When he woke the next morning, his mouth predictably tasted like the bottom of an old shoe. Spock wasn't in bed with him, for which he was actually grateful. Waking following a night of over-indulging left some unpleasant after effects which he stumbled to his bathroom to erase.

//I do not mind,// Spock said with warmth.

//I do. I'll be out in a minute. You make me coffee?// Jim asked hopefully.

//Of course,// Spock assured him. Jim could almost smell it as Spock poured it into the Captain's mug.

//Thanks,// Jim said as he emerged, feeling a little less disheveled. "Why is 'shelved' no longer a word? If I can be disheveled, shouldn't I also be sheveled?"

"These are fine questions, love. Ones perhaps better addressed to Uhura," Spock suggested, giving him his cup and a warming kiss. Jim thought he looked especially regal in his black velvet robe that brushed the tops of his bare feet.

"No. I don't want to admit to her I spend any time considering things of so little consequence," Jim decided, smiling up at Spock.

"I slept quite well. As did you."

"That's for sure. Have you checked with Scotty about the repairs?"

"I attempted to contact him. He did not respond. I contacted the spaceport engineers directly," Spock said, returning to his quarters to sit at his desk, Jim next to him. "May I request that you at least put on a robe?"

"Alright," Jim laughed, going into Spock's closet for one he had previously left there.

"Thank you. You serve as a powerful distraction," Spock said, still appreciating the way his Captain looked in his cozy terry-cloth robe.

"I'd say I'm sorry but you'd know it wasn't true," Jim responded.

"It is not true. Nor do I have any regrets concerning my difficulties in concentrating when I am close to you."

"Uh huh," Jim said, sipping his welcome coffee and looking at Spock over the rim. "What is the status of the repairs?"

"Proceeding as scheduled. You will need to supply your command codes before they begin tomorrow."

"Okay. You didn't change any more of them while I was gone, did you?"

"I did not. They are all as you authorized," Spock assured him. "We received a message from Orson Maden. He is requesting to be allowed to interview us before our wedding."

Jim sighed at that, drinking more coffee. "I guess it's inevitable."

"It would appear so," Spock agreed. "We have received 54 messages of congratulations."

"Do we need to respond to each one?" Jim asked in uncertainty.

"I have no idea what the protocol is. Shall we ask Uhura what we need to do?"

"Yes," Jim agreed, responding to the intercom when Dr. McCoy's voice requested him. "Morning Bones."

"I guess," McCoy grumbled. "You need a detox?"

"Nope. I'm fine. You going to be okay?"

"Yeah. You goin' to breakfast?"

"What time is it?" Jim asked.

"08:40," Spock responded.

"Yeah. I need to take a shower. We'll meet you in Officers' Mess at 09:00," Jim said. "If you're up to it."

"I'll be there. And you don't need to worry about me naggin' you. I got no plans to eat," Bones said before disconnecting.

"I'm going to jump in the shower," Jim told Spock with a quick kiss. "Can you see if Scotty has risen from the dead yet?"

"Certainly. Should I venture to his quarters if he does not respond?"

"Nah. He'll sleep it off eventually. If he doesn't answer, send him a message in case he can focus on his computer enough to read it."

"Alright," Spock agreed, watching Jim stand up next to him. "If you wish to leave your robe here, I will return it to my closet."

Jim laughed at his invitation, slowly taking it off. "Make up your mind, love."

"I have made up my mind, Captain. I thought that was abundantly clear to you."

Jim laughed again, going over to his bathroom to shower the rest of the cobwebs out of his head. When he was out and they both were dressed in their uniforms, they went to Officers' Mess, very few of the crew around. They speculated that those not present were at spacedock, taking advantage of the real food that they had gone too long without having available. McCoy wandered in after they had been there for about ten minutes, looking half asleep which made the Captain laugh. McCoy just scowled even more at him and agreed to go to port for lunch.

Jim and Spock went to the Bridge, habit and routine making it hard for them to start any place else. Knowing there was nothing really to do, they returned to their quarters to dispatch some of the work that was always waiting and never seemed to be finished. Among the reports they reviewed was Lt. Matherson's list of those leaving spacedock following the wedding, those who were planning to stay on board, and those who had secured rooms portside. The Captain signed and posted the report, permission for the crew to fulfill their plans.

The next two days proceeded much the same, reports reviewed and filed, hails answered, discussions both formal and informal with various members of the crew, more messages of congratulations arriving every day. Lt. Uhura had advised them that they could certainly respond to all the congratulatory messages if they had the time and desire to do so. However, the ones which included a note concerning a donation made in their honor absolutely required as swift a response as they could manage.

In the midst of all the pre-wedding planning and near chaos, they learned that Uhura and Kyka had actually become friends. Neither Jim nor Spock could imagine what it was that had changed the barely disguised animosity Uhura had felt to the kindred spirits they had become but they weren't going to look too closely into it. Scotty had apparently developed the same sort of friendship with Lyryk and the four of them had taken to spending most of their extra free time together. Jim shrugged and simply employed one of Bones' favorite expressions: "Will wonders never cease."

The morning of the wedding finally came, Jim and Spock waking much earlier than their current situation required. Deciding not to waste the stolen hour, they expressed and renewed their love through their bodies and their bond. They barely had the energy to leave the rumpled bed to cross over the shower, the cascading water bringing them mostly back to life.

"That's even better than angry sex," Jim declared from where he was leaning against the shower wall, the only thing preventing him from collapsing in a heap on the cool tile file beneath their feet.

"You should wear your ears, as a sign of your…"

"My what, t'hy'la?" Jim laughed, his hand caressing the soap slicked skin of his bondmate.

"I was distracted by your beauty. I cannot complete the sentence," Spock admitted, looking down at the hand on his chest.

"Doesn't matter. You have your vows?"

"I do. I found them last night after you fell asleep. I apologize for worrying you with my delay," Spock said.

"I wasn't worried. You didn't have to have your own. We'll be just as married if we only use the standard vows."


"I know you don't really want to go to this breakfast," Jim said in sympathy, neither of them willing to hurt the feelings of the crew by refusing to attend the breakfast being held in their honor in General Mess. There was talk of one of the restaurants catering it, making pancakes, waffles, and other delights that would surely make McCoy grumble and fuss.

"I have no particular objections, love. And it is only fitting that they be allowed to share in our joy in an informal manner."

"Yes," Jim agreed, smiling up at Spock in a most tantalizing manner.

"We do not have time for a repeat of the activities of this morning," Spock warned with a soft kiss.

"I know, t'hy'la. I don't the energy even if we did have the time."

"There will be time later tonight," Spock whispered into the round ear, licking his neck and making him moan.

