Disclaimer: SSDD

Warnings: Violence and probly language – I dunno.

Author's Note: I sincerely apologize for this update taking so long. I've had a ton of drama going on and hitting me from all sides. It's all good now – for the most part – it was just really really distracting.

Plus this was really hard to write for some reason.

The Last Chapter will be short – but will be coming soon, and I'll probably include an epilogue to set things up in case I decide to do a sequel at some point.

Haven't decided if I will do a sequel for sure or not.

I am So VERY VERY VERY grateful to all of you loyal readers and reviewers for your feedback and alerts, but I have to admit being disappointed at the number of reviews in comparison to some of the other longer stories on here.

Kinda makes me feel like maybe this story actually sucks ass, and you guys are just being nice.

Anyway it's made me a little reluctant to do a sequel, so we'll just have to see.

If you guys want a sequel – lemme know and I'll try.

Also I'll be continuing Saving Grace and Destiny's Child soon as well.

Thanks again everyone for following along with me on this journey – you are all awesome!




Chapter 20

Once Upon a Wedding

The next couple of days seemed to fly by. Jim and Spock were so busy going over every minute detail of the sweeps reports and the interrogations and briefings that they hardly had time to notice that the 4th was drawing nearer and nearer.

Pike had allowed himself New Year's day off, what with his own wedding that evening, but he'd woken them both up at o'dark thirty on the 2nd of January. They'd all perused reports until nearly 11 that night and then Jim and Spock had returned to the dorms to catch a few hours shut eye before starting all over on the 3rd.

By about six o'clock on the 3rd Scotty declared that every nook and cranny of the ship had been gone over with a fine toothed comb.

"Are you absolutely positive Scotty?" Jim had asked him.

"Aye Captain. I wudnah say so if I wasn't completely sure. We've had over 500 people workin' round the clock for the past few days. They even worked through the holiday. Not all 500, but enuff. I'm sure. We only found those few more tamperins and nuthin' else. She's gud ta go Captain. You know I wudnah say that if it weren't true. That's my number one lady I'm talkin' about."

"I know Scotty I'm just making sure all our I's are dotted and our T's are crossed so to speak. Have we heard anymore on possible locations for Kodos Chris?" Jim asked, switching gears.

"Sorry Jim. We're coming up empty there. It's like he's vanished. He can't have tried to leave the planet, he would have been spotted. And we've run down every lead on every accomplice we know him to have been acquainted with. There is one former member of this acting troupe that we haven't found, but preliminary reports are telling us he died 2 years ago. We're just trying to confirm that.

Other than that, we've got nothing. But he can't stay hidden forever and his face and his daughter's face have been plastered all over the news on every continent and in every space port for the last few days. Every federation planet has his information as well. We'll catch him. It will just be a matter of time before someone recognizes him and turns him in." Pike assured his son.

They all went over the paperwork from the sweeps teams for another hour, but it seemed that there was little else to do. They'd finalize their reports and submit them to the Starfleet Regulatory Board the next morning. Once the Board ruled that the investigation was concluded and the Enterprise was cleared for regular mission status, all that would be left was the sentencing of the parties involved with the sabotage and assassination attempts. That and catching Kodos of course.

Pike had told Jim that the Enterprise's orders would be altered and that the long term mission they were supposed to have embarked on would be postponed until all of the hearings and sentencing had been concluded. They would be taking on what Jim would call 'boring missions' which would keep them close to home until Kodos was captured and tried as well.

Jim and Kevin Riley would both need to be available to testify as soon as Kodos was in custody, so that meant cargo shipments, and liaison missions with nearby federation planets. Jim's diplomatic skills would be stretched thin by the time this was all over, he was sure.

His only saving grace was that he'd have his new husband to keep him occupied. They'd get to modify their quarters too, which would keep his mind and his hands busy. Not that his hands wouldn't be busy if he was occupying himself with Spock.

Jim's mind was wandering and he knew it. He tried to return his focus to the paperwork in front of him. There was so little left to do, he just needed to concentrate so they could finish, but he was tired, and hungry, and the words on the paper blurred before him. He heard a sigh echo his own and looked up at his new father who was leaning back in his chair, running his weathered hands through his salt and pepper hair.

"I don't know about you guys but I've just about had it," he said to Jim, Spock, and Montgomery.

As they were agreeing the door chime to Pike's office sounded and when the door opened in stepped a very welcome Nyota Uhura.

"I hate to interrupt," she began, "and I know that you are all very busy but the wedding is less than 24 hours away and I really need to finalize some things with Jim and Spock Admiral."

"Oh thank God," Jim muttered under to his breath and heard Chris chuckling at him as he did so. "Sorry Dad, but I have had it, just like you said. Plus I'm starving."

"We all are Jim. By all means Nyota, take them, feed them, finalize. As far as the rest of this goes, Mr. Scott and I can finish it up in the morning so let's just call it a day, I've got a beautiful wife to have dinner with myself." Pike grinned, pushing away from his desk and using his cane to aid him in standing.

