Spock may have included too much detail in his description of how Jim would give birth. Chekov's eyes were wide with fright, and Sulu's face had scrunched up with disgust. Scotty, on the other hand, seemed to be calculating advanced physics in his head, judging by his intrigued-yet-thoughtful face.
"Perhaps we can transport the wee babe out!" Scotty announced suddenly. "It wouldn't take much to program the computer to extract all the bits, and we could cauterize the veins and all that nonsense at the same time." He frowned. "I think."
Not about to risk Jim's life to satisfy Scotty's curiosity, Spock shook his head. "While I am certain the Captain appreciates your curiosity, I believe surgery will be a simpler method of removing the fetus."
Scotty shrugged. "Suit yourself." He patted his stomach. "All this discussion of stomachs has mine grumbling. Any of ye want to join me for a sandwich?"
Chekov paled. "I do not think so."
"We need to tell the crew about the Captain's pregnancy." Sulu stood, then helped Chekov up. The boy wobbled, unsteady on his feet. "Though I think we'll make a pit stop at sickbay first."
"More sandwiches for me." Scotty gathered his padds and followed Sulu and Chekov out the door.
Spock and Nyota were left alone.
He cleared his throat. "I apologize if this conversation made you feel uncomfortable or—"
She narrowed her eyes. "I'll tell you what made me uncomfortable—finding out that you still haven't told Kirk that you weren't drugged."
Spock bowed his head. He didn't know how she had learned that he had kept it a secret, but she was correct. His behavior was disgraceful. "I confessed to Jim two days ago. He offered me forgiveness."
"If I didn't know any better, I'd claim you were lying. How could he forgive you so easily?"
He had asked himself the same question repeatedly. "His kindness is undeserved, but I am grateful for it. He is allowing me to be a part of the child's life."
"Huh." Nyota leaned forward. Propping her elbows on the table, she clasped her hands and leaned her chin on them. "Guess his daddy complex is working overtime right now."
"I do not understand all of his motivations, but he has not filed the paperwork negating parental rights. I am to be a full parent to the child."
At least, he was at the moment. Jim still had the paperwork in his possession, and should either of them change their mind, he could file it in mere seconds. To have his child ripped away would wound Spock. The mere thought made his heart clench with a pain he had not felt since his mother's death.
Nyota sighed deeply, her shoulders drooping. "Maybe this was meant to be. You're so good with kids, and well, you know how I feel."
He did know. After he proposed bonding, children had naturally entered the conversation. She had confessed that she loved kids, but she didn't want them until she had accomplished certain goals in her life, such as attaining the rank of admiral and translating a dozen new languages into Standard. At the time, Spock had despaired of ever having children, as her goals had seemed so immense and lofty as to be unachievable. Certainly they would take her twenty or thirty more years, during which time her body would age and become unable to conceive naturally. Even with medical intervention, a fifty year old Human could not easily birth a child.
He had locked such thoughts away at the time, as her life and her body were her own, and she deserved to be able to make such decisions herself.
While not one to believe in fate or destiny, Spock appreciated the fortuitousness of Jim's pregnancy.
"Though, I wonder what kind of a father Kirk will be."
"He is an admirable captain and a kind friend. He will indubitably become a good father."
She snorted. "If you say so. Seems to me that if you can't follow rules, you can't make someone else follow them either."
"Captain Kirk adequately enforces the rules aboard the Enterprise. Crewmen who cannot follow the rules are fairly disciplined in accordance with their infractions."
She held up her hands in a placating gesture. "Alright, I get it." She smiled, but the edges of her mouth drooped. "I'm finally starting to get it."
"What is it that you 'get'?"
"Why didn't you tell him you weren't drugged?"
The Human habit of answering a question with a question frustrated Spock. "I did not wish to explain to my commanding officer that I had raped him."
"Wrong?" Spock was the only person who could correctly answer the question she had posed. Claiming his truthful answer was incorrect was preposterous.
"If Jim were only your commanding officer, you would have told him as soon as he regained consciousness. You didn't tell him because he is your friend."
Spock considered her statement. "There may be some logic to your thoughts."
She rolled her eyes. "And you didn't tell him because you love him."
Spock's heart sped up in his chest. "I am Vulcan. I do not experience love."
"Tell that to your dad."
I married your mother because I loved her, Sarek had once said.
Spock's feelings for Jim were not love though. He merely wished to spend time with Jim and care for him. They were friends; such urges were reasonable.
Reaching across the table, Nyota clasped his hands in her own. “When I hold your hands, how do you feel?”
Spock sensed through their contact that she was sad, frustrated, and slightly amused. He could easily read the thoughts floating at the forefront of her mind. Why do I have to help these numbskulls get together? she thought-grumbled.
