The Best Intentions
He looked into the eager, hopeful faces of his closest friends, and hated what he had to say. He started to look down, but stopped himself, facing them head on. He was their doctor. He owed them that much. "I'm sorry," he said, unable to keep the heavy disappointment out of his own voice.
Jim seemed to physically shrink - he drew in on himself, and lowered his head. Spock also seemed stricken. He frowned - a full, unabashed, actual expression - and drew closer to Jim. After several moments of silence, Spock managed to put on that outward facade of calm again. Even though his expression was back to normal, when he spoke, he voice cracked ever so slightly. "Could the technology be at fault?"
"Anything's possible, Spock," he said. "But..." He hesitated, but forced himself to present the truth. "It's worked with pairs of two Vulcan males, two Human males, and a Vulcan/Human pair. It's taken a few tries in some cases, and with the Vulcan/Human pair, it took several. But the two of you are unique." He saw the subtle shift in Spock's posture - so subtle it was hardly noticeable, except for the fact that he seemed to be just a little bit smaller than he had a few seconds before. He hated it. Hated to see Spock slowly crumbling under the weight of his mixed heritage, his "responsibility" to procreate, and his overpowering desire to create life with the man he loved. Hated to be the one delivering the news that Spock's dual-species DNA might be the cause of the problem.
Jim took hold of Spock's arm and drew him close, squeezing him tightly enough that it would have hurt a human being. His knuckles whitened with the force of his grip. "Maybe if we used a surrogate?" Jim asked, his own voice slightly hoarse and tired. "Maybe Nyota would-"
"It is my understanding that it is not your body that is to blame, Jim," Spock said. "It is the difficulty of splicing Human DNA with half-Vulcan, half-Human DNA that is detrimental to embryo viability."
Jim looked absolutely heartbroken. He looked at Leonard. "Bones?"
"He's right, Jim. The technology that Amba... Elder Surek developed is functioning perfectly. As you know, it's not exactly the same as a natural uterus, but it's as close as you can come to one. The only way involving a female carrier would help would be if we used her egg in the process."
"Would that not still carry the same complications that we currently face if I were to provide the male contribution to the embryo?"
"It would be one less step, Spock," the doctor replied. "But to be honest, the process of adjusting two male contributions to make a viable embryo has been around for some time now. That's the easy part, and Surek has provided the means for us to allow men to carry a child to term. The problem for us is, we haven't had much success getting past the pronucleus stage. We need fully functional, automatic replication for the fetus to grow, and I just... haven't had success so far."
"But we were able to seed the fourth time," Jim said. "Why-"
"Jim," Spock said softly. "You know why. The zygote was not strong enough to attach to the uterus." Jim sighed and lowered his head. Spock touched his shoulder and said, "I am not opposed to raising a child that is born of you and Nyota, Jim."
"But," Spock continued. "It will not satisfy my... desire to pass on my own genes."
"No," Jim said, with a shake of his head. "Maybe we can ask her as a last resort, but... I want this for us. We were close before, and I refuse to believe this is impossible. Let's try again, okay?" Spock nodded, but McCoy noticed that, although Jim seemed to have revived, Spock still had the withdrawn look he'd taken on a few moments ago. "When can we start?" Jim asked.
"Right now," Leonard said, putting on a smile. "Go on. Christine can prep you, and I'll be out in a few minutes."
"Thank you, Doctor."
McCoy just smiled and nodded. Two full years of serving together, and Spock hadn't once called him by his first name. And yet, when he wanted to, he could make "doctor" sound like the deepest term of endearment friendship could hope to express. It still amazed him, even after all this time, that they'd become so close. Hell, it amazed him that Spock had become close to anyone besides Lieutenant Uhura, but if life had taught him anything, it was the simple truth that life was damned strange, and there was no sense trying to figure it out.
"Don't worry, my love," Jim said in Vulcan as they walked out of the office. "It will work."
Spock's only response was a hand on Jim's shoulder. When the door hissed shut behind them, Leonard let out a heavy sigh and leaned against his desk. He shook his head and contemplated the two chairs where his patients had so recently sat, looking at him with hope and fear in their eyes. Seven times, he'd been in the same position - searching for the right words - the strength to disappoint them. How many more times would he have to watch their faces fall? How would Spock handle it, if it never worked. If he - a member of an endangered species - was ultimately unable to procreate? How long before one or both of them finally gave up, and they "settled" for a child that didn't involve Spock?
"Dammit!" he hissed. It wasn't right. They deserved this!
Then, it happened. The thought whispered itself to him so softly, he almost didn't acknowledge it. There were problems with it - humungous ones - but the thought was so quiet that he didn't even begin to think about resolving them. Yet the thought was there all the same, and he suddenly had the strength to stand up and walk out to start the withdrawal process again. This time, come hell or high water, it would work.
Jim stared at his hands and dared them to twist the hem of his black medical tunic once more. Get a grip, he thought to himself. You're a starship captain! You eat stress for breakfast! He allowed himself a smile at the idea of a bowl of Vintage Lucky Charms with only the letters S, T, R and E included. He sensed confusion at the edge of the constant undercurrent of worry he'd felt from Spock for the past three weeks.
"It's nothing," he said aloud, glancing up to give Spock a warm smile. Spock smiled back in his own way, and placed his hand on Jim's arm. "I have a good feeling about this," he said.
"I do not wish to cause you distress, Jim. But you have said that at each stage of each attempt we have made."
