42. Natural Slytherins. (Contains slash)

McCoy awoke blearily to the sound of Doctor M'Benga giving Kirk a thorough dressing down for attempting to leave his bed. Turning his head to the side and celebrating briefly at the fact that it no longer hurt, though it did feel slightly leaden, he opened his eyes to watch the scene unfolding before him, for once glad that he wasn't involved. There were just so many times he could argue with the reluctant Captain before getting fed up.

"You only got back 6 hours ago!" M'Benga was saying, much more calmly than McCoy would, he grudgingly admitted. "You can't get up and about just yet."

And suddenly, it hit him. They were back – they'd made it. McCoy grinned in giddy relief, not even bothering to hide his joy at being back on the Enterprise and away from the confusing world of magic which they had encountered.

"I need to call Star Fleet," Kirk explained patiently, standing with his arms crossed. His posture was only slightly slumped – a sign that he was weak but not weak enough to be bedridden.

Deciding that this boded well for him, since they had suffered similar injuries, McCoy sat up in bed, feeling pleasantly surprised at the fact that he felt no real pain – only a slight soreness and stiffness of limbs. He promptly swung his legs off the side of the bed and stood up, walking slowly over to the arguing pair.

"We've been unconscious for 6 hours?" McCoy asked without any preamble.

M'Benga looked thoroughly exasperated. "Yes. Doctor, I ask that you both get back into bed – you know how bad your injuries were."

"I must have missed that part," McCoy said wryly. "I was too busy being unconscious."

M'Benga immediately assumed a lecture stance, for the moment sidestepping the issue of them being out of bed without permission. McCoy couldn't help thinking that this man was handling the situation with much more restraint than he himself would.

"You, Doctor, had a severe concussion and damage to your nervous system. It took us several hours under the tissue regenerators for your injuries to heal, though there is still some soreness. That will take a while to pass."

"And Jim?" McCoy asked, resisting the urge to sarcastically remind M'Benga that he was a doctor too damn it and understood all the implications.

"Broken wrist, several broken ribs and the same extent of nerve damage. We also subjected him to the regenerator treatment," M'Benga added, "but the injuries will remain tender for a few days at least. Which is why," he said pointedly, "he is supposed to be in bed!"

"And Spock?" McCoy questioned finally, stopping Kirk's retort.

"He slipped into a Vulcan Healing trance before he reached Sick Bay," M'Benga replied. "He awoke from it an hour ago, slightly weak but otherwise completely healed." He gave them both a searching look. "What happened to you, wherever you went?"

Kirk chuckled. "You'd never believe us even if we told you, but I have to get to Star Fleet to clear this up," he pressed, an unusual amount of seriousness in his tone. "If what you told me is correct, then the whole crew could be facing charges, not just us."

"The whole crew?" McCoy repeated in confusion, glancing at M'Benga for confirmation. "What happened?"

"Scotty decided to stay here looking for us," Kirk explained quietly, nodding his head in the direction of another bed.

With a jolt, McCoy recognised the figure of the Chief Engineer stretched out on the soft mattress, sound asleep. The man looked exhausted; lines seemed to have embedded themselves into his face and there were the beginnings of dark shadows under his eyes. IV lines were feeding nutrient supplements into his arms to combat the weight loss he seemed to have suffered, while another line fed him blood.

"Scotty?" McCoy gaped. "What happened here?"

"It's a long story," M'Benga said. "I suggest you both sit down. We'll go to my – your," he amended at seeing McCoy's scowl, "office. We can't risk waking Mr Scott."

Feeling a small knot of apprehension forming in his stomach, McCoy followed M'Benga, leaning in to whisper to Kirk. "Where's Spock?"

"He's helping with repairs in the science lab, from what I've been told," Kirk replied equally quietly.

McCoy rolled his eyes. "He really doesn't waste any time getting back into the thick of things, does he?"

"I wouldn't have it any other way," Kirk said, grinning.

McCoy pretended to gag. "You promised me you wouldn't go all mushy on him."