"Actually Admiral, Mrs. Pike is waiting for us all over at the Banquet Hall. I've arranged for all of the main wedding party to have a 'rehearsal dinner' together. We can go over all the last minute details for the wedding and the security plans. Then we can have a quick run through of the ceremony and I'll fill you in on how we plan to move the whole thing over to the Banquet Hall and Grand Hall for the reception."

"Thas great!" Scotty exclaimed. "I got me taster back today an I'm starved too."

They all had a good laugh about that and headed over to the banquet hall together where the rest of the gang was waiting, as well as Jim's family members. Although if truth be told, as he looked around the room, they were all his family members, blood related or not.

He noted that at the end of one of the long tables sat Selek and Spock's father Serek and a pursed looking Vulcan female Elder that he recognized from visiting New Vulcan as T'Pau. She was a revered member of the Vulcan race and it had been extremely fortunate that she had been among the Vulcan Elders who had not been in the Katrik Ark during the destruction of the planet, but had managed to evacuate before the singularity destroyed the planet.

She was also, Kirk knew, a High Priestess and Minister, and had not only been one of the signatories of the Articles of the Federation, but was the Matriarch of Spock's tribe as well. He was just a little bit intimidated that she was here.

// "I am sure that her presence signifies that it is she who my Father has chosen to officiate over the Vulcan rituals our marriage ceremony will entail."// Spock tried to reassure Jim through their link.

// "I appreciate your attempt at reassurance Love, but she still scares me. She gave me the distinct impression the last time I met her that she didn't approve of me."//

// "I find that hard to believe T'hy'la. You are scared of very little. Besides she does not disapprove of you or she would not be here. Her demeanor was simply one of someone who is much older, and wiser, scrutinizing someone so young, who has had so much responsibility thrust upon him so suddenly. She was simply observing you.

Before we left, she pulled me aside and confided in me that she felt I had made the right decision remaining in Starfleet and supporting you as your First Officer. She indicated that although your methods are a bit impetuous, and perhaps not always logical, they seemed to work. She praised your ability for original thinking, ingenuity, and indicated that your diplomacy skills were improving."//

// "Really? Wow. Well, okay then."//

// "Indeed."//

// "You should really tell me these things."//

// "And risk your already inflated ego growing to such proportions that it literally causes your head to explode? I think not. Dr. McCoy would not approve."//

// "Very funny. Bones told you not to tell me didn't he? Bastard."//

// "Precisely."// Spock said, giving Jim a little wink and leading him to the far end of the table so that they could greet his Father and T'Pau properly.

During the dinner they were briefed on the security measures. No guest would be admitted without being on the confirmed guest list as an official invitee, and would have to provide picture ID and/or Starfleet ID as well that would be checked against the Official Starfleet Security Approved Guest list. The OSSAG included documentation and full picture ID of each invitee.

Several invited guests had rsvp'd and asked about bringing a plus one. All of these guests had been asked to submit names and documentation as well as photos ID's of their proposed plus ones, and unless those proposed plus ones had proper documentation and passed rigorous Starfleet background checks, they would not be admitted.

There would be several checkpoints. The first would be at the gates surrounding Starfleet Headquarters, the second at the inner gates surrounding Starfleet Academy and the final two at the Banquet Hall/Grand Hall main entrance and at the Academy Board Auditorium where the actual ceremonies would take place.

Each guest would have to pass through each checkpoint including ID checks and full scans for concealed weapons before being allowed further entrance. Only a certain number of guests were being allowed to attend the actual Wedding Ceremony in the Academy Board Auditorium. The main Terran traditional ceremony would be broadcast to the rest of the guests in the Banquet Hall.

However the Vulcan Ceremony would be performed in private in the Admiral's greenroom at the rear of the Auditorium. Only Jim and Spock's closest friends and family members would be allowed in attendance, which meant, only the people in attendance at the rehearsal dinner. The Vulcan Ceremony would be performed by T'Pau first, then the family members would exit and take their seats, followed by the wedding party, and then finally Jim, Spock, and Admiral Archer, who would be officiating over the Terran Ceremony.

Jim and Spock's Best Men would be Sam and Leonard, the groomsmen would be, Admiral Pike, Montgomery Scott, Hikaru Sulu, Pavel Chekov, Andy Sanders, and Kevin Riley.

Kevin was a bit surprised at this, and was feeling a little out of place at the rehearsal dinner, surrounded by people he didn't know very well, all superior officers, but Jim had insisted. After all these years Jim still saw Kevin as that 4 year old kid he'd hidden from Kodos' soldiers. The kid brother he'd never had.

Jim and Spock had insisted on having no bridesmaids but the girls were going to defy them just a little and all wear identical dresses in the appropriate colors and sit on the front row with Jim's Mom. Nyota and Christine would be in purple to match Spock, and Aurelan and Janice would be in blue to match Jim.

