"Breathe Life"

: Drama, Humor
Rating: PG
Time Frame:
Future fic
Kirk, Uhura/Spock

Summary: "Nyota, for the love of all that is holy - this will really, really have to wait! I'm a Captain! Not a Doctor!" . . . His distress sounded pathetic to his own ears, but really, it was a ridiculous situation of epic proportions when he was alone in a crashed shuttle with Nyota, with her child on the way . . .

Notes: This idea started as crack - it then took a sharp turn at fluffy before taking a complete U-turn at drama and introspection . . . Don't ask, I certainly gave up trying to figure it out. Oh, and a brief and very disturbing read through on childbirth on Wikipedia and one very squicky video on youtube is the extent of my child bearing knowledge . . . to those who are more experienced in the area, please forgive my lack of experience. To any really gaping inconsistencies I'll just say that the kid is part Vulcan, so everything isn't completely normal . . . Hah! Science fiction triumphs again.

Once again, a huge thanks goes to Jade_eyes for beta reading. Have I mentioned that you are the best, lately?

Disclaimer: It is my great pity and strong lament to inform you that nothing belongs to me . . . Aren't you all surprised at this point?


"Breathe Life"

by Mira-Jade


The rusty smell of burnt metal was harsh in his nose.

It floated everywhere, pushing him towards consciousness as the twang of smoke threaded through the unnatural scent of fumes from the melting control panels. When his eyes flickered open, everything was a sweeping dark, punctuated only by the flutter of sparks from open ended wires, and the faint, buttery glow of the emergency lights. The soft lighting seemed ridiculously surreal as it revealed the mess laid out before him in a twisted play of soft gold over harsh shadow.

With a deep breath against the rise of worry inside of him, he flexed his fingers and toes, trying to see what was left working on him. Nothing was really out of place in the end - just lingering aches and scrapes; all things that he could live with. He had been through worse before . . . It was just taking him a moment to figure out just when that was.

With another wriggle, he found that he could shimmy around enough to get his restraints off – fat lot of good they had done - and trip out onto the debris covered floor of the shuttle. In the seat next to him, he saw the slumped over form of their pilot – a young kid with a red uniform that seemed to have bled over onto the ruined skin of his face.

He took a deep breath as he vainly checked his pulse, feeling a pang of bitterness that always accompanied the loss of one of his own, even after all of these years.

He let his hand fall away from the too still pulse point upon hearing a clamor from the back of the shuttle. Automatically, he snapped towards the noise, concern for the last member of their group threading through him as he shrugged through toppled supply cabinets and overturned instruments to find her.

"Uhura?" he exhaled on a cough, clearing out dust and fumes from his lungs. "Nyota? Can you hear me?"

He could hear a muffled reply as he made it to the line of passenger seats in the back of the shuttle. As he came closer, he could make out a faintly muttered, "Jim." The whispered quality to the tone made his stomach clench painfully.

He found her a bit further back, curled up awkwardly from where she had hastily buckled herself in. There was a console torn open next to her from where she had been fighting to boost the relays on the communication system before they had the unfortunate problem of colliding with the ground.

At first, he thought that she was stuck under something from the way she was so still. She was breathing quickly, her eyes glazed and her thin hands crossed over the grease stained material of her dress. When he helped her sit upright, she whimpered almost pitifully. His eyes darted around her, but he could find no outward source of her pain.

"Nyota, what's wrong? Can you tell me where it hurts?"

His heart lodged somewhere in his throat when she didn't answer him. He rested his hands on the top of her arms, near her shoulders, rubbing at them lightly when he felt how chilled she was. Her large eyes focused on him for a moment at the sensation, before snapping almost eerily to attention.

"Jim, I think . . ." her voice was short, as if she couldn't get the breath to speak properly. "I think . . ."

He looked at her intently, fear warping through him as he let his hands slid down at her insistence to rest on the rather punctuated curve to her belly. Underneath the soft fabric of her dress, he could feel the child inside kicking almost comically – responding to so much outside stimulus from the world around it's mother.

"Jim . . . it hurts," her breathing was even more punctuated, as panic and maybe something a little more base stole through her.

His eyes widened when he took in the wet set to her hands – and that wasn't blood. At least, he didn't think that it was blood . . .

Understanding set in for him about the same time as it did for her. "For the love of all that is Holy! Nyota, if what's wrong with you is what I think it is . . . then you officially have the worst timing in the whole galaxy."

"I try," she winced out on a hiccup.

Fumbling around the emergency stashes for a tricorder, he flipped it open, and prayed. Prayed as hard as he could to whatever deity just happened to be passing through in the area . . .

She reached out to grasp his hand as soon as he came close enough to her again, and the desperate set to her grip made terror steal through him in a way any combat situation had yet to do.

"You're going to be okay," he assured her, and for all the world, he was trying to comfort her as much as he was himself.



He remembered back years ago - back to his first day as Captain.

He remembered odd things about the day – spending an extra twenty minutes in front of the mirror, smoothing out the yellow material of his uniform with something a lot like awe in his eyes – the Farmboy from Iowa standing transfixed in before a pretty ship all over again. He remembered reflexively going to correct crewmen in the halls – "it's Cadet, not Cap-" before catching himself. He remembered McCoy's good natured jibes, and the more measured sort of teasing he carried out with the Vulcan – all in the interest of something more, like the memory of another place, a lifetime away. He remembered the day passing like a whole handful of them – breathing so constricted and hands clasped so tightly that he had been glad when his day's shift was done.

And, he remembered Nyota's more characteristic advice, given on the eve of that day. They had been the only two left on the observation deck, both lost in their thoughts as their eyes tangled with the swirl of golden nebulae floating lazily on by, just beyond their reach.

