I always struggle with stories.

The pressure of writing loads gets to me, then I can't think properly and it ends up drifting into a messy page of words that mean nothing, haha.

SO! I'm not gonna make this into a story, per say...More a collection of one shots, showing key parts of Alex's life leading up to that last moment with Spock.

The next couple chapters aren't gonna have much Spock in though.. In fact, they probably won't have any at all, and for that I apologise! But I wanna really let you all see the kinda life Alex has lead up until her meeting with our favourite Vulcan. I promise I'll work him in there somehow though!

This one basically explains how she grew up with Kirk. Bear in mind this is when they're still teenagers, hence no mention of Starfleet or anything. It's a bit shorter than the last one, unfortunately. I hope it lives up to the last chapter! Haha.

Thanks for all the wonderful reviews and messages. You're all such gorgeous people! :D

Oh! & special shout out to PianoPlayer00, for giving me the whole back story idea, as well as for all her lovely, kind words. You're awesome! :)

The night was warm. The sun-baked Iowa soil stretched on for as far as the eye could see. Dust from the roadside was blown gently across worn tarmac by a tired breeze. A small convenience store was the only building in sight, deserted. It was silent, for the most part. Crickets chirped lazily in the twilight, hidden amongst the random tufts of grass along the beaten track. A low, electrical buzz accompanied them; a broken light flickered on and off irregularly. One lone car trundled past, its headlights burning a path through the wilderness, whipping up a cloud of smoke and debris as it went. Silence came again.

About two minutes later, the sound of feet padding along the hard road surface disturbed the night furthermore. A fence rattled as a body flung itself upon it. A feminine voice scathingly shushed it's partner for making such a racket. "Will you stop that?!" it whispered harshly, "Somebody could still be here for crying out loud!"

"Relax, Alex!" a male counterpart whispered back. "I told you, the security guard always takes off early on a Thursday. I've done this plenty of times. You trust me, right?" A quiet moment passed, before "Hey! Don't look at me like that!"

"I wouldn't have to if you weren't so stupid!" Alex retorted. A metallic clunk sounded out as she dropped a bag onto the ground. "Of course I trust you, moron. I wouldn't be out here helping you otherwise. Why you had to ask me to come and not any of your other offender friends however, is beyond me.." She trailed off as she rummaged around for a pair of wire cutters. The male bent down next to her and clapped her roughly on the shoulderblade, almost making her topple over. She turned to him, plastering a short scowl to her features. The face looking back at her grinned widely, his light brown hair being delicately tousled by the wind, and his piercing ocean eyes dancing with mischief.

"Because, dear cousin, you need to learn a few things..And well, who better to teach you than the master himself?" he paused for dramatic effect, placing his hands on his hips and striking a proud pose. Alex jabbed him in the ribs while he was vulnerable, and he let out a small pained grunt as he rubbed them better. "I'm sick of your mom coddling you all the time Al. She's gonna turn you into some shy little recluse or something. You need to get out more, live a little, y'know? It's in your best interests, I'm just helping you along here!"

"By making me break into a liquor store?!" she exclaimed, "Jesus, Jimmy! You could have started me off a little slower, don't you think?" He didn't reply. Instead, he smiled again and ruffled her hair as he stood up, walking back over to the high fence surrounding the shop. Alex muttered under her breath at him while she pulled out the pliers. "Then again," she mumbled to herself, "it's not as if this is a master break-in or something..alcohol? What the hell is he thinking? This is so pathetic. He could just as easily buy some, 's not like it costs the world or anything..." She made her way over to Jim, letting the tool fall into his upturned palm.

"Now, I'm gonna cut off the barbed stuff at the top, won't take a minute. You keep a lookout for anyone coming this way, okay?" He turned to her, only to see her staring into the distance, chewing on her lip, barely listening. Exasperated, he grabbed her by the chin and forced her to look him in the eye. "You see anything, and I mean anything, you tell me straight away. Got it?" He told her seriously.

"Yeah yeah, Jimmy. I got this. Don't worry, just do it quick." She replied flippantly. With an annoyed sigh from him, she edged out from the shadow of the building slightly, to get a better look down the road. A few boring minutes passed, the air was littered with curses and small cries of pain from behind her, as Jim clumsily cut himself on the barbs. Alex shook her head in silent despair as she repeated his words to herself, impersonating him; "I've done this plenty of times. You trust me, right?" she scoffed. Yeah. Right.