He pulled his hands from hers. “It is improper for me to touch you in this way.”
“Why?” She tried to hold his hands again, but he tucked them beneath the table. “It doesn’t bother me at all. It’s what I’d do if I were trying to soothe any of my friends.”
He squeezed his hands together under the table. “It is too… intimate.” He had no right to delve into her mind. A Vulcan shared their mind freely with their bondmate and none other.
“When was the last time you held Jim’s hand?”
“Two days, three hours, and twenty-four minutes ago.” He would forever remember the first time he sensed his son’s mind.
The corners of Nyota’s mouth tilted upwards. “And did you pull away from his touch?”
“…No.” He had been too focused on the fetus.
Her slight smile grew. “Didn’t it feel too intimate?”
It should have felt intimate. He had pressed his hand to his friend’s stomach, felt his excitement and amazement, and sensed their son growing beneath their joined hands. It was intimate, but it felt right.
“I do not love him,” Spock said at last.
Reasons slipped through Spock’s mind faster than he could pin them down. He could not love Jim because he was male. Except Spock had always been equally attracted to men and women. He could not love Jim because he had to help the Vulcan species repopulate. Yet Jim had already helped him do that. He could not love Jim because his father would not approve. His father had not approved of Nyota, and he had planned to bond with her anyway. Every excuse he considered he was quickly able to refute.
Except one. Spock could not love Jim because Jim did not love Spock.
He knew Jim. His captain was a brash, bold, and beautiful man. He was also uninterested in maintaining a steady relationship with anyone except the Enterprise. Jim had confessed as much to him one night when they were discussing Jim’s new yeoman and her crush on him. He had claimed that so long as he remained captain, he had no interest in being with any of his crew.
“He is the captain. He cannot be with a subordinate without risking his position.”
“And yet, he’s already been with you.” Nyota stood and walked around the table to take a seat beside him. He could tell she wanted to touch him again, but she refrained. “Think about it. He’s already risked his career for your baby. What makes you think he wouldn’t risk it for you?”
“I do not love him.” Spock pushed away from the table and stood. “He is my friend.”
“And you are his.” She stood and clasped him by the shoulders, forcing him to look down at her. “Think about it. He forgave you for taking advantage of him. He wants you to be the father of his child. He loves you.”
Spock wanted to believe her words, but he could not. He had studied the romantic gestures of Humans while he was dating Nyota. Jim had never sent him presents or attempted to kiss him. Even after they copulated, Jim had continued to respect his personal space. They had not eaten any romantic dinners together. They had not stared at the stars, a sunset, or any similar astrological event while holding hands. Simply put, there were no indicators in Jim’s behavior that he felt anything for Spock aside from friendship.
He shook off Nyota’s grip. “I am terminating this conversation. I must attend to my duties.”
She looked up at the ceiling and let out a huff of air. “Alright.” She brought her gaze back to his face. “Go. But don’t be an idiot. When you realize you’re in love, tell him.” She turned to leave, but he heard her mumble, “Men and their emotions.”
Spock remained in the conference room after she left. He attempted to center himself. The emotions broiling inside him made that difficult. He wasn’t even sure what to call some of the feelings she had evoked. He labeled the ones he recognized, tucking them away in his mind where they belonged. Anxiety, anger, desire, fear, frustration, loneliness, and hope were all put away in their separate spaces.
Never before had Spock felt so many emotions at the same time. And yet, there was still one last feeling inside of him. He had no name for it, but when he thought of Jim, that emotion screamed out at him with both pain and pleasure.
The feeling was too much for him to handle. Grabbing hold of it tightly, he forced it to leave his mind. Taking long, deep breaths, he calmed his heart rate. As his body entered a more restful state, so did his mind.
He focused on what he needed to do. Jim was expecting him.
Spock made his way to sickbay, stopping along the way to deal with a few problems and accept the congratulations of crew members who had already heard about the child. He accepted their well-wishes as gracefully and quickly as he could.
At last, he made it to sickbay. He entered the intensive care room and found Jim in the midst of a conversation.
“Pike, I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance to tell you…” Jim struggled to sit up in the bed. Spock stepped to his side and assisted him, conscious of their commanding officer frowning at them from the nearest display.
“Didn’t have a chance?” Admiral Pike’s lips thinned. “You’ve had almost eighteen weeks to deal with this. How hard is it to comm someone?”
Jim glanced down. He fiddled with his sheet, pulling it up so it covered his stomach. “I wanted to tell you face to face, and I just… never got around to it.”
Pike sighed. He leaned forward, his face filling the screen. “I’m not angry, Jim.”
Jim looked up, his eyes wide. “You aren’t?”
“No.” He rubbed the bridge of his nose. “I just don’t understand why you didn’t come to me. Number One and I have been together for almost five years now; I’m the last person who would be upset about a captain and a first officer falling in love.”