Kirk raised his hands as he sat in a chair, ignoring M'Benga's confused expression. "Sorry."

"Alright," McCoy said, settling down too, "I'll forgive you this time, but be warned."

M'Benga sat opposite them, in McCoy's chair, the surgeon realised with another jolt, but he wasn't about to say anything. Clearly there had been a lot of changes since they disappeared from the Bridge several months ago.

"So what happened?" Kirk asked brusquely, managing to both look and sound commanding despite the fact he was dressed in Sick Bay slacks.

M'Benga suddenly looked very tired. "At first, we were simply occupied with searching for you and trying to hold of Star Fleet's enquiries. It was no easy feat, but Admiral Pike is to thank for the fact that there has been no public report yet."

Kirk nodded, urging the doctor to continue.

"A short while later, during the time that Mr Scott was interrogating the people who took your place-"

"Voldemort and his cronies," McCoy interjected.

M'Benga's eyebrows rose. "You know them?"

"They were...famous in the universe we ended up in," Kirk hedged. "We'll tell everyone about that later. Firstly, I need to know what's happened aboard my ship."

M'Benga nodded. "During the time he was interrogating them," he resumed, "I noticed that he began to act as though he was exhausted – more so than he had been before," he clarified. "He denied it, of course."

"Of course," McCoy snapped. "When does anyone on this ship actually tell their doctor anything?"

"Then what?" Kirk asked.

"I asked the Bridge crew to keep an eye on him. Lieutenant Uhura mentioned that he appeared more distracted than usual, sometimes as though he was locked in a daydream, but there didn't seem to be anything physically wrong."

"Locked in a daydream?" McCoy asked, medical instincts whirring.

"They sometimes had trouble snapping him out of it," M'Benga continued. "Yet he still refused to come down to see me, until the problem got so bad that he was losing much of his sleep."

"I think everyone's been around Jim for too long."

"You gave him sleeping pills?" Kirk asked, ignoring McCoy's barb.

"I did, but they only seemed to work for a day or two. Apparently, the visions happened even when he was drugged."

McCoy jerked upright. "He was having visions?" His thoughts immediately flew to Harry. "Was Voldemort breaking into his mind?"

"No, it was nothing like that. We had no idea what it was at first. Whenever I asked him, he refused to tell me. Eventually he did, after it was all over."

"After what was all over?" McCoy asked, beginning to lose patience.

"The ship was attacked by a Gaaran female," M'Benga said calmly.

Kirk almost launched himself out of his seat. "How bad is the damage?" He asked, contenting himself with simply perching on the edge of his chair, his eyes intently focussed upon M'Benga's face.

"I'm no mechanic," M'Benga replied, "but I know they're bad. I don't know the exact details but we've been assigned a watchdog ship until we can get enough power to get to a Star Base for trial."

"Trial?" McCoy echoed.

"We maintained radio silence with Star Fleet while we searched for you – the entire crew was determined not to give you up without a fight, and Star Fleet was trying to order us to the other side of the galaxy for a new mission."

"That makes sense," Kirk said. "What went wrong?"

"We were apprehended by a Gaaran battle cruiser captained by a Gaaran named Ehlette."

"Ehlette?" Kirk asked in confusion. "I've never heard of her."

"Mr Scott never told anyone of her," M'Benga explained. "From what he's told me while he's been here, Ehlette was the sister of Tohn."

"Why does that name sound familiar?" McCoy muttered.

"Because," Kirk explained, apparently understanding where this was going, "he was the Gaaran who was discharged from the Academy after assaulting cadets and professors. Mentally."

"I thought mental assault was strictly illegal!"

"It is among Vulcans," M'Benga replied. "The Gaarans had no such rule until Tohn's actions were discovered. He was tried and imprisoned for years before being released and sent to a rehabilitation colony."

"What has this got to do with Ehlette?" McCoy asked. "And Scotty's visions?" He added.

