if Nero's words during his transmission to the Bridge were to be believed, to destroy Lyras in order to hurt Spock. To hurt Hadrian.
"Then, we have nothing more to discuss." cut the human quietly.
Nero reached for something under the counter he was lying upon and retrieved a glass container.
"It's not the fault of the human race that Starfleet chose Earth as its centre. You're a nobler race than my fallen cousins. I'll take no pleasure in your extinction." said quietly the Romulan.
"How reassuring." said Pike with heavy sarcasm.
Nero opened the container and reached for a pair of tongs. The Romulan didn't seem to like the big bug he took.
"Centaurian slugs. They latch onto your brainstem, and release a toxin that will force you to answer. The frequencies, please."
"Christopher Pike, Captain, USS Enterprise, registry NCC-1701." repeated the Starfleet officer stubbornly.
Nero gave what looked like a sad smile. He had already guessed what his answer would be.
"As you wish."
A guard grabbed his mouth and held it open as Nero approached with the tongs. Pike tried to resist, but he was tightly strapped to the table. Something slithered into his mouth and he began to convulse.
His last thought before the pain swallowed his conscience was to Hadrian. The wizard had already lost a home. He couldn't be the reason for the younger man to lose another.
"Lieutenant Uhura, have you confirmed that Nero is headed for Earth?" asked Spock pacing on the Bridge.
Everyone was there, still debating over the course of action they should take.
"Their trajectory suggests no other destination, Captain."
"Thank you, Lieutenant."
"Earth may be his next stop, but we have to assume every Federation planet's a target." said Kirk from his place on the Captain chair.
"Out of the chair." ordered the current Captain.
Kirk rolled his eyes but did as he was told to.
"Well, if the Federation's a target, why didn't they destroy us?" asked the youngest of them all.
"Why would they? Why waste the weapons? You know… we obviously weren't a threat." promptly answered the pilot.
"That's not it. He said he wanted me to see something. The destruction of my home planet." said Spock walking till he was in front of the screen, with his back to the others.
"He said something about Lyras, too." remembered McCoy. "Isn't that what you call Grayson, Captain?"
The black dressed officer tensed at the mention of his Vulcan name, but spoke up nonetheless.
"Yes, it is."
That involuntarily attracted the other's attention to him. They hadn't had time to get a good look at him before, but now, in a relatively calm environment in which they didn't have to worry about their lives and without the cloak, they couldn't help but notice the unearthly beauty of the raven haired man.
Thousands of questions pooled around in their minds, and the situation with the Romulans slipped from their minds for a few minutes.
"What does Lyras mean?" asked Kirk while obviously checking out the wizard.
He was lucky, as Spock still wasn't looking at them and didn't see that.
"It's just a name, Jim, but, if you must know, it means 'being who carries emotion'."
"Not a very popular name in Vulcan, I suppose."
"You can bet." snorted.
"And why does he call you that?"
"Because it's my name."
"I thought your name's Hadrian." said the First Officer confused.
"I chose another name for my life on Earth."
"So what's your real name?"
"It means son of Sarek." answered Uhura automatically.
"Sarek as in Spock's father." stated more than asked the Captain.
Lyras sighed as he saw the line of question wouldn't end any time soon.
"Yes. Spock and I were raised together in Vulcan."
"So, you already knew each other?"
"That's what I said."
"Hum." Kirk leaned forward to whisper in his ear. "Think you could give me a bit of shit on him, then?"
Lyras raised an eyebrow at him, but the human could have sworn there was some amusement in those eyes.
"I said I could, not that I would."
"And those… powers you have?" asked Sulu.
The officers snorted, not believing him.
"My powers are a Starfleet secret." added the officer.
The others sighed. They had really wanted to know about it.
"And the bird?"
"You mean Thanatos? He's not a bird. And he's existence is classified."
"But you're Hadrian Grayson too, aren't you?" said Kirk. "After you and Captain Pike convinced me to enlist I looked for information about you. You were Pike's First Officer nearly since you graduated. They say you fought against a wild mugato from the Tyree planet without weapons and that way earned the loyalty of the people from Mugas-Tu."
"I've heard you created and perfected the Wronski Faint. An air evasive manoeuvre extremely risky but effective." added Sulu at the others' confused looks.
"And that you can talk every known language."
"I think we've already indulged enough in pointless gossip." cut Lyras rolling his eyes. "If you've forgotten, Earth is in danger and Pike is still a prisoner of Nero."
The officers seemed ashamed, but directed their attention back to the more pressing matters.
"So they destructed Vulcan. How they hell did they do that, by the way?" asked Doctor McCoy. "Where did they get that kind of weaponry?"
"The engineering comprehension necessary to artificially create a black hole may suggest the answer: such technology could theoretically be manipulated to create a tunnel through space time." answered Spock finally turning to look at them with his arms at his back.
"Damn it, man, I'm a doctor not a physicist…" reminded McCoy gesturing to himself. "Are you suggesting they're from the future?"
"That's what he's suggesting and I don't buy it."
"If you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." quoted the Vulcan.
"Then, what would an angry future Romulan want with Captain Pike?" asked Jim pressing his lips together.
Lyras frowned. He wanted to know that too.
"As an Admiral, he knows details of Starfleet defences." realized Sulu.
"What we need to do is catch up to that ship. Disable it, take it over and get Pike back."
Everyone looked at Kirk as if he was crazy. Everyone but Lyras, who was seriously considering it.
"Fantastic, I'm in." said McCoy scathingly.
"Captain Pike left us with standing orders to rendezvous with the fleet on the other side of the quadrant." said Spock.
"Only if it was absolutely necessary." reminded Lyras.
"We're technologically outmatched in every way. A rescue attempt would be illogical."
"And impossible. Nero's ship would have to drop out of warp for us to overtake them…" intervened Chekov.
"What about assigning engineering crews to try and boost our warp yield?" suggested the First Officer.
"Remaining power and crew are being used to repair radiation leaks on the lower decks and damage to the main deflector shield…"
"… okay, okay…"
"…without which we cannot communicate with Starfleet." finished the Captain.
"There's got to be some way!" shouted Kirk.
"We must gather with the rest of Starfleet to balance the terms of our next engagement…" continued the Vulcan seemingly unperturbed.
"There won't be a next engagement, Spock: by the time we've gathered, it'll be too late… how many planets are you willing to risk? You say he's from the future? Knows what's going to happen? Then the logical thing is to be unpredictable."
"Nero doesn't know what is going to happen, Jim. He's very presence has changed the course of history, first with the attack on the USS Kelvin and now with Vulcan's being destroyed. None of us can anticipate the events from now on."
"I thought you and Pike were friends, Hadrian; am I the only one that cares that he could be being tortured right now?"
Lyras' face closed up at that statement and even McCoy sent an incredulous look at his friend.
"Grayson, he didn't really mean…"
"Oh, but he did, Doctor McCoy." muttered the man icily. "Do not presume to know me or what I think, Kirk." the use of his surname nearly made him flinch. "You know nothing about me; no one here does." This time it was Spock that had to contain the urge to flinch. "Now, stop being stupid and try coming up with a good strategy to storm that ship instead of just accusing others of not wanting to do it."
A few seconds of silence followed, before Kirk nodded and looked away.
"So why did you say Nero wouldn't know what happens from now on?" asked the man.
"Because his presence has created an alternate reality." explained Spock immediately. "Whatever lives we might have lived, if the time continuum was disrupted... our destinies have changed. Mister Sulu, plot a course for the Laurentian system, Warp Factor Three…"
The alien sat back calmly at the Captain chair and Kirk followed him.
"Wait, Spock, don't do that… Running back to the rest of the fleet for a confab is a massive waste of time."
"These are the orders Captain Pike issued when he left the ship…"
"He also ordered us to go back and get him!"
"I agree with, Kirk." added Lyras. "There must be a way."
"Spock, you're Captain now…!"
"I am aware of my responsibilities, Mr Kirk."
"Every second we waste, Nero's getting closer to his next target"
"That is correct, and why I am instructing you to accept that I alone am in command."
"I will not allow us to go backwards, away from the problem, instead of hunting Nero down!"
By that time, Kirk was shouting at the Captain and McCoy was gesturing for him to back down before doing something stupid. Too late, as Spock stood up.
"Security, escort him out."
Two red dressed officers walked to Kirk and went to grab him, but Lyras intervened. He knocked one out with a well-aimed magic-infused punch. Then, intercepted the other by twisting his arm at his back.
"If you will just think for a moment, you will find that…"
"You are letting your feelings for Pike cloud your judgment, Commander. I will not…"
"And you are not? For once in your bloody life, stop a minute and listen to another but you, Spock."
"I am the Captain, Commander Grayson, and you will follow my orders. I am doing what is best for…"
"Best for who? For you? You are letting your jealousy…"
The wizard didn't get to finish the sentence as the Captain unexpectedly crossed the distance that separated them and pinched the joint between his shoulder and his neck.
Lyras didn't have time to process what had happened as blackness overcame him from the Vulcan nerve pinch.
Everyone's eyes widened and Kirk darted forward to catch the man before he fell and hit his head. Gently, he lowered the man to the floor before turning furious eyes onto the Vulcan.
"Are you crazy, Spock? Why did you do that? What are you…?"
"Commander Grayson is no longer fit for this mission. His judgement has been compromised by the nature of his personal relationship with Captain Pike." said Spock with colder than ice eyes. "If I confine you to the brig, you will likely escape. Mister Chekov, have transportation prepare a deployment capsule. Mister Sulu, escort him out."
The two officers hesitated before looking apologetically at the human.
"Yeah, don't worry. It's…"
Unexpectedly, Jim sent a punch towards Sulu's stomach. Spock reacted quicker and the Vulcan nerve pinch sent another person to the floor. Kirk fell in an ungraceful heap next to the unconscious body of Lyras. For a moment, nobody moved.
"Get them off this ship." ordered Spock. "Programme the capsule not to open until a Starfleet officer reaches them."
He saw as two red dressed officers dragged Kirk out of the Bridge and another took the frail looking Lyras bridal style before turning his back to the sight.
Kirk awoke slowly and shook his head. Where was he? And why did his shoulder hurt so much?
He opened his eyes and saw he was lying inside some kind of capsule. The sound of breathing made him turn to the side and his eyes widened. Lyras' beautiful sleeping face made him remember.
"Bloody Spock." muttered the man through clenched teeth. "Computer, where are we?"
"Current location: Delta Vega. Class M planet. Unsafe. You have been ordered to remain in your pod until retrieved by Starfleet authorities."
"Oh, you've got to be kidding me."
Kirk turned to his companion and, carefully, shook him. The other's head rolled to the side and a moan left his mouth.
"Hadrian. Come on, Hadrian, wake up."
Finally, the wizard opened his eyes and looked at him in confusion. However, that didn't last more than a few seconds and the man soon shot up into a sitting position.
"Where the hell are we?"
"Spock sent us to Delta Vega?" asked Lyras incredulous. "Oh, perfect. Just perfect." the Commander run a hand through his long hair before looking at Kirk. "Have you tried to open the capsule?"
"We have orders to stay here until Starfleet authorities come retrieve us." Said Kirk.
None of them knew how he had managed to say it with a straight face but, soon, Kirk broke down in laughter and Lyras released a chuckle.
