Author's Note: This is the fourth story in my Ilori-verse (Spock and Uhura's son). It is after "0600", "Soft and Fleeting", and a "Small Healing in Small Hands", but can be read independently.
Thank you all for reading and commenting!
Spies on the Enterprise
Jim Kirk is trying extremely hard to be quiet, his footsteps as light as possible on the floor of the hallways of the Enterprise, boots hardly squeaking against the surface. He's sliding back to the walls, tip-toeing with exaggerative steps, finger pressed to his lips in the "sh!" motion
There's a hand tugging on the knee of his trousers then, and he looks down to Ilori's imploring gaze. The little boy is pressed against the wall beside him, both figures trying hard to stay as close to the surface of the hallway as possible.
"Uncle Kirk," Ilori says, in a whisper that Kirk has to strain to hear, "I do wonder about the implications of our actions. Papa has made it very clear I was to stay with Uncle McCoy while he and Mother were going over the readings received from Orion."
Kirk's eyes land on Ilori's and he reaches out to take the boy's hand. Ilori fits his fingers into his uncle's and digs his heels into the ground to halt the older man.
"Ilori," Kirk insists, eyeing a couple of crew members who wander past them in the hallway. He winks in thanks when they pretend they can't see the sneaking duo, and then leans down, "Listen - your Papa always told you to stay close to me because I would protect you, right?"
"Indeed," Ilori nodded, now allowing Kirk to coax him, "After him and Momma, I was instructed to look for you first. Papa said you'd always keep me safe."
Kirk smiles at this. He can still recall the moment when Spock had approached him about the subject.
("You know I would not approach you about such a subject if it were not of the utmost importance to myself and Nyota," Spock had said, looking as insistent and serious as Kirk had ever seen him, "But we are well aware of the danger in which, at times, we put ourselves while onboard the Enterprise."
Kirk had looked at him, slightly confused, "What are you getting at, Spock?"
He could swear Spock's ear-tips flushed green, "What I am 'getting at' Jim is that I would like to ask if you would always keep an eye out for Ilori, especially if something happens to myself or Nyota. His safety is of utmost of concern and there are not many people I would trust my own, my wife's or my son's life with."
Kirk's mouth had twitched, his first reaction was to be sarcastic, teasing. Spock trusted him. Spock. Trusted. Him. Not only with his own life, but with his son's.
He couldn't say anything. He couldn't tease. It was too important this time.
"Absolutely," He'd replied. Spock and he looked at one another for a moment, before Spock reached out - and for the first time ever - initiated contact with Jim by touching his shoulder.)
"Always," Kirk said, looking down at Ilori, "And you must trust me, little guy. If your Dad is mad, he'll be mad at me."
Ilori's very human eyes are peering up at him, clearly torn. Kirk can almost see the wheels turning in his head.
"Papa does not get angry," Ilori insists, "It would be highly illogical."
Kirk laughs at loud at this, only to get "shh'd!" by a nervous Ilori, who's eyes are darting around in hopes of not being "caught".
"Remind me to tell you about a time your Dad 'did not' get angry enough to choke me," He muttered under his breath. Ilori squeezes his hand and he looks back, "Do you trust me?"
Ilori's head nods, he bites his lip in a move that is very Uhura. With a newfound confidence, he slides closer to Kirk in the hallway.
"Good man." Kirk nods, and the two continue their trek down the hallway, past the communications pods (where the com officers on duty dutifully pretended to not see them), past the bridge crew's quarters, to the front of the ship. Nearly to their destination, Kirk felt Ilori's heels dig into the ground again, and he turns to his nephew.
"Uncle Kirk," Ilori's eyes are wide, intense, "It seems by our direction we are heading to the bridge."