"But I've been right so far this time, haven't I? When I said the DNA was going to mesh, and when I said-"
"Yes, Jim, you have been correct," he said, letting his smile show just a little bit more. "We-" He paused, and Jim could tell he was listening.
A few seconds later, he heard Bones' footsteps coming toward the curtained area they occupied. Jim could feel a tension in his gut that was not unlike the feeling he got when he ordered phasers to be locked on target, and prepared to give the strike order. Except this time, he had absolutely no control over the results. He struggled to remain still, and he felt the slight tightening of Spock's grip on his shoulder.
Jim thought he might melt when Bones pushed the curtain back, and his face didn't have that somber, worried expression he'd grown so accustomed to seeing. Despite his confident words to Spock, he'd been shocked (pleasantly so) when the report came back that the fertilization had gone well, and cells were multiplying perfectly. Now that the embryo had been implanted for two weeks, Jim couldn't help but fear for the worst. They'd come this far only once before, and his hopes had been so high, only to be dashed against the rocks, like some kind of pathetic little piece of seaweed. He was almost afraid to believe the positive expression on the doctor's face.
A moment later, he was certain that he'd been right to be afraid. Bones' face grew serious almost immediately. He closed the curtain behind him, and faced them again. He looked down at his tricorder for a moment, then looked at them again with an infuriatingly neutral expression on his face. "Well, gentlemen. What would you like first? The good news or the bad news."
"Bad," Jim and Spock said together.
Bones chuckled slightly. "Peas in a pod," he muttered.
"I do not understand how Terran vegetation rela-"
"All right," Bones interrupted. "The bad news is, Jim's going to be in a very delicate physical state for a while. In fact, he's going to be very susceptible to stress for a while, and I may have to request that he be relieved of duty temporarily." Jim frowned slightly. He'd said almost the same thing when they'd miscarried four months ago. But he'd said this was the bad news, so... Almost at that very moment, he felt a strong sense of anxiety and happiness coming through his link with Spock. "The good news," Bones continued, "is that if everything goes well, in about thirty-seven weeks, we'll be introducing the Enterprise's very first on-board delivery."
Jim let out a whoop, and jumped off the bio-bed, directly into Spock's arms. Spock held him tight for a long, beautiful moment, before pulling him away and forcing him back down onto the bed. He smiled at Jim openly for a second - a look Kirk knew he would remember for the rest of his life. "You must not agitate yourself so much," he said - his voice sounding just as calm as if he weren't completely buzzing with joy on the inside.
Jim decided not to give him away, and not to fight him, either. He obediently lay back down on the bio-bed and grinned at his best friend. "Bones, I don't know what to say. Thank you!"
Bones laughed. "It wasn't my doing, Jim. I-"
"But it was, Doctor," Spock said. "Without your medical expertise, this would not have been possible. I thank you for your dedication."
"I think you just deposed Mr. Scott as the miracle worker on this ship."
Bones chuckled, and lowered his head shyly. "You don't know the half of it," he said softly. When he looked up at them again, his face was almost back to its usual serious expression. "I'm so happy for the both of you, I hope you know that. You've waited a long time for this, and... well, all I can say is I'm glad to see the two of you looking so happy."
"Thank you, Doctor," Spock said.
"Bones, you're the best. When can I see her? Is it a girl? Can we tell yet?"
"Well..." Bones cleared his throat. "I could run a test to find out the gender, but I think it might be best to wait in this situation. The both of you are very delicate right now, and I don't want to cause the baby any more stress than we have to."
Jim nodded his understanding. "I'll wait. What do I have to do now? How long do I have left before I have to give up command?"
"I know you aren't going to like this, Jim, but I think you need to give Spock command right now."
"The zygote has successfully attached to the artificial uterus, but for the next four weeks, I think you need to take it easy, to make sure that everything is going well. During your second trimester, you'll be a little bit less sensitive, since by then the baby will be more developed, and we will have resolved any potential issues with your body adjusting to the growth of the uterus. But once you hit that third trimester, I'm going to need to observe you very carefully. You're going to need to be off your feet, not working - you'll be especially susceptible to stress and physical exertion by then, and the danger of premature labor will be very high."
Jim sighed heavily and flopped back against the bed. "Wow. So, basically I'm out of commission for the whole thirty-six weeks?"
"You can return to duty after the first two months, but I would advise against full bridge duty shifts, Jim. Maybe you can catch up on some of those navigation journals you've been missing out on."
Jim groaned, and Spock placed a hand on his shoulder. "Jim, your safety is of paramount importance to me. While I do not relish the idea of taking command for so long, I can see no other alternative."
"I know," he said. "I'll be fine." Even as he said the words, he knew he was telling a bold-faced lie. He would be insane. He could feel his life for the next nine months stretching before him in an endless stream of reports, crew recommendations, technical journals, and restless longing to be sitting in his Chair. But the thought of the tiny life growing inside him, and the miraculous violation of the not-yet-invented Temporal Prime Directive by Ambassador Spock that made this possible at all, would make nine months of boredom seem one hundred percent worthwhile.
He spent the next few minutes listening to Bones give out sage advice about taking care of himself during the pregnancy. He tried his best to pay attention, but he was so excited that he could hardly force himself to focus on Bones' words. All he wanted to do was drag Spock back to their quarters and kiss him for the next two hours straight. He actually wanted to do more, but he knew that if Spock refused to let him stand up, he wasn't going to risk "agitating" him in that particular way at least until the baby was three months old. Oh, god, shoot me now.