"Cut it out," Jim protested half heartedly.

"Apologies," Spock replied, straightening and turning off the water. They dried and dressed, arriving at General Mess, as instructed, at precisely 08:30. The doors were pulled open by two smiling yeomen, the crew erupting in cheers as their Commanding Officers entered side by side. Jim beamed at the assembled crew, soaking in their warmth and fond wishes, shaking the occasional hand, accepting the occasional kiss of the cheek. Spock bore it all with stoic good humor, allowing some of the crew to kiss him very lightly.

//You're not about to crumble, are you?// Jim asked as another one of Spock's science staff kissed him on the cheek.

//I am feeling slightly overwhelmed. I will try not to impose it on you.//

//It's okay, love. Better we handle it together than you try to wade through it alone,// Jim said, clasping another hand for a warm congratulatory handshake. "Thank you, Bronson."

//Brandon?// Spock asked.

//Oh crap. I did it again,// Jim said. //Well, he knows I can't keep it straight.//

//And he holds no ill-will toward you,// Spock assured him, accepting yet another kiss from yet another member of his staff. "It is indeed a very special day, Lt. Brown."

//What this guy's name?// Jim asked as the yeoman took his hand.

//Phillip Crane.//

"Thank you, Yeoman Crane," Jim said, the young man beaming in return.

They finally made their way to the head table, festooned with real tablecloths of soft blue and flowers at each place-setting, daisies and roses combining to look both formal and fresh-picked. The Command Crew were already in their places, standing to wait for the two to arrive. Jim and Spock stood before the center seats, McCoy to Jim's left, Scotty to Spock's right.

"You'll need to say something, Jim," Bones advised as the crew continued to clap.

Jim nodded, asking those at their table to sit, hoping that would guide the others to do so as well. When everyone had taken their seats, he stepped closer to the table and smiled at the assembled crowd. "This is a very special day, for us all," he announced, the cheers renewing. "Commander Spock and I could choose to marry nowhere but here, among no one but the finest crew in Starfleet. We are truly a family, one we are proud to be a part of, one we are honored to celebrate with. Our sincerest thanks for all that you do for us and for each other. You will reside forever in our hearts." The Mess erupted in even louder cheering, Jim absorbing it and attempting to deflect some of it from Spock.

//I am not distressed by it, t'hy'la,// Spock assured him, standing pressed next to Jim as they accepted the love from their crew.

//It's a lot, even for me,// Jim admitted, turning to address Bones' question over the roar. "How do you propose I stop them?"

"I got no idea," McCoy admitted. "Sit down for a start."

Jim nodded, taking his seat as Spock did the same. That seemed to help, the crew settling back into their chairs, the noise finally at a tolerable level.

"No way are you going to be able to get your own food," Bones pointed out. "And they won't eat until you do."

"I guess you're right. I'll have waffles with strawberries and whipped cream," Jim decided.

"And crispy bacon," Bones finished for him with a smile.

"Yes," Jim agreed, accepting the carafe of coffee from Spock. "You tell Scotty what you want to eat?"

"I did," Spock agreed, passing him the cream, a treat Jim normally did not put into his coffee. But he did enjoy it on special occasions, this breakfast certainly qualifying.

"Who's paying for this breakfast?" Jim asked Uhura casually when she sat in the doctor's vacated chair.

"The crew, sir. They took up a collection. The money left over will be donated to the Veterans and Orphans Fund."

"You organize it?" Jim asked with a smile.

"No sir. Jason did it. Well, they kept coming to him and wanting to give him money. So he decided this breakfast was the best way to include everyone in the celebration."

"That was very generous of him," Spock said.

"He was happy to do it for you, sirs," Uhura assured them. "Did you give your rings to Jason?"

"We gave them to him yesterday," Jim agreed. "Is there anything you need us to do today in preparation?"

"Absolutely not, sir. Everything's been taken care of. All you need to do is arrive at the conference across from the Observation Lounge at precisely 6:45, in your dress uniforms. Bring the clothes you want to wear to the party. I know if you return to your quarters to change, we won't see you there," she said with a knowing smile.

"Now, Uhura, we would never disappoint our crew," Jim responded in protest.

She shook her head at him, leaning forward to look at Spock too. "The conference room will be off limits to everyone but you and the Michaels. And the Command Crew, of course. I've arranged to have some fruit in place so you can wait there before their wedding and yours. If you want anything else, you'll let me know?"

"Of course," Jim agreed, smiling at McCoy and Scotty when they returned with four plates, giving Jim and Spock their meals before sitting to enjoy their own. Uhura went to get her breakfast, chatting with Kyka as they waited for their waffles to be cooked. Once the Command Crew had been served, the crew formed two orderly lines, waiting patiently for their choices.

The breakfast was declared an unqualified success by all those present, Jim and Spock able to leave two and a half hours after it had started. They thought that they had quite possibly talked to all 460 members of the crew, some twice. When the parade finally stopped, they sought refuge in their quarters, hiding there until eating a very late lunch with the Command Crew in the off-limits Officers' Mess, Kyka and Lyryk also in attendance.

"Drendla," Kyka said, standing up to address the Captain. "I know that you requested that no gifts be presented to you in honor of this very happy occasion. I hope that you will forgive my breach," she said with a warm smile. She accepted the flat box from Lyryk when he had gotten it from its hiding place behind one of the curtains beside the artificial window. "This is the traditional joining gift on Leferson. And I hope you will accept it along with the love and gratitude with which it was made."

The Captain stood to accept the box, also accepting her light kiss. "Thank you, Kyka. I do accept." He carefully placed the box on the table, looking down at Spock before removing the pale green ribbon that kept the elegant box closed. "Go ahead," he invited Spock who lifted off the lid. Inside nestled in sparkling white paper was a handcrafted quilt. Kirk took it out to allow it to unfurl, amazed at the intricate beauty of the gift. The bottom left hand corner was very light grey, almost white. It progressed diagonally from there to the top right, where the background was fully black. The colors in between were perfectly matched to appear as though night was descending the further up you looked. Scattered over the variegated background were red stars, the color of the stars the Captain saw each night of his captivity.

"This is… exquisite," the Captain said in awe of the gift and its startling beauty.

"I am pleased that you are pleased," Kyka said with bright tears shining in her eyes.

"This quilt is truly a work of art," Spock said, lightly touching some of the stars as though making sure they were not real.

"It is," Bones had to agree, admiring it. "Who made it?"

"My father," Kyka said proudly. "I asked that he begin it when you were still with us, drendla. We knew of your marriage to the Commander and wanted to appropriately commemorate it."

