The Romulans attacked at 1600. The alert that Jim was being prepped for delivery arrived on the bridge at 1601.
Spock may have gotten slightly upset when the ensign manning communications informed him. The wide eyed stares of the other crew on the bridge and the tears welling up in the ensign’s eyes made it obvious that shouting his response was inappropriate. However, there were two Romulan warbirds shooting across their bow and his t’hy’la was having their baby without him. Even Sarek would not scold him for showing his emotions. Well, he wouldn’t scold him much.
Focusing his attention on the task at hand, Spock called for reports.
“Damages on decks nine and ten. They’re minor, but the hull has been weakened.”
“No injuries have been reported.”
“Shields are up. Weapons are charged and ready.”
Spock took a seat in the captain’s chair. Grasping the armrests, he fixed his gaze on the Romulan ships. “Disable their engines.”
Two torpedoes smacked into the other ships. The recoil rocked the Enterprise.
“Their shields are holding.”
“Fire again.” Spock tightened his grip. “Follow with phasers.”
Just as they released two more torpedoes, the Romulans fired on them. Enterprise trembled beneath the weapons fire, throwing people into their control panels and to the ground. Spock braced himself against the armrests and managed to stay in his seat. “Report!”
“Our shields are holding. The Romulan ships took no damage, but the shields of the warbird off our port side are failing.”
“Focus our next volley on the port warbird.” He took a deep breath and kept his grip on the armrests tight.
He wanted to race down to sickbay to be with Jim, but he couldn’t leave the bridge. They had been following these rogue Romulans for two weeks now. They needed answers as to why they had traveled past the Neutral Zone. Admiral Barnett had been against the mission from the beginning, but Jim and Spock had declared that they could still handle the tough stuff. Barnett had reluctantly agreed, as he had no choice. No other Starfleet ship capable of holding its ground in a fight against Romulan warbirds was available.
Thanks to Admiral Pike’s support and Barnett’s ability to turn the baby into positive press, the rest of the council had agreed to let them remain in command. Spock believed that Sarek had probably intervened with some of the more hesitant council members in order to ensure unanimous support. If Spock screwed up their first assignment since the decision was made, he and Jim would be removed from the Enterprise and the reputations of those who supported them would be put in doubt.
So he remained on the bridge throughout the hour-long battle. Then he assisted Security in arresting the captains of the Romulan vessels and interrogating them. When they learned that the Romulans were working without the approval of the Romulan government, Spock wrote up a quick report and sent it off to command. They would contact the Romulan government to determine how to deal with these rogues.
The most important aspects of their mission complete, he checked in with Scotty to make sure that repairs were underway, helped fix a bulkhead that had been destroyed in the fight, and made his way to sickbay where he ascertained that no crew members had been severely injured during the battle.
At 2138, over five and a half hours after he learned Jim was being prepared for surgery, Spock entered the intensive care ward.
Jim was asleep. Spock crept to his bedside. He looked the same as he had before, minus the large belly. He knew that McCoy had planned to remove all traces of the baby during the surgery. Since Jim’s stomach was now nearly flat, Spock assumed he had been able to do so.
A tiny mewling sound grabbed Spock’s attention. He noticed the artificial womb that had been placed on the other side of Jim’s bed. He crossed to it and peered inside.
A miniscule infant lay in the middle of a large white pad. An artificial umbilical cord had been attached to his stomach. The majority of the oxygen and nutrients he needed would be transported into his body through the cord, but his chest was rising and falling as he breathed on his own. The mewling sound came again, and Spock realized it was the baby’s cry.
Gloves were built into the womb so that they could touch him without introducing pathogens to the sterile environment. Spock slipped his hand into a glove. He stroked the baby’s tiny pointed ear. He turned his head towards Spock’s finger, his lips searching for something to nurse on. He had the beginnings of a rooting reflex—a good sign that he would do well on his own.
The baby’s tiny lips grasped the tip of Spock’s finger. He suckled for almost thirty seconds before pulling away when he realized no milk would be forthcoming. The tiny face crumpled. He opened his mouth wide and let out a loud mewl.
Jim’s eyes opened. “Baby?” He looked to the side. “Spock!”