Jim decided that as long as they weren't standing up front and holding flowers he had no objections, because he did want them all in the photos, and he was pretty sure that if Nyota was going to sing, she had to match stuff, though he still didn't understand why.

The Groomsmen would all be wearing dark suits with white shirts and either a royal purple or cerulean blue tie. Again Jim just thought, whatever floats Nyota's boat, as long as she found the ties somewhere. She confessed to breaking into their room and borrowing their shirts and having all of the dresses and ties replicated with the exact matching colors. Jim decided not to argue.

The Banquet Hall and Grand Hall where the dance had taken place on New Year's were technically connected and could be transformed into one huge space by opening a huge set of sliding metal retractable doors that formed the dividing wall, but that was semantics. On one end there would be tables for the dinner following the ceremony.

The tables would remain for those guests who preferred not to dance, while the Grand Hall would be set up with two stages, one for the Orchestra and one for the Starfleet Band that had played at New Year's. More formal Dancing to classical music played by the Orchestra would take place first, followed by modern rock music and dancing later in the evening for the younger guests who wanted to stay.

Everything sounded great and Jim was impressed with everything Nyota and the other's had already accomplished and planned. The Banquet Hall was nearly ready for the reception. Jim thought it looked great and Spock agreed. It was very elegant and understated and wasn't superfluous at all, which is what they'd been afraid of.

Nyota did explain that there would be an ice sculpture at the reception, but that it would be of the Enterprise, which Jim secretly thought was pretty kick ass. He thought it would be even better if it were of the Enterprise blowing something up, but he kept that to himself. Well mostly to himself, obviously Spock caught it through their link because he smirked at his bondmate ever so slightly as the thought had flashed through his mind.

// "Oh come on, you know that would be kick ass."//

// "I know that you are incorrigible."//

// "So you've mentioned. Love you."//

// "I love you as well, despite your penchant for being overly fond of large explosions."//

// "Did I ever tell you my motto? It's Live Hard, Drive Fast, and Blow Shit Up!"//

// "I shall endeavor to remember that and have it etched on your tombstone T'hy'la."//

// "You've turned into a regular smartass, you know that?"//

Spock ignored this and went back to conversing with Nyota about the reception. Soon after they all finished eating and it was time to do the rehearsing part. They all went over to the Academy Board Auditorium and in the Admiral's greenroom where they found Admiral Archer reading in a large chair and waiting for them. He shot Scotty a look that said 'stay away from my dog'. Said beagle was sleeping quietly on a dog bed next to the fireplace.

Greetings and introductions were made and T'Pau began explaining the rituals the Vulcan ceremony would entail, along with the significance of each. She was very thorough and Jim thought very accommodating as well, given the number of humans present in the room. He appreciated it.

After T'Pau had completed taking them through the Vulcan Ceremony, Nyota explained that she would signal the orchestra to begin playing Canon in D major, and the friends and family members who were not in the wedding party would file out and take their seats. Any unescorted females would be escorted to their seats by groomsmen who would then take their places up front followed by Admiral Archer, the best men, and finally Spock and Jim.

Jim looked suspiciously at Nyota during this explanation and when she caught the look he was giving her she assured him that this would be nothing like walking down the aisle.

"There's no aisle Jim, and there won't be any bridesmaids, not really, and no flower girl, and no ring bearer, George and Leonard will have the rings. Oh and George will help Aurelan and the kids to their seats and then return here to the green room so that he can walk out with you Jim. But that's not walking down the aisle, it's just walking across the room, that's totally different."

"Uh huh. I've got a houle on the moon I can let you borrow too."

Sam and Andy cracked up at that comment and Winona smirked mischievously and shook her head. It was an inside joke amongst them from when they'd been kids. It had to do with another cousin of theirs who was batshit crazy. Nyota just looked puzzled.

"What's a houle on the moon?"

"Inside joke. Don't worry about it."

He wanted to protest some more but Spock seemed okay with the proposed arrangement and cautioned them through their link to just accept it. It would seem ungrateful not too, especially considering the amount of work and thought and planning that had gone into everything. So Jim sighed and gave in and told himself that he was NOT wrapped around Spock's little finger.

"Okay so that's that let's walk through it and then Admiral Archer has a little announcement to make." Nyota said. Once they were finished walking through filing to their seats and assembling for the ceremony, Admiral Archer walked them through what he'd say and asked them if they had any personal vows they wanted to exchange.

They'd thought about it and Nyota had wanted Spock to repeat what he'd told her that day on the phone in Vegas but in the end they decided to go with traditional vows. Jim explained that they had exchanged very personal and private vows during their bond confirmation ceremony and they didn't want to take away from that very personal and special moment by repeating the same or similar sentiments in public.