"Are you listening to me, Jim?"
"Of course, Bones! Stress is my enemy, and you want me to take it easy and not do any of my usual shenanigans." Bones looked disgusted, but that was probably because Jim had already confessed to him that he had the wonderful ability to repeat the last thing he'd heard in any lecture, whether he'd been paying attention or not.
"Spock, I'm counting on you to be his brains during this pregnancy."
"Understood, Doctor. I will do my best."
"Hey! Sitting right here!" Spock gave him a pat on the arm, and proceeded to ignore him and discuss more details with Bones. Jim resisted the urge to let out a heavy sigh, and gritted his teeth, mildly aggravated that he couldn't even threaten to withhold sex as punishment for Spock not defending him against Bones' assumption that he wouldn't take care of himself. He distracted himself from his annoyance by splitting his attention between Bones and Spock's conversation, and trying to think up names for the baby. If she turned out to be a girl, which he really would love, he would name her Amanda. Maybe Amanda Winona. Or Amanda Winona Georgina. And if it turned out to be a boy, which would also be awesome, he would name her George. George Vulcan. No, that would just be wrong and weird sounding. A quarter Vulcan named Vulcan? That would be like naming him Terran. Maybe George Kelvin. Kelvin George? George Grayson.
"And I mean it, Jim," Bones was saying. "You're not to set foot on that bridge until we're sure everything is going okay."
"Yes, Bones, I understand. I give you my word, okay?"
That seemed to satisfy him, and he was allowed out of the room at last. Spock seemed very much like he didn't want to allow Jim to walk down the halls on his own. He maintained a very slow pace, and checked on Jim at least three times. "Spock, I'm fine. Bones didn't say anything about me not being able to walk."
Spock looked ever so slightly apologetic. "My apologies, my love," he said softly in Vulcan. "I cannot help but be concerned about you. You are the most important person in my life, and you are carrying my offspring."
Jim smiled, and pulled Spock to a nearby Jeffries tube opening. Spock allowed himself to be dragged along, and the moment they were out of sight of the bustling hall, Jim grabbed him into a devouring kiss. Spock kissed back, deeply and firmly, pressing Jim tighly to his body. Jim groaned - he loved that tight, held feeling. He lost himself in the kiss, and the joy reverberating between the two of them through thier bond. Slowly, Spock pulled away, and looked at him in that almost hungry way that Jim now associated with imminent sexy-time. He smiled as laciviously as he could.
"All right, you two!" Jim jumped a full two inches at the sound of the brash, Scottish burr.
He looked up to see Scotty looking down at them with the broadest, most smug grin Jim had ever seen plastered to his face, and a wire sealer in one hand. "If you're plannin' ta go any further with that, sirs, wouldja mind just lettin' me shimmie out first? I wouldna want to intrude on your, er..."
Jim couldn't take it anymore. Between Scotty's increasing amusement, and Spock's burning embarrassment, he couldn't help himself. He burst into uncontrollable giggles. Scotty started laughing almost as hard, and Spock's stiff posture and slightly green blush just made it worse. He laughed so hard his sides hurt, until Spock finally led him away from the jeffries tube and sternly sat him down in their quarters and lectured him about compromising positions, potential sexual harrassment suits, sudden public embarrassment, and more. Jim listened to it all with the best version of a contrite expression he could come up with, until it just got to be too much for him, and he burst out laughing again.
Spock looked stern until Jim distracted him by liberating him from his uniform slacks and giving him some well-deserved attention. The lecture ended immediately.
"Computer, locate Dr. McCoy." A map of Deck Six appeared on the screen. A blue square with the Starfleet insignia and a tiny picture of Len appeared inside the representation of Medical lab four. "Again?" she muttered. Nyota shook her head and made her way to the medical labs at a determined pace. It was definitely time for a talk with Len.
He'd spent the last five nights pouring over some experiment in that lab, and each night he came back to his quarters later and later. He was starting to look the worse for wear, too. With Jim temporarily back on duty, things were supposed to get easier for Len. He'd had to monitor the pregnancy closely for the first couple of months, and Nyota hadn't been surprised by his harried behavior at the time. But the captain was doing well, especially considering he was a man with a working uterus. Len had reported that the baby was healthy (he was especially glad to report that they had decided to wait before finding out the baby's gender), Jim's body was adjusting to the expanding placenta reasonably well, and Spock was doing an excellent job of juggling the acting captaincy with his self-appointed duty of keeping Jim comfortable and happy.
Now that Jim could do half-shifts on the bridge , Nyota had assumed she and Len would be able to spend more time togehter. But it seemed that as Jim's baby developed further, Len grew more and more stressed. Every time she asked him what was wrong, he'd smile and tell her things couldn't be better, which was complete bullshit. He slept fitfully, and he'd woken in the middle of the night with nightmares that he refused to talk about several times during the past few weeks. Lately, he'd even seemed to start losing weight. His skin was pale, he wasn't eating regularly, and he was always tired. And now, after pulling a ten hour shift, he had been in the medical labs for another four hours straight. Yes. Definitely time for a chat.
While she walked, she plotted out what she wanted to say. It was time for him to stop hiding whatever it was, and come clean. If they were going to be in a relationship, they needed to trust one another, and be able to confide in one another, and Len wasn't doing that. Did he think she couldn't tell something was wrong?