"Thank you, Kyka. We are truly honored," the Captain said. He was moved by the gift and by the effort that had clearly gone into making it. And he knew from Kyka's earlier explanation that a joining quilt was to be cherished and used for its intended purpose - to shelter those joined under it.

"As are we," Kyka said softly, kissing him again before resuming her seat.

"Uhura?" the Captain asked hopefully.

"Yes sir. I have it taken care of. Kyka told me. Both quilts will be incorporated," Uhura assured him.

"Thank you so much," he said, entrusting her with the new quilt. "If you'll excuse us, Spock and I need to take a nap," he said, making those present laugh. "Well, I do. I don't want to miss any of the festivities tonight."

They were happily excused, many good wishes extended before they left.

"Are you napping?" Jim asked as they walked back to their quarters.

"I do not intend to. I will read in bed while you sleep," Spock promised, kissing his head.

"Good. Make sure I wake up by 18:00."

"You know that I will. I will also put the clothes for the reception in a tote."

"Okay. All of my jeans are clean so you can choose the pair you like best," Jim teased.

"Be assured that I will," Spock said, following him into their quarters. It seemed to be filled with flowers, several bottles of champagne scattered on the desks and tables, balloons floating lazily at the ceiling, the bright streamers cascading down to their heads.

"Well," Jim laughed, looking at the festive chaos that overtaken their space.

"Indeed. To whom did you provide your access code?" Spock asked.

"Only my yeoman. He may have some explaining to do," Jim said with a shrug.

"I believe he will. Later," Spock said, kissing Jim's forehead. "What shirt should I put in with your jeans, love?"

"I don't care. Whatever you want. Do you want to put the flowers in your quarters?"

"They are not disturbing to me," Spock assured him, taking a card from one of the arrangements. "This one is from Starfleet Command," he said, admiring the huge bouquet of red roses.

"It's beautiful," Jim said. He took the card from a bouquet of birds-of-paradise. "This one's from Kauhau," he said in surprise.

"That is very thoughtful of him."

"It is. We'll tell Uhura she should come get them for the reception."

"These roses are from my parents," Spock said, sniffing the huge collection of multicolored flowers.

"Roses always make me think of Amanda," Jim confirmed. "We'll keep these here."

"Did we not request that they not send flowers?" Spock asked, reading the next card from a bouquet of exotic purple blooms.

"Yes. They can't help it," Jim reminded him, accepting the card to read that it was courtesy of Starbase Tycho.

"I see that they cannot," Spock had to agree. "If you intend to sleep, I suggest you go to bed soon."

"I don't think I'll sleep. I really want to just be, with you," Jim decided, guiding him over to the loveseat, pulling him down to sit pressed close. "Like this."

"Most agreeable," Spock said, kissing Jim's head and wrapping his arms around his love's relaxed body.

"You know, sometimes it still surprises me how much I love you," Jim said, smiling up at Spock.

"I know that feeling, t'hy'la. At the oddest moments, I think of the time before we came together. Before we knew we were one. When I would be on the Bridge and the sound of your voice was all that I could hear. It made no difference what you were saying. That it was you was speaking was the only thing that mattered."

"There were times when you would be at your science station and I would have to force myself not to look over at you. Just to make sure you were there, where you belonged. To see the tilt of your head as you studied your scanners. To watch you adjust your controls, your fingers flying swift and sure over your panels. I wanted to be one of those panels, to feel your hands on me just the way you touched those inanimate objects that could not appreciate the gift they were receiving," Jim said.

Spock nodded at his words, absorbing them and making them a part of his being, accepting the love that they represented. "You are a gift, t'hy'la. One I never thought I would deserve. You have filled those spaces which I thought were destined to stay empty to the ends of my days. Even though we are so very different, we fit together as surely as night and day, as rain in the desert."

"Like peanut butter and jelly," Jim said with a charming smile.


"It's too bad we can't have children," Jim said lightly. "Can you imagine what they would be like?"

"I would hope they would have your eyes. And your smile," Spock said.

"Your intelligent and never-ending patience," Jim added.

"Your ingenuity and your sense of humor."

"I happen to know that you have a well developed sense of humor," Jim told him. "You can deny it but it doesn't change anything."

"It would be pointless to deny anything to the person who knows me better than I know myself," Spock said warmly.

"True. Once things are back to normal, our kind of normal anyway, will it be hard for you to take orders from me?" Jim asked.

"What are you really asking me, t'hy'la?"

"I don't know," Jim admitted. "You've never hesitated to accept my orders. But if you were to disagree with one, what would you do? Would you obey and then tell me I was wrong?"

"I have always done so in the past," Spock reminded him.

"Or tell me why I was wrong and change my mind," Jim agreed.

"That is my responsibility, love. Our relationship does not alter my duty to you."

"It complicates it," Jim acknowledged. "Maybe I'm afraid I won't be as willing to order you to do something dangerous."

"You do not send any of your crew willingly into peril," Spock reminded him. "That has always been true. Our marriage will not change that."

"Yes," Jim agreed. "I guess I want to protect you. To keep you from all possible forms of harm. But ours is a dangerous line of work, really. It's something of a miracle neither of us has been really seriously injured up to this point."

"It is not a miracle. It is the quick and insightful thinking of our commanding officer that has kept us safe. You have never given yourself the credit that you deserve."

"I'll take your word for it, love," Jim decided with a smile. "Is there time for us to make love before we have to shower and dress?"

"That depends," Spock said with a kiss.

"On what?"

"Are you hoping to have angry sex? Or pre-wedding sex?"

"What difference does that make?" Jim laughed.

"Angry sex tends to be quick. Pre-wedding sex is slow and languid. Both are quite satisfactory."

"Quite satisfactory?" Jim repeated, still laughing.

"I am a Vulcan, Captain. To state it otherwise would betray my heritage," Spock claimed.

"So saying it's fucking hot is out of the question?"

"Not for you," Spock said.

"Hmm…" Jim said, considering it.

"Are you deciding on the type in which we will engage?" Spock asked, reaching down a hand of encouragement.

Jim laughed again, turning on the loveseat to have full and complete access to the temptation that was Spock, letting their bodies decide on the type of sex in which they would engage. It wasn't quantifiable but was extremely satisfactory.

"Fucking hot," Jim agreed when they lay on their bed, slick limbs entwined, chest heaving.

"Yes," Spock had to agree, slowly forcing his body to rise to sitting. "And now we must shower."

"Why are you nervous, t'hy'la?" Jim asked, smoothing Spock's ruffled hair when he was also sitting up.

"I believe pre-wedding jitters are quite common," Spock said.