"You know," she finally said softly, her voice a harsh cut against the silence, " you're going to have a whole lot of us here laughing when you finally screw this up."

He had blinked at her, frowning into the low light. "Thanks for that."

She looked up at him, her eyes glinting in a way that was normally left in his own – the instigator all the way. "Hey, I'm just trying to get you to relax – you've been walking around with a stick up your butt all day."

He paused, considered how she would take to him teasing in return. Finally deciding that that consideration would have never stopped him before, he smirked at her. "I thought you liked that in a man," he quipped, a knowing glint to his gaze.

A roll of her eyes greeted him, as expected. "In my man, perhaps – in you, no."

He chuckled. "I'll keep that in mind."

She turned to look at him – all seriousness past the stars reflecting in her eyes. "You receiving this role is something unprecedented – and, as much as it hurts me to say this, it is in part due to your tendency to jump without looking. I'm just saying that you have us here to reel you back in when you find your parachute is jammed; so relax."

He must have been looking at her oddly, for a second later she sighed, and gave a toss of her hair that was more in keeping with the Nyota he knew. "And I'm only going to say that once – I will deny it later, so it would be best for you to take what you can get now."

"You sure know how to flatter a man."

"Trust me, if I was trying to flatter you, you would know."

"Still cutting with the wit, eh Lieutenant?"

"As long as you give me reason to do so – Captain."

When she said the title, it was free of mockery. There was a subtle pride about the tone of her voice - an assurance that he wouldn't have thought that he was seeking before that moment.

When she turned back to the stars, there was a satisfied smile to the tight set of her lips.



It had taken the tricorder precisely thirty seconds to give him the readings that he really, really didn't want to see.

He felt like hyperventilating, but restrained himself. Just barely. "You know what, Nyota? I'm really, really happy for you – but this is going to have to wait! I'm a Captain, not a Doctor!"

A smile flickered across her face, just before a pained expression took up more precedence.

"Isn't it a bit early, anyway?" he panicked. "You're what - eight months along? That's too early, right?"

She shook her head, breathing rapidly through her mouth, and looked entirely like she would rather be doing anything else other than actually explain to him what she was going through. "It's a bit early for human children -" a deep breath, " - and yet Vulcan children develop quicker." An even deeper breath. "We did not know what time frame to follow, since this is pretty . . ." her words tapered off as her eyes squeezed shut in pain.

"Unprecedented?" he growled out, a curse accompanying his words as he gathered up enough ruined cushions to make a makeshift bed for Uhura. Desperately, he scrambled for a medkit – finding things like sterile wipes, and hypos, and other such items that would be of eventual use . . . if he had any clue what he was doing, that was.

He really, really, really hoped that they would be found before he actually had to help with the actual . . . labor.

. . . ugh.

He shuddered. Well - no use thinking about that. He liked his lunch down where it belonged, thankyouverymuch.

His mind slipped into action. "We lost contact with the Enterprise right before crashing," he muttered out loud in order to corral his thoughts, "Our course was so erratic to avoid cross fire . . . it could take them hours to find us without our systems up and running . . ." he ran a hand through his hair, peeved that he couldn't even venture past the crashed shuttle – the emergency exits were jammed, and what time he could spend on overrunning that, he could also spend on trying to boost their communication systems.

Another curse seemed fitting as he climbed over to the console Uhura had pulled apart.

His eyes glazed over at the mess of melting circuit boards and sparking wires. Curse it all, but this is what he had specialists on his crew for . . .

"Um," he said, trying to mask the confusion in his voice. "I can fix this – you, you just hang tight, and above all else – try to keep that baby in."

He could actually feel her glare between his shoulder blades. "I'll try my best, Captain."

Yeah, this time the title was definitely a mock.



It had been a slow day on the bridge as they stole through the Farina system - an empty stretch of worlds on the edges of the Alpha quadrant. The no-man's land lead to readings across the board being silent, which in turn gave way to light chatter tracing through the officers as they paid only half attention to their duties.

Kirk had been leaning back in the command chair, his eyes narrowed thoughtfully as he rubbed his chin – every bit the picture of a brooding Captain. "Lieutenant, have you ever thought of children?"

She didn't respond at first, but when she felt his gaze lingering on her she swiveled around in her chair, a brow raised. "Not more than anyone else," she responded slowly. "What makes you ask?"

"Nothing in particular," Jim muttered.

Their mission just the other day involved transporting a group of children to a colony on Marcus Prime. Kirk had been in his element – throwing the toddlers in the air before hosting rather ridiculous rounds of hide and seek tag - much to the displeasure of the officers who were actually trying to carry on as normal.

While space was not a place for children in the slightest, he always had a soft spot for them – and he never would have thought that his communication's officer did until he saw her watching him long and slow out of the corner of her eyes, a small glow lighting her gaze as the sound of laughter trickled through the bridge.

The glow increased when Spock took to holding the infant of the group when the caretaker had her arms full. One of the best mental images gleaned from the day had been the Vulcan awkwardly juggling the squirming child around until natural instinct at last kicked in.

Kirk had been snorting back laughter when his eyes happened over Nyota's face again – and the rather dreamy smile that had gathered there.

Well, call him a monkey's uncle . . .

Now the glow was still there, trapped behind the polite gaze of a most committed officer. He was wondering how far he could stretch it. "I'd love to have a few kids," he muttered. "Maybe retire someday . . . find a girl who's more impressed with my service record and rugged good looks than she is concerned over my particular quirks . . . settle down somewhere."

"Forgive me, Captain," she said with a smile in her voice, "but the thought of you settling down anywhere is a far stretch of the imagination."