"Okay, let's try, shall we?" continued Kirk proceeding to try to open the capsule.
However, the bloody thing didn't seem to want to cooperate. The man frowned when it didn't bulge and the only thing they could see above was whiteness.
Lyras gestured or him to move out of the way and decided to go with the easy way. He blasted the door open and a rush of cold air hit them, making them tremble.
As fast as he could, Lyras put a warming charm on them and Kirk blinked in surprise before turning to look at the man.
"Did you…? What did you do?"
"Yeah, you keep saying that." snorted Kirk.
Lyras shrugged. It wasn't his fault if people didn't believe him when he was actually saying the truth.
They climbed up the snow until they were on the snowy surface of the planet. During the climb, Lyras had to apply a little magic to his shoulder to numb the pain from the nerve pinch. He still couldn't believe Spock had done that to him.
They looked around, but there was nothing to see. Only snow covered ground stretching as far as their gaze reached.
"Son of a bitch! Bitch! Bitch! There's nothing her!" shouted Kirk angry. "You nerve-pinching motherfu…!"
"Kirk! That's not going to help." chastised Lyras. "We need to start moving."
The human sighed, but nodded, carefully rolling his left shoulder.
"Does it hurt?"
"Nah, just a little. It's nothing."
Lyras rolled his eyes and crossed the distance separating them. The wizard put a hand over the others shoulder, ignoring his flinch at the action, and sent a warm stream of magic that made the pain subsided.
Kirk relaxed at the feeling and concentrated on the pain disappearing. When the hand on his shoulder disappeared he opened his eyes, which he hadn't noticed had closed, and looked down at the green eyes of the gorgeous man.
"You're welcome." said the wizard taking a step back and looking around.
Kirk rubbed the back of his head and, ashamed at himself, remembered the cruel words he had said to the man that had right now helped him.
"Hadrian, listen, I'm… I'm sorry. For what I told you in the Bridge. I didn't really mean…."
"Don't worry, Jim. This situation is hard and I understand that you were just worried. I am too. Just don't forget that you're not the only one, okay?"
The man nodded, not really knowing what else to say. He didn't want Hadrian to hate him. He had just been so worried for Pike… the man had been like a mentor to him. A man he admired a lot.
But he also admired Hadrian. After they had convinced him to join Starfleet, he had looked any information he could find about them. And he couldn't say he had been disappointed at what he found.
The two men were known to be great officers in their own, but together they were incredible. The missions they had taken together, Pike as the Captain and Hadrian as his First Officer —even though he had been offered various promotions—, had been of the highest success.
"Stardate twenty-two fifty-eight point four two, four uh, four whatever. Lieutenant's log, supplemental: I'm preparing a testimonial for my Starfleet court martial, assuming there's still a Starfleet let."
They had been walking for Merlin only knew how long and Lyras was starting to get even more pissed off. He continued walking while listening to Kirk speaking.
"Acting Captain Spock, whose only form of expression's apparently limited to his left eyebrow," Lyras couldn't contain a snort at those words. "has marooned Hadrian Grayson and me on Delta Vega, in what I believe to be a violation of security protocol 49.09, governing the treatment of prisoners aboard a Starship."
"Jim, maybe you should concentrate on walking. We still don't know how far we are." interrupted Lyras.
"How far of where?"
The man shook his head, but did as told and jogged until they were walking side to side.
"So, how was it to grow up with Spock? It must have been like living with a computer."
Lyras smiled sadly at that.
"It was quite good, actually. He wasn't like this back then, you know?"
"He wasn't?" scepticism was clear on Kirk's voice.
"No. He and I were best friends. We didn't have anyone but each other. But one day, he decided to embrace Vulcan culture completely and purge his emotions. I couldn't bear the thought and we had a fight. I left soon after that and enlisted on the Academy. We haven't seen each other much since then… and I'm not sure why I'm telling you this."
"We don't have anything better to do. So he wasn't always completely unemotional?"
"No. Absolutely not." said Lyras thinking back on that time in which Spock had fought that bully for threatening his friend.
"And you and Christopher? Since when are you friends?"
"Since I was sixteen and had just graduated from the Academy. We met in a bar. It didn't take long for as to connect. I hadn't had a friend since leaving Vulcan and, so, I tried to keep Chris away. But he never gave up." said softly. "He insisted and, before I knew what had happened, I found myself with a new friend. We haven't been apart for more than a few months since then, about eleven years ago."
Kirk remained silent. He could hear the love in his companion's voice when talking about both men, but he wouldn't tease him for that. And there was something in the back of his head, a nagging feeling telling him that there was something strange in that story. Hadrian didn't look older than seventeen…
An enormous figure ahead of them, approaching fast, interrupted his thoughts.
"What the hell is that?"
Lyras' eyes narrowed in that direction at his companion's words and then widened at the sight of the big creature.
They sprinted in the contrary direction, hoping to avoid the being. The thing was hot on their heels and Lyras was getting ready to use his magic against it when a loud crash of ice breaking sounded. They looked back and Kirk stumbled, falling to the ground.
An even bigger creature had emerged from the ice, trapping the animal between its jaws and shaking it before deciding it wasn't interesting enough and throwing it against an ice block.
The thing was enormous, red and with hundreds of eyes. It growled at them and Lyras snapped.
First, the USS Truman was destroyed with all his comrades inside, then Nero captured Christopher and destroyed his beloved home planet, Vulcan, and after that the conversation in the lift with Spock before he found himself marooned. And now this bloody beast thought they were food? No way. He had had enough.
His magic visibly swirled around him and beautiful green tendrils shot towards the creature like lethal arrows. They coiled around the being and it whimpered.
Suddenly, it didn't look so dangerous and Lyras blinked, realizing what he was doing. That creature couldn't be blamed for trying to eat them, it was only trying to survive, following its instincts.
The Vulcan raised human sighed.
"What the hell…?"
Lyras looked at Kirk from the corner of his eyes. The man was terrified. He ignored him for the time being and approached the creature carefully.
He instructed the magic wrapped around it to loosen a bit, enough that it didn't hurt the being, and walked towards it. He hesitated a moment, taking a deep breath, before determinately putting his hands over the things face and letting his mind search the other.
Kirk looked with big eyes as Hadrian seemingly caressed the monsters head and closed his eyes. No more than thirty seconds later, the younger looking man was smiling at the thing.
"It's okay, Jim. It's not going to hurt us. Not anymore. Come on."
The wizard didn't stop smiling as he climbed over the beings head and sat down as if it were a big horse or an elephant. Kirk looked at him as if he was crazy.
"Come on, Jim. Really, it's inoffensive."
"It tried to eat us!"
"He was scared. And he has to eat too, you know?" replied the wizard raising an eyebrow in a very Vulcan way, reminding the officer that he had been raised there. "If you prefer to walk…"
"Okay, okay… crazy people…"
The man approached with caution and jumped when some of the being's eyes fixed on him. Kirk swallowed.
"I'm on, I'm on it!"
The wizard helped the man climb on the creatures back and caressed the being's head, whispering something at him. Jim quickly wrapped his arms around the raven haired man's waist to stop himself from falling as the big being started to move forward.
Hadrian was definitely loving it. Kirk could see it in his eyes. The feeling of the wind against their faces, the movement of the giant beast under them, the speed that blurred everything around them…
He wouldn't lie. After getting over the fact that they were riding a thing that had tried to eat them, he had begun to enjoy the crazy way of transport.
Soon, they saw a cave ahead of them and Lyras directed the being, which Kirk had jokingly dubbed Mellow, towards it.
They entered the cavern and it was soon evident that they wouldn't be able to continue travelling over Mellow. They dismounted and Kirk patted the being on the head.
"I think I'm going to miss Mellow."
"Oh, don't worry. He'll be coming with us."
Kirk looked at him as if he was crazy, something he seemed to be doing a lot lately. Strange, it was usually other persons that looked at him as if he was crazy…
He gaped when Hadrian put a hand over the beings head and muttered something that sounded like 'reducio' and Mellow started to shrink until he fit in Hadrian's hand. The now little being scurried up the wizard's arm and settled on his shoulder.
And, really, what else could he say after that display?
They turned when the sound of light footsteps reached their ears and saw an elderly man with a torch. When his features were illuminated, it Lyras who gaped.
The man was clearly a Vulcan, as his pointy-ears, haircut and eyebrows indicated. However, Lyras could see more than that. He could see Spock. An elderly Spock, with wrinkles and a rather open expression.
"Lyras? Jim?" his voice and face spoke of his amazement at the sight of the two humans. "How did you find me…? Was it you, Lyras? Does Starfleet know of my presence?"
"How do you know my name?" asked Jim stunned.
The Vulcan looked Jim in the eyes at the question, but didn't seem able to take his eyes from the wide eyed wizard for more than a few seconds.
"I have been, and always shall be, your friend."
"… No, I don't know you. The only Vulcan I know isn't exactly a buddy…"
The Vulcan seemed confused by that. He had clearly not expected that answer at all.
"You are James T. Kirk. Your father is George, as is your brother. Your mother's name is Winona. You were born in 2233…"
"Stop. Please, I don't understand."
The word fell hesitantly from the wizard's lips and Kirk was left agape as the Vulcan nodded.
"I am Spock. One hundred and thirty years senior to the Vulcan you know."
"If Nero is from the future, it only makes sense that he wouldn't have been the only one to travel through time." replied the wizard to the blabbering man.
"Fuck. Why couldn't it be another you, Lyras? Why did it have to be Spock, of all the people in the universe?"
Lyras rolled his eyes and looked at Spock… Spock Prime? It only made sense. After all, he was how Spock would have been had the future not been changed. He was from the Prime Dimension.
"Maybe you should explain to us how this happened."
The three of them were sitting around a fire, with Mellow sitting on Lyras' lap and as far away from the fire as it could.
"Hen-Gra." muttered the Vulcan. "They're remarkable afraid of heat. How did you come across such a specimen?"
"It tried to eat us."
The Vulcan blinked.
"I should not be surprised."
Lyras smiled slightly. Taking the man's words in count, he placed a cooling charm on the now little being and felt it relax.
"I think Hadrian pretends to keep Mellow as a pet." added Kirk.
"Hum I don't know. Maybe we should send him as a gift to Nero, for peace's sake, of course. I'm sure they would be… inseparable." said the human with an innocent face.
"Remind me to never mess with you, Hadrian." shivered Jim.
Spock Prime laughed lightly at that and Lyras looked at him in surprise. He couldn't remember when had been the last time he had heard Spock laugh. Jim stared too. He simply had never even imagined Spock could laugh.
"It's remarkably pleasing to see you both again. Especially you, Lyras." The Vulcan's face was soft as he looked at the green eyed man. "And even more after today's events, old friend.
The last part was obviously directed at Jim and the human frowned.
"Old friend. Sir, I don't have any idea how you know what you know, but I don't know you and, if you're Spock, we're not friends. You hate me. You marooned us here for mutiny…"
"Are you not the Captain?"
"You're the Captain. Pike was taken hostage…"
"… by Nero." finished the Vulcan.
Lyras looked down at the floor at the reminded that his Christopher was still a prisoner of the Romulans.
"And I, I mean my counterpart, he marooned you in Delta Vega? Even you, Lyras?"