Kirk's grin really could light up a room- he's beaming. He's well aware Ilori had never traveled to the bridge - it was a destination Spock and Uhura grappled with knowing when the right time to introduce him to it would be. He also knows Ilori's been very patiently waiting for the day he'd be able to see where his parents and on-board family worked - although he never directly asked to see the bridge, his curiousness pretty much exuded from his eyebrows down to the never-ending questions he barraged on Kirk every time they were together. Selfishly Kirk wanted to introduce Ilori to the bridge, he only felt it was his right - he is, after all, the brash, emotion-driven "cool uncle".
"Yes we are, my young friend."
"Uncle Kirk, I do not believe I am allowed to be on the bridge yet. I have not received permission from my parents."
Kirk reaches down to muss Ilori's hair, laughing a bit when the boy half-heartedly tries to fix it.
"This time, Ilori, you do not need permission. I believe I am the captain of this ship, am I not?"
"And as Captain of the Enterprise, I do believe my permission surpasses any other of my crew members, correct?"
Ilori finishes patting down his curls and looks up at Kirk, "As Starfleet regulation number zero-one-one-two states, the captain of a Starship is allowed to make executive decisions that deem other decisions by officers of lower rank nil if there's an emergency-"
"Whoa kid, does he feed you Starfleet rule books?" Kirk's honestly amazed.
"No, Uncle Kirk - I ask questions."
Kirk laughs at the very honest answer, and nods.
"Well I know that." He insists, then creeps them both closer to the passageway that would lead them onto the bridge, "But right now since I'm captain what I say goes and I say you're coming with me onto the bridge."
Ilori nods at this and Kirk isn't sure if he's agreeing because he's too excited about the prospect of the bridge or if he's mentally changing the rules in his head. Either way, Kirk is happy he wouldn't have to do much coaxing. It would suck the fun right out of the experience.
They creep closer, and are very nearly there when Ilori pulls on his arm once again.
"Uncle Kirk," He squeaks a bit, excitement bubbling up in his throat, "Regulation one-two-six-three of Starfleet conduct states no one is allowed on the bridge not in uniform."
Kirk looks down at Ilori, who's decked out in very regulation-like trousers and a soft-knitted long-sleeved jersey. He's surprised it doesn't have the insignia stitched into it - it seems Starfleet will put it's signature on anything, even tiny little-kid sized clothing - but Ilori is right, and since this is an adventure, he'll give the kid an adventure.
Reaching across the hallway, Kirk pops open a hidden closet where there are handfuls of extra uniform shirts pressed and folded neatly in piles. He plucks the smallest size of the science officer shirt (which is woman's extra small, but he knows Ilori will still swim in it) and helps Ilori slip it over his head, suppressing a laugh when he hears Ilori's stifled giggles through the fabric.
"Sh!" He says teasingly as he finishes sliding the fabric over the little boy's head. He presses his fingers into Ilori's tummy lightly to tickle in a sign of his teasing and picks him up swiftly, "We need to be like spies! Your Momma and Poppa are in there and we can't let them see you!"
"Sh!" Ilori replies, burying his head in Kirk's shoulder as he reaches for the touch-pad to allow him entry. He slides through the doors, Ilori's body curled into his, face buried in his shirt, with his back towards where Uhura and Spock are stationed. He's not being very stealth, he knows, because he can pretty much feel their gaze on the back of his head, basically feel Spock's raised eyebrow bearing into him.
Ilori is giggling despite his own advice and Kirk is having a hard time not laughing with him as the small-talk on the bridge dwindles to nothing as their presence is noticed. Finally standing in front of the Captain's chair, Kirk addresses Sulu.
"Sulu, can you open the sliders please?" He asks, and with a quick nod, the sliders narrowing the bridge's view of space is widened considerably. He pries Ilori's fingers from his shirt and pulls him away, turning him and propping him up against him so he can see the view in front of him.
"Wow," Ilori breathes, and it's the first non-logical thing he's heard from the boy all day. His eyes are wide as saucers, and everyone on the bridge is turned to watch Ilori take in the view of space uninhibited, and with Earth in the distance and Saturn's rings in their peripheral, it's the perfect sight for someone who's only ever seen space through the portholes. Kirk laughs a little when Ilori reaches out as if he could touch.