"I guess. But there is absolutely no reason for either of us to be nervous. You do know that, right?"

"I am aware of the truth of that statement. Apparently the emotions you have helped me to acknowledge are not."

"I'm sorry," Jim said, reaching over to kiss him. "Let's shower and dress. It will help"

Spock followed him into the bathroom where they showered and shaved, Jim keeping up a running commentary which he hoped would sooth Spock's nerves.

When they had on their dress uniforms, they went together to the conference room, finding it transformed. The conference table had a beautiful white tablecloth and some of the flower arrangements that had mysteriously disappeared from the Captain's quarters. There was a bowl of festive punch on the table, surrounded by fresh fruit and vegetables.

"This is lovely, Uhura," the Captain said in appreciation of her efforts. "And so are you. This dress is breathtaking," he added, focusing on her radiant smile and her glowing red dress. The simple red shift was topped by an elaborate dress of nearly transparent red, beads sewn into flowers to sparkle and shine each time she moved.

"Thank you," she said with a bright smile up at him. "I'm glad you like it. Kyka and I found it on the spacedock."

"It suits you, love," he said with a light kiss on her cheek. "Where are the Michaels?"

"They'll be here shortly," she assured him. "Is there anything I can do for you?" she asked Jim and Spock.

"You have already done way too much," the Captain told her gratefully. "We could not possibly be getting married if it hadn't been for your wisdom and guidance. And incredibly hard work."

"It has been a pleasure, sir. And an honor," she said.

"I too am extremely grateful, Uhura. You are a treasure," Spock said, kissing her lightly to her surprise.

"Thank you," she said, looking up at him with wide eyes.

"I should remember to show my appreciation more often," he said quietly.

She smiled even more, turning to look at the Captain, needing to reestablish her equilibrium.

"I know, Uhura. Being in love does amazing things to people," Jim agreed, leaning against Spock.

"It does indeed," Spock had to agree, kissing Jim's head.

"Ah, good," Uhura said, happy for the distraction provided when the Michaels arrived.

//I'm glad she didn't faint,// Jim teased.

//Do you think laughing at me is in your best interest?// Spock asked, trying to sound stern.

//It's way too late now, love. You can't get out of marrying me.//

//True. Fortunate,// Spock said, acknowledging the Michaels' good wishes. "We are very pleased."

"Thank you for doing this for us, again, Captain," Michael Forrester said.

"You are very welcome," Jim assured both Michaels. "Not many people get to do it twice."

"I'm just glad Mikey didn't change his mind," Michael teased.

"Not a chance, Mickey. You're stuck with me."

"I wouldn't have it any other ways," Mickey assured him with a light kiss.

The other members of the Command Crew slowly filtered in until Uhura informed them that it was 16:50 and the Captain needed to go into the Observation Lounge. He naturally agreed, waiting until the rest followed her in and took their seats. When they were seated, Kirk entered, taking his place in the alcove formed by the joining of the two windows that formed the diagonal corner behind him. Everyone stood when the wedding March began, the Michaels entering together. They stopped right before the Captain and everyone resumed their seats.

"Many of you witnessed the wedding we held on Tortoga," the Captain said. "According to Starfleet Regulations which I will not bother to quote, only a wedding performed by a Captain aboard his ship is legally valid. This did not deter us from enjoying the celebration of Michael Grey and Michael Forrester pledging to be one for all time. This time, the wedding will be real, as well as legally binding," the Captain said, opening his Book of Common Prayer.

The vows were read, the promises made again, the happiness felt anew as the Michaels were joined legally in the eyes of the law. That they were already joined in their hearts was readily acknowledged and equally celebrated.

"You may now kiss," the Captain said with a beaming smile for them. They accepted his invitation, their embrace brief and appropriate.

"Congratulations," the Captain said to them, shaking their hands before they left together. He left after them, the details of the change-over left to others to tend to. He was enjoying a cup of punch when Spock came in, kissing him passionately. "What was that for?"

"I love you. I do not tell you often enough," Spock said quietly.

"You don't have to say it, t'hy'la. I know it," Jim assured him, the love shining in his eyes as he looked over to watch his Command Crew enter, chatting happily among themselves.

"Beautiful, as always," Uhura told the Captain.

"Thank you, love. The Observation Lounge empty?"

"There are yeomen seeing to that," she agreed. "I'm going to run down to General Mess. I won't be long."

"Of course," Jim agreed, turning to focus on Bones when he wandered up. "Hi."

"You two could look more in love but it would be hard," McCoy said to them, the smile reaching his blue eyes.

"Thanks, Bones. It would be hard to be more in love," Jim confirmed.

"Captain, Commander," Scotty said, his happiness for them showing through. He was looking especially nice in his dress uniform top and elaborate kilt, beautiful in its tradition. "Best congratulations."

"Thank you, Scotty," Jim said, knowing that his smile was huge and he did not care. The happiness he was feeling refused to be contained.

"Thank you," Spock echoed. "We appreciate your presence."

"Couldn't be anywhere else," Scotty said happily, turning to Lyryk. "Where's Kyka?"

"She went to see about the arrangements with Uhura," he explained. "I wanted to add my congratulations, sirs."

"Thanks," Jim said, Spock also expressing his appreciation. "Where are Sulu and Chekov?"

"Uhura has them on an errand, sir," Scotty said. "May not see the lads until a little later."

"They won't miss the wedding, I hope," Jim said.

"No sir. They'll be with us," Scotty assured them.

"Sirs," Matherson said as he approached.

"I appreciate all of your help, Jason. We know that this wouldn't have been possible if you weren't wiling to help Uhura," the Captain said gratefully.

"It's my pleasure, sirs. If there is anything further you need, I hope you know you only need to ask."

"Thank you," Jim said, looking over at the open door at the yeoman who seemed determined to attract his attention. "Excuse me," he said, putting his glass cup on the table. "Yes, Yeoman."

"The Admirals are about to arrive, sir," she explained, slightly breathless.

"Alight. Where are they now?"

"Leaving the turbolift, sir," she said, looking over her shoulder.

"Will you make certain they find their way here?" he requested.

"Of course, sir. Right away, sir," she agreed, hurrying way.

"The Admirals are on their way. It apparently scares her," Jim said with a shrug when Spock stood next to him.

"She is frightening by many things others would simply take in stride," Spock confirmed.

"Surely she'll outgrow it. Otherwise she'll need to find a new line of work," Jim suggested.


When the door opened, Jim and Spock came to attention, all those in the conference room following their example. The Admirals entered, smiling at the Captain and the Commander.

"As you were," Admiral Heath said with great warmth.