"Yes. I don't know how things worked in your reality, but here… you and I had a fight when I was fourteen and haven't really talked since."
The Vulcan's eyes widened before they filled with sadness.
"What was the fight about?"
"… Kolinhar. You wanted to undergo the ritual to purge all emotion."
The Vulcan didn't know what to say at that, so Kirk took the opportunity to ask a question.
"About Nero… what can you tell us about him?"
"He is a remarkably…" the elder paused for a moment, appearing guilty. "… troubled Romulan. So many things have changed…" at that, the Vulcan looked at Lyras from the corner of his eye. "Please, allow me… it will be easier…"
Spock reached for them, but Kirk grabbed his wrist when his hand neared his face.
"Eh, eh, eh, what're you doing?"
"Our minds, together as one." recited Lyras.
The human didn't really understand and was obviously sceptical, but finally released the man's hand.
"Yes." muttered Lyras putting his hand on Spock Prime's cheek and temple while the Vulcan did the same with Kirk.
"One hundred and twenty seven years from now, a star will explode, and threaten to destroy the galaxy."
Kirk jolted when images began appearing in his head.
"The future. That's where I'm from…"
They stumbled backwards, Kirk catching himself against the ice wall and Lyras finding himself wrapped in Spock Prime's arms.
"Forgive me… emotional transference is an effect of the mind meld."
Lyras hid his tear stained face in the older man's chest and took a deep breath, trying to regain his composure. Kirk wasn't faring much better.
"It wasn't your fault." whispered the wizard finally. "You tried to save them. And you couldn't have saved Vulcan."
The Vulcan put a hand on his chin and lifted his head so they could look each other in the eyes.
"My counterpart must be an idiot to have said all those things to you, Lyras. I only hope you can, someday, forgive him."
Lyras smiled weakly and let his head fall on the others shoulder.
"So you do feel…"
They turned to Kirk at the human's words.
"You were right, Hadrian."
"He often is." said Spock Prime.
"Going back in time… you changed all our lives."
"Yet, remarkably, events within our timelines, characteristics, people… seem to overlap significantly. Tell me about the rest of the crew? Chekov, Uhura…?"
At the woman's name, Lyras tensed. Spock Prime looked down at him.
"Tactical and communications."
"He may have liked her, Lyras, but he can never love her as he does you."
Lyras looked away, a blush on his cheeks at the easy with which the Vulcan had known what to say.
"What?" they ignored Jim.
"He's the helmsman, why?"
"Doctor McCoy would assert our meeting here is no matter of coincidence, but rather… indication of a higher purpose."
"He'd call it a damn miracle." agreed Kirk.
"Yes, he would. It is perhaps the way of the time stream of attempting to mend itself. In both our histories, the same crew found its way onto the same ship in a time of ultimate crisis… therein lies our advantage." mused the Vulcan. "We must go. There's a Starfleet outpost not far from here."
However, before Spock Prime could start to move, Kirk spoke quietly.
"Wait. Where you came from… did I know my father?"
"… Yes. You often spoke of him as your inspiration for joining Starfleet. He proudly lived to see you become Captain of the Enterprise."
They could see the amazement of Jim as he imagined what his live would have been like if his father had lived.
"Jim, I…" Lyras approached the man and put a hand on his arm. "My parents, my biological parents, died when I was but a year old, protecting me from a murderer. I used to dream of how my life would have been like if they had lived, but I realized long ago that that won't change anything. It is better to just live the present looking to the future and not he past. Never forget that he would have been proud of you. That's all that really matters."
"… Thank you, Hadrian."
"You're very welcome." answered the wizard warmly.
"A ship we must return you to as soon as possible." agreed the Vulcan looking at them with soft eyes.
"Warp three, sir." said Sulu from his place at the controls.
"Course one five one mark three, the Laurentian System." added Chekov.
"Thank you, gentlemen."
"You wanted to see me?" asked McCoy exiting the turbolift.
"Yes, Doctor." Spock stood up from his chair and walked beside the blue dressed man, talking in a quiet and discreet tone. "I am aware that James Kirk is a friend of yours. I recognize that, supporting me as you did, must have been difficult."
"… Are you thanking me?"
"I'm simply acknowledging your difficulties."
McCoy took a visibly deep breath.
"Permission to speak freely, sir."
"I welcome it." said Spock stopping and turning so they were standing face to face.
"Do you? Okay, then: are you out of your Vulcan mind? Were you doing the logical thing sending Kirk away? Maybe. The right one? Debatable. But one thing's for damn sure: that kid doesn't know how to lose. Just isn't in his DNA. Back home, we have a saying: 'If you're going to ride in the Kentucky Derby, don't leave your prize stallion in the stable."
"…a curious metaphor, Doctor. As a stallion must first be broken before it can reach its potential."
"My God, man… you could at least act as if it was a hard decision."
"I intend to assist in the effort to re-establish communication with Starfleet. However, if crew morale would be better served by my roaming the halls weeping, I'll gladly defer to your medical expertise."
"And what about Hadrian? That kid is a legend. Did you do the logical thing by sending him away?"
"To hell with his emotions! If he had been being illogical he would have simply supported Jim's plan. He didn't. instead, he tried to formulate a good strategy that would allow us to…"
"Enough. I won't have you questioning my decision. I know Lyras and his emotions were compromising the mission."
They shared a defiant gaze, but the doors of the lift opening and a Vulcan accompanied by a red dressed cadet attracted the Acting Captain's attention.
"Green-blooded hobgoblin." Muttered the Doctor under his breath.
The Vulcan, Sarek, walked into the Bridge and looked around as his son approached and stood next to him.
"Where is Lyras? He said he was required at the Bridge."
"Commander Grayson was removed from the ship after his emotions proved to be interfering with his duties."
Sarek felt his blood run cold, as a human would say, at his older son's words.
"Right now, Starfleet cannot afford to lose one of his best officers, Spock."
"Nor can it afford to have his officers' judgement compromised by his feelings because of an inappropriate relation between a Commander and his Captain."
So Spock had finally discovered the nature of Lyras' and Christopher Pike's previous relation. It wasn't exactly the best moment.
"Commanders Grayson and Kirk will remain out of duty at least until the mission is over."
And Lyras hadn't been the only one to be sent away.
"The Enterprise is in its way to join the rest of the fleet." Finished the Acting Captain.
Sarek closed his eyes for a brief second. He could only hope his younger son would be okay. And that his oldest son didn't commit a great mistake by letting his jealousy control him.
One thing he was sure of: if something happened to Christopher Pike, Lyras would never forgive Spock.
They were sitting on Mellow's back, with their heads down to protect them from the blizzard, and warming charms to keep themselves warm.
"I am so pissed at the other you right now!" yelled kirk at Spock Prime, making the wizard's shoulders shake with soundless laughter.
The Vulcan ignored his words from his place behind Lyras, whose waist he had wrapped in his arms, and raised and arm to point ahead.
They saw a shadow in the distance, what appeared to be buildings. They had nearly arrived.
They managed to open the door and found themselves in a long corridor. They were quick to close the door again. There wasn't a sound heard except for their breathing until…
Kirk's yell echoed on the walls, but it was the only sound. Then, they heard footsteps and a small, dark odd alien stopped in front of them.
"Can I help you?"
Kirk and Spock looked at each other in confusion, not understanding, but Lyras gave a step forward and spoke kindly to the creature, a small smile on his lips.
"Are you the station chief?"
"No." the being looked surprised that he could talk whatever language he was speaking, but signalled for them to follow. "This way."
They did as told and soon found themselves in front of a table. A man, obviously a Starfleet officer, was asleep, with his legs kicked up and leaning back in a chair, a hat covering his face.
The small being that reminded Lyras a little of a goblin tapped the man's boot.
The man took his hat from his face and looked up at them.
"You realize how unacceptable this is."
"…Fascinating." said Spock Prime.
"What?" asked Kirk.
"I'm sure it's not your fault, and I know youse lads are just doing you jobs, but could you no' have come a wee bit sooner!?" exclaimed the clearly unhappy Scottish accented officer. "Six months I've been living on nothing but Starfleet Protein Nibs and the promise of a real food delivery. Six months, boys! It's pretty clear what's going on here, isn't it? Punishment! On-going! For something that was clearly an accident!"
Spock seemed truly fascinated when he spoke next.
"You are Montgomery Scott."
"You know him?" asked Kirk.
"Yeah, that's me. Scotty. You're in the right place. Are there any other hard working and equally starving Starfleet officers around?"
"Me." answered the little being.
"Keenser, shut up! You eat nothing. A bean, and you're done for a week. I'm talking about food. Real food. But, you're here now, so thank you. where is it?"
"You are, in fact, the Mister Spock who postulated the theory of transwarp beaming." said Spock.
"That's what I'm talking about. How do you think I wound up here? I had a little debate with my instructor on the issue of relativistic physics and how it pertains to subspace travel. He seemed to think that the range of transporting something like a, like a grapefruit, was limited to about a hundred miles. I told him that I could not only beam a grapefruit from one planet to the adjacent planet in the same system, which is easy by the way, I could do it with a lifeform. So, I tested it on Admiral Archer's prized beagle. Which… was a mistake."
"Wait, I know that dog. What happened to it?" inquired Kirk.
"I'll tell you when it reappears." muttered Mister Scott taking a sip of his drink. "Dunno. Feel guilty."
"What if I told you that your trans warp theory was correct? That it is indeed possible to beam onto a ship that is travelling at warp speed?" asked Spock Prime.
"I haven't been stationed here that long." scoffed the man. "If such an equation had been discovered, I' da heard."
"The reason why you haven't heard of it, Mister Scott… is because you haven't discovered it yes."
The Scottish rose from his seat.
"I'm a, uh, what…? You are from the future."
"Yeah. He is, we're not." chirped Lyras.
"Well, that's brilliant. Do they still have sandwiches there?"
The Vulcan raised human snorted.
"Allow us access to your shuttle… and I will show you what a genius you actually are." said the present Vulcan.
Scotty conducted them to his out of service shuttle.
"Well, she's a wee bit dodgy. Shield emitters are totally banjaxed, as well as a few other things. In you go."
They entered the shuttle.
Spock finished typing the field equations on the transporter control panel extremely fast.
"…rapid. That's impressive." admitted Scotty.
"Your equation for achieving trans-warp beaming." announced Spock Prime nodding to the screen.
Scott sat before the screen and his expression went from confused, to dumbfounded and, finally to awed and delighted.
"Imagine that! Never occurred to me to think of space as the part that's moving!"
"Point of fact: it did occur to you." answered Spock. "Extrapolating Enterprise's course…"
"Enterprise? Had its maiden voyage already, has it? Well, you must've done something right to be assigned to that ship, Kiddo. She's a well-endowed lady. I would love to get my hands on her ample nacelles, if you'll pardon the engineering parlance."
"Now's your chance, Mister Scott." said Lyras.
"Look, even if I believed you – where you're from, what I've done- which I don't - we're still talkin' bout slingshotting aboard while she's going faster than light. Without a proper receiving pad, that's like tryin'a hit a bullet with a smaller bullet, wearing a blindfold. On a horse."
"I'm sure that can be done." smirked Lyras.
"I calculate no more than a four meter margin of error." added Spock.
"That's all well and good unless you rematerialize four meters outside of the ship."