As soon as she reached the lab, the stern "talking-to" she had planned died on her lips. Len sat slumped in a chair behind one of the lab tables, head in hands, completely abject. Nyota stopped short. Could he be crying? He wasn't making any sound, but she'd never seen him look so completely miserable before. She stepped inside and coded a level two lock on the door. The beeping of the control panel startled him, and he looked up sharply. His eyes were red and shining, but she couldn't tell whether it was from fatigue or from tears. His face was almost white, and his hair was tousled as if he'd been running his hands through it repeatedly. "Ny, what..." his voice cracked. "What are you doin' here, honey?"
She ignored the question and hurried to his side. "You look awful, Len. What's the matter?" He looked down at her, and this time, he didn't even seem able to give her that half-hearted smile he'd tried on her before. He looked like he wanted to speak, but he shook his head suddenly, and turned away, for all the world as if he were ashamed to look at her. "Leonard, what is wrong?"
"I... c-can't," he whispered. "I just..."
Nyota took his face in both hands and forced him to look at her. "Len, you trust me, don't you?"
"Of course I do, but-"
"No, no buts. Something is eating you alive, you think I can't see that? Talk to me. It's what I'm here for."
He looked like he might say something again, but it seemed almost as if the effort was causing him physical pain. She saw tears forming, and he stood up suddenly and broke away from her. He turned his back to her, slamming his fist against the back table. "Fuck!"
Nyota approached him slowly and placed her hand on the center of his back. He was trembling. She sighed and leaned against him, wrapped her arms around him and squeezed him tight. "Talk to me, baby," she whispered. "Let me help you."
"I... don't think I've ever..." His voice was thick and he trembled a little bit more. She squeezed him harder. "I've never done anything so stupid in my life. You'll... probably hate-"
"Shhhh. Never, Len."
"They will," he said. "Oh, God, have I fucked up."
"What happened? Who will hate you?"
"Jim and Spock," he said. He turned to face her, and his cheeks were streaked with tears. He took hold of her arms and looked down at her. "I love you," he said. "If... if what I've done causes us to be separated, I just... I want you to know that I love you."
Nyota could feel her own eyes starting to sting. "You are scaring me," she whispered. "Tell me what's going on."
He swallowed hard, and started talking.
"YOU DID *WHAT???*"
Leonard crigned. "I-"
"WHY would you do such a thing?"
"Are you insane?? They... you could lose your medical license! They could-"
"I know." He looked into her eyes, willing her to understand. "I know, it, Nyota. That's why... I just... I don't know what I was thinking. I just wanted them to be happy, and-"
"Leonard, you're a doctor," she said, her intense brown eyes boring into him like daggers. "You can't just... put your DNA into someone's body without their permission because they give you puppy dog eyes! I-" She shook her head, obviously struggling with the enormity of the situation. "Did it even occur to you what might happen if the fully human zygote was the one that survived the transfer?"
"Of course it did, but-"
"Itcouldn't have, Len! You couldn't possibly have thought about it because if you had, you wouldn't have done it!"
"Spock will kill you, Len!"
"I know, honey. I know I'm going to be in deep shit with the both of them, but-"
"No, Len. Listen to what I'm saying." She paused, and the fear Leonard saw in her eyes sent a chill through him. "Spock will kill you when he finds out."
Leonard let out a nervous chuckle. "You're not serious," he whispered.
"Vulcans aren't Human, Leonard. You saw what happened on the bridge with Jim right after the disaster! You've read all the stories on the net. Vulcans are literally going crazy with the need to procreate. What do you think he's going to do when he finds out he hasn't yet?"
"Those Vulcans were unbonded, or their partners were lost, Ny," Len said. "Spock is bound to Jim, and Jim's preagnant."
She shook her head. "Len, you're not thinking clearly. What's going to happen when the baby is born, and he looks nothing like a Vulcan? What's going to happen when Spock tries to reach for the baby's mind, and no one's reaching back?"
"The baby's only a quarter Vulcan. I... I thought I'd be able to... explain it somehow."
"Oh, God," she groaned.
"Nyota?" She looked up at him, brushing away her frustrated tears. "There's more."
Her eyes widened. "How can there possibly be more?"
He lowered his head for a second, then went to the magnifier he'd been gazing into shortly before Nyota entered the room. "Take a look at that."
She looked into the magnifier, and her eyes widened slightly. "What... what am I looking at, Leonard?"
"It's from one of the trials I made this last time. Right before I seeded Jim with the other four, and my..." He cleared his throat. "And the random element."
"But... that was months ago. Why is it..."
"It was dormant. Either that, or it just took that much longer for the DNA to bind together. I'm not certain. But it's been growing steadily for the past two months."
"And this one has Jim and Spock's DNA?"
"It does. But I don't know what to do." He sighed, and sat down, deflated, in his chair. "God help me, I don't know what to do."
Nyota knelt down beside him and he was shocked to see her smiling. "But his is great, Len! It worked! It's a fully formed fetus, and now-"
"Now, what, Nyota? Now I tell Jim and Spock that the baby they've been doting over for the past four months isn't theirs? That it's mine and Jim's, and if they'd like their own baby, I'll have to do a quick swap?" She bit her lip nervously. "And what am I going to do with that one? It can't live in an artificial plancenta forever. Before long, it's going to die, and..." He felt nauseous. "God help me, I'd hate myself forever if that happened, after all this time. All these tries. God, I hate myself enough as it is." He buried his face in his hands, and tried to get a grip on his frantic thoughts. He couldn't even begin to fathom how much his life was going to be destroyed when the shit hit the fan.