"Well, now perhaps," he agreed. "In fifteen years – who knows."

She nodded politely.

"How about you? Does the domestic road appeal to you at all?"

"Not any time soon, no, Captain."


"I think I'd want a boy," he muttered, more to himself than to her, "another Captain for the record books."

"I'd like a girl," she said, the words tumbling out without much thought behind them. He watched the glimmer to her eyes that appeared before she realized just what she had said. "And I'd like her to be like her father."

"With your sarcasm, that would be a fearsome creature, you do realize?" Kirk said. "I'll have to start corrupting her young – get her on my side before she realizes that you'd like nothing better for her to turn her considerable mental prowess on me."

She rolled her eyes. "Yes, you will be considered last for a babysitter."

There was an underlying 'maybe' there. He'd just have to wait until they got really desperate . . .

"I'll be her hero – saving her from Theoretical Calculus lessons when she's only five . . ."

Nyota snorted. "I'm sure her studies won't be that bad."

Kirk grinned, and was about to say 'wanna bet?' when a dry tone cut in from the direction of the turbolift. Spock had returned to the bridge just in time to catch the trail ends of their conversation.

"Is there something wrong with Theoretical Calculus by that age, Captain?"

Kirk laughed, even as Nyota shook her head.

The conversation was closed, but there was a smile on her face that lingered through the rest of the day.



Exactly thirty-eight minutes later, Kirk had managed to rig the communication's equipment so that he could make short range transmissions with his communicator. Uhura had retreated into her own world, her breathing deep as if she were trying to suck in air from water. Her long arms clasped over her stomach in a desperate grip that turned her knuckles white.

He had no idea what to do to help her, and it was tearing him apart.

When he finally made the connection to the Enterprise – and sickbay in particular, he had never been so happy to hear his CMO's voice before – ever.

"Good God, Jim, what happened to you!"

Kirk winced at the volume level. "Um, we crashed – but more about that later. We kinda have a problem here."

There was a snort from the other line, before a flutter of static - as if McCoy had turned away to avoid being overheard. "Tell me about it," he whispered harshly. "Mr. First Time Father here felt exactly when the contractions started, and has been quite besides himself." The humor in his voice died. "How is she, Jim?"

Kirk closed his eyes. "Bad . . . but I'm not sure if she's worse than she should be, or if this is normal – I don't know."

"If the trauma from the crash induced the labor, then we can assume that it's a bad sort of bad – now, tell me, how far apart are the contractions?"

Kirk glanced over at Nyota, of whom he was still trying to keep a bit of a distance from. He had started to actually ask her, before thinking better of it and timing it himself.

"About over a minute – almost two."

McCoy sucked in a frustrated breath. "Of course."

Jim felt the beginnings of panic set in. "That mean she still has a long way to go, right? Don't these things take all day?"

"In some cases," McCoy mumbled. "Listen, I don't have time to teach you the specifics, and you're signal is already flickering, so here's what you are going to have to do -"

"Oh no. no! Hold on a second! I'm not doing anything – you guys are going to find us before she pops, and she's going to have the kid safe and sound in an actual hospital bed – far from where I can screw it up. I can't do this, Bones! – really, I can't!" . . . and yes, he was well aware that his voice was a desperate whine.

"Jim, pull yourself together!" McCoy barked in annoyance, clearly out of patience for his very much labor fearing friend. "She needs you right now – and we're going to be a few hours at least triangulating your position – we've got nothing from the tracer on your comm, so it's time to do things the old fashioned way. In the meantime, her kid's coming, and it's coming fast."

Jim's breathing was starting to match Uhura's.

Over the line, Kirk could almost hear McCoy's eye roll. "So, here's what you do."

Over the next ten minutes Kirk arranged Uhura in a more birthing-friendly position, found her a change of clothes from one of the supply closets, and was able to convert the remaining uniforms into make-shift cloths. McCoy went through a shortened explanation of birthing protocol – and between "I have to put my hands where?" and "she'll dilate how much?" Kirk controlled his disgust enough with the miracle of life to hold Nyota's hand as he rifled through the rather generous supply of hypos that were kept in the emergency kit.

"Do you realize how many drugs are in here?" Kirk mumbled when McCoy became irked at his rather slow progress.

"Yes," the Doctor answered simply, causing Kirk to roll his eyes – again. "And an illiterate Maini could have found a simple painkiller faster than you are."

Kirk's eyes narrowed. "She only gets an every day painkiller?"

"I have a combination, but the big boys will have to stay away. We weren't sure how the baby's biological make-up would be effected by certain combinations, so we're going a bit off the beaten path for this."

"Found it," Kirk exclaimed triumphantly, holding the hypo in question up proudly.

"Good for you," McCoy's tone was dry.

Another ten minutes of McCoy barking, and Jim had aptly administered the painkiller – that didn't seem to much of anything, in his opinion. Uhura's eyes had sharpened slightly to the point where she was not drowning in her pain, but she was still out of it – mumbling this and that in languages that he couldn't recognize while her hands fluttered about her quivering stomach.

Kirk placed one of his hands over hers when the line on the communicator went dead. Beneath her hand he could feel the baby – a hard press of new life against them, and he swallowed deeply. A nauseating sort of determination stole through him, but it was a determination, nonetheless.

"Just hang in there, Nyota," he whispered.

She blinked up at him, "I'm not dying, Jim," she tried to quip.

The corners of his lips quirked, "Of course not." His voice was strained.

"Men," she mumbled, the humor in her tone snagging when her breath caught on a contraction. This time a high pitched keel invaded her voice, making his hand tighten over hers in reflex. Her nails dug into his skin, leaving little crescent shaped marks.