This caused uproar from all the women in the room of course. They'd all heard from Nyota what Spock had told her and they'd been very much looking forward to hearing it all again. An argument ensued and in the end, even the guys, surprisingly enough including Bones, were siding with Jim's Mom and the girls.

"Aw come on Jim, Mom's are supposed to be allowed to cry at these damn things, that's the best way to get the job done right. You always said any job worth doing is worth doing well, do it well then. Besides, I don't think it will take away from or discount what you guys shared during that bond confirmation ceremony, and I have to admit being a little curious what you said to each other myself. I was in the room remember, whatever it was, it looked interesting," he'd encouraged them.

"I agree Jim. The vows you exchanged were quite beautiful, and as I am privy to them, I can honestly say that it would do the rest of your friends and family members a disservice, not to let them hear those words as well." Selek interjected.

Because it was Selek, Jim caved again, telling himself that it was once again NOT because Spock in any form had him wrapped around his little finger. Once the argument was settled Admiral Archer concluded and moved on to his announcement.

"Admiral Pike has submitted his preliminary report to me stating that the security sweeps aboard the Enterprise have been concluded, which in much part is due to the dedication and hard work of your crew Jim."

"Thank you Admiral, I can't tell you how proud Spock and I are of them."

"As am I and the rest of the Admiral's council, which is why I'm glad to tell you Captain Kirk, and Commander Spock, that we've decided to extend shore leave for your crew for another week following your wedding. Most of your crew cut their shore leaves short in order to come back early and put in exhaustive hours working to ensure the safety of their command team and their ship. They deserve nothing less. It will also give the two of you an opportunity to indulge in a much deserved honeymoon as well," he concluded with a wink. "I'll announce it officially at your reception tomorrow so that the rest of the crew will be apprised."

Jim and Spock graciously thanked the Admiral, for themselves and their crew. They were both elated as they hadn't known themselves how to thank their crew for the loyalty and dedication they'd shown. Plus they hadn't thought they'd be lucky enough to get a honeymoon. They'd have a week of uninterrupted time with each other, well mostly uninterrupted. Being the command team of the Federation's Flagship meant they were always on call.

They were just about to adjourn when Nyota announced that the guys had some sort of bachelor party planned. Then she let the axe fall and let them know that after the bachelor party she and the girls intended on splitting he and Spock up for the night. Seems there was some sort of tradition involving not spending the night before the wedding together and not seeing each other before the ceremony.

They both protested this and declared that the whole plan sucked. Spock didn't say sucked, but he implied it. However there was no dissuading them and the guys were all in on it and were going to ensure that the separation occurred. Bones claimed that he just wanted a good night's sleep with no intimate noises filtering through the walls.

Later that night all the guys were hanging in one of the dorm's common rooms with a good deal of the rest of the male crew that were rooming on that floor. Everyone was smashed and Jim was occupying himself with trying to publicly make out with his First Officer in a nice quiet little corner while Bones was projecting some sort of porno on the wall to a chorus of hoots and hollers.

Jim was about to suggest to Spock that they sneak out and head back to their room when Nyota, Christine, and Janice showed up and snatched Spock away from him. Wherever they took him it was too far away for Jim to be able to communicate with his bondmate through their link. He had to resent to drunk texting from his communicator. After a while of that he got a text from Nyota saying to go to bed and leave poor Spock alone.

The bachelor party was pretty much over by then anyway so he slurred his thanks and appreciation and let Bones haul him back to his room. This was difficult for Bones, since he was three sheets to the wind himself.

After Bones left, Jim laid on the bed tossing and turning for at what seemed like forever. Soon he was sober and all too awake. He and Spock hadn't slept apart since that second night of shore leave which seemed like an eternity ago. It had really only been about 2 ½ weeks, but it seemed much longer, and he found that he couldn't sleep without Spock's warm arms wrapped around him. Though he couldn't talk to Spock through their link he was sure that somehow he could feel that Spock was also still awake and experiencing the same emptiness and inability to sleep.

He was about to try texting again when the door chime sounded. He jumped up excitedly thinking that it must be Spock, forgetting that Spock would have had to sneak away from the girls first, and that secondly, he would have used his entrance code and not have rung the door chime. He was noticeably disappointed when he saw Bones standing in the hall instead.

"Oh it's you," he uttered dejectedly.

"Gee I love you too," Bones declared blandly, "and here I am trying to do you a favor."

"Sorry Bones. What favor."

"Heard you couldn't sleep," Bones stated before jabbing a hypo into Jim's neck.

"OW! Stop that! What the hell?" Jim said rubbing his neck. "You did that on purpose. How the hell did you know I couldn't sleep?"

"Yes I did do that on purpose. I was sleeping. Got woken up by Nyota cuz your honey bunny couldn't sleep and she was worried about him."

"So how does that make you getting woken up my fault again?"