Suddenly, Kirk can feel Spock's presence very near to his left; a feeling he's gotten well attuned to since they'd begun to work together like they have. He looks at Spock from the corner of his eye and notices his friend's eye transfixed on his son.
At that moment, Ilori seems to feel his father's presence as well, because he breaks his transfixed gaze from the image before him to Spock. Any concern about his father's feelings about him being on the bridge is forgotten, because he reaches out to Spock.
"Papa," He says, and Spock approaches Kirk to take his son. Kirk very nearly reluctantly lets go of Ilori and steps back to let father and son have their moment. Spock and Ilori move closer to the window, and Kirk can see Spock pointing out various points of interest in his clipped serious tone, offset by Ilori's giggles and responses of appreciation.
A hand touches his elbow, and he's drawn from the image to see Uhura, a smirk playing on her lips and a hand on her hip.
"I'm not sure, Captain, that this is where we'd requested Ilori stay while we were away."
Kirk winced even though her tone is teasing.
"I know, I know - it's not at all Bones' fault, though - I practically stole the kid right from under his nose." He replied, "I dunno, I just felt like he should see this, you know? With you guys here, working."
Nyota doesn't respond, so he continues.
"It never felt real to me, you know? As a kid?" He nods and follows her gaze to Spock and Ilori, who are now listening to Chekov explain the functions at his station, "I always imagined what my dad had seen, what my mother was seeing day after day. It wasn't truly until I was on the bridge of this very ship that I realized how incredible this all was."
"I know how that feels," Nyota assured him, placing a gently hand on his arm, "Thank you for bring Ilori out here."
"He's not going to get too Vulcan on me for going against your rules, is he?" Kirk asks, referring to Spock. Nyota shakes her head.
"We've been speaking about when would be the right time to introduce him to our side of the Enterprise. We just hadn't come up with a good conclusion. This is a blessing in disguise."
"Whew," Kirk exaggeratedly says, wiping his brow mockingly, "Good."
They both laugh. Kirk is about to continue with his conversation Nyota when there's a blur and he notices Ilori flying hurriedly in his direction.
"Uncle Kirk!" He says excitedly, and Kirk catches him as he throws himself at his uncle with an exaggerated "Oomph!". Ilori giggles and hugs Kirk around his neck.
"Papa says I should express my appreciation to you for allowing me on the bridge," He says, and then hugs tighter, "Is a hug an appropriate enough gesture?"
Kirk isn't sure he'd ever thought any child coming from Spock would assume a hug appropriate for anything, but Ilori is always an enigma. He's a quite startling blend of Vulcan and human; very sure of himself even at such a young age. It's refreshing.
"Of course, buddy," Kirk hugs him back, smiling over his nephew's shoulder to grin at a smirking Spock. He then turns and gestures to the Captain's chair, a spot Ilori's eyes widen at.
"Do you wanna try out the Captain's Chair? See how that feels?"
Ilori nods excitedly and allows Kirk to plop him down in the chair. Jim steps back and laughs at Ilori's expression.
"Okay crew," Kirk addresses to the bridge, "I believe Captain Ilori here is going to take us out."
The crew snaps to attention to Ilori's great delight, and everyone retreats to their station, including Uhura (not without a passing kiss on her son's forehead). Spock scoops Ilori up and sits him down in his lap right back in the Captain's Chair, and Kirk stands beside them.
"Ilori," Kirk addresses, "Say 'Take us out, Sulu'."
Ilori straightens and tightens his hold on Spock's fingers, looking up at Kirk in wonder.
"Go ahead," He coaxes. Spock leans down to speak softly in Vulcan to the boy, assuring him he had permission. Finally, Ilori looks up, at the attention of the whole bridge.
"Take us out, Uncle Sulu!" He exclaims. Sulu smirks and nods.
"Right away, Captain Ilori." He punches the throttle, space stretches before them, and Ilori gets to experience warp this time front and center. Kirk winks down at him.
The grin he receives back is totally worth it.