Chapter Twenty: Epilogue
Spock stood outside of the office of Admiral Richard Bennet, the current head of Star Fleet. His hands were clasped behind his back, and his gaze was turned to the left. Zuria approached him, walking quickly so as not to be late.
"Hello, Zuria." He greeted, extending his hands to her. She took them, allowing him to pull her into an embrace.
"Hello, Spock." She returned, breathing deeply. "I'm a little nervous."
"You have no reason to be," He assured her, pulling back. "Jim has already made his case, and I have reasoning of my own to offer, should it be needed."
Zuria opened her mouth to speak, but was silenced by the sound of a voice coming through the speaker on the wall.
"You may now come into my office." The voice informed them, the door clicking open. The two of them stepped in and were greeted by the Admiral, who sat in his high-backed desk chair. "Hello, Commander Spock, Cadet Nibiru."
"Greetings, Admiral Bennet." Spock replied. Zuria managed her own greeting.
"Please, have a seat." Admiral Bennet invited, gesturing to the two chairs that sat before his desk. Both of them complied, Spock with more ease than Zuria.
"You both know why you're here right now." The admiral continued, glancing at each of them individually. "It is because you engaged in an against-regulations romance; a student having a sexual relationship with a teacher is strictly forbidden."
"Yes, we know that." Zuria responded, speaking with as much neutrality as she could.
"And who was it that instigated the relationship?" Admiral Bennet questioned, resting his chin on his hands.
"It was entirely mutual, Admiral." Spock told him. "We both equally desired a relationship."
The admiral seemed to consider this for a moment. "And were the both of you aware that engaging in a relationship could lead to your expulsion from the academy, Cadet Nibiru, and the loss of your job, Commander?"
"We were." Spock answered unblinkingly.
"And yet you pursued it anyways?"
"The decision was not made without contemplation, sir, but I find that I ultimately rebelled against logic in this instance in order to satisfy my human desire for affection."
Admiral Bennet paused for a moment. "James Kirk came in here to defend you both; he threatened to quit if either of you suffered any repercussions."
"I was aware that he intended to make such a case." Spock admitted.
"Obviously, Star Fleet has no desire to lose its most celebrated captain or its most distinguished professor, but I'll allow you to make your case as well: why should I let Cadet Nibiru stay?"
Zuria bit her lip, looking away from the admiral. Spock reached over to her, grasping her hand.
"Because Zuria and I are mated. If you expel her from the academy, I will be forced to leave as well; it is physically impossible for me to live without her." He explained in an even tone. Admiral Bennet sat silently, his gaze shifting between them.
"Cadet, you are interning with Leonard McCoy to become a doctor, correct?" He questioned.
"Yes, I am." She replied.
"And you will be earning your title in less than one month, correct?"
Admiral Bennet nodded once, pondering over her words. "And this affair will end in a legitimate marriage, am I right?" He further prodded. Spock felt a small smile tugging at the corners of his lips at the word "marriage."
"Absolutely. There is no other option." He informed the admiral, who looked briefly down at his desk.
"I will let both of you remain in Star Fleet." Admiral Bennet told them finally. Spock glanced over to Zuria, pleased to see a smile lighting her face.
"Thank you so much, Admiral." She grinned.
"You're both very welcome. You are dismissed." He said waving them out. Both of them stood, stepping to the side of the door as it closed, separating them from their greatest fear, putting it behind them.
"We did it," Zuria sighed in relief. "No more worrying."
Spock nodded in response, clearing his throat as he reached into his pocket, pulling out the small box that had been pressed against his thigh since that morning. Zuria's eyes widened when she saw it, her lips parting.
"I know that we are technically… engaged, in human terms, but I desired something to make our pending marriage more official." He told her, carefully opening the lid on the box. Within it was a platinum ring, a beautiful aqua colored gem set in it. "I decided that it would be appropriate to observe human tradition in this instance."
"Spock," Zuria breathed, reaching out for the ring and easily sliding it onto her finger. "It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."
"I am afraid that I must disagree with you in that respect, Zuria." He informed her, a hint of a playful grin on his face. "In regards to me, that title is strictly reserved for you."
Zuria smiled, wrapping her arms around his neck. "I love you, Spock. I always will."
"I return each sentiment that you just expressed," He responded, folding her into an embrace. "I love you as well."
His lips pressed against hers, sealing their promises with a kiss. Though he was unable to predict the future, Spock was certain that the happiness he and Zuria shared was only at its beginning.
Oh man. I just don't even know what to say, so I won't say anything other than this: college. I'm so happy to have finally finished this story! I'm incredibly proud of it, and I'm glad that I changed the epilogue; the first one I wrote just didn't flow. Hopefully you'll all be pleased with this one.
I've received quite a few inquiries about a sequel to AAL. I do have a sequel thought out, and I'm currently spending time planning it in more detail. However, I won't have time to focus on it until this summer. In the meantime, I've been working on several of the M-rated Sylaire one-shots that I've mentioned. They're definitely not something to miss if you ship them, or if you just love ZQ as much as I do; after all, what better way to atone for my lack of fanfiction activity than to offer up some steamy Sylar goodness?
Hehe, that's what I thought.
Before I tie off AAL, let me just say that you've all been amazing and supportive as readers. I greatly appreciate all of your reviews, and I take the time to read each and every one of them, even if I can't respond to all of them. Needless to say, I wouldn't have been able to accomplish all of this without you guys, so thank you very much!
Until next time, dear readers!