Giggling to herself, her ears picked up on a faint beeping noise, far to her left. Following the sound, she looked up to see a shiny, silver dot on the horizon. It was getting closer. "Shit!" she swore lowly, sprinting towards her relative as fast as she could. "Jim! Drone! About 400 yards away and coming up fast! Hurry the fuck up!" she breathed fiercely.

"Damn it, they always have the worst timing." he stated casually "Okay, okay, don't panic." he said, climbing down slowly and taking her hand in his. She was about the smack him for taking so much time. Why wasn't he bothered? Stupid male superiority complex.. "Round the back, there's a dumpster. C'mon, we'll hide there 'till it's gone." They were half way there, and the beeping was almost on top of them, when Alex suddenly wrangled free from his grasp and ran back to the fence. "What the hell are you doing?!" Jim growled after her. He'd listened to the signal the upcoming droid was giving out, and it had reported a sighting to whoever owned it. If she was caught it'd mean trouble, fast.

"The goddamn bag!" was all she needed to say. Racing around the corner, she heaved the sack up into her arms, the weight of it making her muscles groan instantaneously. Mentally cursing her relative for making her bring so many tools, she rounded back on herself, heading to the bin, when she saw Jim pointing behind her wildly. That could only mean she had seconds before it would be able to spot her. She couldn't help it. She looked behind her, and it was a big mistake.

The drone was in fact already there, stopped dead in it's tracks. The moon shone of it's small, spherical body as it scanned the opposite side of the road. It hadn't seen her yet. If Alex moved now she knew she could make it round the back safely, but she was rooted to the spot. Her arms were exhausted, they couldn't take the strain of the heavy container in her hands. If she dropped it, there'd be no chance. It'd see her in an instant, and she'd be in a world of trouble within seconds. Lost in thought, she let out a small squeak as a hand was placed over her mouth, and she felt herself being dragged backwards. She saw the probe turn having heard her, before it disappeared behind the wall and she could see nothing. Pitch black. Her adrenaline was pumping as her heart beat franticly in her ears. Loud breathing came from her right, and wherever she was smelled dreadful. A reassuring hand was placed over hers firmly, which she knew instantly to be Jimmy's. She let her mind rest a fraction.

Minutes seemed like hours as they sat there among the bags of trash, listening to the electronic scout outside. Eventually, they heard it transmit a radio message back to its owner, and the beeping was lost as it carried on down the road having found nothing worth reporting. Jim got out first, to make sure everything was fine, Alex following a second later. "See? Told ya. Nothing to worry about. Now, let's get back to work, shall we?" he said, happily.

"Whose 'bot was that anyway, do you think?" Alex asked as she went to retrieve the tools from the dumpster.

"Ohh nobody important. Probably the guy whose meant to be here right now. Sending a drone 'cause he can't be bothered to move his own fat, lazy ass..." he trailed off. "Oh, and forget the tools. We don't need 'em anyways." Jim replied flippantly.

"What?" she looked at him quizzically. When he did nothing but look back at her, she asked again. "Then why the hell was I made to carry them?" she asked angrily, as she lowered the bag back into the bin.

"Well, I didn't want you just standing there all lost half the night. Oh, and I know you like being all responsible, so I thought it'd make you feel more..involved?" he told her rather unconvincingly. It sounded more like a question than a direct fact, which made Alex huff irritably. He gave her a wry half-smile before grabbing onto the metal links of the fence, and hoisting himself up it. She followed, making a mental note to scale the fence gracefully and quickly, so as to show up his pride.

The rest of the plan went along relatively unhindered. The key word being 'relatively', as Jim encountered a few problems navigating his way over the fence smoothly; getting his jacket caught on a stray barb, and landing rather roughly having torn himself off it. He looked at Alex a little ashamedly when she jumped from the top and landed perfectly unscathed. Other than that, they managed to get inside safely. Rubbing his eager hands together once he'd broken the lock on the door and entered, he surveyed the store. "Alright, let's see what's for the taking.." he said, making his way through the isles as Alex closed she door behind them.

After about 20 minutes of stuffing as many expensive boxes and bottles into some bags they got from the checkout, they'd practically cleared out the ale section of the shop. Alex wondered where the hell he was going to put it all, and why the hell he needed so much in the first place. It was bordering on ridiculous, but if it kept him busy that's all she really cared about. "So," He said, interrupting her thoughts. "we'll take three bags with us..that leaves three I'll need to come back for..might as well shove 'em in the dumpster or something..I'll just double-bag them so they don't get all dirty.." he went on, relaying his plan to himself, checking everything was good before they set off again. Then he addressed her directly.

