"Computer, locate the Captain." Leonard McCoy, the Chief Medical Officer of the USS Enterprise, walked into his office sipping his morning coffee.

"Captain Kirk is in Lounge 23A."

The doctor wondered how it was an automated voice could sound exasperated. McCoy speculated in thoughts he would never express out loud that it seemed Enterprise loved Jim as much as he loved the ship. The fact she'd been rebuilt three times didn't seem to affect the Captain's affection. "How long has he been there?"

"The Captain has been in the Lounge 3.6 hours."

Leonard sighed. "Computer patch me through to Commander Spock."

"Commander Spock has just entered Lounge 23A."

Of course Jim was hiding out in the Observation Lounge closest to the bridge, and of course the hobgoblin had tracked him down. Why did he bother trying to ride herd on his young friend to make sure he ate and slept. He settled behind his desk to wade through the reports Starfleet seemed to breed like cockroaches.

Commander Spock looked at the image on his PADD. When he woke from his usual four hours sleep, he had a received a message that Captain Kirk was working in his favorite Observation Lounge. Curiosity got the better of the Vulcan when he realized the message had come directly from Enterprise's computer. While preparing for his day, he hypothesized over the computer's action. The Captain and Lt. Commander Scott spoke of the ship as though it was sentient being ... Perhaps he needed to run diagnostics. Having completed his morning routine, Spock headed for the Observation Lounge. If his Captain was going to be sleep deprived, the least he could do was insist his Captain engaged in proper nutrition.

"Spock, is everything okay? The ship didn't alert me to any problems." Bright blue eyes looked up from his PADD.

"Everything is satisfactory, Captain. The ship's computer alerted me to your location, and I have come to accompany you to breakfast."

"Huh. Thanks for looking out for me, Milady. I lost track of the time, but I got caught up on my reports." Jim smiled at his First Officer.

"Indeed. At the loss of sleep required by Humans to function at maximum efficiency." Spock's tone was droll.

"You've been talking to Bones." The younger man accused.

"Rarely." Spock arched an eyebrow at his Captain. "Shall we?"

"How could I resist such enticing invitation?" Jim smirked.

"Indeed."

"Sassy Vulcan." Jim headed through the door ahead of said Vulcan.

"I was merely agreeing with your observation, Captain."

"Jim ... Off duty it's Jim." His voice was heavy with fond exasperation.

The two men walked in a companionable silence toward the Mess. As they walked, Spock paid particular attention to his Captain. His meditations of the past week had held revelations that at first been disturbing to the half-Vulcan.

They had disturbed his usual serenity to the point where he had accessed his genetic profile. As the first Vulcan/Human hybrid, his mother's pregnancy had been closely monitored. There had been several medical interventions during the course of the gestation period to keep her body from rejecting the fetus. Looking at his genome, it would appear one or more of those interventions had awakened something that had become a recessive trait in modern Vulcans. According to his meditations that recessive trait had awakened after their last away mission.

As was his practice, the Captain had stepped between an angry alien and his First Officer. Bright red blood splattered across Spock's face causing him to lick his lips. The taste of those small drops had shifted something inside him. By the time the Captain and his attacker had come to an understanding, Spock had come to the understanding James Tiberius Kirk was his T'hy'la … His everything.

It was two weeks since that mission. Ancient instincts prodded Spock to coax Kirk to his side. Though generations of information had been lost with the destruction of Vulcan, the archivists had been obsessive with backing up records at their off-world embassies. Spock spent hours searching the oldest records until he finally found a treatise about the retractable claw that had developed under his left pinky finger.

Once he was able to convince the skittish Captain to establish a mental bond, a scratch down his spine would release a chemical from a pouch under the claw, binding them physically. If one died, the other would soon follow. That would keep the short-lived Human by his side until the end of the Vulcan's long lifespan.

Attention divided between reviewing the information he'd gathered from the Vulcan archives, and the conversation among his fellow bridge officers, a question from Sulu brought Spock's full attention to the table.

"Would you like to live thousands of years like the Lanerians?"

"I never expected to make the age I am let alone thousands." Kirk joked.

"You have certainly filled the years you have lived." Uhura frowned at the Captain's tendency to throw himself headfirst into trouble.

"Trouble finding infant." McCoy grumbled into his coffee.

"I don't want to live forever, but if I had to live a long time I don't want to do it alone." Jim frowned into his coffee cup.

Spock watched everyone nod their heads in agreement. Question answered, it was time to step up his plans.

~ Finis ~