Chapter 11: Written in Red
Little love letters written in red
Folded up, put away, next to the bed
Little crushed hopes, every day
Waiting in the wings to spirit her away
Jim’s fingers trailed seductively over Spock’s as he bit down softly on the tip of one pointed ear. He felt the Vulcan shudder below him, and the corners of his mouth curled up in a small, wicked grin.
Fuck, that was hot. He wondered if he could make Spock come just by biting at his ears and playing with his fingers. Well, there was no way to know for sure if he didn’t try.
He tangled their fingers together as he licked a stripe up Spock’s ear, pressing a kiss to the tip before repeating the process. Spock moaned and thrashed beneath him; Jim couldn’t keep himself from pressing his dick more firmly against his almost-lover’s stomach, reveling in the friction created by Spock’s movements.
God, he wanted to just stay here forever. He wanted to feel this way forever.
“Jim,” Spock gasped, arching up against him.
And then, suddenly, Jim was on his back, Spock lacing their fingers more firmly together and holding Jim’s hands to the bed. “It is my turn now,” Spock said, lowering his head towards Jim’s neck.
A loud bang echoed through the wall Jim’s room shared with the hallway, causing him to bolt upright in his bed. His first thought was that Frank was an asshole for waking him up. Fuck, Spock had been so beautiful. Above him, below him, it didn’t matter as long as their hands were entwined, and their lips were locked together, and…
And then the embarrassment hit him.
Jim really needed to stop dreaming, especially now that he knew Spock was usually in his head while he slept. His dream tonight hadn’t been as horrifying as most of his nightmares usually were, but it was so fucking embarrassing. He was sure that when he woke up, he would never be able to meet Spock’s eyes ever again. Sure, he had had plenty of erotic dreams about Spock, but none of his previous dreams had been quite this… specific.
Jim dropped his head down into his hands. He could still feel Spock’s hand entwined with his, could still feel their lips pressed together, taste the skin behind the Vulcan’s perfectly pointed ears. God, it was going to be even harder to stay away from Spock now.
He raised his head and couldn’t resist the urge to look through his open window to where Spock’s window was also ajar. Then, he froze, his head still bent, his hands held just inches from his face, fingers twitching. Spock was sitting up on his bed, his eyes wide, watching Jim.
And at that moment, Jim really wished there was a hole in the floor that would swallow him up.
The next morning, Spock waited outside of Jim’s house, still somewhat confused about the events of the previous night. Spock had been watching Jim sleep like he usually did before retiring himself, and then, the human had woken up, looked at him “like he had seen a ghost”, as his mother would say, and rolled himself up into a ball under the comforter on his bed.
Spock did not know, nor did he understand, what had happened, and he could not even begin to presume how Jim was going to act this morning. He had learned from his months of watching and cataloguing his t’hy’la’s behavior that anytime he had expectations about how Jim would act, the human would quickly and efficiently shatter them.
When Jim finally opened the door of his house, his face turned a brilliant shade of red as he noticed Spock, and then he merely brushed past the Vulcan without saying anything at all. Spock followed him silently for several minutes, his thoughts percolating as he deliberated on how he wanted to handle the situation. He knew better than to try and ignore it entirely, but considering his previous attempts to talk to Jim about things that were bothering him, he was justifiably wary of crossing one of the many invisible lines his t’hy’la had drawn around himself.
Unfortunately, Spock did not know how else to go about broaching the subject with Jim, and so, after following along after the human silently for several minutes, he finally spoke. “Jim,” he said, reaching out with one hand to touch the human’s shoulder in an attempt to halt his determined, single-minded march to the high school. “I believe we should discuss what happened last night…”
Jim whirled around, his face contorted by an emotion that Spock did not quite understand. “No,” he said firmly. “I don’t want to talk about it. My dreams are none of your fucking business. So what if I have some sort of freaky obsession with your ears? Who cares if I dream about cuddling with you? It doesn’t mean a god damned thing!” Jim cut himself off, panting as though he had just run a great distance.