"I can help with that." said Lyras, but he didn't explain how. He wouldn't use the bubble-head charm and reveal another of his abilities if not absolutely necessary.
"The aft engineering bay is your best option: a large space and no unpredictable airlocks…"
"You're coming with us, right?" asked Jim.
The Vulcan turned to look at the human and shook his head.
"No, Jim. My destiny lies along a different path."
"You destiny can wait. He, the other Spock, won't believe me. Only you can explain…"
"Under no circumstances can he be made aware of my existence. You must promise me this." cut the older man with a strong voice.
"You're telling me I can't tell you I'm following you own orders?" asked Kirk with incredulity. "Why not? What happens?"
"Jim, if a person were to meet his future self, they could go crazy." explained Lyras remembering that from his first travel in time.
"To stop Nero, you alone must take command of your ship." instructed the old Vulcan.
"How? Over your dead body?"
Lyras winced at that and Kirk sent him an apologetic look.
"Preferably not." admitted the other. "There is, however, Starfleet Regulation 619." they looked at him in confusion and Spock Prime walked till he was in front of Lyras, looking down at him. "Yes. I forget how little regard you both had for such things. 619 states that any commanding officer who is emotionally compromised by the mission at hand… must resign said command."
Lyras' eyes widened. That was the same regulation that Spock had used against him, then.
"So, we need to emotionally compromise you?"
"Lyras, we just lost our planet. I can tell you I am emotionally compromised. Enough to treat you as I did and send you away. What you must do, is get me to show it. It should not prove too difficult for you, since there is none that knows me better than you do."
"Spock, I don't know if I can…"
"You can, Lyras. You are stronger than you think. You always were. Remember that, whatever happens, you will always be the only one I can love." the Vulcan kissed his forehead and wiped away a lonely tear from his cheek.
"Aye, then. Live or die, laddie, let's get this over with." said Scotty. "The Enterprise has a decent cafeteria, I'm guessing."
Scotty was already on one of the pads and Kirk entered the next one. Lyras looked back at Spock Prime.
"Will I see you again?"
"I'm sure of it."
Lyras smiled softly and stood on his tiptoes to place a sweet kiss on the Vulcan's cheek. Then, walked to his own pad.
"You know… coming back in time… changing history… that's cheating." said the wizard looking back with mischief in his eyes.
"A trick I learned from an old friend."
Then, Spock raised his hand in the traditional Vulcan salute.
"Live long, and prosper."
Lyras barely had time to return the gesture before the older man activated the transporter and they dematerialized.
They rematerialized were they had to and both Kirk and Lyras looked down to see that they were in one piece. The sound of someone banging on metal made them turn around and realize something. Scotty.
The man exited from a big metal tank and inside a translucent pipe. He was clearly terrified and drowning, but Lyras barely had time to apply a bubble-head charm over him that would allow him to breathe before a current yanked him away and down the tube.
They followed him, trying to think about a way to take him out of the tubes. They continued running after him as the tubes dragged him up and, finally, they saw where the water was headed. A giant water turbine. Basically, a massive blender.
"No. No, no, no, no, no…" chanted Kirk looking around desperately.
Jim saw the release valve beneath the pipe first and run to the controls.
"Come on, come on, come on, come on… like the simulator: manual control enabled, pressure seal: enabled. Shutdown…"
"Turbine Shutdown Not Allowed." said the computer.
"Leave it to me." said Lyras, the Elder Wand materializing in his hand and pointing it at the release valve. "Alohomora!"
The valve opened and Scotty fell to the ground, completely wet, but seemingly unharmed.
"Are you okay?" asked Jim running to him and helping him stand up.
The other man gestured frenetically to his mouth, showing the bubble protecting him, and Kirk turned to Lyras with an arched eyebrow.
"Oh, yeah, I nearly forgot."
He waved his wand and the bubble disappeared.
"What the hell was that?"
"The thing that just saved your life: my wand."
"A wand. I'm not even going to ask about the fancy words."
"Yes. Now, shouldn't we be moving?"
Chekov looked at the screen on his console in confusion.
"Captain Spock, we're detecting unauthorized access to a water turbine control board."
The Captain moved from his father's said and walked nearer to the young prodigy.
"Bring up video."
Chekov brought up nearly a dozen images on screen, but Spock pointed to one specifically and he enlarged it.
Spock's eyes narrowed at the sight of Kirk, Lyras and another unknown man, but nobody saw Sarek's lips twitch upwards.
"Security, this is the Captain. Seal engineering deck and bring me the intruders in turbine station three. Set phasers to stun."
They raced through the ship as fast as they could and, suddenly, found themselves at phasers point.
Turning around, there was another red dressed officer aiming at them. Lyras thought he looked a little familiar, but it was Kirk that recognized him as the officer he had fought against the day Hadrian and Pike had recruited him.
"Come with me. Cupcake." said the officer looking directly at Kirk.
"Where to?" asked Lyras.
"To the Bridge. The Captain wants to see you."
"Perfect! We were headed there." replied Lyras with a bright smile belied by the coldness in his eyes.
The doors to the Bridge opened and they stepped out. They were immediately met by the stony gaze of Spock.
"Surprise." muttered Kirk.
"Who are you?" asked looking at Scotty.
"He's with me." answered Lyras taking a step forward so he was right in from of Spock and the Vulcan was forced to look down at him.
"I'm with him." agreed Scotty.
"We are travelling at warp. How did you manage to get aboard this ship?"
"You're a genius. I'm sure you'll figure it out." said Lyras coldly.
"As Captain of this vessel, I order you to answer my question."
"Acting Captain. You're Acting Captain of this vessel. If you were just the Captain, you would have been informed of the privileges which the Starfleet Command granted me after my early graduation, one of which is precisely that I do not answer to any Captain, even though I can follow their orders if I consider them necessary, which I don't in this case. So, I'm not telling you. 'Captain'."
A spark of confusion and anger entered the Vulcan's eyes, but Lyras didn't stop there.
"Does that frustrate you? My lack of cooperation… does it anger you?"
Lyras was dimly aware of his father's presence on the Bridge as Spock turned towards Scotty and ignored him.
"Are you a member of Starfleet?"
"Eh, yeah. Can I have a towel, please?"
"Under penalty of court martial, I order you to explain to me how you beamed ab-"
"Do not answer him." ordered Lyras.
"You will answer me." replied Spock.
Scotty looked at one then to the other… He knew the pointy-eared Captain that could throw him out of the ship was more than probably the younger version of the Vulcan that had transported them here, but he also knew that Vulcan wanted Lyras to do whatever he was doing.
"I would rather not take sides." said diplomatically.
Spock nodded to the guards that had brought them to the Bridge.
"Escort them out."
"What is it about, Spock? Our planet was just destroyed… our mother nearly murdered… and you're not even upset?" asked Lyras taking another step forward and forcing the Captain to take one back.
"If you're presuming these experiences in any way interfere with my ability to command this ship, you are mistaken…"
"Experiences? That's how you refer to the destruction of our planet and our mother nearly dying? Are you hearing yourself? Didn't you see what that bastard did?"
Spock was becoming visibly tense.
"Yes, of course I-"
"So are you afraid or not?"
"I will not… allow you to lecture me about the merits of emotion."
"Oh, but I'm the perfect person for that, am I not? I'm the person you considered your best friend but that you abandoned because he was not worth feeling anything…"
Sarek and McCoy were visibly tense now, knowing it wasn't going to end well but not sure if they should interfere.
"Step away from me, Commander Grayson."
"And weren't you the one that designed the Kobayashi Maru to teach the cadets that fear was necessary for command? But you don't feel it, don't you? What is it like? Not to feel? Anger. Or heartbreak. Or the need to stop at nothing to avenge the woman that who gave birth to you? There was once a time I would have given everything to be like that, during the war… but now I'm happy I'm not that way. Because the thought of being unable to love…"
"… back away, Lyras…" hissed furiously the man.
"… I thought about going back, you know? About returning to Vulcan and forgiving your words. But now I'm relieved I didn't. Because then I wouldn't have met Christopher. He's ten times the better man than you ever will be and he can feel… he loves me, unlike you…"
That was the final straw and Spock's control snapped. He hit Lyras and the wizard barely had time to block his next blow. He went to hit back, but he realized he couldn't do it. He couldn't hurt Spock. Even if Spock were to kill him, Lyras would never be able to hurt Spock back.
Christopher was right: he loved Spock.
That sudden epiphany distracted him enough for Spock to gain the upper hand. The Vulcan threw him against a wall and managed to surround his neck with his hand, choking him.
Lyras' eyes widened a fraction, but Spock was out of himself. His fury blinded him.
Lyras tried to loosen the Vulcan's grip on his throat, but he was starting to run out of air and strength. Spock's hands clenched harder and a tear fell from the corner of his eye.
"Spock!" exclaimed Sarek.
But his son was too far gone to listen to his father, too lost in his fury to even realize he was choking to the death the man he loved.
Lyras' eyes started to lose their focus as his eyes looked up at the man that had been his childhood best friend.
Sarek, Jim and Sulu darted forward and managed to separate the younger Vulcan from the teenage looking man.
Lyras gulped down as much air as his lungs could take as he fell to the floor. McCoy was at his side in a second, checking the fast appearing marks on his neck with clear worry.
Spock suddenly stopped struggling and his eyes seemed to clear. Slowly, the men let go of him and the half Vulcan looked down at his hands.
Horror and shock were the more clear emotions in his face as his eyes filled with tears. He looked around at the presents and, as if it wasn't him, he saw Uhura standing with a hand covering her mouth, Jim with nearly as much shock as him and his father… his father's face was full of disappointment.
He looked back at Lyras, lying on the floor and looking up at him with those big green eyes that he had fallen in love with when they were but children. Those eyes that weren't full of hatred or coldness as he had expected, but of compassion and sorry.
It was too much for him. He had nearly killed Lyras. Sweet Lyras, that used to crawl inside his bed in search of comfort when he had a nightmare, that stood up for him when they were bullied in school, that sang for him when they were alone and Spock thought he couldn't keep his barriers up any longer, that had continued putting enough interest in him even when they didn't talk each other to make him a gift for his graduation and discover that he was the creator of the Kobayashi Maru, that had…
No, he couldn't. He couldn't. What couldn't he? He didn't know. He only knew that he couldn't. He couldn't think. Lyras laboured breathing was the only sound on the Bridge.
"Doctor, I am no longer fit for duty." said breathlessly. "I hereby relinquish my command on the grounds that I have been… emotionally compromised. Please, note the time and date in the ship's log."
Then, the half Vulcan turned around and practically run from the Bridge.
Nobody said anything. They still couldn't believe what had just happened.
"Lyras?" muttered Sarek approaching his younger son.
"I'm… I'm okay, dad. Go with him."
Sarek hesitated a moment and placed a soft kiss to Lyras' brow before nodding and exiting the Bridge after his eldest.
"I like this ship. It's exciting!" exclaimed suddenly Scotty.
Lyras didn't know if laugh or cry and decided instead to focus on McCoy's exasperated face that was still hovering over him.
"Well, now we've got no Captain and no god damn First Officer to replace him."
"Except that we do." rasped out Lyras looking at Kirk.
The human sat on the Captain chair and everyone looked confused.