After some time - he wasn't sure how much - he felt Nyota's hand tenderly touch his neck. She embraced him, and kissed his cheek. "I love you, Len," she whispered. "You're a good man. You're a complete idiot, but you're a good man, with a good heart. I'm with you, no matter what happens."
He managed a simile and a weak chuckle. "That means everything to me, Ny," he said.
"I'm an idiot, too, you know that?" she whispered.
He shook his head. "Why do you say that?"
She kissed him deeply, then looked him in the eye, and brushed away his tears. "Because I'm going to help you."
Spock sat down at the broad table, and gave his beloved a brief glance before looking down at his plate. That feeling, or... scent was still there when he was near Jim. Still wrong. He could not identify it, or understand it, but it seemed to be filling him with a low and constant source of irritation. He glared at the plate of salad and moved it a few times with his fork, hoping to increase its palatability. It did not help.
He looked up at the others around him. Engineer Scott, Lieutenant Sulu, Ensign Chekov, Dr. McCoy and Nyota had all joined them at the table. The doctor had lost some of his pallor, and had become exceptionally affectionate for Nyota in the past few months - ever since Nyota had announced her pregnancy to her closest friends. She was now quite visibly round, and "glowing", according to Jim. She and Jim spent hours discussing the joys and aggravations of pregnancy, and Jim now eagerly awaited the day that Dr. McCoy would perform the cesarean section and they would finally be able to see their child. Spock was eager for that day, as well. Perhaps the anxiety he'd begun to feel would lessen then.
He jumped, startled, at the feel of a sudden touch on his arm. "Sorry, baby," Jim said. "Didn't mean to startle you."
Spock frowned. "It is all right," he said, forcing himself to remain calm.
"You haven't touched your salad," Jim said, concerned. "Are you feeling all right?"
"I 'feel' fine," he said. "However, I am not hungry."
"Spock, you haven't eaten all day! And you didn't eat dinner yesterday, either. Are you sure-"
"Jim, I do not wish to be pressured by you at this time!" he snapped. "I am not hungry, and I will not eat, that is the end of it!" He shoved the salad away, not caring that the plate roughly jarred McCoy's tray, and heedless of the collective gasps from the other crewmembers at the table. He stood up and stormed away, furious at Jim's pestering, and angry at himself for having caused the shocked, injured look on his beloved's face.
"Spock, wait, I-"
"No, Jim," he heard Nyota say. "Just let him cool off."
Even Nyota's calm (and very wise) advice seemed to aggravate him. He went to his quarters and sat down in the area he had set aside for meditation. He managed to calm down enough that when Jim came in later that afternoon, he felt well enough to apologize and assuage all of Jim's hurt feelings and insecurities.
Over the next several days, however, Spock's mood continued to darken, and his level of emotional control seemed to be weakening. He snapped at one of the science lab technicians for making a careless mistake, and when McCoy asked him to come in for a physical since records had shown he hadn't even made an attempt to eat in the last six days, he'd flown into a rage. "My eating habits are my own affair, and if you do not stop spying on me, I will disembowel you!" McCoy had been shocked, but had ceased to pry.
Three days later, Spock was both stunned and terrified when he suddenly had the overpowering urge to take Jim to Vulcan. He was in his quarters - he had left Mr. Scott in command until he could be sure that his own emotional turmoil would not interfere with the operatons of the ship. Jim came in to sit with Spock, as was now his custom after his "standing lunch date" with McCoy and Uhura, since Spock no longer took lunch. Spock sensed his presence immediately, and turned to greet him, but the moment he caught sight of Jim, the urge took him over. He bent double with the force of it, knowing that it was absolutely impossible, but needing to do it all the same. "Spock! What's the matter?!"
Spock's heart pounded, and he stood up and walked toward Jim, hands shaking. "Impossible," he whispered hoarsely, staring at the bulge of Jim's stomach. "Impossible."
Jim looked as if he might cry. "Please, Spock, tell me what's wrong. You've been..."
Spock stumbled, unable to stand under the force of his own fury and confusion. "It... cannot... be," he chocked out, even though he knew that it was true. It had come upon him - the Time of Madness. The Time of Mating. He felt the touch of Jim's hand against his back, and a surge of sexual desire coursed through him. He stood suddenly and grasped Jim's wrists, forcing him closer. Not possible. Jim was pregnant - he could not be experiencing the pon farr. And yet he wished to take Jim to his family lands - to the room that would be prepared for their arrival - and remove every piece of his clothing, and make Jim his own. "Impossible!"
"What's impossible? Spock, talk to me! What-"
Rage. Jim gasped, no doubt overwhelmed by the fury he could feel from Spock's mind. "Who has touched you?" he asked, voice dark and barely controlled.
"Wha... Spock n-nobody. You're the only-"
"If you are lying to me, I will end your life, do you understand?"
Jim gasped again, and tried to pull away, but Spock held him so tightly he cried out in pain. "Spock," he gasped out. "Please. Please, you're hurting me! Nobody's touched me since we got together, I swear! You have to know that!"
The rage did not abate. Spock let go of one of Jim's hands and reached for his lover's face. Jim cringed, but before Spock could forcefully enter his mind, instinct stopped him. This was his bonded - his beloved. He could not hurt him. He could not hurt their chi- RAGE! Jim cringed again and cried out in shock. Not mine. "It is not mine." His voice was a whisper - pure disbelief, followed swiftly by hurt, then the uncontrollable rage again. "Come."