Jim and Spock relaxed, returning her smile and that of Admiral Whitesides.

"Captain, Commander," Admiral Heath said, smiling at the tall man next to her. "This is my husband. Arthur Kingsfield."

"It is a pleasure to meet you, sir," the Captain said, shaking the older man's hand, appreciating his firm grip.

"The pleasure is mine, Captain, Commander. Thank you for allowing me to join your celebration."

"Our joy is multiplied by those who share in it, sir" the Captain said with a smile.

"We are honored by your presence, sir," Spock added.

"Thank you both," he said to them before offering his arm to his wife to escort her further into the room. Those present introduced themselves, chatting with the newcomers.

"Commander, Captain," Admiral Whitesides said in greeting.

"Admiral," the Captain said with a respectful nod.

"Welcome, Admiral," Spock said.

"I'm delighted to be here. Your marriage is quite the talk of Starfleet," she confided with a twinkle.

"Surely there are more interesting topics to discuss, ma'am," Jim suggested lightly.

"Not presently, Captain. No one is sure just yet who won the pool," she confided with a wink. "I believe I have a serious shot at it."

"Will we be sorry if I ask what the bets were on, Admiral?" Jim asked, not sure he wanted the answer.

"How long before the two of you came to your senses," she said with a delightful laugh. "No one could understand why you two didn't realize it before we all did."

"There has been talk of the possibility of our relationship, ma'am?" Spock asked, wanting to make sure he understood.

"Only by anyone who has seen the two of you together. You are meant for each other. You were apparently the last to recognize it."

Jim laughed at her words, smiling in response to hers. "I had no idea, ma'am. I appreciate you letting us in on the secret."

"Hardly a secret, dear. Except to the two of you," she said with a wink that surprised them both. "Would you mind introducing me to the rest of your Command Crew, Captain?"

"It would be my pleasure, ma'am," Kirk said, deciding to risk a breach of protocol and offering his arm to her. She readily accepted, her hand warm and friendly. Spock followed close behind as the Captain introduced each of those present.

More of the Command Crew filtered in, Metor Metran arriving with her husband who also had startling purple hair and eyes. Clark Barrister came in, pretending to remain away from Jim, who laughed at him and accepted his best wishes. Orson Maden entered quietly, promising the Captain he would not be in anyway disruptive to the festivities and securing their permission to talk with those present about the happy event. The Captain and Commander acknowledged his kindness and told him that he should certainly chat with the crew, both prior to the wedding and at the reception at which he would surely be a guest. By the time Uhura announced that it was 17:25, the conference room was filled almost to overflowing with those wishing to celebrate, offering their happiness, warming the room with their love.

"Everyone go take your seats," Uhura commanded to those milling about. They obediently left, laughing and talking as they crossed the hall to Observation Lounge. Jason left next, Uhura, Scotty, and McCoy the only ones remaining. "Are you ready, sirs?" she asked with a bright, beaming smile.

"We are," Jim agreed, smiling up at Spock.

"Indeed," Spock said, looking only at his love.

"Excellent," Uhura said, taking her bouquet of flowers out of the carton, the pink roses the same shades as the colors in their quilt, trailing ribbons of soft shades of green. Scotty and McCoy had buttoners pinned onto their uniforms of soft pink as well, Uhura declaring them perfect when she had them secure.

"These roses are beautiful," Jim said.

"Thank you," Uhura said with a smile up at him. "I'm so happy for you both."

"As we are, love," Jim said, kissing her softly. "And you are truly a treasure."

She could only continue to smile at them both, blinking back the happy tears she could not stop and would not even if she could. "We're ready then?" she asked, one tear tracing down her cheek. Jim reached over and delicately wiped it away, smiling at her.

"Absolutely," Jim agreed with a nod, Spock also agreeing.

Uhura turned and slowly made her way out of the Conference Room, Bones and Scotty following, Jim and Spock taking their places at the end.

Uhura entered the Observation Lounge, walking between the two lines of Security personnel, wearing their red dress uniforms, standing at attention. At the end of the line on the inside of the Lounge stood Chekov and Sulu, also at attention, also in their dress uniforms of command gold. McCoy and Scotty walked between them, stopping to the right of Jason, across from Uhura who was standing to the left.

Everyone in the Lounge stood as the traditional wedding march began, the Security Guards, Chekov and Sulu withdrawing the ceremonial swords they had been wearing, holding them high over their heads to form an archway under which the Captain and Commander walked to enter the Lounge. Jim had to smile at the tradition, ancient and rarely employed but much appreciated. He sensed Spock's appreciation as well but their barriers were firmly in place by mutual agreement. They had decided that staying within themselves during the ceremony would make it easier to pay attention and be fully in the moment. Jim put to good use the lessons Spock had taught him, not seeking out nor letting in Spock's thoughts.

They slowly walked under the arch until they reached their designated places right in front of Jason. Behind Jason, the window revealed the dark sky, the spacedock violating the rules by opening the doors to Safehaven to allow the stars to shine in on their wedding.

The security guards took their seats on the second row, Chekov and Sulu joining the rest of the Command Crew. Jason smiled and nodded at them, turning his focus on those about to be married.

"It is with great joy that we have gathered here," Jason said when all were in their places and everyone had resumed their seats. "We are here to bear witness to the joining of two men whom we all hold dear. It is both my honor and privilege to preside over the marriage of Captain James T. Kirk and Commander Spock." He paused, to gather his own thoughts and so those assembled could savor that which was about to occur. Smiling at the two men, he carefully opened the Captain's Book of Common Prayer to the correct section. "They have chosen the Traditional Earth Protestant ceremony to use for their exchange of vows, and it is with great joy I share these words with the family we represent to our commanders, our friends."

Jim looked up at Spock, seeing all the love that he knew was in his Vulcan's heart. It warmed him beyond measure to know that he was Spock's and Spock was his. For all time, even without the ceremony they were sharing.

//I do love you,// Spock agreed.

//I thought we were keeping to ourselves,// Jim returned with love and humor.

//We will,// Spock said, retreating carefully to his side.

They listened intently to the incredibly beautiful words that Jason was saying, repeating the vows as prompted, absorbing their power and their promise.

"The Captain and the Commander have chosen to share their own vows as well," Jason announced with a smile. "Commander," he invited.

Spock nodded, turning slightly to face Jim, Jim following his example, accepting the hands Spock extended to him. "These words are ancient and revered," Spock said, his voice loud enough for all the hear but still intimate and caressing. "It is a poem by Srobent, one of Vulcan's most honored poets. I give it to you, t'hy'la, with all the love that I feel for you in my heart." Spock recited it in Vulcan, the words beautiful even though no one understood them. When he had finished, he repeated the poem in Standard.