“I am here.” Spock shifted closer to the biobed.
Jim smiled. “Did you see our baby?” His gaze fell to the artificial womb.
Spock nodded. “He is very small.”
“Too small.” Jim laid a hand on the side of the womb. “I haven’t even gotten to hold him yet. Bones woke me up after the surgery, but he was already in that thing.” His hand trembled as he caressed the glass.
Spock withdrew his hand from the glove. With both of his hands, he clasped Jim’s trembling one. “Have your health issues been resolved?”
Jim shrugged. “I don’t know. I wasn’t awake for very long before, but Bones did say I’ve fucked up my blood pressure for the rest of my life.”
Spock squeezed Jim’s hand. He didn’t appear upset, but Spock could feel his overwhelming anxiety pouring through their connection. “Dr. McCoy will certainly be able to treat something as simple as high blood pressure.”
“I’ll probably never be allowed to eat a bacon cheeseburger.”
“Is that such a bad thing?” Spock quirked an eyebrow, and Jim burst out laughing.
“Ouch!” He tugged his hand away from Spock and pressed it to his stomach. “Don’t make me laugh, I’m too sore!”
The baby mewled again.
Jim’s attention moved immediately to the infant. He straightened up, the pain disregarded in favor of studying the baby. “Hey little guy.” He scooted to the edge of the bed. “What’s wrong?”
“Perhaps he is hungry.”
“I would be.” Jim pressed both hands to the womb. “I wish I could take you out, little buddy, but we have to wait for Uncle Bones.” He pushed the page button on the womb’s control panel.
McCoy bustled into the room so quickly Spock wondered if he’d been waiting outside the door. “What’s wrong?”
“He’s crying.” Jim stuck out his lower lip. “I know he’s supposed to get all his nutrients from the artificial umbilical cord, but I think he’s hungry.”
McCoy shook his head. “I’ll bet he heard your voices and wants to know what’s going on.” He began to unlatch the womb. “Go wash up in the sonic sanitizer and you can hold him for a few minutes.”
Spock helped Jim climb out of the biobed. Every movement made Jim cringe from the pain in his abdomen. He hobbled over to the sanitizer. Spock waited while the sanitizer ran through its cycle, then he took a turn in it while Jim made his way to the biobed.
When he emerged, Jim was back in bed. McCoy carefully settled the baby into his arms. Jim held the baby’s head in one hand, and his feet just barely reached the elbow of that arm. “He’s so tiny,” Jim murmured.
“He’s twelve inches long and weighs one pound, nine ounces.” McCoy tucked his blanket around him more securely. “He’s actually a big boy for his age.”
Jim trailed a finger over one of the baby’s ears. “He looks like you, Spock.” He peeked under the blanket covering most of his head. “His hair’s dark like yours.”
“Vulcan traits are dominant.” Still, Spock was surprised that his son’s skin bore the same green tone as his own. He knew the baby’s heart was Vulcan, but he had assumed his blood would be Human. Studying the infant, he could not find any trace of Jim in him.
McCoy cleared his throat. “I’m going to dim the lights to reduce the environmental stimulation.” He lowered the lights by fifty percent. “His nervous system is underdeveloped. It’s very easy to overstimulate it.”
Jim nodded slowly, distracted by the baby in his arms. “How long can I hold him?”
“I’d like to give you time to bond with him, but he can’t be out of the womb for more than ten minutes.” McCoy headed for the door. “I’ll be back to tuck in him then. If anything happens, page me.” He slipped out of the room.
Spock appreciated the privacy. He approached the biobed.
Jim looked up at him. “Spock, this is our baby.” He tugged the blanket away from the baby’s minute hand. “Baby, meet Spock.”
Spock touched the tiny palm with his fingertip. The baby was too small to grasp his finger, but his hand curled into the touch. The skin to skin contact allowed Spock to sense the baby’s utter serenity. "I would offer him the traditional birth-greeting, but I do not know what name you have chosen for him.”
“I haven’t picked one. I thought you might want to help.” Jim caressed that tiny ear. “I was thinking of Human names, but he looks so Vulcan.”
Spock shook his head. “He will have your eyes.”