"It'll all be over soon," he muttered soothingly, taking a wet rag and wiping at her damp hair.

She smiled crookedly at him. "It gets worse before it gets better," she breathed out on a shudder.

The contractions were a minute apart now.

With a deep breath, Jim took her hand again, and tried his best not to panic.



He remembered a mission that had gone so very bad, almost four years into their five year mission.

Nyota had beamed down with him to the planet's surface in order to translate peaceful negotiations of a warlord's domination of the planet's colonies. The peace talks had been strained – punctuated by bad bouts of temper and rather nasty almost-fights. By the time the talks were concluded, he had been mentally weary and physically worn out from the stress of the last few days.

Still, he blamed himself for not paying more attention when they were caught in an ambush by the warlords more radical followers – all of whom were out for blood.

Nyota had taken the worst of it – as she had been trying to forestall any violence long before he had had an inkling that she was in any danger. The security detail that they had been traveling with had given over their weapons upon the start of the peace talks, and they were outnumbered by the much stronger aliens who had not been quite so honest with their possession of arms . . .

An hour later, Nyota was back on the Enterprise, and mending – her breathing regular again, and deep violet bruises fading from where they were staining her coffee colored skin in patchworks of raw plum and angry red above the lines of her medgown. When she had finally fallen asleep due to the cocktail of sedatives she was on, McCoy had been able to draw away a most resistant Spock from her side.

The man had been all tight lines and harsh angles as Nyota was being treated – an almost tangible anger running through him that made Kirk grateful that he had been shipside during the worst of the encounter. His sepia eyes were nearly black, even after hours of him practicing his renowned control.

Carefully, McCoy had drawn him into a corner, past the prying ears of the nurses and the clamor of the rest of the security squad being treated. Carefully, he outlined a list of injuries that he had treated, his words sounding more grave and hesitant as he went on.

It was the last thing that McCoy had said that gave Kirk pause.

"Unfortunately, she lost the child."

Spock's head had snapped up sharply at that, his eyes so dark that even McCoy had given pause.

"You did not know?"

The Vulcan's strangled whisper was a hoarse "no" that chilled Kirk to his core. His eyes were wide when he looked over at Nyota again – so incredibly small against the white swamping her in sterile bands of cloth and monitor cords. His hands trembled when he clasped them together, eyes burning with unshed tears for the loss of two of his closest friends.

When Spock numbly made his way over to Nyota's side again, he took her hands in an open display of affection that spoke more of his grief than any mere vocal evidence ever could. Gently, he ran a thumb back and forth over the top of her hand, whispering something in a language than Kirk couldn't recognize. After gently squeezing her hands one last time, he moved his hand tentatively over the top of the white sheet covering her, coming to rest on her flat stomach.

He felt a lump lodge at the back of his throat – something that twisted his heart into knots as he fought for breath, an all too human guilt running through him next to an all too tangible grief.

When he came to rest at his first officer's side, he didn't say anything where anything as paltry as words could ever mend.



An hour had passed.

By this point her contractions were right on top of each other, and his most unwelcome findings had discovered that she had dilated to a point that looked almost painful – really, this was a ready made show for abstinence all packaged with a neat little bow . . .

He had general instructions – when she should push, when she shouldn't, but it was becoming very, very hard to remember all of them – especially when she was hanging on to him with that grip. He was going to have bruises, he knew. And yet, when he informed Nyota of that, her reply had been a cross of a glare and something snarled in Klingon that he really didn't need translated.

Normally, he reflected bitterly, the father was subjected to this torture . . .

Cursing Spock's luck, he took Nyota's hand once again, and tried not to wince when she latched onto him as if he were a lifeline. Past the pain, he rubbed circles on the back of her hand.

"Adun?" she was muttering, over and over through the last handful of minutes. "Ashal'veh?" For all the world it sounded like she was addressing someone.

He could guess, at least.

She paused, her eyes narrowing past the spasms grasping her body. It was a familiar look for him – one he had seen her make a hundred times before as she had settled in to translate a particularly tricky line of code.

"I can hear him," she finally muttered, her eyes widening as the implications stole through her, leaving her light in their wake. He watched as a renewed strength enthused her, heightening the light to her eyes, the glow to her checks. Her hand under his became that much more pressing in her grip.

"I can hear him . . ." her voice tapered off, her lips forming the word 'Spock' even though no sound brushed past her lips.

He looked confused.

She pressed a trembling hand against the side of her head in explanation. "Tel-tor," she mumbled, hoping that he would at least remember the basics of Vulcan telepathy. She was not in any position to explain it at the moment. "I can always feel him," she muttered, "but this is completely different . . ."

He blinked at her as understanding set in. While he had known of the whole tel-tor mysticism, he had never truly understood the depths of the bond. A mind meld or two was his furthest experience with Vulcan telepathy, and from Nyota's stories, he could only think it something incredibly poignant wasted on a species who couldn't truly appreciate it's value.

Nyota was smiling past the grimace covering her face. "They have a lock," she informed Kirk, squeezing his hand in a way that was as much joy as it was for his support. "They'll be here soon . . . He'll be here for me," there was a smile with a bit of dreaminess tinging it – something that Kirk wondered was the drugs, or something deeper that she never really let on about around others.

He was comfortable with either or, surprisingly.

"Of course he will be," he smiled at her.

"He wanted me to thank you," she said next, her dark eyes locking onto his with an intensity that made him lower his eyes from hers.

He paused. "Don't mention it."

She leaned back against the make-shift pillows, a look of determination on her face as a rather gripping contraction tore threw her. This one lingered, shuddering through her body with an intensity that even he could feel from her.

"Kirk?" her voice was burdened with a wondered confusion. "Something different is happening."