When the suns reach their zenith

I will be your shade

When the desert night turns cold

I will be your warmth

When the cool rains do not fall

I will give you drink

When you lose your way back home

I will be your guide

If your feet are bare

I will carry you

If you are hungry

I will give you food

If you are weary

I will be your strength

If you are alone

I will comfort you

For all my days are yours

For all my nights are yours

All that I am and all that I may be

I am yours

When Spock had recited the final words, Jim could only stand and stare up at him. The emotions he had created were threatening to overwhelm Jim and he wasn't sure he could speak just yet.

//You know that each word is the truth,// Spock said, the words whispering through Jim's mind. Jim could only nod, wondering briefly if everyone gathered could see the tears that were rolling down his cheeks. But it did not matter.

//It will not undermine your command authority,// Spock assured him.

//You'd tell me that no matter what,// Jim returned, finally able to think clearly.

//Is that not my responsibility to you, t'hy'la?// Spock returned, carefully and tenderly drying his human's tears.

//Uh huh.//

"Captain," Jason said quietly, not wishing to break the spell but acknowledging that there was more yet to be said.

Jim nodded, smiling over at Jason in appreciation. "I had planned to give to you the words of one of Earth's most treasured poets but as I was searching for the perfect passage from Shakespeare, I came across these words. It is the Commitment Reading of the Pueblo Indians, an ancient Earth people. This expresses perfectly that which I would have written were I poet."

Before we met, you and I were halves unjoined except in the wide rivers of our minds. We were each other's distant shore, the opposite wings of a bird, the other half of a seashell. We did not know the other then, did not know our determination to keep alive the cry of one riverbank to the other. We were apart, yet connected in our ignorance of each other, like two apples sharing a common tree. Remember?

I knew you existed long before you understood my desire to join my freedom to yours. Our paths collided long enough for our indecision to be swallowed up by the greater need of love. When you came to me, the sun surged towards the earth and the moon escaped from darkness to bless the union of two spirits, so alike that the creator had designed them for life's endless circle. Beloved partner, keeper of my heart's odd secrets, clothed in summer blossoms so the icy hand of winter never touches us, I thank your patience. Our joining is like a tree to earth, a cloud to sky and even more. We are the reason the world can laugh on its battlefields and rise from the ashes of its selfishness to hear me say, in this time, this place, this way - I loved you best of all.

Spock took a deep breath when Jim finished. This time he was the one struck silent by the beauty of the words that had been his honor to receive.

//I do love you best of all,// Jim said softly and with much promise.

Spock could only nod, staring at the most beautiful eyes he had ever seen, mesmerized by his Human and the love radiating to warm him more than the twin suns of his native planet.

"Perfect," Jason whispered, beaming at them both. They drew their focus from each other to acknowledge Jason's praise, Jim smiling at him. "Are you ready for your exchange of rings?" Jason asked very softly.

They both nodded and Jason took the elegant box out of his pocket. "The Captain and the Commander have chosen to include the exchange of rings in their ceremony," Jason announced. The traditional words were spoken, the rings gliding onto their fingers to rest in place and symbolize to the world that they were indeed one for all time.

Uhura silently went to the loveseat behind her, picking up the quilt the Captain's mother had sent, extending one edge to the Doctor. Very carefully, they enveloped the Captain and Commander in it, wrapping them in the love and warmth it represented to them both. When it was around their shoulders, engulfing them, Jason smiled. "I now confirm you to be married in the eyes of these witnesses and the law. You may kiss."

Jim smiled up at Spock, lifting the edge of the quilt so that both their heads were covered, kissing Spock. They could hear the laughter from those gathered and lowered the quilt, Jim smiling over at the witnesses. He quickly kissed Spock again, Spock silently assuring him he did not mind.

//I guess we should have discussed it in advance,// Jim said, smiling broadly up at Spock.

//There are a great many details, t'hy'la.//

"The Captain and Commander invite all personnel to General Mess for the celebration," Jason announced. "Best congratulations, sirs," Jason said to the two men, shaking the Captain's hand.

"Thank you," Jim returned, taking Spock's hand into his. "You ready?"

"I am," Spock agreed, turning toward the exit. The Security Guards, Chekov and Sulu had resumed their places, standing at attention as Jim and Spock walked between them, the quilt still wrapped around their shoulders as they left the Lounge.

When they entered the Conference Room, they had to kiss again, the love they were feeling threatening to overwhelm them both. "You aren't sorry we did it publically, are you?" Jim had to ask, staring up at Spock.

"You know you needn't ask that of me, t'hy'la. I am beyond pleased to be publically and officially married to you," Spock assured him.

"So the hesitation I'm sensing is about the celebration."

"Precisely. I would never disappoint the crew."

"But you'd prefer we return to our quarters by ourselves," Jim finished knowingly.

Spock simply nodded in confirmation, any words he may have said stopped by the arrival of the Command Crew and their special guests. The two were engulfed with well-wishers, Spock using Jim to help prevent the emotions and contact from overwhelming him.

"Yes, love, we will change and be there shortly," Jim promised Uhura, entrusting the quilt to her care.

"Alright. Dr. McCoy, you are in charge of making sure they don't get waylaid," Uhura said with a laugh.

"Yes ma'am," he agreed automatically.

She laughed again, whispering something to Kyka none of the men could hear, for which they were actually grateful. The two laughing women left the Conference Room, their heads together as they continued to chat.

"You okay, Spock?" Bones asked as Jim went for two glasses of cooling punch. The doctor was looking at the Vulcan with an all-knowing eye Jim knew too well.

"I am quite well," Spock assured him, accepting the glass cup from Jim.

"You look…slightly anxious."

"I believe it is the circumstances," Spock admitted.

"Too much casual contact. Too many stray thoughts," Bones acknowledged.

"Yes. These moments of solitude will be helpful."

"Do you want me to leave?" Bones asked kindly.

"That is entirely unnecessary, Leonard. Your presence is reassuring to me and to Jim," Spock said.

"Thank you," Bones replied with a serious nod. "You're okay," he said to Jim. "I don't even need to ask you."

"You could ask anyway," Jim laughed.

"Be a waste of time. I only have to look at you to see how pleased you are. Pleased with yourself."

"Why shouldn't I be? I'm married to my soulmate. I'm surrounded by my family. I'm about to celebrate with those who are most important to us both. You're here with us. What's not to be happy about?" Jim said with a broad smile.

"It wasn't a challenge," Bones assured him with a laugh. "And I couldn't be more pleased for you both."

"Thank you," Jim said, sipping his punch. "Is the reception starting without us?"