"What?" asked McCoy.
"Pike made him First Officer." remembered Sulu.
"You've got to be kidding me." exclaimed the Doctor.
This time, Lyras did laugh.
"Thanks for the support." pouted Kirk.
"I sure hope you know what you're doing."
"… so do I."
Lyras stood up, still a little unstable on his feet.
"What do you think you're doing? You were nearly strangulated."
"Yeah, as you said, nearly. I've had worse than this. Now, though, there's still something I must do." Lyras turned to the Captain. "Twenty minutes?"
"Twenty minutes, but I want you both here then."
Lyras smiled weakly at him.
"Take care of Mellow for me, okay?"
He let the shrunken creature on the man's lap and exited the Bridge, leaving a stunned crew and an amused newly name Acting Captain behind.
McCoy looked at the horrid creature and arched an eyebrow at his friend.
Kirk just laughed.
When Lyras left the Bridge, Kirk turned on the comm on the chair and prepared to talk to the ship.
"Attention crew of the Enterprise, this is James Kirk. Mister Spock has resigned commission and advanced me to Acting Captain. I know you were all expecting t regroup with the fleet, but I've ordered a pursuit course of the enemy ship to Earth. I want all departments at battle stations and ready in thirty minutes. Either we're going down, or they are. Kirk out."
Spock stood on the transportation room, looking out at the space with his mother standing silently in worry next to him. Thanatos was in the form of a little rabbit, snuggled in her arms.
That was the image Sarek encountered when he entered the room. Amanda looked at her husband and he gestured for her to give them a few minutes alone. She smiled and pecked his cheek before exiting, carrying Thanatos with her.
"You must not punish yourself. Speak your mind, Spock."
"That would be unwise."
"What is necessary is always wise." pointed Sarek.
Spock remained silent for a while.
"I feel as conflicted as I once was. As a child. Have I made so little progress?"
Sarek saw, for a moment, the little child that Amanda and he had created. How he wished he had been able to explain things better when his son had needed it.
"You will always be a child of two worlds. I'm grateful for that. And for you."
"I feel anger for Nero. An anger I cannot stop."
"I believe your mother and Lyras would tell you not to try."
"How can I not!? How can I not when that anger nearly made me kill Lyras? When it…?"
"Spock." interrupted the older Vulcan. "You asked me once why I married your mother." He stopped for a moment before answering simply: "I married her because I loved her. And I adopted Lyras, not only because of what I knew he would one day mean for you, but because I fell in love with that child that was strong enough to trust me after having been betrayed so badly by his supposed friends and family. And I still love them."
"That day, I explained it wrong to you, my son, and I regret it. We are allowed to love. And we love deeply. We do not have to stop feeling, to supress our emotions, we just have to control those feelings."
They stayed in silence for a while, understanding passing between them for the first time.
"I hurt him. I nearly killed him."
"But you did not. I know not why Lyras said those things, but he must have had a reason." he hesitated a moment before adding: "Do not let your jealousy for Pike blind you, Spock. Lyras may love him, but that does not mean he cannot love you. And their romantic relation ended five years ago. For what your mother has told me, Christopher Pike is the one that pushed Lyras to try and reconcile with you."
That made him feel guilty. His Captain had tried to convince Lyras to see him? That explained some things…
They looked up when their Vulcan hearing caught the sound of light steps coming their way and Lyras appeared at the door. The wizard looked directly at Spock, and Sarek stood up.
"I will leave you to talk."
The human moved to the side to let the Vulcan exit and looked back at Spock, insecurity clear in every line of his face.
"Spock, I'm sorry. I- I didn't mean what I said. I only needed to…" the wizard pulled at his hair in frustration.
"Why?" was the only question Spock could ask.
Lyras looked him in the eyes and closed his eyes. He realized he didn't know how to explain it to Spock without revelling Spock Prime's existence.
But, then, he inwardly smirked. Spock Prime should have remembered that he was notoriously known for breaking laws pretty often. And he had made Kirk promise not to tell his counterpart, not Lyras.
With soft eyes, Lyras walked till he was standing in front of Spock, chest to chest. Or head to chest, as Lyras barely reached the taller male's shoulders.
They looked deep into the others eyes. He knew what he had to do, but… mind melding wasn't a one way experience. What if he didn't like what he found? What if Spock didn't love him as Christopher seemed to think? What if he hated Lyras because of his earlier words? What if…?
Listen to your heart, Little Master. It won't led you astray.
He remembered that voice. It had been the same voice that had sent him to this universe, wasn't it? He recognized it, even if the memory was a bit blurred.
He gathered his courage for what was to come. For better or worse, this had to happen. At least he wouldn't be left with uncertainty anymore. He would know if Spock still loved him, as Christopher and Spock Prime thought, or if it was already too late and he had lost him.
Lyras raised an arm towards Spock's face, but the half Vulcan stopped him by grabbing his wrist, not unlike what Kirk had done with his counterpart.
"Please, Spock, allow me to show you. Just this time. Whatever you decide after this, I'll accept it."
The Vulcan's eyes were apprehensive, not sure if he wanted to know. What if Lyras hated him? Not that he didn't deserve it, but… it would still hurt.
But he needed to know. He needed to know why Lyras had pushed him that way. And, if he was truthful, he longed for that connexion they had shared in their childhood.
Slowly, Spock let go of the other's wrist and raised his own hand towards his neck to carefully caress the dark marks that were beginning to appear there.
"After what I have done, you would allow me to…?"
"Yes. I trust you."
"I… do not understand."
"Let me show you.
The Vulcan's hands slowly slid up towards his face, caressing the exposed skin on his way and gave him a questioning look.
Lyras nodded and, at the same time, they touched the other's face. Their minds melded instantly, as if they had been two pieces made to fit together perfectly. Without a flaw.
It started with Lyras' first childhood. Spock had always known it hadn't been good, but he had been just a child when he acquired that knowledge. Seeing it now, feeling it, understanding it was so different…
They soon went over those memories, the wizarding world, Hogwarts, Ron and Hermione, Neville and Luna, Sirius and Remus, the tests, the war, the deaths…
He had always known Lyras' life story, but he hadn't really comprehended how much he had suffered.
They arrived at the last memory Lyras had of his birth universe. The discovery of Ron, Hermione's, Ginny's and Dumbledore's betrayal and what it forced Lyras to do. Neville's death, Luna's farewell and the Death Chamber. And that voice…
For the first time in years, that memory played itself clear, as if it had just taken place, and two words resonated through their minds. Soul mates.
The next memory was a much happier one. Lyras was in the darkness, confused and frightened. He felt scared. Something was wrong, but he didn't know what it was. He started to cry. Something touched his hair and the light turned on.
I didn't understand what was happening. I knew I was supposed to be an adult, a soldier. But I felt like a child. And when the light turned on and I looked to the side, I saw a one year old baby with pointy ears and dark hair lying at my side. The toddler started to pet my hair and gurgle at me. I stopped crying, immediately feeling safe and comforted and, when I looked into his black eyes… I think that's when I fell in love with you.
The next memories they shared were about their time growing up in Vulcan. Their beloved planet.
The wizard's first meeting with the Vulcan elders. Lyras awakening from a nightmare and turning to Spock for comfort. Spock sitting at the windowsill whit Lyras' head in his lap, petting his hair almost in a trance. The school and their classmates. Running out of home to go star gazing. Thanatos' hatching.
I admired you so much, Lyras. Even though you were human, you were capable of such a Vulcan behaviour. I envied you for the easy with which you controlled your emotions.
The rift that began to open between them as Spock strove to supress his emotions and Lyras, feeling lonely, trained his magic. The discovery that the Deathly Hollows had embedded themselves in his core.
And then that morning in which they had gone their separate ways. How Spock had come to the realization that he loved Lyras and how scared he had been of such a powerful uncontrollable emotion. How he had told his best friend about his decision of purging his emotions and the way they had shouted at each other.
I meant it. What I said about it being enough for us. You don't need to be someone you aren't really. We want you. Just you, Spock. And I couldn't understand why you didn't see that.
Lyras disappearance for three days in which he took the decision to travel to Earth, to the Academy. Spock's departure for the rite of Tal'oth and his shock at Lyras not appearing to wish him farewell. His months in the desert, his thoughts when he was nearly killed by a wild sehlat. His return home and the deep despair and pain that filled him at the news of Lyras' departure. His desperate attempts at getting in contact with the wizard. Spock turning his focus to his studies to try and forget the aching emptiness left by Lyras.
It hurt so much. I had lost you because of my fear and I was too proud to admit it. But nothing I ever did managed to make me really forget that you weren't there. I remember how often I went to our room, thinking about telling you how my day had been, only to remember you weren't there anymore. There was no Lyras to sing for me in that room. Suddenly, it was a too big and cold place filled of memories of what I had lost.
Lyras entering the Academy, his lonely demeanour, his lack of friends. His amazing performance as he became the youngest officer ever by graduating in two years. The awe of his comrades and the propositions of women and men alike to share his bed that he always turned down.
Amanda convincing him to go celebrate his graduation; his consequent visit to a bar. Meeting Pike. The Captain's pursuit of his friendship and the unexpected beginning of something deeper. The evenings spent before the piano.
I love him. I do not regret it. I love Christopher Pike. So much that my heart aches. He was my first and only lover and he made me happy. That doesn't mean I ever stopped loving you.
Spock turning down the opportunity to enter the Vulcan Science Academy. His enrolling in Starfleet. Their father's disappointment and mother's understanding.
I tried to convince myself I was only trying to do something good. Trying to bring honour to my race. But, deep down, I knew what I really wanted. I wanted to see you again. I wanted to get you back, Lyras. But when I arrived on Earth, I could not find anything about you and mother refused to give me specific information, since you had made her promise not to tell me anything. It did not even occur to me that you could be using mother's surname or your old name.
Lyras' reaction at the news of Spock enrolment, Captain Pike's opinion on the matter and his decision to serve under Christopher's command. Spock's graduation and how Pike had convinced Lyras to attend. His reaction to seeing Spock for the first time after so long and the half Vulcan's mixed feelings about knowing Lyras had been there but not being able to see him himself.
Lyras' realization that he hadn't aged, which Amanda had later told Spock about, and his visit to Vulcan. His decision to let Christopher go and the man's understanding. Christopher's promise to love him forever even if they couldn't be together and the man's wish for him to move on and be happy. The knowledge that he would never be able to stop loving Pike.
Wizards, like Vulcans, can bond with their chosen partners. It's a bond that ties their life forces. But Christopher's mind was human and I am too powerful. If we had tried to bond I would have ripped his mind to shreds. He will leave me someday, when death claims him, and I can do nothing to stop it. I hated to think that I couldn't make him happy. I still hate it. But it strengthened our friendship even more. We were inseparable. We weren't lovers anymore, but the connexion between us… it's much deeper than that. He is a part of me and, for as long as I remember that, I know he'll be with me.
Christopher and Amanda convincing him to visit Spock. The pain Lyras felt when he saw Uhura in the Vulcan's bed. The wizard apparating to Christopher's room and his breakdown. Spock's thoughts about Lyras' beauty, the realization that he couldn't love Uhura, his determination to get Lyras back.