"Because he informed me that it was you two being separated for the night that was causing him not to be able to sleep, and that you were also awake and unable to sleep. So I figure that since you're involved, it's your fault. Now go lay down before the sedative kicks in and I have to pick you up off the floor."

"Wait, how'd he know I was awake? I mean I kinda knew he was too but I wasn't sure."

"I thought you two were talkin' to each other with that mind talking shit. How should I know?"

"No we have to be in close proximity for that to work."

"Like I said, how should I know? Go to bed Jim. You're getting married tomorrow. It's gonna be a big day, you need rest, and so do I."

"Yeah," Jim said yawning, "okay, well despite the violent way you administered it, thanks. Night Bones." Jim said and shut the door before stumbling back towards the bed and collapsing on it.

He dreamt of his bond confirmation ceremony with Spock, and the vows they'd shared then. He dreamt of seeing Spock smile for the first time, and of Spock teasing him by inferring that he was masturbating the cow back home. He dreamt of snowball fights and interrupted kisses, ice skating and cuddling up by the fire. He dreamt of green tinted cheekbones and eartips and dark smiling eyes twinkling before him. He dreamt of all the chess matches they'd shared over the last year, the dinners, the conversations late into the night, the companionable silences whilst working or reading. He dreamt of being happier and more content than he'd ever been, just because Spock was near him, and as he was dreaming he smiled and sighed into his pillow.

Spock was dreaming of knowing he was in love with Jim, and wondering if there would ever be any hope of Jim returning his love, but being content with having his friendship and companionship. Then he dreamt of Iowa and feeling Jim's attraction to him when they touched. He dreamt of Vulcan kisses and hanging Christmas lights and holding Jim in his arms as they slept. He dreamt of their first kiss, and realizing that they were already bonded. He dreamt of all the kisses they'd shared since then, and of making love and asking Jim to marry him, of Jim asking Spock to marry him as well. He dreamed of teasing and chocolate, and road trips and friendships, and then he too dreamed of the vows he and Jim had shared during their bond confirmation ceremony.

Finally Spock dreamt of his Mother and sadness invaded his dreams. How he wished she could be there to see him marry the love of his life.

In his dream he stood in the garden on Vulcan with her, the one he'd envisioned during he and Jim's bond confirmation. She turned to face him and smiled in that gentle, approving, and reassuring way of hers. She took his hands in her own and told him how proud she was of him and how glad she was to see him so happy. She told him not to be sad that she wouldn't be there physically to see him marry, but to know that she would always be with him, in his heart, and that she would always watch over him and love him.

When he awoke, his cheeks were damp from tears of joy and sadness that he had inadvertently shed as his Mother had spoken to him. It had been so real. He could still feel the coolness of her hands in his own, of her fingers as they brushed his cheek, of her head resting against his chest as he'd hugged her goodbye.

He even thought that he could still smell the herbal shampoo she had used on his shirt, where her head had rested. He contemplated these things for quite some time before finally rising. Whether it had been real or not, he would cherish the memory of the dream for the rest of his life, and he would share it with only one other person. That person was his bondmate, his soulmate, his T'hy'la, and soon, his husband, his Jim.

An hour or so later, in another part of the dormitory, Jim stood before the bathroom mirror, thinking that this was going to be a long assed day if he couldn't see Spock until the ceremony that evening. He decided to work on his vows a bit and then go see his Mom before grabbing some late breakfast, or rather, lunch, since he'd slept in. Of course he hadn't gotten to sleep until around 4 am so he supposed it didn't really matter.

A few minutes later Bones and Scotty were outside his dormroom ringing the door chime and hollering at him that they were hungry and to hurry the fuck up and open the door.

"I take it this means we are all going to breakfast?" He said smirking as the door slid open. They just jerked him out into the hallway and down the corridor. "Hey, can't I even get a jacket?"

"Nope, freeze, we're eating, now."

"What's the deal? And what if -gasp- Spock sees me while we are out and about. That would ruin everything wouldn't it? And then maybe we'd have to plan a whole new ceremony and the bunting wouldn't match my socks! Oh my and gasp again!" Jim sarcastically clapped a hand over his mouth.

"Don't be an ass Jim."

"We've been givin orders Cap'n. Seems the girls needed inta your room to git some clothes for Spock and his bathroom stuff and his suit and then he told 'em to go fly a kite er sumthin' and that he'd change to his suit in their room later but he was showerin' on his own whether they liked it or not. So he needs in there to shower and change and we're on Captin removal duty. I'm sorry but ur jest gonna haveta deal with it Jim. Nyota scares me. Besides, she batted her eyelashes at me and I kent say no to her when she duz that." Scotty admitted blushing.

"Yeah okay, whatever, I don't get this 'I can't see him' crap any more than the matching shit, but I'm not about to argue with them. You do realize you called me Jim don't you Scotty?"

"Oh right, sorry Cap'n."