"Uhura made sure there was enough food for them to eat before you arrived. You don't need to worry. They may not notice when you do get there," Bones laughed.

"So we could just hide out here," Jim suggested lightly, sitting in the chair next to Spock's.

"No sir. I'm makin' sure you get to your party," Bones warned.

"Alright. Are you changing into civvies?" Jim asked.

"I have them right over there with yours," he said, pointing at the coat rack that had appeared and now held their clothes for the party.

"Okay. And you're staying here during the evacuation, right?" Jim asked.

"Yeah. I reserved the room next to yours. Scotty's going to share with me. We figured somebody had to keep you two out of trouble."

"Thanks," Jim laughed.

"Kyka and Lyryk have decided to stay. They tell you?" Bones asked, refilling their cups with more punch.

"No, I didn't know. The entire time we're here?" Jim asked.

"I think so. They said they'll take a commercial transport back. But they're havin' such a good time, they decided to stay," Bones explained.

"That is fascinating," Spock said. "How did Uhura and Kyka become such fast friends?"

"I got no idea. One day they look like they're at each other's throats. The next day, they're thick as thieves."

"It is quite mysterious," Spock said as he sipped his punch.

"Uhura can be very charming," Jim commented casually.

"She is," Bones agreed. "I'm goin' to change. You two can't wait much longer."

"Okay," Jim said, standing with Spock to cross over to the rack with their clothes. They exchanged their uniforms for casual attire, Spock looking even more regal in his black and silver clan robe and black pants barely visible underneath. Jim was still staring at Spock as he tucked the light blue button-down shirt into his jeans, jumping when Bones spoke to him.

"You ready?" Bones asked, laughing at Jim's expression. "Did you forget I was here?"

"No," Jim assured him, stepping into his causal shoes. Bones was wearing soft black pants and a top of deep green, long sleeved and buttoned up the front to look comfortable and relaxed. "That color suits you."

"Thanks. I'm glad you decided to go informal for the reception. So the crew can wear regular clothes instead of their uniforms."

"It was an easy decision to make," Spock said, clearly admiring the way in which Jim's jeans conformed to his body.

"That's obvious," Bones laughed. "Let's go to your party."

They nodded, leaving the Conference room, the corridors deserted as they made their way to General Mess. Even before they entered, they could hear the music, the laughter of the crew, the sounds of silverware hitting china in its own festive celebration. The room grew still when the doors opened for Jim and Spock to enter. The silence was shattered by thunderous applause, cheers, even some whistles.

//You okay?// Jim asked as they made their slow way to the head table where the Command Crew waited.

//Amazed at this display,// Spock assured him, holding tight to his hand, their fingers intertwinned.

//It is pretty heady, isn't it?// Jim responded, accepting the congratulations and the warm hugs from those already at the head table. Uhura was beaming at them, Scotty clearly pleased, Chekov smiling broadly, Sulu delighted, all reflecting the happiness of the entire crew. "Thank you all so much," Jim said to each one standing by them. "Should I try to say something to them?" he asked Uhura who was still looking splendid in her red dress.

"Won't help," she said in sympathy, handing both men elegant champagne flutes. "If you want to sit down, I'll have dinner served to our table."

"Thank you," Jim agreed, smiling at the loveseat that was in place for him and Spock, covered with their pink and green quilt, welcoming them to find rest and peace. They sat as instructed, watching as the crew finally quieted down, many going for something to eat, refilling their champagne glasses, talking with their neighbors. No one approached the head table, Uhura apparently having threatened anyone who might come close.

//What would she have threatened them with?// Spock asked with much warmth.

//No food? I have no idea. Would you willingly cross her?// Jim responded.

//Indeed not,// he agreed, turning to answer Scotty's question. "I am not distressed by it," he assured the Chief.

"I know these crowds can be…overwhelming, sir."

"Where is Kyka's quilt, love?" Jim asked Uhura when she sat next to him.

"Under the cake," Uhura said, pointing over at the table with the gigantic cake on it. "It's protected by glass."

"Bones tells me Kyka and Lyryk have decided to stay."

"Now that you aren't troubled by them being here, they decided to remain with us," she agreed.

"When did the two of you become so tight?" he asked her with a wink.

"You just don't even need to know," she responded with a delightful laugh.

"Alright. I take your word for it. Why is there an entire table of presents when we asked that there not be any?" he asked her, amazed at the number of festively wrapped gifts on the table next to the cake.

"You can't order them not to celebrate with you, love," she reminded him. "And some of them are from friends, admirers, your mom."

"Do we open them during the reception?" he asked.

"You can. Or you can wait until tomorrow. It isn't necessary that you open them tonight."

"Alright," he agreed, accepting a plate from a cheerful server who also gave one to Spock. They waited for the rest of their friends to be served before enjoying the delicious food and the even better company. There was nothing to compare with the joy of being surrounded by those whom they loved and who loved them in turn.

//We are indeed very fortunate,// Spock agreed in contentment.

//I'm glad you're feeling more centered, t'hy'la.//

//You are helping me,// Spock assured him. //Would you like a taste of this pasta?//

//No thanks.// Jim turned to answer Uhura's question, watching the crew mingle happily about, getting food, chatting, drinking. "Of course everyone's having a great time," he assured her with a bright smile.

"I can't keep them away from you two forever," she warned lightly.

"I was wondering how you had gotten them to keep their distance this long," Jim told her.

"Something else you don't need to know, love," she assured him. "When you finish eating, you're going to have to talk with them. Out there. Spock can stay here if he needs to."

"Yes ma'am," Jim laughed.

"I will accompany you, t'hy'la. For as long as I can manage," Spock promised. "When will we cut the cake?"

"Whenever you want. Maybe after there's been some dancing. Or right after we finish eating. What do you prefer?"

"When we finish eating? While everyone is still relatively focused?" Jim suggested.

"That will be fine. You'll cut the first piece then the caterers will take care of the rest," she reminded them. "It's tradition for you two to share the first piece. I know Spock won't eat it. Do you want him to give you the first bite?"

"Are you comfortable doing that?" Jim asked him.

"It makes no difference to me. I will certainly adhere to wedding traditions if you choose to do so."

"Is that a yes?" Uhura laughed.

"Yes," Jim responded with a smile for Spock.

"Yes," Spock echoed, making Uhura laugh.

"Alright," she said, turning to answer the question of one of the servers, sending him on his way.

"Where are the Admirals?" Jim asked her when she was not needed elsewhere.

"Over there with Kyka and Lyryk," she said, nodding toward them, seated not far from the head table. "I invited the Admirals to sit with us but they said your table was only for your immediate family."