Spock dragged Jim out of the room and through the halls, heedless of the startled crewmen who scurried out of his way, and of the terrified pleading of his bondmate. He thought he heard a few familiar voices calling his name - Sulu, and later, Uhura, but he could not stop. He sped to the turbolift, ordered everyone to clear it, and stood, breathing hard with his hand gripping the sand-colored, Vulcan-style maternity tunic Jim wore in his shaking hand. He could barely hear the frightened gasps coming from the captain through the increasingly loud pounding and rushing sounds filling his head, and fueling his fury.
When the turbolift doors opened, he stormed out and made it to Medical in less than a second. McCoy was there, attending to a small burn on a red-shirted ensign. Spock grabbed him by the arm, hearing his outraged yelp, and ignoring it. He shoved him into his office, and (more gently) pushed Jim toward him. "EXPLAIN," he commanded, pointing at Jim. The young man was sobbing now, gasping with the exertion of keeping up with Spock.
McCoy scowled. "What the hell is wrong with you, Spock, have you lost your goddam mind?!" He rushed to Jim's side and touched his arm gently. "Okay, Jim, it's all right. Try to calm down."
He helped Jim into a seat and ran a med-reader over him. Spock's fury suddenly spiked. The scent. Its source had been unclear before, but now - with his senses heightened by the full onset of the pon farr - it was completely clear. His blood boiled with the fierce, hot rage of his ancestors, his vision flared green, and he felt himself begin to crouch. "You."
McCoy looked over at him, and the scowl returned. "You god damned, green-blooded..."
Spock crouched lower, and McCoy's angry words died on his lips. He took one step back, and Spock's fury boiled over. He leapt for his rival, reaching for his throat. The man screamed. His love screamed. Then, all was lost but the rage. He lifted his rival from the ground and threw him bodily across the room. Before he could get up, Spock grasped him by his shirt and slammed his fist into the man's face. He was mildly aware of the man's attempt at self defense, but it did not concern him. This rival was no match for Spock's superior strength. Spock felt a surge of pleasure when he finally drew blood. The feel of his enemy's life force warm on his hands filled him with a glorious sense of triumph. Victory could not be far away.
Through the green-edged haze, he heard his own language, from a familiar voice. He ignored it, but it came again - urgently. Desperately. He listened. "Please, Spock. Hear me. Hear me, please." Reluctantly, he turned toward the voice. Nyota. Tears flowed down her face, and she reacehd for him with trembling hands. "Take my thoughts, Spock."
"What?" Jim cried. "Nyota, you can't, he's-"
"Take my thoughts, Spock," she repeated. "Please."
Spock looked down at the broken, bloodied, shaking man still gripped in his left hand. The enemy was conscious still, which infuriated Spock. He tightened his grip on the man's shirt, and the enemy let out a weak whimper. "Spock, don't," Jim whispered, voice coming from behind him.
He heard movement from his right, and turned swiftly to see Nyota slowly approaching him. She kept her hands outstretched, her head bowed slightly, radiating her sumbission. "Take my thoughts, Spock," she whispered.
He hesitated. He began to feel Jim's urgency - his fear - through the link, and through the haze of his fury. He stared hard at the woman. She had something extremely imporant to say - she must, if she dared approach him while he was in the middle of the fever. Even though he had never told her about the Time, he knew that no sane creature would dare approach a Vulcan in a death battle unless they were willing to risk their life to do so. He released his enemy and turned to the woman. She glanced down at the man briefly, before stepping even closer to Spock.
"Nyota, please be careful." Jim's nervous whisper came through a moment before Nyota took hold of Spock's hand and raised it to her face. Spock saw the dark red liquid covering his hand, and he felt the fever start to rise again. He felt Jim's fear increase at the same moment, and refrained from turning back to the enemy to finish him off. He grasped Nyota by the back of her neck and pulled her closer. He found the appropriate points on her face, closed his eyes, and let himself in.
When he learned the truth - felt the mind of the growing child inside his friend's womb - he felt the fire slowly die down. The moment he withdrew from her mind, the fever drained completely, and he collapsed.
Leonard opened his eyes slowly. He still felt a little like three-day old, toasted shit, but he was also still alive, so he figured he'd better count his blessings. The first person he saw was Nyota. He smiled, and she gave him her brightest smile in return. "How are you?"
"Alive," he replied. His throat hurt, and he shuddered at the memory of Spock's vice-like hands closed around his throat. "Thanks to you. Are you okay?"
"Fine. He didn't hurt me."
"Thank God." He leaned turned back and closed his eyes against the bright light of the medical bay. "Thank God," he whispered again. "And Jim? Is he... how's the baby?"
She didn't answer at first - just gave him that slight frown that said she was trying to hide something. "I... don't..."
His stomach clenched. "Ny, please tell me! God, don't tell me he lost..."
"He went into premature labor."
"WHAT?" Panic followed relief almost immediately.
"Doctor M'Benga's keeping him stable, but he's not prepared to operate yet. He's studying your notes."
"Oh my God." He sat up suddenly. "What bed's he in?"
"Len, you're in no condition to-"
"I have to, Nyota." He stood up, and paused just long enough to swallow down the nausea. Shit. For the first time, he noticed that his leg was broken - held in a stasis cast. Nyota sprang up and grabbed his arm. "I have to help Jim."
"He's in operating room six," she told him.
He took her face in his hands and kissed her. "Thank you." She supported him until they got to the main area, and a passing nurse saw them.