"I didn't say not to Scotty, I'm glad you did. I've been trying to get you to for months. I understand the respect for authority, but dammit man," he said stealing a phrase from Bones and winking at the doctor as he did it for good measure, "I'm not just you're CO Scotty, I'm your friend, I'm your family for God's sakes, at least I consider you and the others family now. I hope you feel the same."

"I do …Jim… I do. Thanks fer sayin' so tho." Scott said, clapping Jim soundly on the shoulder.

The day dragged on but somehow Jim made it through. His Mom was doing much better and he really enjoyed spending time with his family. His Uncle John and Aunt Amy had arrived from Idaho that morning and they'd all had a regular family reunion over at the Med Unit Cafeteria, the only room there large enough to accommodate them all comfortably.

By 4:00 Sam had dutifully whisked Jim off to the dorm room to get changed into his suit and by 5:00 Jim, Sam, Pavel, Hikaru, Andy, and Kevin were all being escorted by security to the Academy Board Auditorium. The Campus was jumping with throngs of guests already making their way through the various checkpoints and Security screenings in order to be seated in time for the Terran Ceremony and the broadcast of that to the Banquet hall.

The Vulcan Ceremony would begin at 5:30 and the Terran one around 6:00 p.m., but everyone needed to be in the greenroom early. Jim and Spock needed to remove their suit jackets and don traditional Vulcan Robes, and Security wanted the wedding party, friends and family members to be in the greenroom before any other guests were seated in the Auditorium.

As Jim was being helped into his Robes by Ambassador Selek, he began to feel the first inclinations of nervousness lodging in the pit of his stomach. Why he was nervous he had no idea, he and Spock were already bonded and he considered Spock his husband already, but he guessed it was because of the pomp and circumstance surrounding the event.

He could hear the string Quartet and Harpist playing greensleeves in the Auditorium as guests arrived. He personally was looking forward to Nyota singing Ave Maria again, but she would be doing that as the wedding party and the guests in the Auditorium filed over to the Banquet Hall. Her performance would be broadcast to the Banquet Hall so that the guests there had something to enjoy, while waiting for the reception to start. Jim hoped they would get to catch part of the performance since they'd be the first to be seated in the Banquet Hall following the ceremony.

As these thoughts ran through his head he saw T'Pau, Ambassedor Sarek and Spock enter the greenroom out of the corner of his eye. His focus and attention immediately shifted to Spock and to those around him, his face seemed to light up like a Christmas Tree. Spock was breathtaking, and more handsome than Jim could ever remember seeing him. He shot his bondmate the brightest and widest smile he'd ever given anyone and saw Spock's cheeks and the tips of his ears flush green as their eyes met. Spock's eyes smiled equally brightly back at Jim and the nervousness that had been tying his gut into knots seemed to melt into a warm mass of contentment.

However, some time later, once his robes were tied in the traditional fashion and they were moments away from starting the Vulcan ceremony, Jim had a moment of sheer panic.

"This is really happening," he thought to himself. "I'm really getting married. That's permanent, forever…… Oh shit! Where are the rings?"

As he had uttered that last part out loud, Sam immediately reassured him that the rings were just fine. He and Leonard had them in their respective pockets and there was nothing to worry about. Then he had to motion for Leonard to leave Spock's preparation to Selek and Serek and come help him keep Jim from hyperventilating.

A few moments later all of the private guests had arrived and Jim was once again breathing normally, though Spock was still quite concerned. T'pau rose and requested that they all take their places so that the ceremony could begin. Uhura poked her head out the door and signaled the quartet and harpist to begin playing traditional Vulcan Hyms softly.

Out in the auditorium a holo projection on the wall reminded the guests to maintain silent reverence while the Vulcan Ceremony was being conducted behind closed doors. Then in remembrance of Vulcan the projection continued, showing holographs and holo vids of the various cities, gardens, deserts and other areas of the once great planet. It had been coordinated with the music and was also broadcast in the Banquet Hall for the rest of the guests.

The Vulcan Ceremony itself was not long, and though it was somber it was also quite calming. As Jim and Spock stood beside each other before their closest friends and family, they both felt their nervousness fade away. Jim's hands even stopped shaking as he listened the words of T'Pau and Serek and locked eyes with his T'hy'la. In no time at all, the ceremony was over and he and Spock were legally married in the eyes of the Vulcan Consulate.

After a few quick congratulations from their friends and family, they removed their Vulcan Ceremonial robes and everyone got in their places to proceed out into the Auditorium. Jim and Spock stood at the end of the line with Leonard and Sam and got ready to walk across the room, which was completely different than walking down the aisle, to face each other in front of Admiral Archer and the guests in the Auditorium.

Jim began to feel nervous all over again but one quick Vulcan kiss from his husband, who had sent a wave of calm to Jim through their link, quickly quelled his unease. They were almost done, just headed down the home stretch, he could do this. Spock winked at him just as they were about to head out into the auditorium and that wink said a thousand words. Spending the rest of his life with Spock would be a privilege, and one he couldn't wait to start enjoying.