Spock could only stare at him for a moment, completely stunned. Jim had apparently had a dream the previous night and was under the mistaken impression that Spock had shared it. Illogically, Spock found himself wishing that he had gone to bed just an hour or two earlier the night before. The thought of Jim having a fixation on his ears was intriguing. Vulcan ears were quite sensitive, and because of this, even his mother had not touched his own since he was a child. The fact that Jim wanted to touch them—perhaps wanted to do more than simply touch them—made heat curl in the pit of his stomach.
That was a reaction to be analyzed later during his meditation though. Jim was currently distressed, and the longer Spock allowed the silence between them to grow, the more agitated Jim became. His t’hy’la was embarrassed and angry with him. Spock knew that he needed to do what he could to rectify the situation before it could get any worse.
“Jim,” Spock said softly, slowly, so as not to upset the human any more than he already was. “I know that you are aware of the fact that I am in love with you, and I am 98.5863% certain that you feel the same. There is no need for you to experience the humiliation you are currently experiencing. You are safe with me.”
Jim’s face twisted further into an expression that Spock once more failed to comprehend. “No,” he moaned, shaking his head. “Don’t say that. You can’t… I can’t hear that. I can’t be in love with you.” He looked at Spock with wide, pleading eyes. “I can’t let myself be in love with you.”
Spock did not understand. Jim’s reaction told him that the human did, in fact, feel the same way, but if that were the case, then there was no reason of which Spock was aware for why he could not admit to it. Spock needed to know. He needed to know why Jim continued to resist the bond that he knew both of them could feel becoming stronger between them. “Why, Jim?”
Jim turned his back to Spock, mumbling under his breath in a low voice that would have been incomprehensible to Spock were he not half Vulcan. One of Jim’s mutterings in particular stood out to Spock. “Frank would kill me.”
Spock had been moving forward to calm the human, but Jim’s words caused him to stop in alarm. The previous night, his father had postulated that Jim feared Frank’s reaction to a homosexual relationship, but even so, a part of Spock, who had so far been unable to gather any evidence to support his parents’ theory, had still been reluctant to believe that Jim’s step-father was physically harming him. It was not something that made any logical sense to him. Jim’s words filled him with horror. This was irrefutable proof that Frank was hurting him. His t’hy’la was currently fearing for his life, and Spock had done nothing to stop it.
“Jim, if he is going to hurt you…”
“I didn’t mean that literally, Spock,” Jim interrupted. Spock started to relax. His mother must have been wrong. Then, he noticed that Jim’s hands were clenching and unclenching in a reflexive repetitive manner, and he knew. Jim was lying to him.
Spock opened his mouth to demand the truth, but Jim cut him off again. “Drop it, Spock,” he said, his voice ringing with a tone of finality. Though Spock really wanted to argue, the look in Jim’s eyes was bordering on desperate, and he couldn’t allow himself to push his t’hy’la any further at the moment.
Instead, he shepherded Jim to the school, vowing to himself that the moment he had his parents alone, they were going to figure out a way to get his t’hy’la out of this situation. Spock would get him away from his step-father, and Jim would never suffer again for the rest of his life.
Everything was spiraling out of control. Spock knew. Spock knew. Jim had been aware that Spock was starting to get suspicious. He had started asking questions—very pointed questions about both Frank and the beatings—but Jim knew that Spock didn’t have any evidence because if he had, the shit would have already hit the fan. Even so, Jim knew that Spock would figure it all out sooner or later. He had known that from the beginning. Spock was fucking brilliant; he was bound to put two and two together eventually, and it appeared as though ‘eventually’ had just become now.
The look on Spock’s face when Jim said that Frank was going to kill him said it all.
Shit, if Spock tried to tell someone…
Jim was fucked, that’s what he was. He knew that there would be a big investigation. Frank would deny it; Jim would refuse to talk. All of it would come to nothing, and Jim would once more end up bleeding out on the bathroom floor. Hell, Frank would probably get so upset about the whole thing that he might even decided to do the world a favor and finish Jim off once and for all.