“How can you tell?” Jim’s finger trailed along the side of his face. “They won’t open for another month.”
Spock had no logical reason for believing the baby would inherit Jim’s brilliant blue eyes. In truth, it was merely his wish that the infant bear some resemblance to his t’hy’la. “He is more Human than Vulcan. I hope that he will want to know more about his Vulcan heritage, but I have no wish to deprive him of his Human one.”
“In that case…” Jim grasped Spock’s hand, gently clasping the baby’s hand between theirs. “How about Grayson?”
Spock’s mother’s maiden name. “It is perfect. Keshtan ne’shau stukhtra, Grayson. Welcome to the universe.”
Through their joined hands, Spock could feel Jim’s happiness and Grayson’s contentment. There was nothing wrong about the touch, about the intimacy that they were sharing. In fact, Spock craved a deeper connection.
He made eye contact with Jim. He wanted this moment to last forever. He wanted to bond with his t’hy’la and to raise their son together.
He took a deep breath, then stroked Jim’s cheek with his free hand. “Jim.”
Jim’s eyes fluttered shut as he leaned into the touch. “Yes?”
“Parted from me and never parted. Never and always touching and touched. Will you form such a—”
The door of the room slid open. McCoy bustled in, a hypospray in one hand. “Sorry to interrupt, but it’s time to tuck in the little one.”
Jim pulled away from Spock’s hands. “So soon?”
So soon indeed. “By my calculations, it has only been seven point two minutes since you left the room.”
McCoy rolled his eyes. “Ten minutes was an estimate. His body temperature has dropped by half a degree. He needs to be in the warmth of the womb.” He set the hypospray on the edge of the bed and leaned down to take Grayson.
Jim reluctantly released him, and as McCoy lifted him, Spock lost contact with both of them. His hand clenched into a fist, missing their touch.
“Alright, little fella. Let’s get you settled.”
“His name is Grayson,” Jim said softly.
“Grayson Leon Kirk,” Spock added.
McCoy and Jim both looked at him with wide eyes. “Leon?” McCoy asked.
“The name is a derivative of Leonard. I assumed you knew that.”
McCoy snorted. “You named your goddamn kid after me and you continue to insult me.” He grumbled under his breath, but his movements as he lowered Grayson into the womb were even gentler than before.
Jim simply smiled at him. “Thank you.”
Spock hadn’t thought through the name before he announced it, but now that he had said it aloud, it sounded right. Though McCoy was by no means his favorite person, he was an exceptional physician and Jim’s friend. As Vulcans traditionally named their children after people who had honored them, it was a suitable middle name for his son. Not that Spock would explain his reasoning to McCoy.
Once McCoy had latched the womb, he grabbed up the hypospray. “Time for you to hit the hay too, Jim. For the next few weeks, I want you sleeping a minimum of twelve hours a day—even if I have to drug you to get you to do it.”
Jim held up his hands. “You won’t get any arguments from me. I feel like I got hit by a shuttlepod.”
“Agreeing with me isn’t going to keep you from getting hypoed.” McCoy depressed the hypospray in Jim’s neck.
“Did you have to give me the strong stuff?” Jim yawned.
“Yep. Night, Jim.” McCoy headed for the door. “I’ll check on you in a while. Goodnight, Spock.”
By the time the door slid shut behind McCoy, Jim’s eyelids were drooping. Spock wanted to begin his proposal again, but now was not the time. Holding back a sigh, Spock rested his hand against Jim’s cheek. “Goodnight, t’hy’la.”
Jim’s sleepy smile was interrupted by a yawn. “Oh! Night, Spock.”
Spock waited until Jim’s eyes closed and his breathing evened out before he pulled his hand away. He checked on Grayson, using the glove to stroke his back for a few minutes. Finally, he reduced the lights to twenty percent and slipped out of the room.
He knew what he wanted now. He wanted Jim and Grayson, and as soon as he had a chance to be alone with Jim again, he would ask him to bond.
Before that though, he would take the time to prepare the paperwork for Starfleet regarding the change in their relationship. They’d been forgiven for going around the regulations once; Command wouldn’t be so easy to persuade a second time.
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