"Dr. McCoy? You shouldn't be-"
"Help me," he said, beckoning to the young man. "Take her place, and get me to room six."
"Now, Mister, I'm not asking!"
"Yessir!" The nurse took over for Nyota, supporting McCoy's right side. They made their way as quickly as possible to the operating room, with Nyota leading the way. The door opened with a soft hiss, and the three of them entered. Jim lay on the bio-bed, breathing hard, staring at Spock with wide, frightened eyes. Spock, who had apparently taken a few moments at some point to wash McCoy's blood from his face and hands, but who hadn't had a chance to change his blood-soaked tunic, stood over him, looking down at him with deep concern.
"Doctor, I do not believe we can wait any longer to-"
He stopped short when he turned and noticed that Dr. M'Benga was not the one who had come into the room. McCoy froze, gripped by pure terror when Spock's eyes narrowed. He swallowed, and spoke to the nurse without taking his eyes off Spock. "Jensen, get me a small anti-grav unit for this leg, and tell Chapel and M'Benga I'm here, and I'll need help."
"Yes, Doctor." The nurse ran off, leaving Leonard feeling extremely exposed, with only Nyota's small frame between himself and Spock.
He limped toward the bio-bed and looked at the Vulcan, supressing a shudder. "I'm sorry, Spock," he said softly. "Please let me help."
Spock's dark eyes smoldered, but he nodded and stepped back out of the way. McCoy turned to Jim. He was encouraged by the wan smile his friend gave him. "Spock told," he said.
Leonard lowered his head. "Jim, I'm so sorry. I... don't know how to..."
"Big, stupid, caring, idiotic son of a bitch," he whispered. "Just-" He winced, and Leonard looked up at his readings. Damn. "Just keep my baby safe."
"I will," he said, and got to work. Before long Jensen was back with the anti-grav, and M'Benga and Chapel in tow. With their assistance, and the mobility the anti-grav gave him, he was able to focus on the task at hand. He shut out the memory of the attack, and his guilt over what he'd done, and performed the operation, giving instructions to his assistants, and encouragement to Jim in the same calm tone.
Within two hours, the operation was complete, the baby was cleaned and checked, and McCoy stepped hesitantly back into the operating room with the pale pink bundle. Jim looked at him with an eager, but clearly exhausted expression. Spock stood up, but kept his hand protectively on Jim's arm. Leonard paused in the doorway, nervousness returning now that his task was complete. He felt Nyota's hand on his back, gently urging him forward, but still he hesitated.
Spock glanced at Jim, then looked back at Leonard. "Doctor. We are eager to see our daughter."
Len felt his tension melt away. He smiled, and brought the baby to them. He placed her in Jim's arms, and the young man smiled broadly. He looked up at Spock, still grinning. The corner of Spock's mouth quirked up in the closest approximation of a smile that McCoy had ever seen. "She's so tiny," Jim whispered.
"Four pounds, two ounces," Leonard said. "But she's got a healthy set of lungs, so I won't have to incubate her. We'll just need to monitor her until we're sure she's steadily gaining weight."
Jim "mmm-hmmed" in acknowledgement, seeming unable to take his eyes off the baby. "She has your eyes," Spock said to Jim.
Jim transferred his smile to Spock, but Leoard felt himself growing nervous again. Jim couldn't point to any features that matched Spock. "Can I still name her?"
"Of course, Jim."
Jim looked at Len and Nyota. "Come here, you two. Meet our first baby - Georgia."
Bones stepped cautiously into the room, and Jim had to fight to keep his expression serious. Spock fought no such battle, of course. Bones still looked pretty bad. His face was bruised, his leg was still in its cast, and he moved slowly from the various muscle sprains, and the bruises that he knew were hidden under his dress uniform. He stood at attention, as best he could, and waited to be invited to sit.
"Take a seat, Doctor," Jim said.
"Aye, sir," he replied, and sat nervously at the other side of the table.
"This hearing is now in session," Jim said. "In attendance are myself, Captain James T. Kirk, Commander Spock, Lieutenant Commander Leonard H. McCoy, and Lieutenant Nyota Uhura. Lieutenant Uhura is present as records keeper under my authority, despite her involvement in the events leading to these proceedings. Any potential responsilibity on her part for said involvement has been officially absolved by this board. Commander Spock, please begin."
"Let the record show that Doctor McCoy is hereby accused of pairing his own genetic material with that of Captain Kirk without his prior consent or knowledge. He is accused of implanting the result of said pairing into Captain Kirk's body, and withholding this information from Captain Kirk, and from myself. He is further accused of implanting the fetus belonging to Captain Kirk and myself into the body of Lieutenant Uhura, without the prior knowledge or consent of Captain Kirk, or myself. It is the opinion of this board that these actions displayed a mis-use of Doctor McCoy's power as a physician, a violation of doctor-patient trust, and a violation of doctor-patient confidentiality."
As the charges were read, Jim could see Bones growing more and more despondent. He managed to keep his back ramrod straight, and he kept his eyes on Spock as he spoke, but his face got paler and paler, and he clenched his fists tightly together. "Lieutenant Uhura," Spock continued. "You will append the medical record of Georgia W. Kirk and James T. Kirk to the record, as well as the medical logs of Doctor McCoy for the past eight months to the record of these proceedings."
"Doctor McCoy," Jim said, after a moment. "Do you admit to having committed these acts?"
"Yes..." He cleared his throat, and spoke clearly. "Yes, Captain, I do."
