Dedication III: The Search for Bones
Three weeks after being "smuggled" into Vulcan, every member of the band of fugitives looked and felt much better. The officers who hadn't had their wounds miraculously healed by the Second King were healing well naturally - aided by rest and the Vulcan herbs Ambassador Spock provided them. Leonard's sessions with the Healer were having a wonderful effect. Jim was pleased to see that his confidence was returning, and the nightmares that had plagued him since they'd left Khan's planet were finally starting to subside. He'd even agreed to start having private sessions with the Healers - another sign that his mental state was improving.
Len was happiest when Jim was nearby, but he no longer needed to be within one foot of Jim at all times, and he'd begun his verbal sparring with Spock again. He'd also gained some weight back - he was still very slim, but he didn't look malnourished and weak anymore, despite being "stuck on this rabbit-food diet".
With Leonard now able to spend more time on his own, Jim spent much more time with their host. He'd always known that Ambassador Spock enjoyed his presence, partly because (naturally) he reminded him of the James Kirk of his past, but also because he had great affection and attachment to the "new" Jim. They talked for hours at a time, sometimes over tea, sometimes over lengthy games of chess, where Jim got to see the differences in how the elder Spock played in contrast to his younger counterpart.
Much as he hated the idea of being separated from Bones, Jim began to feel that he should talk to the others about going back to Headquarters to turn themselves in. He brought the idea up to Ambassador Spock, and Spock advised him to do as he felt was best. "But if you do decide to turn yourself in, Jim, I will request that a warp-capable ship be provided to you so that you can make the journey yourselves, rather than waiting for the authorities to collect you from here."
"Thank you, I think that would be a good idea," Jim said. "I wouldn't want to have to be hauled away in chains on Vulcan, of all places. I... I'll talk to the others about it this weekend."
"Very well, Jim."
True to his word, that Shom-t'ved (Vulcan's single-day version of the "weekend") Jim gathered the crew together to discuss the matter of turning themselves in to Starfleet Command. However, the moment everyone was gathered, and before Jim could say anything, Ambassador Spock entered the room.
"Excuse me, Jim," he said. "But there is something of great importance that I would like to discuss with all of you. If you would follow me, please?"
Jim was surprised, and more than a little confused, but he glanced at the others and gestured for them to follow him. They filed back out of the study and followed Spock back out to the living area. "Please wait here," Spock said, then promptly disappeared.
"That was... weird," Jim said, after a few moments spent in mystified silence.
"I'll say," Bones muttered. "Wonder what this is-"
"Right this way, Father."
Jim felt his eyebrows climbing, and not only because he could never quite get used to Ambassador Spock calling Sarek "Father" when he had to be at least a hundred years older than the man. Sarek's visits had never been a cause for this much pomp and circumstance. What could he have to say to them? Was something wrong? Could they have been found out by Starfleet Command?
"Spock," he heard Sarek say. "I do not understand how a Vulcan of your age, regardless of your half-Human heritage, can condone such theatrics. Why could we not simply-"
Sarek's semi-tirade was interrupted by a chorus of squeals of various parental titles, as a veritable stampede of children stormed into the room. The almost panic-inducing number of children resolved themselves quickly, splitting off in two directions, and Jim and Leonard were nearly bowled over as Jo, T'Paola, Daniel and Savannah rushed to greet them, followed almost as quickly by Lenora and Winona.
T'Paola jumped into Jim's arms, and he held her tightly, while Jo appeared to be trying to squeeze the very life out of Bones. The little ones clutched Len's legs and stared up at him, grinning and talking non-stop. Through a haze of tears, Jim caught a glimpse of Spock and Nyota being greeted in much the same way by their own five children.
"You came back," T'Paola whispered.
"I said I would," Jim replied, kissing her and squeezing her tight before setting her back on her feet. "I'll never leave you, remember that," he said.
She nodded and reluctantly let him go so that she could hug Len. Winona squeezed Jim into a firm embrace, kissed him and shook him, and kissed him again. "You're worse than your father," she told him.
"Thanks, Ma," he said, laughing at her indignant expression.
His mother let him go so that Jo could take her turn. Jo grabbed him into a bear-hug, her body shaking, breaths hitching with sobs. "Thank you, Jim," she whispered, her voice thick with tears. "Thank you, thank you, thank you."