It seemed as if the Terran ceremony was over just as quickly and Jim and Spock were standing before their honored guests, greeting them for the first time as an officially married couple. Their vows to each other had indeed made every woman in the room and watching the broadcast in the Banquet Hall cry, which Jim supposed was a good thing. He still wasn't sure about that but hey, if their hankies and Kleenexes matched the frosting on the cake or some damn shit it was all good right?

Nyota began her haunting rendition of Ave Maria and they all filed out and made their way over the Banquet and Grand Halls. Once everyone was seated Admiral Archer took the opportunity to present the happy couple to the large crowd who cheered enthusiastically. He then announced that shore leave would be extended which garnered even more cheers.

Jim and Spock both took the opportunity to offer a toast and their thanks to the crew for all of their hard work and dedication. Then they made sure to thank Nyota, Christine, Janice and Aurelan for everything they'd done to put not only their wedding together, but his Winona and Chris's as well. For this the girls received a round of applause from the crowd as well.

After they sat down Admiral Pike got up and he and his lovely new bride offered a toast to their sons as well. They were followed by Serek, Selek, Sam and Leonard who all offered words of congratulations and toasts to the new couple as well. After all the toasting Jim was getting hungry but it seemed that Scotty also had something to say. The chief engineer rose and bowed a bit to the Captain and Commander.

"I'm real glad yu two heve finally figgered out whut we all knew fer the better part of the last year," he declared and the Enterprise crew enthusiastically agreed which made Jim and Spock both blush. "So yah, it's gud yer finally tagether and yer happy and all tha', but I'm hungry! Let's eat!"

Everyone laughed and the kitchen staff began serving dinner much to Scotty's gratitude. The dinner was pleasant but Jim kept getting distracted by the fact that he was actually married, completely and legally. He'd look down at his wedding band and turn it around his finger with his thumb and smile. Then he'd look over at his husband and 90% of the time, find that Spock was quietly staring at him already. The love that they both felt through their link was like a warm blanket wrapped around them both.

They didn't talk much, they didn't need to, they were both just blissfully happy and content. Jim caught his Mom smiling at him, and when he snarkely asked "What?" she just told him that she was glad to see him so happy and content, and that she couldn't remember seeing such a genuine look of contentment on his face since he was a little boy. Then she thanked Spock for putting that look on Jim's face, which made the Vulcan blush a deep shade of green.

As they sat there enjoying their dinner and each others company Jim happened to notice the Ambassadors from Earth Colony 2 in the Gideon Galaxy sitting across the room. Johnathan James Danforth and his wife Tracy had obviously garnered and invitation somehow, though Jim wished he'd known, he couldn't stand that fat pid J.J. Danforth. J.J. was loud, and obnoxious, crude and uncouth. He was also a bit prejudiced and a bit of a story teller and had made many off color comments about alien races and homosexuals in front of Jim, even though he claimed that his brother was homosexual. That guy just rubbed Jim the wrong way. Plus he was fat, bald and ugly. Jim was sure he topped the scales at somewhere around 450 pounds.

Jim had never met J.J.'s wife Tracy, but he'd heard she was a hardcore bitch. Completely homophobic and emotionless. Well not completely emotionless, apparently she was angry a lot. What those two saw in each other Jim would never know. Jim leaned over and asked Chris what the hell they were doing at the reception, because he certainly wouldn't have authorized the invite.

Chris apologized. He knew how Jim felt about J.J., hell nobody liked the guy, and nobody could figure out why Earth Colony 2 had appointed the Danforth's as their Ambassadors 3 years back, but there wasn't much the Federation could do about it. He told Jim that because of Danforth's brash attitude, there had been a lot of tension with the Colony lately and Danforth had threatened to secede from the Federation. The Federation couldn't afford for Earth Colony 2 to secede from the Federation because the planet was rich in dilithium deposits and the Federation had a large mining operation based there.

The day before, Admiral Archer had been contacted by Danforth and his wife. They had stated that they were enroute to Earth to visit with friends and had heard about Captain Kirk's wedding and would like to inquire if they could attend. Archer pushed throught he invite hoping it would help smooth things over with Danforth and the Colony.

Jim and Spock stated that they understood, Jim just wished someone had told him they would be there. He supposed meeting the infamous Tracy Danforth would be interesting. He couldn't even see what she looked like from across the room with her back to him, except that she had long greying hair, that probably used to be dark brown.

Spock also inquired about the older gentlemen sitting with Captain Korigan. Chris told them that it was Korigan's father, a plus one that had been approved at the last minute. Korigan was not a favorite of Jim or Spock's either. He seemed to have some kind of problem with Jim, that was unrelated to Jim's receiving his Captaincy so young. Jim had suspected him of being an instigator of the Jim Suck's Club, but the investigation had shown that he'd not been involved in the least, not even in the original club, before Kodos had gotten his paws in it.