"And are you aware that, if convicted, you may have your medical license permanently revoked, as well as face court martial proceedings?"
He seemed to deflate slightly, and he closed his eyes for a moment before responding. "Yes, Captain."
"The record is so noted," Jim said. "It is the decision of this board that, due to certain mitigating circumstances, the aforementioned charges will be summarily dropped pending the completion of certain requirements." Bones' jaw dropped, and Uhura let out a short gasp.
"The conditions are these," he continued. "That Doctor McCoy relinquishes all parental rights to Georgia W. Kirk which exist due to his status as biological father of the child. That Doctor McCoy agrees not to press charges against Commander Spock for the attack which has been deemed the result of uncontrollable biological forces, and which has unfortunately resulted in serious bodily injury to Doctor McCoy. That Doctor McCoy agrees to present this board with a sworn affidavit stating that he will not commit any of the aforementioned violations for the duration of his service to this organization, or he will be subject to the previously mentioned consequences." Jim could hardly keep from smiling at the expression on his friend's face. He looked like a man who'd been standing on the gallows, with the noose around his neck just seconds before, and the rope had suddenly been cut away.
"Doctor McCoy," Spock said. "Please place your hand on the bio-sensor." The doctor did as he was instructed, and the sensor lit up. "Do you agree to the conditions outlined by Captain Kirk?"
Bones broke into a broad grin. "I do, sir."
The bio-sensor flashed green, and Jim allowed himself the smile he'd been holding in throughout the hearing. "Lieutenant Uhura, please provide Dr. McCoy with the documents that Mr. Spock has forwarded to you."
"Yes, Captain," she said, with a slight breathlessness to her voice. She uploaded the documents onto a data-pad and handed them to McCoy. He signed each one with the eagerness of a man who'd been given a new lease on life - which, of course, he had.
"Let the record show that the appropriate documents have been signed, and will be appended to the record of these proceedings by Lieutenant Uhura," Jim said. "Doctor McCoy, all charges against you are hereby dropped."
"Thank you, sir," he said, his voice sounding weak with relief.
"This hearing is now adjourned."
The moment Nyota announced that recording was complete, Bones let out a relieved, nearly hysterical laugh. He practically raced around the table (if you could call it that, with the cumbersome anti-grav unit attached to his leg), and grabbed Jim into a tight embrace. "I love you, Jim."
Jim laughed. "I love you, too, Bones," he said. "But if you wanna survive the next ten minutes, maybe you'd better let go, huh?" Spock raised an eyebrow as innocently as possible, but Jim didn't miss the slight decrease in that possessive feeling when Bones scrambled away and gave Spock that sheepish little smile.
"She has your eyes," Nyota said, looking up at Spock.
"And Jim's mouth," Spock said.
"And those damned pointed ears," McCoy said.
"Hey! Her ears are perfect," Jim said. "She's perfect."
"I won't argue with that," Len said. "And how's our surrogate mother?" he asked.
"I feel great," Nyota replied. "I'm happy she's all right." She looked at Jim and Spock. "Have you come up with a name for her?"
Jim smiled, and took hold of his daughter's petite little hand. "Amanda," he said. "Amanda Nyota, actually."
Nyota gasped and her face flushed. "Jim, you don't have to-"
"That's her name," he said firmly. "Don't argue with me, Lieutenant."
She grinned. "Yes, sir." She held onto the baby for a few more minutes, before slowly passing her to Jim. The captain cradled her gently, grinning so wide his face must have hurt.
Leonard stroked her arm and kissed her. "Thank you, honey," he whispered. "Thank you so much." She smiled at him, before turning back to stare at the little pointy-eared baby she'd carried to term as a favor to him. He could hardly believe his good fortune, and for the hundredth time in the past few months, he thanked whatever power it was that had allowed him to keep his life, his commission, his rank, and his friends, when he'd so recklessly risked them all in an insane attempt to be helpful.
He monitored the new baby, and Nyota, for the next couple of weeks. When he finally felt safe letting Nyota out of the bed, he took a break from Medical bay to walk her back to her quarters. On the way, they passed by Jim and Spock, each with a little, yellow-clad bundle in his arms. People had taken to referring to Amanda and Georgia as "the twins", though they were four months apart, and the two men stopped briefly to ask after Nyota, and to be told how beautiful their girls were one more time.
Jim and Spock went on their way after a few minutes, and Len heard Nyota let out a soft sigh. "Ny?"
"Nothing," she said, without him asking the whole question. She took hold of his arm and drew closer to him. A few moments later, to his complete surprise, she suddenly yanked him off the path, and into a remote jeffries tube. She grabbed his head and pulled him down into a hungry kiss. Len wrapped his arms around her and squeezed her tight, returning the kiss just as hungrily. She broke apart from him long enough to say, "I'm jealous, Len. Jealous of Spock and Jim. I'm ordering you to get me pregnant."
Len grinned and pulled her back into another, equally voracious kiss. "I'd be happy to, ma'am," he said in a husky whisper. He kissed her again, shuddering with pleasure at the feeling of her arms around him, and her slim little body pressed as close to his as she could get. It had been months since they'd touched like this, and he-
"Excuse me, Doctor."
They both jumped. "Jesus Christ!" Len looked up sharply to see Scotty suspended close to the top of the tube, with one of his many incomprehensible engineering tools in hand.
The CE grinned like a damned Cheshire cat. "If you're plannin' on workin' on that baby right now, would ya mind letting me shimmie out of here before ya get started?"