Jim was many things, but suicidal wasn’t one of them. He didn’t want to die, and he sure as hell didn’t want to just sit around waiting for Frank to kill him. Perhaps it would just be better if he told Spock everything now. Spock already knew, and since Jim knew that Spock knew, he also knew that Spock was going to do something about it. So if it was all inevitably going to come out anyway, maybe he should just…
Well, it wasn’t like he needed to decide right away. Spock probably wasn’t going to be doing anything about it today, so Jim could probably take a bit of time to think everything over, write about it in his journal, do whatever he needed to do to keep this whole shitfest from developing into a clusterfuck.
And so, Jim thought about it through morning classes, and he thought about it while he ate lunch with Spock. He looked up at the Vulcan sitting across from him. Did he trust Spock enough to share that much of himself? Did he trust Spock enough to let the other boy save him?
Spock lifted his head so that their eyes met, and then he cocked his head. “Is everything well, Jim?” he asked, sincerity and genuine interest clear on his face.
Jim just nodded and went back to eating. So trust probably wasn’t an issue, but he still wasn’t completely sure that coming clean to Spock was the best idea.
There was time for him to think about it. All of his problems would still be there in the morning, and taking a little time to decide wouldn’t hurt anyone. He’d give it twenty-four hours. One day to get his head on straight—to make sure that the decision he was making was the right one—and then he would tell Spock everything.
Jim left Spock’s house as soon as he could think up an excuse for why he just had to get home. Dinner with Spock and his parents had been subdued that evening, and Jim knew that they were all tiptoeing around several issues that they knew he wasn’t willing to talk about. Spock had been the one to ask him to stay the night this time, and though it was tempting, Jim knew he couldn’t allow himself to stay. He needed some time to himself, some time to think, and he really couldn’t do that when he was anywhere near Spock. Nothing managed to screw with his thought processes quite like the Vulcan bastard (and fuck if that wasn’t starting to sound like a term of endearment or something).
Jim was also well aware that staying over would be a recipe for disaster. He was smart enough to know that doing something so monumentally stupid would end up leaving him a bloody mess. Sure, staying the night with Spock would delay it for a bit, but Jim was almost positive that, were he to give into the temptation to not go home, Frank would end up twice as angry, and Jim would end up twice as fucked up. It really, really wasn’t worth it.
What he needed to do now was get to his room, take out his journal, and write it all out. The current situation was complicated. Jim was fifteen. His step-father was an abusive asshole. He was probably… Okay, he was definitely in love with Spock. The only one of the above that he had any control over was the mess with Spock, but what the fuck was he supposed to do about that? It wasn’t like he could entertain the idea of actually confessing his feelings for Spock. There was a two year age difference. Spock would be leaving for Starfleet next year, and he would be leaving without Jim. And then there were the sex issues that Jim just… Fuck, he just couldn’t think about that right now. With all of the shit piling up against them, there was no way any kind of relationship could work out.
Or maybe there was…? He just didn’t fucking know right now, and that was the problem. He really needed to get to his room and work through all of the shit rattling around in his head before it overwhelmed him.
Jim walked a bit faster.
When he got to the house, Jim opened the front door slowly to keep it from creaking. He knew that Frank was already home as soon as he walked through the door; he could hear the holoscreen blaring at him from where Frank was most likely already in a drunken stupor on the living room couch. Jim carefully tiptoed past the entrance to the living room, breathing a sigh of relief when he reached the stairs before climbing them as quickly as possible.
Jim closed the door behind him when he was finally able to creep into his room, leaning against the door, eyes closed, simply breathing for a moment as his heart rate slowed.
Then, he opened his eyes and nearly jumped out of his skin when he saw Frank sitting on the end of his bed staring at him.
Frank looked like shit. His eyes were red and heavy-lidded. His skin was starting to take on a yellowish tinge (jaundice would serve the bastard right, Jim thought viciously) and his hair looked disgusting. Jim focused on all of these details—the disheveled clothing, the putrid stench coming off of him in waves—trying to push back the fear that was threatening to overwhelm him.