"Tell me about it," he muttered, McCoy's instructions lingering through his mind like unwelcome little ghosts.

"You're going to be a mom soon."



He remembers returning to Earth at the end of their five year mission.

There had been requests from Vulcan command – and Sarek in particular, for Spock's presence within their ranks. Their diplomats were spread thin as they were, even these years later, and upon the natural passing of Spock Prime, they were finally making good of their 'perhaps at a later time's.

Kirk was trying not to feel too disappointed, knowing that they would still be working close enough for him not to complain too much.

"You know, it's going to be a blast of a lot quieter on the bridge without you," he was hugging Nyota, the snark in his voice ensuring she wouldn't see just how acutely he was going to mourn her – and her Vulcan shadow's - loss.

"I'm sure you can find another Xenolinguistic's officer who can keep you in line," she teased him as she pulled away.

He snorted, rubbing at the back of his head. "For some reason, I doubt that."

Nyota smiled, but she didn't counter his statement. At her side, Spock shook his head in as much of an amused acknowledgment of their banter as they would ever get.

Kirk turned to him. "So . . . are you sure that you're ready to tie yourself down to the old ball and chain?"

"I am quite confident in the commitment Nyota and I are about to make."

Jim rolled his eyes. "I wasn't talking about that - I'm talking about being planetside for a length of time – and Vulcan Prime, of all places. Not exactly the coziest of worlds . . ."

Five years earlier, Spock may have been exasperated. Now, he merely inclined his head, and said, "I am sure that we will manage."

Back to Nyota, he asked, "I will be getting an invitation, right?"

"Of course," she smiled at him, running her thumb over the elegant engagement ring on her fourth finger almost proudly (the human custom of rings had been at Kirk's advice, but he had yet to tell Nyota that.). She looked up to Spock out of the corner of her eyes, a smile invading everything about her features.

Kirk gave an exaggerated sigh. "C'mon now, you two can wait to make eyes at each other until I'm gone."

Spock frowned. " . . . Make eyes at each other, Captain?"

"I'm sure Nyota can explain it to you."

Spock didn't ask further, but he did shake his head – an accomplishment in his book if there ever was one.

Smiling, Kirk looked annoyed when there was a pinging sound from the badge at his chest. He gave an exaggerated sigh. "Unfortunately, that's my cue," he inclined his head.

He liked to think that there was something like envy to Nyota's eyes as she took his hands one last time. "Stay safe, Kirk," she whispered.

He nodded, and turned to Spock. He considered actually hugging the man for a moment, before patting him once on the shoulder. "Take care of her, you hear?"

"Of course."

Kirk smiled, and clumsily lifted his hand in the Vulcan salute – of which he had been practicing most valiantly in their early years together, but no one needed to know that just yet. The couple before him mirrored the salute, a knowing quirk to Nyota's eyes.

Rings of gold engulfed him, and then he was fading away.



She was shaking.

Great spasms passed through her small body – and stars, but he had never notice how small she was before – he could wrap one hand about both of her wrists, and her legs seemed long and almost bird boned – glassed and fragile, and all too delicate.

Somewhere in the last few hours, his own unease had faded as he had sought to ease hers.

He fought to take her mind off of everything happening.

"Have you thought of names?" His voice wavered.

"Nothing . . . definite." A wince.

"How 'bout your picks then . . . a boy?"

"James," she whispered, " . . . James Grayson."

Her eyes met his, red tinging her cheeks over the flush of exhortation.

Something deep fluttered through him, mounting when he realized he could feel the outline of the baby through her hot skin.

He breathed in deep.

"And a girl?" His voice shook.

"Amanda," she said it quickly, without any thought, closing her eyes as if she was hearing a protest from the presence in her mind.

"But I want to, ashal'veh," her whisper turned into a whimper. "So very much."

Jim held on tighter.



The bonding ceremony had been a simple thing held in a sweeping room of stone on the now established Vulcan colony. Only a handful had been in attendance – Nyota's family from Earth, an assortment of officers, and a peppering of more somber Vulcan representatives.

He had known that he was seeing something special – it had taken a bit of arm twisting to allow this many foreigners in to observe something so dear to the Vulcan culture. What he was about to see was something only a handful of humans had paid observance to.

At first it had seemed like a simple wedding – Nyota had worn a glimmering white dress that was more Vulcan in cut, but human in tone and color, and had looked positively radiant – with all of those clichés about glowing brides and starry eyes and more ringing true. She had held a bouquet of white roses in her hand, and she had walked the length of the room to where Spock was waiting for her. Behind him there was a waiting Elder, already mumbling words that Kirk couldn't even begin to understand.

He had remembered a playful offer to marry them on the way here – he was a Captain after all, and anything would be better than the no doubt somber occasion that this would be. But in the end it was . . . fitting.

Perfect, even.

There had been more traditional vows – romantic things that managed to stop before being sappy, but still gave him enough ammunition to tease two of his best officers for years to come. He had smiled at them, while at his side McCoy had worn his trademark scowl in order to hide the melting spark starting in his eyes.

Speaking of teasing for years to come . . .

After a trading of vows, there had been some more lost words by the Elder – who had preformed a whole series of ritualistic movements that had reminded him of a rather fancy mind meld – Tel-tor, Nyota had called it.

Whatever it was, it had left Nyota blinking in the wake of it, adjusting to the very alien presence now swimming through her consciousness. While he knew that she and Spock had always been mentally close – in ways he wasn't even going to begin to ask about, this had to be different, he knew.

Her disorientation had faded to something softly amazed as she stood on the very tips of her toes to kiss her new husband.