"Well Al, What'd I tell ya? Piece of cake." Jim declared, tossing a bottle up into the air, catching it, and replacing it in the bag. He jumped down from the counter, and began heading for the door just as a blaring siren could be heard from down the road. Jim's head shot up, and in his mind he cursed the security asshole who'd called the damn cops. If he ever saw that droid again he was gonna trash it, just to spite the balding bastard. He stole a quick glance at Alex, only to find she'd already begun giving him a harsh glare, which he swore he was getting a headache from by just looking at how angry she was.

"Okay," he started slowly, "don't panic. I-"

"Don't panic?" she asked, Jim was slightly frightened at how calm she sounded, before she spoke again. "Don't panic?!" she stared at him in hysterical disbelief, "You've said that like a million times already! When the hell am I supposed to start panicking, Jim?! Jesus Christ! You said it never saw us!-"

"Al-"

"You promised me this would be easy! How the hell did I let you talk me into this? My mom is gonna freak!"

"Ale-"

"You're so irresponsible! What happens now? What are we gonna do?! This is all your fault! I can't-"

"Alex!" Jim exclaimed, grabbing her attention and putting an end to her nervous rambling. "We're gonna get out of this, okay?" he stepped over to her and places his hands on her shoulders. "I mean it when I say don't panic, 'cause there's no reason to. It's not like we're robbing a bank for god's sake. Just grab two of the bags, and head to the back door, got it? When we get outside, dump one of them in the trash and keep moving." He looked her in the eyes, silently telling her over and over that everything was under control. Breathing a little easier, she nodded, took two of the smaller bags in her hand and ran towards the end of the isle, Jim catching her up as she made it to the door. Aiming for the lock, he kicked it open swiftly, and they both broke out, deposited three of the bags, and sprinted down the long road. What with it being so empty, it would be easy for the cop to spot them, so really all they could do was hold out for a lucky break. Jim took a fleeting look behind them, to be met with the blinding headlights of the police bike about two hundred yards away. Picking up the pace and ushering Alex along, the murky outlines of a few houses started to come into view on the horizon. If they could get to the back and jump another fence or two, the bike'd lose them and they'd be able to make a run to his place. Calculating a route in his head as fast as he could, he checked on his cousin. Her eyes were glued to the road ahead, her mind seemingly in "Get-the-fuck-out-of-here" mode. She must have felt his eyes on her, because she turned to him for a second, and flashed him a reassuring smile. He took that moment of her attention to replay his plan to her.

"'Kay, Alex. The houses coming up are gonna be our escape. When we get about fifty yards away from the first one, make a route change to round the back. There's a wall about 2 houses down from here we can get over onto a little covered dust track" he gestured ahead, "that'll take us straight to my house. We're gonna have to jump it. Don't worry, it's not as big a drop as it looks!" he shouted. It didn't really fill Alex with as much hope as it was meant to, but right now she just had to trust him.

Reaching the housing, they abruptly turned on their heels and careered around the corner at top speed. Flinging themselves over the wall, they landed sprawled out in a mess on the ground. A gust of wind and a flash of bright light indicated that the bike had done exactly what they'd wanted, and carried on ahead, back to the main road. The dust cloud they'd kicked up on impact cleared slowly, as Jim groaned, picking himself up and propping himself against the bricks. Alex was rubbing the side of her head, her eyes unfocused and her mouth slightly agape. She turned to him, only to see him smiling at her widely.

"'Not as big a drop as it looks?'" she questioned with a smirk. He smirked right back at her.

"Hey, so I miss-judged a little. 'Least we're okay..and none of the goods are broken either!" he exclaimed happily, as she made her way to his side and sat with her back against the wall. A long silence ensued as they both caught their breath. Jim was the first to break it.

"All in a day's work." He announced triumphantly, as he pulled out and studied a particularly expensive bottle of whisky. Clapping her on the shoulder, he laughed a little as he cracked open the seal on the top and took a long, hard-earned swig. Alex sighed and let her body slide to the floor again in an exhausted heap, shaking her head and laughing along with him. They may be cousin's by technical terms, but they were both fully aware that in real terms, they were truly brother and sister.