Then, Jim noticed that his journal was open on Frank’s lap and all of the feelings he was trying to suppress flowed over him. Frank was going to kill him.
“’ve been hearin’ rumors ‘bout you, boy,” Frank slurred. “People’ve been sayin’ you’re a fag. ‘S it true, boy? Are you a fucking faggot?”
Jim started shaking his head, starting to back away before realizing he was already pressed against the door. He knew it was futile to deny it. Frank knew that Jim was in love with Spock—he had obviously been reading Jim’s journal—so disagreeing with him probably wasn’t going to keep his step-father from beating the shit out of him.
He had to try though. “No,” Jim said, still shaking his head. “It’s not true. It’s not.”
“Don’t lie to me!” Frank roared, standing up and crowding him back against the door. “Fuck, you really had me fooled boy. I thought there mighta been somethin’ redeemable ‘bout you. I thought if I beat the values inta you maybe somethin’ would stick, but you’re just a worthless filthy little faggot.” A backhand made Jim’s head snap to the side. He used the momentum to move around Frank, practically diving further into the room to get away from him.
He had to do something. He had to find a way out of this. He had to…
Frank turned to take another swing at him almost immediately. He managed to sidestep it, but the next one caught him square in the jaw, sending him tumbling back, his head cracking on the footboard of the bed as he went down.
Jim’s vision blanked for a moment, and though he knew Frank was yelling, all he could hear was static. The whole world seemed to slow down and speed up intermittently. When he put a hand to the side of his head, it felt wet and painful, and his fingers came away red and slick with blood. Before he could gather his senses, Frank had already aimed a well-placed kick to Jim’s ribs before grabbing Jim’s hair with one hand so he could smash him face-first into the bed frame.
The world came back into focus as he felt his nose break and the blood gush down his face. He was sobbing for breath now, not caring about the show of weakness because in that moment he had more to worry about than his pride. Frank really was going to kill him, and Jim needed to catch his breath. He needed to catch his breath and get the fuck out of there, or he was going to die.
“...shoulda known you were a cocksucking whore,” Frank was muttering as he grabbed Jim’s shoulder and pulled him back away from the bed. “Always thought your dad was too pretty to be straight. Mus’ be in the blood or somethin’.”
Tears ran down Jim’s face as he thrashed in Frank’s grasp. He didn’t want to die like this. He didn’t want Frank’s cruel words to be the last thing he ever heard. He wanted to fight. He wanted to live.
But then, Frank threw him down, and Jim’s head hit the floor, stunning him once again, and by the time, he had recovered from that blow, there was another one and another one and another one. Jim lost count of how many punches, how many kicks. It felt like the beating went on forever, and Jim tried to make himself move, tried to get away. He tried even as he felt a pain in his forearm that meant broken bones, even as he started coughing up blood and struggling to breathe around a broken nose and what would probably turn out to be multiple broken ribs. Jim kept fighting the blackness that threatened to overwhelm him, and he kept fighting the pain, and he kept fighting Frank because fuck if he was going to die like this at the hands of a stupid, selfish, bigoted asshole…
But then, suddenly, the scale tipped, and there was no fight left in him.
Jim went limp and let the exhaustion drag him down. He blinked the dark red haze out of his eyes and saw that the puddle of blood spreading out on the floor beneath him was dying the pages of his journal as it seeped out of him. The laugh sounded more like a wet, hacking cough than an actual laugh, but it didn’t really matter anymore. Frank had taken Jim’s feelings and stained them, leaving the journal as a bloody valentine for Spock to find when he inevitably realized that Jim was dead on his bedroom floor.
Jim knew that Spock would be the one to find him. He knew that the freaky soul bond, tie-la thing they had would make sure of that. As much as he wished he could spare Spock, he was also ridiculously grateful that somebody would find him, and though he was ashamed of himself for even thinking it, he was glad that someone would miss him.
“Spock,” Jim whispered with the last of his breath. And then, he let himself slip away.