I never wanted to hurt you so. I had been deceiving myself by trying to believe I would be able to love her someday. I did not want to hurt her; I appreciated Uhura. But I knew I did not love her. I loved you. I had and would always love you. Only you, Lyras.
Lyras and Christopher stopping a fight in a bar, meeting Kirk and daring him to enlist. The young man's arrival at the recruitment shuttle and Lyras' interest in his training. How Lyras had managed to get him out of trouble when he did something stupid that angered his professors in the Academy, so subtly that even Kirk had attributed it to luck.
I saw myself in him. At least the old me, the one that used to be Harry. I saw in him the courage and impulsiveness of a Gryffindor and the craftiness of a Slytherin. I saw what is needed in a leader. He just needed to be showed what he could get to be if he really wanted.
Spock being assigned to the USS Enterprise after its construction and Lyras' transference to the USS Truman. How the Starfleet Command had offered to assign the Vulcan to another spaceship and Lyras statement that Spock had worked hard and deserved the rank.
Spock's work on the Kobayashi Maru and his anger when Kirk passed it by cheating. The Hearing and how the human had been able to defend himself with slyness. His reluctant admittance to himself about the cadet's intelligence and his dislike of the man's obvious total disregard of rules.
Kirk let his feelings and instincts guide him and it reminded me of you. I envied his freedom to act as he pleased… and then we received Vulcan's call for help.
Kirk's warning, Pike's attempts to contact the Truman and the other Starship's destruction. Lyras trying to protect the ship and Spock's fear when he realized who the cloaked figure was. Lyras' deep pain at having to leave his crew behind, his hate for Nero and the thirst for justice. His fear for Pike when the Captain decided to board the Narada, his promise not to leave him behind. His mixed feelings about Spock, the mission to stop the drill and his efforts to save Jim and Sulu.
I couldn't just let them die, not when I could have done something. I had already been unable to save the Truman and I couldn't let any more people die.
Spock's fear when he saw Kirk and Sulu save and was told Lyras was still falling. Going to the Katrik Ark in search of the elders and the pain and shock when he thought he had lost Lyras and Amanda.
I did not know what to do. It was as if someone had cut my heart out. The thought of losing mother and then you… I do not want to feel that way again. There were so many things I wanted to tell you, Lyras. That I needed to tell you.
The relief when the family was reunited, all of them alive. Their shared pain at their home's destruction. Spock's hope of things returning back to how they had once been and Lyras' coldness as a defence mechanism.
I knew I couldn't take it if my heart was broken again. I had already been hurt so many times, Spock…
Uhura's offer of comfort and Spock's anger at himself that he later took out on Lyras. His envy and pain when Lyras said he loved Pike. His guilt at his wish for the Captain not to return. His fury when Lyras sided with Kirk against him and his mental decision that the best way to protect Lyras from his own feelings for Pike was to vanish him from the ship.
Lyras' and Kirk's travel through Delta Vega, their 'bonding' time, meeting Mellow, the giant Hen-Gra, and their ride on his back. Spock Prime…
Spock Prime's memories of the future and his information on Nero. Meeting Scotty and the elder's plan to send them to the Enterprise. His instructions on how to get Kirk to be the new Captain and his confession about his love for Lyras.
Beaming onto the engineering deck and the problem with Scotty and the turbine. The guards cornering them and dragging them to the Bridge. Their confrontation.
I didn't mean it, Spock. I needed to make you react. I knew that what I was saying was a lie, that's why I said it. Because it was the only way I could think of to make you react and show the effect these events had had on your emotions. I was trying to follow your instructions. I never meant what I said.
Spock's blinding fury at Lyras' words and how he attacked Lyras. The wizard's realization that he wouldn't be able to hurt Spock and his trust in him, in his control. Spock's shock and horror when he was finally aware of what he had nearly done and his urge to run and hide where nobody would ever find him.
I hurt you. I could have killed you. I nearly did. I could not believe what I had done, how I had attacked you. And the way you had looked at me... It was burned in my mind. You had not looked disgusted, afraid or even angry. You had looked at me with such warmth and understanding. I felt so… so…
His mother trying to find out from him what had happened and his conversation with his father. Sarek's admittance of loving Amanda and Lyras. Finally being able to understand what being Vulcan really implied. Being left alone with Lyras…
I love Christopher, but I love you too Spock. I don't know if we can make it work but I would like to try if you want to. I would want nothing else.
I love you, Lyras. More than anything. I do not want to return to that darkness that I was trapped in without you. I finally understand. We will learn. It will work out. Somehow. It has to.
Their minds pulled apart gently, but Lyras still staggered back with tears sliding down his cheeks. Spock was shaking, his arms sneaking around the wizard's waist and drawing him nearer before hiding his face in his hair.
A sob left Lyras' throat and the man put his arms around Spock's neck, bringing him even closer.
They spent a minute that way, processing what they had seen and felt in the other's mind. Then, Spock brought his left hand up to the human's cheek and lifted his chin. No words were needed.
Their lips met a second later in a chaste kiss that didn't take too long to deepen.
Spock's right hand laid on the small of Lyras' back, bringing them closer, and one of the wizard's hands tangled itself on the hair at the nape of the half Vulcan's neck.
Spock could feel the salt of Lyras' tears on his lips and slid them over his cheeks, cleaning them with care. He then licked the wizard's lips, asking for an entrance that the other didn't try to deny him.
The older man carefully pushed him back till his body was pressed between the wall and the other's body, all without breaking the kiss. The man tangled his finally free hands in the wizard's silky black hair.
Lyras submitted to the Vulcan's passion and dominance, feeling as if he couldn't get enough of him.
They continued like that for a few minutes, taking comfort in the firm presence of the other, their lips locked in an ancient dance.
None of the two noticed when Amanda came looking for them, with Sarek trailing behind, and stopped at the door. Nor did they see her small smile and the softening of Sarek's eyes at the sight they encountered before turning around and leaving them alone again.
Finally, Lyras remembered what was so important that was nagging at the back of his mind. He had promised Kirk they would be in the Bridge in twenty minutes.
The wizard's slowed down their passionate kiss and it became more gentle, though not less desperate. They were panting when their lips separated and Spock pressed his forehead to Lyras'.
"We must go." whispered Lyras.
"I know." whispered Spock back.
"I promised Kirk…"
"I know." the Vulcan sighed soundlessly in contentment and gave him a last kiss before straightening, though he didn't release him completely. "Let's go."
They still had things to talk about, but that could wait. They already knew the most important thing: they loved each other and they were ready to fight for that love.
"Whatever the case, we need to get aboard Nero's ship undetected." said Kirk to the Bridge.
"And just go in there guns blazing, Jim? No…" McCoy shook his head and Sulu talked at the same time.
"I'm telling you the math doesn't support…"
"Keptin Kirk? Excuse me, please, could I…?"
"Yes, Chekov. You don't need to ask permission to…"
"Based on the fastest course from Wulcan, I have projected that Nero will travel past Saturn. Like you said, we need to stay inwisible to Nero or he'll destroy us. If Mister Scott can get us to warp factor four, and if we drop out of warp behind one of Saturn's moons, say, Titan, the magnetic distortion from the planet's rings will make us inwisible to Nero's sensors. From there, as long as the drill is not actiwated we can beam aboard the enemy ship."
"Aye, that might work." agreed Scott.
"Wait a minute. Anyone understands this kid?" exclaimed McCoy. "How old are you?"
"Seventeen, sir, how old are you?" answered the young genius.
"We're all old enough to shave here." said McCoy.
A snort brought their attention to the door of the lift, where two men stood. Mellow jumped from Jim's lap to the shorter figure, who didn't bat an eyelash, merely arranging it so he was comfortably perched on his shoulder.
The crew's surprise was evident when the taller one spoke.
"Doctor… Mister Chekov is correct. I have reviewed his telemetry. If Mister Sulu can manoeuver us into position, I can beam aboard Nero's ship, steal back the black hole's device and bring back Captain Pike."
"I won't allow you to do that, Mister Spock." intervened Kirk.
"Romulans and Vulcans share a common ancestry. Our cultural similarities will make it easier for me to access the ship's computer to locate the device." answered the Vulcan before looking at his companion from the corner of his eye. "Also, my mother and Lyras are human, which makes Earth the only home I have left."
Lyras couldn't help the feeling of proudness at Spock's words as the rest of the crew looked at him with renewed respect.
"Then, I'm coming with you." said Kirk very sure.
"I would cite regulations, but I know you will simply ignore it." said Spock after a moment of consideration.
"See? We're getting to know each other."
Another snort escaped the wizard at the Captain's words. He could already see the start of a friendship between the two men, as Spock Prime had predicted.
"Hope there's place for another."
"Sorry, Hadrian, but you're in charge of the ship from the moment we leave. You'll stay here."
The wizard frowned and opened his mouth to object when something occurred to him. This may be just what they needed. Kirk and Spock working together.
He sent a mental apology to Pike. He had promised Christopher to return for him, but he could not. As much as he hated it, Kirk and Spock would have to do it.
He nodded once, his face blank to shield his conflicted thoughts and emotions as his Vulcan uprising had taught him.
They stood on the transportation room, Kirk and Spock already on their pads.
"Transporter Room. We're on stable geosynchronous orbit behind the Narada." announced Sulu through the intercom.
"No sign they've detected us." added Chekov.
"Really? Well done, Mister Sulu." they heard Scotty saying to the pilot.
"Whatever happens, Hadrian, if you feel you have a tactical advantage, fire on that ship. Even if we're still aboard. It's an order." said Kirk very serious.
"With all due respect, Jim, I thought I had left clear before that I don't have any obligation to follow any Captain's orders. And if you are still aboard that ship, I'll go myself in search of you. I'm not leaving you behind. None of you."
"Shut up. And good luck."
Jim nodded with a frown and Lyras looked at both of them for a moment before waving a hand. A brief blue glow surrounded them.
"Translating charm. It should make you able to understand their language, though not to talk it."
Spock nodded before leaning forward and brushing their lips together in a sweet and chaste kiss.
"Thank you, Lyras."
Kirk hid a small smile at the sight. The Vulcan rested his brow in the shorter man's forehead.
"I will be monitoring your frequency." Lyras hesitated. "Spock…"
"I know. I will bring him back, Lyras. I promise you." whispered the older of the two.
Lyras blinked before a soft smile formed in his lips.
"I was going to tell you to be careful."
This time it was the Vulcan who blinked.
The wizard released a soft giggle, though he would deny such a thing, and pecked his lips one last time before stepping back and down from the platform.
"Come back alive. Both of you." said with a strict look to them that he faintly remembered Neville joking he had picked up from McGonagall.
Then, he walked back till he was standing next to Scott.
"So I take it things are going well between you tw-"
"I have no comment on the matter." cut the Vulcan not looking at the Captain,
"Oh, come on, how can you not have a comme-"
"Okay, then." interrupted Scott. "If there's any common sense to the enemy ship's design, I'll be putting you on cargo bay. Shouldn't be a soul in sight."
"Energize." ordered Kirk.
The two men were enveloped by a bright light and vanished, transported to the Narada.
"And if there's no sense to it?" asked Lyras in a whisper.
Lyras face palmed.
Then run to the Bridge.
When they reappeared they were in a room… with six Romulans. They nearly sighed.
The aliens appeared as shocked as them, but they recovered fast and attacked.