Jim just squeezed her tightly and kissed the top of her head before letting her go so that she could rejoin her father. Len was now on his knees crushing the little ones to him, while they laughed and kissed him, and asked when they were going to have ice cream again. Lenora sat in a chair just behind him. Her hand was on his arm, and she was smiling broadly at him, despite the tears running down her face. She glanced at Jim long enough to give him a personal, grateful smile, before turning her gaze back to her son.
Jim tore his eyes away from his family long enough to search for Spock. He glanced at Keenser, Sulu, Chekov and Scotty, who were watching the scene with ear-splitting grins on their faces and tears in their eyes. He caught sight of Ambassador Spock, smiling brightly. He was still standing just inside the room next to Sarek (who actually looked a little less serious than usual).
"Thank you." Jim mouthed the words, and both men nodded.
As he turned back to Len and the kids, Jim heard Spock say, "That, Father, is why I preferred... theatrics."
Jim smiled inwardly at the barely audible "harrumph" from Sarek, then dropped to his knees beside Leonard and kissed his younger children. Leonard gripped him tightly and pulled him in for a kiss that dissolved quickly into laughter when Daniel (followed immediately by Savannah) cried out "eeeeeeew". After they'd gotten over their shock at seeing Bones, there were cries of surprise and questions about Jim's leg, and congratulations and more hugs and kisses when they'd explained his miraculous healing.
Before long, the two sets of reunions turned into one. Jim and Leonard were greeted warmly by Spock's children. Since they were on active duty, Spock and Nyota weren't able to visit the Kirk's very often, but the children kept in touch by vid-comm at least once a week, and whenever the families could meet up, they did.
The children got along very well - they were of comparable ages for the most part (when counted in Earth years), and they had similar dispositions. Amanda was a good five years younger than T'Paola, but they were both interested in crafts, and they taught each other jewelry-making techniques, or shared the latest cloth-weaving patterns whenever possible. Skon and Daniel were the same age (almost to the day), and both interested in life sciences. Occasionally, they could be coaxed out of their observations of insects, birds, algae, or whatever it was they found interesting at the moment by the younger children. T'Pann was about six months older than Savannah, and the twins, Bashira and Ayana, were a year younger - and between the four of them, they had enough energy (according to Leonard) to power a small city.
After the children had greeted their friends' parents, and said hello to the other crew members, they asked permission to go outside. Spock gave his host a questioning glance, and the Ambassador nodded. "You may go," Spock said. The children moved en masse toward the door. "But," Spock continued, and they froze and looked at him. "You will make you way out of the house in an orderly fashion, and take care not to disrupt the Elder's belongings." There was a chorus of "Yes, Father's," and "Yes, Mr. Spock's", and the children obediently filed slowly out of the room, bowing slightly to the older Vulcans as they passed. Jo volunteered (quietly) to keep an eye on them, and followed them out.
Once the children were gone, the shocked parents, and grandparents thanked Ambassador Spock and Sarek profusely for the lovely surprise. Sarek accepted their thanks, but insisted that such emotional displays of gratitude were unnecessary. Elder Spock simply said it was a pleasure to be able to reunite them. He asked the attendants to bring refreshments for everyone, and they sat and talked for hours.
As the afternoon turned into evening, the conversations quieted slightly, and Jim listened to the kids, still running around tirelessly outside. "Well," Len said, looking at Spock. "Guess we'll get to have that barbecue sooner than I thought."
Spock gave him a faint smile. "It seems you are correct, Doctor," he said.
"What was it you wanted to talk to us about, Jim?" Nyota asked.
"Hm?" Jim frowned, mildly confused.
"This morning," she said. "Remember, you gathered us in the study for a meeting?"
Jim took a deep breath, remembering the planned meeting. "I'd forgotten about it," he said.
"I almost forgot, too," Keenser said.
Chekov looked around at their small group. "We are all here, Admiral," he said. "Would you like to tell us now?"
"Well..." he said slowly, taking a look around the room. His mother was in a deep, apparently politically charged conversation with Sarek, if the look on her face was any indication. Lenora was at the doorway, answering a question from Amanda, and Spock was just outside their own circle, possibly waiting for Lenora to come back to the empty seat across from him. Finally, Jim's eyes settled on his friends - his truest friends, who had risked their careers, their freedom - their lives, to help him. After everything they'd gone through, they were finally rested. Healing. Happy.
Jim shrugged, and pulled Leonard closer to him, smiling when Len automatically wrapped his arms around his waist and rested his head on his chest. "It can wait."