In the middle of a routine survey of the engineering bay, Spock was startled when a nearby comm squawked, “Kirk to Spock!”
The captain had taken the day off, as Dr. McCoy wanted to give him a full work-up. Why was he comming Spock in the middle of his shift? Was something wrong with the embryo?
He pressed the response button. “Spock here.”
“Hey, can you meet me in my rooms?”
“Certainly.” What could Jim want him for? His appointment wasn’t scheduled for another twenty-three minutes. “I’ll be there in five point three minutes.”
Jim chuckled, but it sounded forced. “No rush. Take your time.”
Disregarding his assurances, Spock quickly finalized the analysis he was running and informed the engineering overseer that he would return when possible. Then he made his way to Jim’s quarters, arriving in exactly five point three minutes.
Jim opened the door as soon as he buzzed. “Come in.” He stepped out of the doorway to let Spock pass, then shut the door.
“What is wrong?”
Jim ran a hand through his hair, then let out a puff of breath. “You’re gonna think I’m an idiot…” He shook his head. “I think I’m an idiot.”
“Will you come with me to see Bones?” He sighed. “That sounded stupid. Why would you come with me? Bones is my best friend, after all. It’s not like I need moral support to go see my friend.”
He leaned against the door. “Bones says we’ll be able to see the baby’s heartbeat today. Maybe even hear it.”
Jim seemed distressed. Why would such an occasion upset him? Perhaps it was because knowing the embryo had a heartbeat made the pregnancy tangible. “You are only in the eighth week of pregnancy, according to Human measurements. Termination is still an option.” Spock would regret the loss of the part-Vulcan child, but the decision was not his to make. It was not his life at risk.
“No!” Jim shook his head violently. “No, I want this baby. That’s why…” He looked away.
Spock waited for Jim to continue, but he seemed unable to find the words to explain his thoughts. With a thought to his mother’s soothing techniques, he reached out and placed his hand on Jim’s shoulder.
Jim looked up at him, his bright blue eyes dark with worry. “What if there isn’t a heartbeat?” he whispered.
This was a fear Spock could alleviate. “The embryo’s heartbeat typically appears at twenty-two days post-conception. Dr. McCoy has presumably been monitoring it for weeks, but the embryo has only now gotten large enough for the heartbeat to be depicted on the scans.”
“Do you really think so?”
Spock nodded. “I will accompany you if you desire.”
Jim nodded quickly. “Yes. Definitely. I mean, Bones will be there, but you’re my best friend too. I want you both there.”
Best friend. Spock felt like he had waited for years to hear those words, and yet it had only been two weeks since he said them himself.
Smiling, Jim added, “And you’re the baby’s dad. You should be there.”
Spock removed his hand from Jim’s shoulder. “I am only a genetic donor.” The papers he had signed made that very clear.
Jim’s smile dimmed. “Right.” He turned away and opened the door. “We’re going to be late.”
Why did that upset Jim? He had requested Spock sign the papers. Spock would gladly have claimed the child and offered support as he grew.
Human women were prone to mood swings during pregnancy. Perhaps Jim’s wild fluctuations in temperament could be attributed to hormone changes.
In sickbay, Dr. McCoy ushered them into a private area usually reserved for intensive care patients. There were none at the moment, but Jim eyed the biobed with distrust. Spock imagined his wariness was due to McCoy’s prediction that he would be on bed rest by twenty weeks.
“Lay down.” McCoy pulled a portable scanner beside the bed as Jim climbed into it. “Let’s see what this little man looks like.”
Though current medical advances made it possible to see the embryo from the moment of fertilization, McCoy had decided to avoid using the stronger scanners until the pregnancy was firmly entrenched. Neither he nor M’Benga knew if the small amounts of radiation used in the scans would adversely affect the embryo due to his Vulcan heritage and unique conception. So far, the only images they had seen were of the embryonic sac.
McCoy assessed Jim first. “Well, your blood pressure is up a little. We’re going to have to keep an eye on that. You need to try to avoid high-cholesterol foods. Eat lots of protein, but try to cut your meat consumption back to one meal a day.”
Jim nodded. “Can do. I’ve been a bit queasy lately, so I haven’t been eating much meat anyway.”
McCoy raised his eyebrows but continued. “You’ve gained six point three pounds, which is right on target.” He frowned. “You’re low on potassium. Are you drinking the electrolyte drinks I formulated?”
“Nope… they taste like shit and make me vomit.”
“Well, at least he’s honest,” McCoy muttered. “I’ll try to make them taste better, but if you can’t keep them down, we’ll have to start administering them intravenously.”
“I’ll keep them down.”
“Good.” McCoy fiddled with a handheld scanner, then ran it over Jim’s hands and feet. “How are your feet feeling?”
Jim groaned. “Horrible. I’ve been considering making shoes optional, since mine hurt so bad.”
McCoy unfastened Jim’s regulation boots and pulled them off. He tugged off his socks next. Spock could smell his feet from his position near the head of the biobed, but he was more concerned about the dark red compression lines on them.
“I can’t believe you’ve been wearing these! You need to request some larger shoes from the quartermaster as soon as you leave here.” McCoy clicked his tongue. “You’ve got a lot of edema. Your feet shouldn’t be this swollen yet.”
Potential causes for the edema flickered through Spock’s mind. Blood clot, preeclampsia, kidney problems… “Is there reason for concern?”
Jim smiled up at him. “That’s just what I was going to ask.”
McCoy shook his head. “No. I’m guessing that it’s probably because the baby is growing higher up in your abdomen than normal, it’s compressing some of the blood vessels. As long as we keep an eye on it, you should be fine.”
Jim prodded his stomach. “Where is the little booger?”
McCoy tapped his finger three inches above Jim’s belly button. “Right about there. You’ll probably start showing in another week or two.” He poked Jim lightly. “You’re already a bit pudgy.”
“Showing?” Jim swatted McCoy’s hand away. “None of the women I know showed till they were three or four months along!”
“Yes, because they were women who had uteruses keeping the baby down in their pelvis. You are going to start developing a strange lump on your abdomen that will hopefully grow down and not out.”
Jim made a face. “I’m going to be ugly.”
“I warned you. Men don’t get pregnant for good reasons.” McCoy grabbed the scanner and wheeled it closer until it extended over Jim’s stomach. “Now let’s start the scan.”
A few seconds after McCoy situated the scanner, an image appeared on the biobed’s monitor. He muttered to himself as he calibrated the machine. The image slowly zoomed in and focused on a blob. McCoy pressed one more button and the image cleared up.
The embryo appeared on the screen, rendered in three dimensions.
Jim wrinkled his nose. “It looks like a bean with arms and legs.”
McCoy swatted his knee. “He’s adorable.”
Spock disagreed with McCoy, but he did find the embryo quite fascinating. His little arms and legs were waving slowly. If it weren’t for the fact that Spock knew he hadn’t developed eyelids yet, he’d say the embryo was looking at him.
“He’s a little small,” McCoy said. “But that’s to be expected with the Vulcan genes.” He poked around on his machine. “I don’t detect any physical abnormalities.”
“And the heartbeat?” Jim locked gazes with Spock.
“Nice and strong at one hundred and twenty-two beats per minute.” McCoy fiddled with a few buttons, and the fetus’s skin on the screen turned translucent. They all watched the heart flutter for a while.
“Well, I’ll be damned.” McCoy sighed. “It really is a baby hobgoblin.”
Jim grinned. “He’s got your heart, Spock.”
Spock stared at the beating heart situated under the embryo’s right lung, and his own heart throbbed.
That was his child. His flesh and blood. And Spock had signed him and his Vulcan heart away.
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