The human division of the audience had just stopped from cheering at the public display of affection. Just barely . . . If he knew his crew at all, Kirk knew that Scotty had holos taken, and they would be on the shipboard communication system within the hour.

. . . which would be something that he would completely squash upon returning – after gleaning a few copies for himself. For . . . blackmail, and other convenient things, of course.

He had claimed a dance with Nyota later that evening, mock sighing as he fingered the ring now resting on her forth finger. "You do realize that there is no turning back now? I may actually have to give up."

"It is a pity," she agreed with a smirk in her eyes. "And yet – fortunately for you, I do believe that there is an unbonded Vulcan girl – or two – here that I can set you up with."

Kirk made a face. "I think I'll pass."

She shrugged. "Suit yourself."

Oh, he would.

A moment passed. "You know, I'm really happy for you, Nyota."

Her smile was brighter than he had ever seen it. "Thank-you, Captain."



She had gotten worse.

He had known that it was coming, but still – now that it was here and upon him, he was kind of baffled in front of the pain that she was undergoing. Her body was shuddering – clenching and stretching as muscles worked in ways they very rarely had to work, and thus were very angry to be working.

This had to be almost over, right?

Once again cursing his inexperience, and vowing to at least know the basics before attempting a mission with a heavily pregnant woman ever again, he soothed a careful hand over her stomach, feeling the baby fluttering wildly under his palm.

Come out, come out, wherever you are, a soft voice whispered in his mind.

Nyota made a deep sound of agony low in her throat a moment later – the sort of which he had never heard her make before. He closed his eyes against it, wishing he could go to her side and hold her hand – support her the ways that he wanted to. Instead, he was stuck where he really didn't want to be, doing a job that he really didn't want to be doing.

Like clockwork, he flashed image after image through his mind – her laugh, her sarcasm, her smile, free of pain. He even tried imagining how ridiculous she and the Vulcan would look when this was all done and over with again. Something in him knew she was doing the same – pain and wonder mingling with excitement and fear and I'm here little one, come meet me soon. Let me show you this world.

She whimpered, and something inside of him shook.



A year into his next tour of duty with the Enterprise, Kirk recieved a surprise transmission from Uhura two hours into his morning shift.

Glad for anything to get him away from the dull run of star sifting that they were going on about, he had taken the call in his quarters, curious as to what would result in her contact before their normally scheduled weekly one.

Her smiling face greeted him a few moments later, and as always he had to blink a bit at the image. Over the years he had become so used to seeing her in uniform red – the more earthen tones of Vulcan fashion, while flattering to her, always took some getting used to. Her long hair was up in one of the elaborate coils that Vulcan woman favored, while from her ears a sweeping pair of white stones hung in a concession to an indulged human vanity.

There was something different to her now, though – her demeanor was calm, and yet there was a thread of something lingering at the seams of her smile. A dam waiting to burst . . . highlighted by the unnaturally healthy glow to her skin.

Her hands were folded primly over her stomach, and her thumbs were making vaguely soothing motions. He doubted she realized that she was making the movements. She was . . .

Stars . . . but was she actually . . .

"Good God, he actually knocked you up!" was the first thing that tumbled out of his mouth.

He winced upon feeling Nyota's rather exasperated glare . . . if she had been there in person, he had the distinct feeling that she just may have thrown something at him.

. . . it was just a hunch though.

"You sure know how to ruin a girl's moment," she said rather glumly, her eyes sparking a bit humorously - even if they were still a bit fiery for his tastes.

Ah - the hormone thing. Right.

Wasn't it a bit early for that?

Self preservation kicked in, and in the end he thought it better not to ask her, though. "How far along are you?" he settled for asking politely.

"Four weeks," she was quick to answer.

A pause. "And you just now told me?" he clucked his tongue in a disapproving manner.

Her eyes sparked. "It took a while to gather all of the bets on your reaction. Seeing as how the majority were leaning towards crass and untimely humor, I do believe that they will get their money's worth."

Kirk made a face. "Point taken." His eyes traveled up and down her frame for a moment. "Man, but if I thought that you being hitched was going to take some getting used to, then you as a mom is going to be downright ridiculous."

She smiled proudly."I'm sure that you'll learn to adapt."

"Well, I have little choice in the matter, now do I?"

"Some things have already been decided for you."

Jim smiled. "You do realize that I'm going to be crashing soon after that poor kid is born. I have to start my grand plans young, you see."

She raised a brow. "After? Is something about labor a bit too much for you, Captain."

He snorted. "You better believe it – you can have fun with that all on your own. I like the kids after they've been out and about – for a bit, at least."

Her smile was a bit teasing. "Who'd have thought – the great Captain Kirk, frightened off by a pregnant woman."

He winced, running a hands through his hair. "May I remind you of the . . . situation with the Minister of Creen III's rather . . . varied selection of wives?"

"You didn't know that it was an insult to acknowledgment a woman who was expecting . . ."

"I would have, if you would have moved to warn me quicker."

"Forgive me for thinking that you would have more tact than to assume about a race of beings who already have two bulging stomachs to start with."

"I'm a very lucky guesser."

"Yes – that explained the black eye that you wore for the next week."

Kirk's eyes darkened at the memory. "You know, I don't think that McCoy did everything that he could to take that away . . . Some friends I have."

She rolled her eyes, her expression glittering almost fondly. "We would love to have you after the birth – you have a leave coming around the same time, I presume?"

"I'll save it just for this."

She nodded. "Good."

He leaned back. "And, of course, you are under no pressure to name the kid after me – James would be a suitable first name, but it would also work as a middle name – in my very biased opinion."

She rolled her eyes. "I will hope beyond hope for a girl then."

He scoffed. "Jamie – see, easy."