Kirk immediately engaged in a fight with the nearest Romulan and struggled with him.
Spock was faring much better. The Vulcan broke a few noses, slammed heads against any surface he could find…
Finally, Kirk managed to knock out his opponent only to turn around and stare at the sight of Spock standing over the other five unconscious men. He suddenly felt very self-conscious.
"Mine had a gun." offered insecurely.
"I am trained in the Vulcan martial art of Suus Mahna… and Lyras taught me a few more things when we were children." added the Vulcan.
"Well, I don't feel so bad now. And, Spock, please, remind me not to mess with Hadrian. Ever."
Spock had to contain the urge to smirk at his Captain. He sobered when they noticed one of the Romulans was still conscious and trying to get up.
"I think one of them managed to inform Nero of our presence here." Informed Spock.
The Vulcan reached for the fallen Romulans temples, intending to meld their minds. He frowned when he found himself unable to properly grasp the mind.
"I am unable to meld with these Romulans. There are subtle differences in their physiology I did not anticipate…"
"Punch him in the face!" suggested Kirk. "Make him talk! Suus mahna his ass!"
"Suus mahna is only intended for self-defence and he is no longer a threat…"
"Then pretend it's a threat! I'm your Captain, that's an order!"
When he saw the Vulcan hesitated a moment longer, he had an idea.
"You know, we need that information. Lyras will be devastated if we don't get it in time and Pike…"
"That is a very unsubtle provocation." Interrupted the Vulcan with his dark gaze fixed on the Romulan on the floor.
A hard punch collided with the alien's face.
The screens at the Bridge filled with static and everyone froze.
"They've activated the drill." confirmed Chekov.
"Communications and transporter inoperative…" added hesitantly Uhura. "Sulu, please, tell me you have them. Otherwise, we won't be able to beam them back."
"Kirk and Spock are on their own now." muttered Sulu.
Lyras' face was blank. He didn't say anything.
"I foresee a complication." announced Spock looking around at the inside of the ship he vaguely remembered from Lyras' memories of his future self's memories. And wasn't that strange. "The design of this ship is far more anticipated than I have anticipated."
"Voice print and face recognition analysis enabled. Welcome back, Ambassador Spock." said a computer's voice making them stop for a moment.
"Wow, that's weird."
"Indeed? That's really all you're going to say?"
"Would you prefer me to start trying to ask you about something you have been sworn into silence?"
"Well, of course not but… wait. How do you know that?"
Kirk stared as Spock smirked at him. A smirk. A real smirk! Granted, it only lasted a few seconds, but he had seen it. Spock! Smirking!
"It is irrelevant how I came across the information."
"You'll be able to fly this thing, right?"
"I already have, have I not?"
"Good luck. I'll get Pike."
"Be careful. Lyras will kill us if something happens to Pike."
"Oh, I'm so touched that you so obviously care for me." said ironically Kirk.
The man turned around and was about to exit the ship when Spock's voice stopped him.
"Jim, the statistical likelihood that our plan will succeed is less than four point three per cent."
Spock hesitated a moment longer before deciding to speak.
"In the event that I do not return, please tell Lyras…"
"Spock, it'll work." cut the Captain strongly.
Without giving him a second to retort, the officer left the ship. Spock, on the other hand, took a seat at the control chair, which immediately proceeded to move.
"Fascinating." muttered the Vulcan now facing the front of the advanced ship.
"Start-up sequence initiated."
Kirk finally found Nero after leaving Spock on the other smaller ship.
"Nero order your men to disable the drill or I will-"
He was cut when another Romulan knocked him down. his gun, which had been pointed at Nero, fell down a side of the platform. He hadn't even seen that coming.
"I know your face, from Earth's history." said Nero, suddenly standing over him.
Nero started to fight against Kirk, but the latter was still disoriented from the hit to his head.
"James T. Kirk was considered to be a great man. He went on to captain the USS Enterprise, but that was another life. A life I will deprive you of, just like I did your father."
Nero was now choking Kirk, not unlike Spock had earlier done with Hadrian.
Spock directed the ship with confidence. With a few well-aimed shots, he destroyed the drill that was been used against Earth.
"Captain Nero, the Vulcan ship has been taken, the drill has been destroyed." announced another Romulan by the comm.
Nero let go of a red-faced Kirk, rage written across his face.
The Romulan Captain run off, leaving Kirk lying on the floor and Ayel standing not too far.
Nero's face appeared on a little screen on the cockpit of the ship Spock was piloting.
"Spock, I knew I should have killed you when I had the chance."
However, the Vulcan didn't lose his cool.
"I hereby confiscate this illegally obtained ship and order you to surrender your vessel. No terms. No deals."
Nero smiled. It wasn't a nice smile.
"You can't cheat me again, Spock. I know you better than you know yourself."
"Last warning: unconditional surrender or you will be destroyed."
A number of torpedoes appeared, all of them sent against his ship. Spock started evasive manoeuvres and entered warp, the Narada and the torpedoes following.
After killing Ayel, Kirk managed to find the room they were keeping Pike. The man was in a bad state, sweating and with eyes clouded by what appeared to be a high fever.
"… Kirk?" whispered weakly the man while he began to unfasten his binds.
"Came back, sir. Just like you ordered. Hadrian apologizes for being unable to come himself."
"Hadrian… He is… he's alive?"
He was lifting Pike up when he heard a shot. And three more. Kirk turned and saw four Romulans lying on the floor. His gun in Pike's hand.
The Captain's grip on the weapon weakened and it fell from his hand. His eyes started to close and his breathing was superficial. He didn't know how safe it was for Pike to fall into unconsciousness in his state.
"Sir, come on, stay with me." urged Jim. "Think about Hadrian, sir. He's waiting for you. Just hold on a little longer."
Kirk could clearly see the older man was trying, but it was becoming harder and harder.
Spock turned the ship around, heading right towards the Narada. He had an idea. It was not the brightest he had ever had— truthfully it was more the kind of idea Kirk or Lyras would have— but it was something.
"Ambassador Spock, you are on a collision course." warned the computer. "Incoming missiles. If the ship is hit, the red matter would be ignited."
"Understood." answered Spock.
Lyras sat tense and straight-backed on the Captain chair. The ambient on the Bridge was as far from relaxed as anything could be.
A ship that Lyras recognized from Spock Prime's memories came out of one of the hangars and destroyed the drill.
"Systems operative again, sir." announced Uhura.
Lyras nodded at her. His eyes were on the smaller ship. There was only one person that could pilot it and that meant it was his soul mate in there.
They saw as Spock changed the course of the ship he was currently piloting and heading right towards the Narada.
"Sulu, fire on the torpedoes. Clean the way for Spock." ordered Lyras.
"We will give away our position."
"I know. Do it."
The pilot smiled at him and nodded.
"As you say, Captain."
Sulu and Chekov directed the Enterprise's weapons towards the torpedoes heading to Spock Prime's ship and the Enterprise stopped being hidden.
"Chekov, can you beam them up?"
Lyras' face stayed calm, though inside he was nearly panicking. The two men he loved and a man he considered a friend were about to die.
"I… sir, they still haven't reported to having found Captain Pike, sir."
Lyras closed his eyes for a second. What could they do? There had to be some-
His eyes snapped open at Jim's voice. Did that mean they had found Christopher? He pressed the comm.
"Beam them up, Scotty!"
"Right away, sir!"
But seconds went on and nothing happened.
"I'm trying! I'm trying!"
Spock's ship approached the Narada. The disctance shortened every second…
The collision reminded Lyras of the day of Sirius' death. He could still remember the sound of thousands, millions, of prophecies falling to the floor and breaking, the selves falling around as they tried to flee.
And he felt numb. As numb as those first second after Sirius fell through the veil. As he realized he had lost the most important person in his life. Just like now…
Scotty's voice made his eyes widen. Got them? He got them?
"All of them? Scotty, all of them?" he pressed another button. "McCoy…"
"On my way, sir."
There was no answer and he stood from the chair, passing control onto Sulu, before running out of the Bridge as fast as he could, infusing magic onto his legs to go even faster.
Jim looked around as they materialized, still holding onto a barely conscious Pike, and saw Spock on the nearer pad.
"Nice timing, Scotty." complimented Kirk with a big grin.
"I've never beamed three people from two targets onto one pad before." laughed the transportation officer. "That was pretty good!"
McCoy entered the room, followed by two nurses and, surprisingly, Hadrian. The wizard's gaze inspected them, looking for injures, and seemed satisfied that they had no more than a few scratches.
However, Pike wasn't so lucky. He was obviously in a very bad condition. Hadrian's wide beautiful eyes were fixed on him as Kirk transferred him to the doctor and the nurses assessed his condition.
"… we're going to need gastric. Let's prep him for surgery, now!" was saying McCoy.
"If we don't stabilize him he won't reach the sickbay alive." said a nurse.
The sounds that came from Pike were weak, but it was clear he was trying to say something. Lyras was still frozen nearby, looking at the seemingly invisible black cloaked figure standing over the older man's body.
"Captain?" asked McCoy with worry when Pike grabbed his arm to stop him from lifting him.
"Ha… Ha… Hadrian…"
The others' eyes went to him.
"Lyras?" called Spock softly at the look of horror and sorrow on the younger man's face.
That seemed to be enough. Before they knew it, Lyras was kneeling besides Christopher, a black wooden wand on his left hand. He waved it over the Captain's body and a faint glow surrounded him.
Worried, McCoy went to stop him, but Spock stopped him. The wizard barely spared him a glance.
"Hadrian." repeated Christopher looking up at the wizard with fervid wonder.
The Captain was so relieved. He had been asking himself if it hadn't been all for nothing. If Hadrian had survived Vulcan's destruction. When Kirk had told him he was alive and waiting for him, he had felt his hope strengthen but knowing it and seeing it was very different.
"I was never a mediwizard. I never even expressed an interest in learning the healing arts." as Lyras spoke what looked like parchment appeared. "However, I did fight in a ward. And I picked up a few tricks on the way."
He snatched the paper out of air and read it. The man paled and immediately pointed his wand at Pike's throat.
"I need you to trust me, Chris, please."
"Al… always." managed to say the weakened man.
Lyras called for his magic and willed it to do what he wanted. The magic obeyed without hesitation and shot itself into Pike's body, looking for the thing that displeased its master by being there.
When, finally, Christopher gagged, Lyras turned him onto his side so he wouldn't choke. Everyone saw, trapped between mild fascination and horror, as a big black insect came out.
Instantly, a flame ignited the thing, which shrieked in pain, until all that was left of it were ashes.
The Captain continued coughing and Lyras rubbed comforting circles on his back, his lips trembling as his best friend slipped into unconsciousness. A nurse approached hesitantly and run a scanner over the older man's body.
"He's stable. We can move him to Sickbay."
Doctor McCoy and the other nurse grabbed the officer to do that and Lyras stood up, his eyes never leaving Pike's face, intent on following.
He gave a few steps to do just that when a hand on his shoulder stopped him.
"I'm sorry, Hadrian, but you need to come."
Lyras looked at the Acting Captain and Spock with doubt displayed clearly on his eyes.
"Lyras." called a woman's voice from the door.
Amanda. Sarek at her side. How long had they been there?
"Mum?" he knew he sounded like a los child, but he couldn't help it.