Spock swallowed hard, his mouth dry. “We are not in love.”
Jim’s hands clenched on his sheet. “It was kind of a do-or-die situation.”
“But I thought Vulcans…” Pike glanced back and forth between them. “Huh.”
They all froze for a long moment before Pike cleared his throat.
“Well, regardless of your relationship status, congratulations on the baby. And on convincing Command that you should stay on the Enterprise.”
Spock bowed his head in acceptance. He held much respect for Pike, and though illogical, he appreciated his blessing.
Jim smiled and lowered his sheet. “Thanks.”
Pike’s face softened into a smile. “So you really are pregnant. Crazy.”
“Exactly.” Jim rubbed his stomach gently. “No one’s going to believe this until they see the kid.”
“Now that you mention it…” Pike smirked. “It’d be like you to try such a crazy prank. I know Spock wouldn’t let you though.”
“Nope.” Jim glanced up at Spock, his face alight with mirth. “Spock keeps me on the straight and narrow.” He grabbed Spock’s hand and squeezed it. “Right, Spock?”
Through their connection, Spock could feel Jim’s amusement and relief. He nodded absentmindedly in response to Jim’s question, his consciousness focused on the feel of Jim’s hand in his.
Touching Jim didn’t feel uncomfortable. He relished the intimacy of knowing Jim’s thoughts.
Jim and Pike continued to converse. Spock attempted the follow the exchange, but he kept focusing his attention on their clasped hands. When Jim at last withdrew his hand in order to make a gesture, Spock expected to feel relief.
Instead he felt bereft. He wanted to hold Jim’s hand again. He craved the soft brush of Jim’s mind against his own. He wanted to have that connection forever.
He wanted to bond with Jim.
The thought shot through him like a lightning bolt. He wanted to bond with Jim. He wanted to marry Jim. He wanted to have everything with Jim because Jim was his everything.
Spock took a deep breath and interrupted the other men’s conversation. “I must go. I need to contact my father before he learns of the child from someone else.”
Jim winced. “Is he going to be okay with the baby?”
“The fetus is Vuhlkansu. He will be pleased.” Spock raised his hand in the ta’al. “Live long and prosper, Admiral.”
Pike responded with a nod. “Take care of yourself, Spock.”
Having said his farewells, Spock fled the room. He headed for his own cabin. Once there, he turned on his display and sent a comm request to his father. It was late evening on New Vulcan. His father was presumably at home, meditating.
As Spock had predicted, Sarek accepted the comm link. He appeared onscreen. Though he was seated in his office, his mediation robe was draped over his shoulders. “Spock. Why have you contacted me at such an hour?”
“I wished to inform you of the situation at hand.” Spock forced himself to appear calm, even though his heart was racing. “Seventeen weeks and five days ago I impregnated my captain.”
Sarek’s gaze sharpened. “Continue.”
“We were being held hostage by hostile aliens. They dosed Captain Kirk with a fertility drug that threatened to injure or kill him. I chose to copulate with him in order to negate the effects of the drug.”
Sarek raised his eyebrows. “This is why you and your sworn one broke ties?”
“We did not terminate our association due to that event.” At least, they had not dissolved their engagement solely because of that event. “Nyota and I are mentally incompatible.”
“You are obviously compatible with your captain.” Sarek tilted his head to the side, studying Spock. “Will you bond with him?”
In his father’s gaze, Spock sensed no judgment. Since Amanda’s death, they had come to respect each other more. Yet, he could not bring himself to speak of his emotions. “I do not believe so.”
Sarek frowned. Spock was shocked to see his father betray such strong emotion. “The child is Vuhlkansu. You will care for it.”
“Of course. His birth shall be celebrated.”
“Then you should bond with James Kirk.”
Spock did not understand. Surely his father would consider their union illogical? Jim could produce no further children. “There is no need to bond. We will share parental rights and responsibilities.”
“A Vulcan child develops best in a household with two parents. You and Kirk collaborate well, and you are compatible. Bonding is logical.” Sarek settled back in his seat. “But the decision is not mine to make. I shall simply offer my approval, should you decide to bond.”
Logical and yet illogical. That seemed to be the definition of anything that concerned James T. Kirk.
Spock inclined his head. “I will consider your recommendation.”
“Very well.” Sarek held up the ta’al. “Peace and long life to you and your offspring.” He lowered his hand. “If your mother were here, I believe she would add ‘Congratulations’.”
His throat suddenly tight, Spock murmured his farewell and ended the comm.
If his mother were still alive, he could have gone to her to discuss the feelings that were flooding through him. She would have told him to follow his heart, as she often had. Spock didn’t want to follow his heart though.
He did not want to love Jim. Not if Jim did not love him in return.
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