She shook her head, but there was more humor than anything really annoyed in the gesture, so he decided to take what he could get.

He took a moment – watching the constant smile that tugged at the corner of her lips, turning her face into something soft past the elegant grace she normally exuded. Her fingers were constantly drawing out patterns against the fabric draping over her stomach – dreams for a future, and thoughts of the more domestic sort, no doubt.

He gave a lopsided grin. "And hey – congratulations, Nyota."

"Thank-you," she whispered softly, her hands resting flat against her stomach with something he could only describe as awe.




Her voice was a hoarse call – something strained that would have been that much fuller had she the breath to do as her body wished. She was looking at him with wildly determined eyes, her dark hair fluttering like spilling ink over into her wet skin, bleeding over to clump at the neck of her gown in a mass of tangled black. In a twisted way, she looked beautiful.

There was something different about these last few moments. A hope stole through him as he moved his hands gently over her again.

"Nyota – I can see the head!" Excitement fractured his voice, tripping over the even stronger relief rising in him.

"C'mon, you're almost there."

She nodded, clenching her eyes tightly shut as a great tremor overtook her body. Her hands were shaking from where they tangled in the cushions beneath her, looking desperately for something to grasp on to.

"Jim," her voice was ragged, caught with something bigger than her.

He nodded at her, eyes meeting hers when they fluttered open again. She sucked in a breath, the sound rattling in her lungs alongside the higher pitched wails that floated around in her mouth.

"You've dealt with Vulcan politics, and have faced down that one very irked Klingon General during a very bad time of the month – all the while dealing with me for a good ten years now – this cannot be that much worse."

She drew in a breath from between clenched teeth. "I think I'll take that Klingon woman again," she wheezed out.

He had the good grace to look mildly offended. "I'm more work that this?"

She leveled a glare at him, and he was vaguely thankful that she had not the will or resources to throw something at him.

"Back to work then," he mumbled.

Her eyes were grateful, at least. He squeezed a hand over her leg comfortingly. "You're almost there," he whispered.

She nodded, and settled back in for the final round.



He had known that Spock would be against the idea from the very beginning.

He had also known, that where there was a need, Nyota would always rise to fill it, no matter what – and he had been banking on that.

The couple had stopped off at the Enterprise on their return trip to Vulcan Prime from a more distant, newer outpost. At that point Nyota was almost eight months into her pregnancy – a fact that was made undeniable by the pointed swell to her belly. She looked almost awkward – still slim and elegant everywhere except for the curve of a new life to her midsection. The more heavily draped dresses she wore highlighted the contrast as she spent the majority of her time with her arm entwined through her husband's for support.

At this point, it was apparent that she was going to spend the rest of the time waiting for the child at home. The Doctors were at a loss predicting precisely around the time the baby was coming – but they had assured her that it would still be a few weeks, which he knew she was counting on.

A few hours after their arrival, the Enterprise had picked up a badly hit freighter. The model had been years old, bearing sure signs of wear and tear, and even more recent fire burns along its hull. Inside the ship, had been a man in bad shape – thin and hollow about the eyes, dressed in strips of rags that had once been of a more ornate material. There had been dried blood covering him in liberal amounts – the most of which had not been his.

He had then explained a bad situation a few systems over – that of a warlord who had in subjection the surrounding moons. The planet itself was a teetering Federation world, one of which whom contact had been slim and varied within the last few months.

And hour later, the Enterprise had orders to aide the subjected moons, and make the starts of negotiations. Nyota had been key in translating – the language being used one nearly dead to the more developed regions of space – and had been even more key in negotiating – the majority of the warlord's followers had been Corian in origin and had displayed a respect to her expecting status.

Spock – the conveniently located diplomat, had been uneasy about the stress of the situation on her and the child, but she had been insistent. When negotiations had tapered off upon the arrival of the official Federation representative, Jim had concluded the mission a success.

On the last day of their stay, Spock had taken the majority of the key players to one of the main moons where further talks would be concluded; leaving Kirk and Nyota planetside to tie up the loose ends.

Things had seemed just fine until they boarded their own transport for the moon.

The air had filled with enemy ships – all dark blots against the flames of the evening sky, raining fire against their shuttle. Their ship – merely a simple transport, had taken up evasive action, and had suffered immediate damage to both it's shields and its communications relays – key points in taking down any smaller vessel with a much larger one lingering about outside of the atmosphere.

Everything had happened so quickly – they had not had time to get off a proper distress call, and Nyota had been calling on her own major to boost the frequencies to something that the Enterprise would be able to pick up on. Their pilot – a young ensign on his first assignment off-ship had been all wide eyes amongst shaking hands, reminding Kirk almost painfully of the years had had put in serving.

He had known that things were going to be bad before they actually got so.

Still, he figured he was warranted a curse or two when the shuttle started to drop. He was even warranted another one when he snapped back for Nyota to strap herself in.

This was going to be a bumpy landing.



There was the eerie sound of silence.

Nyota's breathing was heavy on the humid air, but it was no longer threaded with pain. Her voice, when she whispered, was filled with weariness and something brighter – awe mixed with relief. "Jim?"

He found he couldn't speak for a moment.

On the stale air, the sound of the infant's first cry was harshly beautiful.



Before them, there was a tangle of earthen green upon splintering yellow.

There was a clenching rumble low beneath his seat as a too hot warmth threaded through his body, before there had been things tearing asunder and the ear piercing grind of harsh metal meeting unforgiving ground.

A scream – hers.

Wide eyes – his.

And then there was silence upon the black.



His first thought upon holding the child was wet . . . While it was not the most eloquent of thoughts, it definitely the most descriptive – the child was wet, and slimy, and covered with all sorts of things that he didn't even want to imagine. These were the things that they didn't show on the holos, he knew.