Her face softened and she walked until she could wrap him into a warm embrace.
"Go with them. We'll stay with him until you return, dear."
Lyras nodded gratefully and let go of her. His mother took his face in her hands and placed a kiss to his forehead, not letting the others see her cleaning a few tears from his cheeks.
They entered the Bridge and instantly…
"Captain, the enemy ship is losing power. Its shields are down" informed Chekov.
"Hail them, now!" ordered Kirk.
"Sir, Captain Pike…"
"He's in Sickbay, Sulu."
The pilot nodded. The screen lit up and Nero's face appeared. They could see the black hole that was swallowing the Narada.
"This is Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise. Your ship is compromised, too close to the singularity to survive without assistance, which we are willing to provide."
Spock froze at that turned to speak with him without the Romulans hearing him.
"Captain, what are we doing?"
"We show them compassion. It may be the only way to earn peace with Romulus. It's logic, Spock! I thought you'd like that."
Spock thought of his lost planet and his memories of growing up there besides Lyras. He thought of his mother and Lyras nearly dying. The latter repeatedly. And remembered Lyras' face full of horror at the sight of Pike's state.
No. he definitely didn't like showing them compassion. And he told so to Kirk.
"No, not really. Not this time."
"I would rather suffer the death of Romulus a thousand times than accept assistance from you." said Nero with scorn.
To everyone's surprise, Lyras took a step forward, lacking the blank mask he usually wore to hid his emotions.
"And what of your men, Nero? You're condemning them!"
"We will not accept the Federation's help!"
"So you will condemn your crew for it?"
"Who are you?"
He hesitated but finally lifted his chin with proudness.
"I am Lyras cha'Sarek."
That shocked the Romulan before a look of pure rage crossed his features.
"Why would you help us? We tried to kill you. we destroyed your planet." said one of the Romulans before Nero could speak.
"Yes, but I can understand your pain. I do not wish your death. I want justice, not revenge."
He didn't see the looks the Enterprise's crew was given him, the awe they felt at his words.
"Do you not hate us?" asked another sceptical.
"Oh, I do. Of course I do. I hate Nero for destroying my home, for nearly killing my family, for what you've done to Christopher Pike. I hate Nero for all of that. The others, however… how can I judge when all you did was follow your Captain's orders? And, anyway, I understand why you did it."
"I see. We do not need your pity, wizard!" spat Nero. "We will rather die."
"As you wish." said Kirk walking to the Captain chair and sitting down. Lyras closed his eyes and turned around, not wanting to see it. "Lock phasers. Fire everything we've got."
He didn't see, but he heard it. The explosions as the Narada was destroyed. Then, silence.
"Sulu, let's go home."
"Why aren't we at warp?" asked Kirk.
"We are, sir." answered Chekov.
"Kirk to engineering: get us out of here, Scotty."
"Captain, we're trapped in the gravity well! It's got us!" informed Scotty.
"Go to maximum warp! Push it!"
"I'm giving her all she's got, Captain!"
"All she's got isn't good enough! What else do you got?"
The crew on the Bridge traded looks. They needed a miracle to get out of there…
"Scotty! If we eject the core and detonate, the blast could be strong enough to push us away!" suggested Lyras.
"Or it could just kill us all. I cannot promise anything." said Scotty.
"We don't have many other options." reminded him Lyras.
"Too true, Hadrian."
"Do it, do it, do it!" ordered Kirk.
They waited with baited breath and saw as the core left the Enterprise, striking the middle of the black hole, and a silent explosion ensued.
When finally the ship started to move they sighed in relief.
"Chris is going to kill you for damaging his ship, you know?" told Lyras casually to the Captain.
Everyone laughed at the man's expression.
It was over.
Lyras sat on a chair besides a bed in the sickbay of headquarters. His hand firmly held onto a tanned more muscular one.
"Shhhh… don't say anything. You don't need to."
The older man, who had just recently waked for the first time in two days, offered a weak but warm smile at his only love.
"Do not ever scare me like that again, understood?"
Lyras nodded, too tired to argue about that. Obviously, Pike noticed because he frowned.
"How long have you been here?"
"Only two days."
"It's okay, Chris. Really. Spock has been coming every day. I have been sleeping and eating, he's been making sure of it. And, as you can see, McCoy still hasn't thrown me out."
"Not that I haven't been trying." said a voice from the door. "Unfortunately, Hadrian here is as stubborn as they come."
They turned to see McCoy, accompanied by Spock and Amanda.
"Well, I've always thought you were a bit of a Hufflepuff." said Pike looking at Lyras with a straight face.
Spock raised an eyebrow, understanding the joke, and Lyras' jaw dropped in false offense before he dissolved into laughter.
The others, even the grumpy doctor, seemed to soften up a bit at the sweet sound.
"You should go home and sleep a little, Hadrian." said more serious Pike when the laughter subsided.
Lyras frowned and Amanda stepped up.
"That's in fact why we are here."
"Oh, I think presentations are in order first. Chris, this is my mother, Amanda Grayson. Mum, this is Christopher Pike."
"I've heard a lot about you, madame."
"And I about you, Mister Pike." said the woman with a warm smile. "But, please, just call me Amanda."
"Well, why are you here? I thought you were coming later."
"We thought that, now that Christopher is awake, you could go home and have a nap."
"I think it's a great idea, Lyras. You need to rest." said his Chris.
"You can come back later, Lyras." intervened Spock for the first time. "Just a few hours."
Lyras frowned and looked at Christopher.
"I and your father will stay to make Christopher company."
"That's not necessary, Amanda." said the man.
"Oh, it's not a problem. And I would like to hear about my son's life here from someone else. He tends to downplay the dangers he finds himself in when he tells us about them."
"How can I say no to that?"
The two humans smiled at each other and Lyras groaned. He got up from his chair and stretched like a cat. Then, looked back at Pike and hesitated.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, Hadrian. Go now. And you better rest."
"Don't worry, sir, I'll make sure of it." added Spock.
Lyras sighed and bended down to press a soft kiss to his forehead.
"I'll come back later."
Christopher nodded and saw as he exited the room, constantly looking back at him. Spock was about to follow when Pike called him.
Amanda smiled knowingly and left for a moment with the excuse of saying goodbye to Lyras.
"Yes, sir?" asked Spock with a blank face.
"Hadrian… Lyras, is a very special person. There's no one like him."
"I know, sir."
"And I considered him my best friend. I love him. More than anything."
Spock's shoulders tensed minutely.
"I'm only going to warn you, Spock. If you ever hurt him, there won't be space enough in the universe for you to escape from my wrath. Is that understood?"
"Yes, sir. I wouldn't expect less. And if I ever hurt him, I will accept anything you or him decide."
Pike nodded slowly.
"Take good care of him. And, even if it means nothing to you, it does to Hadrian so… you have my blessing."
"Father. " called Spock.
The man turned around and Spock's eyes widened.
"I am not our father. There are so few Vulcans left, we cannot afford to ignore each other."
Spock Prime… his future self.
"Then why did you send Kirk aboard, when you alone could have explained the truth?"
"Because, you needed each other. Lyras saw it too. Opposing yet complimentary opposites. It was that balance between us —I should say you and Kirk— that often made the impossible, possible. That and Lyras. My actions have already robbed you of much. I could not deprive you of the revelation of all that you could accomplish together. Of a friendship, that would define you both, and the rest of the crew, in ways you cannot yet realize."
"You lied to Kirk."
"Oh, I... I implied."
"An act of faith. One I hope that you will repeat in the future at Starfleet.
"In the face of extinction, it is only logical I resign my Starfleet commission and help rebuild our race. "
"And yet, you can be in two places at once. I urge you to remain in Starfleet. I have already located a suitable planet on which to establish a Vulcan colony. Spock, in this case, do yourself a favour. Put aside logic. Do what feels right." Spock Prime appeared to doubt. "Lyras' feelings are much more fragile than they appear. Do not hurt him again. He is and will always be the only one we can love, Spock. Since my customary farewell would appear oddly self-serving, I shall simply say good luck."
Spock Prime gave him the Vulcan salute and Spock returned it. The older Vulcan was about to enter a shuttle when Lyras' voice stopped him.
"Lyras." whispered torn between happiness and sadness.
"Spock. What are you going to do now?"
"I'm going to help our people, of course."
Lyras licked his lips unconsciously and gave a hug to the older Vulcan.
"If you can find a way to send you back, I may find a way to awake him."
The future Spock's eyes widened. He had seen in his memories what had happened to his Lyras. In a mission, saving Kirk, he had fallen unconscious in a fight. And he hadn't woken again. He had already been decades in coma when Spock offered to help Romulus.
"You… you could…"
"Give me a little time and I will. Meanwhile, find a way to return, okay?"
Spock Prime visibly composed himself before hugging him firmly once more.
"Live long, and prosper." said before finally entering the shuttle.
"This assembly calls Captain James Tiberius Kirk. Your inspirational valor and supreme dedication to your comrades is in keeping with the highest traditions of service, and to reflect utmost credit to yourself, your crew, and the Federation, it is my honour to award you with this commendation. By Starfleet Order two-eight four five five, you are hereby directed to report to Admiral Pike, USS Enterprise, for duty as his relief."
Kirk walked over to Pike, who was sitting in a wheelchair with Lyras as formally dressed as the rest standing behind.
"I relieve you, sir."
"I am relieved." said Pike with a proud smile towards the now Captain.
"Thank you, sir. Both of you."
"Congratulations, Captain. Your father would be proud."
Kirk entered the ship, dressed in his new Captain uniform.
"Engineering thrusters and impulse engines at your command, sir." informed Sulu.
"Weapons systems and chutes on standby." Added Chekov.
"Dock control reports ready, Captain." this time it was Uhura.
"Bones, buckle up." the Doctor scowled at him and the man turned to the comm. "Scotty how are we doing?
"Dilithium chambers at maximum, Captain. Get down!" they could picture Keenser sitting up somewhere.
The man smiled from his place standing at the left of his chair, Mellow sitting on his shoulder and Thanatos in the form of a snake around his neck.
"Mister Sulu, prepare to engage thrusters."
The left's door opened and Spock entered, dressed in blue.
"Permission to come aboard, Captain."
"Permission granted." said Kirk pleasantly surprised.
"As you have yet to select a first officer, respectfully, I would like to submit my candidacy. Should you desire, I can provide character references."
"That I cannot doubt." snorted Kirk spying an overly innocent looking Hadrian from the corner of his eyes. "It would be my honor, Commander. Maneuvering thrusters, Mister Sulu."
Spock walked to stand near Lyras and their hands brushed. The Vulcan smiled slightly and Lyras blushed.
"Thrusters on standby. "
"Take us out."
"Aye aye, Captain."
It wasn't over. They still had many adventures to live. Together. The universe had brought them together. The best team of Star Fleet. Now it was up to them to decide the future they wanted. And Spock and Lyras had it clear. They wanted a future with each other.
Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Her ongoing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new lifeforms and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.
"You never told us what your powers are."
"It's a long story."
"We have time."
"Very good." smirked the wizard. "Anyway, you won't believe me."
"We've just seen some very impossible, or rather improbable, things. Try us."
"As you wish. It all started on the Halloween night of 1981, in a little town called Godric's Hollow, when…"