"That was very gracious of them," Spock said.

"I think they also wanted a chance to talk to Kyka. Find out more about Leferson. Maybe they will be allowed to enter the Federation," Uhura said hopefully.

"I won't oppose their petition," Jim assured her. "I'll try to tell the Admirals before they leave."

"Thank you," Uhura said with a smile. She nodded to Dr. McCoy when he leaned forward to attract her attention.

The Doctor stood, holding up his champagne glass, silence slowly descending on all those present. "It is an age-old Earth tradition that the best man make a toast at the celebration," he said, looking back at his two friends. "I lost the coin toss," he added, making everyone laugh. "I'm honored to be the one to speak on behalf of the finest crew, the finest group of gentle beings I have ever been privileged to be associated with. To say that we rejoice for Jim and Spock would not begin to put our happiness in perspective. The admiration, respect, and love we feel for our commanding officers is deep and true. And we celebrate with them that they have been joined for all time before whatever power may control the universe, and before us, their family." He took a ceremonial sip of his champagne, his words and action followed by renewed cheers from those gathered. When it began to subside, he nodded to Scotty who stood to take the Doctor's place.

"Sirs," Scotty said with a nod. "There is an ancient Scottish blessing I would share with you. There are those who claim it to be Irish but they stole the words and claimed them as their own," Scotty said to the laughter of those present. "Whoever said them expressed our best wishes far better than I ever could:

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face;

The rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

He also saluted them with his champagne flute, everyone cheering in response.

"Now is a good time to cut your cake, sirs," Uhura suggested.

Jim nodded, standing and waiting for Spock before walking over to the table that held the cake which towered over both their heads. An anticipatory hush fell over the room, everyone waiting. Uhura handed the ceremonial knife to the Captain, Spock covering his hand as they sliced into the confection together. As gracefully as possible, Jim placed the cake on the glass plate that magically appeared at his free hand, Spock ready with a fork.

"Are you ready, love?" Spock asked when he had a bite of white cake and fluffy white icing on the fork.

"I am," Jim agreed, opening his mouth as the cake approached. Spock carefully gave him cake, watching as Jim's lips closed around it, Spock having to lick his lips in reaction. "Mmm…" Jim sighed with a sly smile.

"That will quite do, love," Uhura scolded him with a smile. "Go talk to your guests. I'll save you a piece."

"Yes, ma'am," the Captain agreed, kissing her cheek before taking Spock's hand to wade into the crowd of well wishers that had waited more patiently than either of them had the right to expect. There was much small talk, Spock able to keep up remarkably well, making the exactly right responses, to Jim's relief. Not that the Captain had any concerns that his bondmate would say the wrong thing but that he would not have anything he felt appropriate to say.

//I have learned the art of small-talk from a master,// Spock told him with a laugh coming across the bond.

//Good job,// Jim said before turning to accept another soft kiss from another ensign.

"Captain," Uhura said when she appeared at his side, still smiling brightly. "Commander. You have very special good wishes from some who could not attend your celebration," she said, pointing to the oversized screen that had descended from the ceiling. The lights in the Mess dimmed, the screen illuminated with the signal of subspace communication. In only moments, the screen was filled with the lovely face of the Captain's mother.

"Hello, my dears," she said with a smile that looked oh-so-familiar to all those gathered.

"Mom," the Captain returned with the same smile.

"Hello," Spock returned with the slightest bow.

"I so wish I could have been with you. It sure looks like you are having a good time," she said clearly happy for them.

"We are," Jim assured her, smiling up at Spock.

"I can tell, dear. And you'll send me holographs of the wedding as soon as you can?"

"Of course we will," Jim agreed. "We're going to come to Earth for Christmas if we can manage."

"I look forward to it. Make sure Spock brings enough warm clothes," she reminded them with a laugh.

"We will," Jim said, leaning closer to Spock.

"I'll let you get back to your party, my dears. I love you both," she said with a warm but sad smile.

"Thanks, mom. We love you too," Jim responded, watching until the very last minute as she faded away. "Thank you," he said to Uhura, certain she was responsible for his mother's warm greetings. Uhura smiled, nodding at the screen which was already becoming brighter with the unmistakable images of Sarek and Amanda.

"Mother, Father," Spock said in greeting.

"Spock. Jim," Amanda responded with a warm smile. "How I wish we could have been with you."

"It would have been very pleasing to us as well," Spock said warmly.

"When will you come to visit with us?" Sarek asked, some warmth coming through despite his stern visage.

"I do not know, Ambassador. We will not be assigned nearby Vulcan in the next quarter," Spock said.

"Then maybe you need to take some of that vacation time you have stored up," Amanda suggested. "And don't tell me you can't simply leave your ship. You both are allowed a personal life."

"Mother, I do not believe this is an entirely appropriate conversation for us to have at this time," Spock suggested.

Amanda's only response was a warm laugh. "Jim, I expect you to convince him."

"Yes, ma'am," the Captain agreed with a smile.

"Please do hurry home, my dears. I can't wait to see you," Amanda said looking slightly sad.

"We will come as soon as it is possible, Mother," Spock promised.

"That's all we can ask. Please send the holographs when you can," she requested.

"We will," Jim agreed.

"Thank you. We'll let you get back to your party, my dears. Take care of each other," Amanda said warmly.

"Be assured that we will," Spock said, turning to gaze at Jim with love that his parents could not miss even over the distance.

"Good-bye, my dears," Amanda said.

"Live long and prosper, my son, Captain," Sarek said before they faded off the screen.

The lights stayed at half their previous level, the glow of the candles everywhere in the room casting a glow over all of those present. "Will you dance with me?" Jim asked Spock, the only two beings in their private world.

"It will be my honor," Spock agreed, taking his offered hand and going with him to the dance floor, an aisle opening to allow them to arrive unencumbered. They stood in the middle of the wooden dance floor placed in the front of the floor to ceiling windows, which did not shine with the stars outside Safehaven but neither noticed. A slow, unmistakably romantic Earth song began to play and they came together, their bodies and steps in perfect unison. They knew their dance was being watched by almost all of their crew and they did not mind. //This song is quite….//

//Quite what?// Jim asked, smiling up at him.

//Human,// Spock decided.

//Very. Romantic. Even sappy,// Jim admitted.

//Indeed,// Spock had to agree, accepting Jim even closer to his body, their warmth merging and infusing them with love and contentment. "We will live happily ever after," Spock whispered into Jim's round, pink ear.

"You can be sure of that," Jim promised, holding tight to his love, knowing without a doubt that Spock would be the wind beneath his wings, and he would gladly return the favor. For all time.