Author's Note: This is a companion fic to "0600" and "A Small Healing in Small Hands". This, in the timeline, would be between the two – Ilori is born, but he's only an infant. It also can be read independently. Thank you so much for reading!

Soft and Fleeting

The hallway seemed to stretch on forever, long, sleek white fluorescence on and on, nearly teasing Nyota into insanity. There's a beep overheard, then the sharp youthful voice of Chekov relaying the morning's news- briefings from Starfleet Command, updates on nearby ships and planets, regular inter-galatic news. If she were to look up and squint a bit, she'd be able to see her young co-workers face as it was broadcast on the ship's many hallway monitors, but she's not quite interested in doing so at the moment.

She has a goal, and it's only a few steps away now - and she can hardly wait.

It's been a long morning of un-intelligible frequencies, scrambling communications and verbal sparring with Jim Kirk. Her eyes kept sweeping over to Spock's empty station, a reminder that her partner was off rotation with her and that they now had alternating shifts. This change was for a very good reason, but she longed for extended periods of time with him; with their child.

Her fingers pressed almost unsteadily to the door-pad as Chekov's voice clicked off from broadcast. A green light flashed, allowing her entry, and with little countenance, she entered, sliding her PADD and other work-related items onto the counter just inside the door.

She listened, then, for the sounds of Spock (although there was usual very little) - there wasn't any soothing Vulcan music, no sounds of ambling in the kitchen. As she took a peek into the kitchen, then the bedroom, she noticed her lover wasn't there - and in obvious return, neither was their son. She felt a little disappointed; while totally understandable Spock would take their son out of their living quarters for a much needed scenery change, it was unlike him not to be home with him when she returned from shift. Spock, like she did, valued their time together as a family.

She was just about to retire to the main room to inquire to the computer about their whereabouts when something caught her eye as passed the living room. She paused and took a step back, her eyes falling sight on the couch. A smile tugged at her lips.

She'd found what she'd been looking for.

Very much fast asleep on the couch was Spock, Ilori laying comfortably and completely passed out on his father's chest. Spock's lean fingers stretched protectively over his infant son's back, lips parted slightly in slumber. He was wearing his uniform pants and a thin Starfleet undershirt, one foot braced against the floor, the other leg buried under a pillow on the couch. His hair was delightfully rumpled from it's normal perfection and she knew the cause of it's disturbance was probably their son, who'd found recent fascination with hair and was known to just reach and pull whenever he got some of his little fingers around some.

Nyota stepped closer to them, surprised and awed at the sight. Spock very nearly needed sleep, but she knew he was very overdue for a few hours. Ilori, on the other hand, was very much more often asleep then awake, and seemed extremely content and happy, his fingers on one hand starfished over his father's chest, the other stretched out beside him.

She couldn't wake them, not now, not when they were having such a wonderful moment whether they were aware of it or not. It was times like these Nyota wanted to shout from the rooftops, praise everything and anything she'd ever had faith in that she'd found something so ridiculously perfect for her. Sure, Spock, while striving extremely hard, was hardly perfect. Her relationship with him - hardly perfect. The life they led? Sometimes not even close. However, it's more then she could have ever asked for and more. She's grateful, so grateful.

She sits then, right on the soft Vulcan rug that's right there on floor in the living room, and scoots over until she's cross-legged in front of the couch. Her fingers reach out for her son, and with a slight smile, she trails a finger over his pointed ear, nearly giggling when he wiggles a bit and sighs before settling back down on Spock's chest. His little mouth stretches a bit in a baby smile, and Spock's hand tightens on Ilori's back in response to the movement.

Nyota uses her other hand to trace her fingertips from Spock's ear now, down, down, light touches on his unshaven cheek, on his neck, down his shoulder, to his free hand. As her fingertips brush through his, they tighten over her own, and she looks up to see Spock's eyes fluttering open in her direction.

There's no words really to say - he places his hand on her cheek, a soft half-smile on his lips. She leans into his touch for a moment, placing her hand over his on her cheek.

Then, with a sleepy, gravelly voice, he speaks.

"Hello, Nyota."

And her heart seemingly skips a beat; like it did the first time she saw him, like it has may times since.