He scowled down at the thing squirming in his arms, a spark of curiosity lighting his eyes alongside the customary squick factor.

"You," he said with a false sort of sternness in his voice, "were entirely too much trouble coming out."

The child didn't seem to really care of the stress it had cause, squirming as it was in Kirk's hands, perfectly content to whimper and flutter about, as if most displeased at all it had been put through.

And stars, but wasn't it small. So incredibly, unbelievably, small – with almost translucent fingers waving blindly in the air, and small little lungs quivering beneath feather fragile skin. The babe was all folds of freshly air kissed flesh, and tightly clenched eyes and everything so incredibly tiny . . . delicate, in a word defined.

His heart melted instantly as he wiped the kid off as McCoy had instructed. There was the pesky matter of the umbilical cord, and other sorts of post birth things . . . and then he deemed the kid worthy enough to pass him to Nyota.

"It's a boy," he informed her, a bit of a pleased smile in his voice. "You aren't backing out on that name, now, are you?"

Her smile had no room for things like amused annoyance with him when she took the baby from him. Her hands were trembling – from both exhaustion, and a more overwhelming sort of emotion, he had to imagine – and the expression on her face spoke every bit of a heart that had just been stolen.

He wanted to make light of the situation, but found that he couldn't.

"He's beautiful," she whispered, her voice still hoarse, and her tone heavy with something awed. She laughed a little, stunned almost as she drew her hand over the child, touching ten perfect little fingers and ten perfect little toes. She traced a hand over the baby's cheek, brushing tenderly just under the very wide brown eyes that had fluttered open to watch her tiredly.

And well, he was, even Jim could admit. Past the biased parental point of view, the child was a warm sort of caramel colored brown underneath the fresh red tint of labor, and his eyes were dark and deep enough to match both of his parents. There was already a sparse line of hair on his head, incredibly dark against the dewy color of his skin. Curiously, Jim leaned over to note the kids ears – curved almost normally, with a slight point at the top, the only visible sign of the something more alien running through his veins.

"Not bad," Jim whispered, more to himself than to her, really – but she didn't notice either way. Her eyes were so focused on the child in her arms, and the slight glaze to her vision told him that she was communicating silently with the presence in her mind – as she had many times over the last few hours.

"They are here," she mumbled, not looking up from her child.

He understood, and got to his feet. Wiping the blood off of his hands, he made his way to the side of the shuttle.

Ten minutes later they were free.

Fifteen minutes later they were back on the Enterprise – Nyota more comfortably on a bed in sickbay, and McCoy fussing over the child as if Jim had botched the whole job merely by breathing a wrong way. Kirk had hovered close, hiding his unease with parting from the child with some much needed banter with Bones - "For the record, I didn't drop him on his head." "That remains to be seen, yet." "Hey, you know what, Bones? This Doctor thing wasn't so hard. I don't see why you complain so often." "I complain? Were you, or were you not the man who sounding like a wailing little girl at the prospect of having to deliver a child?" "Don't know what you're talking about." "Yeah, I'm sure."

Twenty minutes Kirk was kicked out of the room by a very irked McCoy - "Good God man, get a shower and burn them clothes! You smell like something a Claudon wouldn't touch." "Thanks for that." Sarcasm. "I keep you honest." Knowing. "I'd like to see you looking any better after something like that." A snort. "I do – every other day." A pause. "Touché."

An hour after that, Kirk found himself wandering the corridors right outside of Nyota's room. Through the glass, he could watch as her and the Vulcan fussed over the child. Spock looked as positively giddy as Kirk had ever seen him – which was something he was really, really trying to wrap his mind around. The man had a somber sort of smile that had yet to fade, and Nyota's grin seemed to feed off of his as much as it did off of the baby snuggled contentedly in her arms.

They did make a pretty picture, he had to admit.

Hanging loosely on his frame, his uniform felt cold, almost. Uncomfortable, even.

Blinking, he reflected that maybe he should have gotten some sleep as McCoy had suggested. Preparing to turn on his heel and do this that, he was drawn up short when there was a sound from inside of the room. "Oh, Jim! There you are."

When he looked back over his shoulder, Nyota was waving at him, beckoning him into the room. After hesitating a moment – this was, after all, a very family oriented scene, and he felt as if he was intruding on a time that should be private – the beginning of something new, and all that.

But she was grinning at him like that, and truth be told, he didn't really have the heart to protest.

He entered slowly, eyes immediately dropping to the baby – even smaller now that he was swathed in overwhelming white, sucking contentedly on a much abused thumb. He smiled crookedly at the sight, despite himself.

"Would you like to hold him?" Nyota asked softly.

"Well, if you're already trying to get rid of the little guy," with a smile, Kirk scooped the child up – instinct telling him just where to hold and how for the best support. There was a cooing from the baby in his arms as wide brown eyes flickered to focus on him, almost curious in an expression that he was all too familiar with.

Kirk reached a finger out, pleased when James held out an awkward hand to wrap around it.

A moment passed.

"I'd like to thank-you, Jim," Nyota muttered into the silence, her eyes meeting his with an intensity that added a weight to her words. " . . . for everything."

He held the child a little tighter.

"Don't mention it," he whispered.

With a wide sort of grin, he looked back down at his namesake. "Hey kid, you and me are going to be tight," he promised to the attentively listening baby. Lowering his voice even more, he was sure to meet Nyota's gaze as he muttered, "With parents like these, you're really going to need it."

There was a roll of her eyes, but the amusement behind it made everything else kind of mute at that point.

Around his finger, the child's grip tightened.

Chuckling softly, he smiled.