So he has to stay on Earth and Spock decides to stay at his side, accepting a teaching post at the Academy, rather than accepting Kirk’s proposal to be his first officer. Pike isn’t happy about it, about Spock throwing away his carrier for him. He isn’t happy about his whole situation. He’s moody, he is ill-tempered, and he can get violent, when he decides to drown his discontent and his nightmares with alcohol and Spock over the months more often than not dreads to go home to him. Spock, who has to fight his own demons, Spock, who tries to cut himself of from his mental trauma until Pike recovers to be able to help him more effectively. Spock, who is slowly fading because repressing his mental trauma, has devastating consequences on his body. But Pike doesn’t see it. He only sees himself.
- - -
Sometimes it’s difficult, for Spock, to remember that there was actually a time when everything was fine, when he found his life pleasurable as it was. It is hard to believe that the man he loved so much, who deeply returned his feeling, who cared for his well-being more than for his own, is the same selfish person now in front of him.[[MORE]]
Christopher is not the same – he hasn’t been for a long time, now, since he started drinking to draw his sorrows in the intoxicant effects of alcohol. Today’s not different than any other.
Spock comes home only to find a mess he has to clean up in almost every room, and Pike in a bad mood and short-tempered as usual. There’s no nice exchange of greetings, polite questions about how his day was. Only yells and silence.
“You are drunk,” he states as the man’s lips find his own and he smells his breath.
“You’d be drunk too, if you were me,” Pike replies, drawling.
His speech becomes slow and sometimes confused when’s drunk like that. Meaning, every day. Spock tries to be annoyed, tries to look angered, but he is just tired, and wounded, and sore.
“I would not”
“Oh yeah, definitely not, right? ‘Cause you’re so much better than me darlin’, aren’t you?” Christopher replies, sarcastic. “Yeah, I see how better you’re…”
His harsh words hit Spock like a fist in the stomach, and the Vulcan winces like he’s been physically hit. He feels like he’s worthless – and more often than not, he thinks he really is.
His head hurts, again – the migraines he’s been suffering for a few months by now are getting more and more frequent, to the point medications can’t help him anymore. It’s like someone is stabbing his mind with a big, sharp knife. He feels like’s bleeding, which isn’t far from the truth. Pike’s words, his rude manners, his violent outbursts, only make it even worse.
Spock silently walks down the corridor.
Boyce told him to leave, he remembers, as soon as Pike’s behavior became so poor that the man began drinking before five pm.
“Leave him, Spock,” he said, after witnessing one of his first vents.
“He needs me”
“Yeah, he does. But you need to be okay, too. And you aren’t”
“I am functioning”
“Oh, really? What about the weight you lost recently? And those dark bags under your eyes? You seem to be far from fine”
“I never said I was fine. I stated that I was functioning”
“Don’t be a smartass with me, kid. You aren’t fine, nor functioning for that matter. Far from it. You’ve not grieved your mother’s loss, the pain of so many broken bonds is tearing you apart from the inside, and I bet it’s also causing you pretty bad headaches. Not to talk about the nightmares. And I’d also bet that Chris hasn’t noticed any of this, uh?”
Spock had stared in surprise.
Boyce had sighed.
“I’m a doctor, kid, don’t look at me that way. I can see a person in need of help when I see one”
“Vulcans do not dream, nor physically suffer in the same way Humans do”
“Spock, please, don’t make a fool of yourself in front of me. You can repeat that all you want, it won’t change the truth: you’re gonna hurt yourself pretty bad”
“I am helping Christopher”
“Oh, yeah? And tell me, who’s gonna help you when you won’t be able to bear all this anymore?”
Spock had not answered, and from that day on, he had avoided meeting Boyce as much as he could. Because the doctor was right, and the Vulcan knows it. He knows it is a downward spiral, and Spock has to do something before it’s too late. But he can’t. He doesn’t have the necessary strenght.
By now, he only sees Boyce once a month, during his inevitable check up. They don’t talk, not really. In the beginning, Boyce had tried to resume that conversation once again, but Spock had been tight lipped. By now, all the doctor does is minutely shake his head and throw him worried glances whenever he thinks the Vulcan isn’t looking.
The same goes for Jim and Leonard.
They are good friends, so obviously the first time they were scheduled for shore leave not far from Earth, they had taken a shuttle to meet Spock and Pike and stay over for a couple of days. What they had seen had shocked both of them. The Vulcan was pale as a sheet and his arms were so thin they could count all the bones and the veins under his skin. He seemed ill, but assured them that he really wasn’t. The sweater he was wearing was at least four sizes too big.
Pike, also, wasn’t the fatherly figure Jim had met years before. He was bitter and his sarcasm was sharp. His bad mood never left him; instead, it worsened as soon as he opened the first beer. He had no kind words for Spock, no matter how much the Vulcan tried to do his best – and really, what he was doing was remarkable.
During the two days they had been there, Spock had cooked, cleaned and worked all the time. When he wasn’t working at the academy, he was doing it at home. He’d been a polite host, refusing any kind of help from his two worried colleagues, only to almost pass out twice in a single evening. Leonard had to give him a couple of hypos. He’d eaten so little Jim had worried about him having developed a form of anorexia.
The morning their shuttle was due to leave, they had asked him if it was always this bad and had begged him to ask for help.
“It is not as bad as it looks”
“It is not”
“Spock, why don’t you ask Boyce for help?”
“I do not need help”
“You stubborn Vulcan, you haven’t slept more than four hours a night, probably even less. You totally need some help”
“I do not. Your shuttle will leave soon. Please go”
That had been one of the last real conversations they had had.
Both Kirk and McCoy had sent him subspace messages and called as often as possible, but Spock had acted like nothing unusual was going on. As the months passed, the conversation had become less frequent, the questions less pressing – but the worried lines on their faces, those had remained just the same – to the point when, now, they only talk about the ship’s business and the new First officer – a dick, in both of their opinions – while Spock just listens and sometimes makes a comment. More often than not, he falls asleep mid-conversation.
So, today, when he turns the key in the lock and opens the door, he’s greeted by the usual pang of pain in his head and a still drunk Christopher, he’s met by a messy house and more housework waiting for him. As it’s happening more and more often, he doesn’t want to come in, but he can’t find the courage to just turn around and walk away for good, to tell Chris that it’s over, to just leave.
All he does, instead, is finally reach the guest room – which in the last couple of months had definitely become his own room – and lock himself inside. He closes the shades and lie on the small bed, clutching his pained head in his hands and crying silent tears. Wishing to find a strength he knows he doesn’t posses. Wishing he had not turned down all his friends’ offers of help.
Then he does something unusual. Spock grabs his PADD and sends Boyce a message.
“You were right. I wish to leave. Could you come here and help me move out?”
Maybe, today, is not just a day like any other.