"Why do you care about the old man?" Jim asked his husband.

"I do not know. He seems, familiar somehow, yet I am unsure how."

"You mean like you've met him before?"

"I do not think so. As I said, I am unsure of the origin of the familiarity, yet I do not believe that I am personally acquainted with him. It is...puzzling."

"Ask Selek."

Spock did so, but his elder counterpart was completely unfamiliar with the older gentleman and didn't find him in any way familiar. They decided it must be some kind of fluke and dismissed it, thinking that they'd get around to introducing themselves later.

A short time later most of the guests were done with dinner and the staff had begun to remove plates. Uhura got up and announced that while the staff was setting up dessert tables, Jim and Spock would share a first dance or two. Once the tables were set up the staff would bring out the wedding cake and Jim and Spock would perform the traditional cutting of the cake, then the guests would be free to partake of whatever dessert they so chose, or dance, or mingle.

Jim didn't really like the idea of he and Spock dancing all by themselves and being stared at by over 500 people, but Nyota assured them that the wedding party would join them momentarily. The quartet and harpist began to play and Jim led Spock out onto the dance floor where they received a round of polite applause as the began dancing.

True to her word, soon the rest of the wedding party had joined them on the dance floor and the guests had all started to mingle. The wedding cakes were in place on the table but a new song had begun so they decided to finish dancing to it before Spock and Jim cut the cake. Jim smiled brightly at Spock and whispered some innuendo in his ear about the honeymoon suite they would be sharing that evening. He was admiring the green tinge on the tips of Spock's ears when he looked just past Spock to see Kevin standing still as a statue and paler than he'd seen him since Tarsus. He'd been dancing with Janice Rand, but she stood to the side of him forgotten and giving him a very concerned look.

Jim let go of Spock and hurried over to see what was wrong with Kevin. When he finally got his attention the boy stammered and pointed towards the tables where the Wedding Cakes were sitting. The only word Jim was able to catch was Karnikov, but the word was enough to make his own blood run cold. He spun around and looked toward where Kevin was pointing, lowering the boy's finger as he did so, but he only saw Danforth, standing there talking with Captain Korigan.

No, Kevin that's J.J. Danforth, he's an Ambassador from Earth Colony 2, it's not Karnikov. Jim was relieved but didn't understand the mistake. Sebastian Karnikov had been one of Kodos' top Generals, his wife had been Colonel Tanee'ya Karnikov. They were called the butchers. Kodos called on them when he needed someone tortured for information. She was famous for disfiguring her victims in gruesome ways. Kevin however, was unconvinced.

"No Jim, it's him. Look at him closer, think 250 pounds lighter, ten years younger, and dark wavy hair on that head of his. Remember, I got to see him up close and personal, you didn't. It's him. I'd swear on my mother's....." he trailed off, remembering what Karnikov had done to his Mother, right before his eyes. "Just trust me on this, it's him, I'd know him anywhere."

"But it can't be. He's dead, so's the Colonel."

"Jim if Kodos is still alive, what makes you so sure The Butchers aren't. They couldn't identify their bodies with any certainty either."

"Okay you have a point but, how the hell would Karnikov get a position as an Ambassador from a Federation planet."

"I don't know Jim. He's obviously changed his appearance, maybe he was an actor, like Kodos, before the whole military and government thing. All I know is, that's him."

Just then Danforth's wife and Korigan's father joined by the cake tables. When she turned around and Jim and Kevin got a look at her face, they both gasped and Jim paled beside Kevin. Spock felt Jim's panic and signaled for Security officers but it was too late. Tanee'ya Karnikov had seen the looks of recognition pass over Kevin and Jim's faces. She'd shouted "NOW" to the other three and they'd dove fist first into the cakes, coming up with assault laser rifles.

The four of them, including the old man, who was as spry as someone 30 years his junior would have been, broke in four different directions firing at will towards Kevin and Jim as they did so. Guests were screaming, Security was closing in and firing at the assailants, laser blasts were catching table cloths on fire and smoke was billowing into the air.

Jim and Kevin were doing their best to duck from the volleys of laser fire aimed in their direction and Spock was doing his best to shield Jim with his own body, but it wasn't good enough. Jim felt on blast tear through his shoulder as another hit his thigh and another whizzed past his head, singing his hair. He felt himself falling and as he did so he saw Kevin get hit with a full blast right in the middle of his abdomen. The fall seemed to happen in slow motion. He could hear Spock, Bones and Sam all screaming his name as he fell, but his eyes were on Kevin. He saw the pain contort Kevin's face as their eyes locked and the blood spilling out all over the floor as they both collided with it. He tried to reach for Kevin and call out his name but the world was getting darker and smaller and the sounds were so far away. Then everything went black.