"Ehlette blamed Mr Scott for her brother's imprisonment – Mr Scott was a close family friend and gave no evidence to support him. He gave no evidence at all, in fact, and Ehlette blames him for it. Mr Scott tells me that she felt his lack of support drove Tohn to insanity."

McCoy's eyebrows creased. "It sounds like he was already on his way," he commented.

"In my opinion, he was," M'Benga agreed, "but Ehlette was unwilling to admit to it. The close mental link she shared with her brother drove her insane with thoughts of revenge until she finally came after him."

"Attacking the ship in the process," Kirk finished.

M'Benga nodded, confirming Kirk's conclusion. "She thought it would make the best revenge."

"What about the visions?" McCoy asked. "If they weren't from Voldemort, who were they from."

"Ehlette," Kirk guessed.

"She plagued him with memories of his time with Tohn," M'Benga explained. "She used it to wear him down before attacking the ship. When he finally came face to face with her, he was truly exhausted from sleep deprivation and stress."

"What happened to her?" Kirk asked.

"She was killed in the battle between our ships. She abducted the man you call Voldemort and his subordinates – Mr Scott beamed aboard with Chekov to get them back. He thought it would help your return."

"He was right," Kirk murmured. "Chekov?"

"He sustained no injuries."

"Ehlette's ship?"

"Star Fleet sent help in response to our distress signal. The ship is defeated and the crew has been transferred to the nearest Star Base by shuttle craft, Captain."

"So there's no more danger?" McCoy asked warily.

"Not that we're aware of."

"Good," Kirk replied. "All we have left to do now is delay repairs until we can come up with a line of defence."

"You're not considering fighting Star Fleet, are you Jim? Especially not with a ship guarding our every move?" McCoy squawked.

"I'm not going to fight them, Bones. I'm just going to appeal to the two most Slytherin people we know; Ambassador Sarek and Spock. Both of them," he clarified with an amused smile.

M'Benga looked confused. "There are two Spocks?"

"It's a long story," Kirk said, waving his hand dismissively, "and there's no real time to explain it now. But I need to use the computer to contact them," he told the doctor, "or we go into trial unprepared."

M'Benga seemed to ponder this for a moment, looking them up and down with a practiced physician's eye before nodding. "Alright," he conceded, "but don't overdo it," he said sternly, exiting the room to give them some privacy.

McCoy scowled. "You'd think people kept forgetting I'm a Doctor," he grumbled.

"Now you know how I feel whenever you keep ranting at me."

"I actually have a reason to rant at you. In this case, we've just got a few aches and bruises left over – there's no point confining us here."

"Whatever you say, Bones. You doctors are all alike, you just don't want to admit it," Kirk grinned, before reaching over and pressing a switch. "Mr Spock?"

"Yes Captain?" Spock replied, voice formal.

"You're needed in Sick Bay, if you can be spared from repairs. Meet me in Doctor McCoy's office as soon as you can."

"I shall be there shortly, Captain."

"Back to being formal, are we?" McCoy asked wickedly.

Kirk shrugged. "We're on duty. We have to keep up a certain image."

McCoy snorted. "Right."

Kirk ignored him, already typing in the numbers used to access the terminal to the people he needed to talk to.

A few minutes later the door to the office opened to admit Spock, dressed in his usual uniform with not a single hair out of place or anything to hint at what had happened only hours ago aside from the fact that his posture was slightly less rigid.

"Captain, Doctor," he greeted, inclining his head formally. "You wished to see me?"

McCoy looked him up and down, looking slightly annoyed. "You never let anything phase you, do you?"

"It is logical to look presentable at all times, Doctor."

"We're in private, Spock," McCoy reminded him in amusement. "You can call us by our names, you know."

Spock seemed to relax a bit as he took a chair and sat down. "Very well," he replied. "Why did you wish to see me, Jim?"

"We're going to have a political fight with Star Fleet on our hands at any time," Kirk replied, "and it's best to be prepared." He swivelled the screen around so that Spock could see it. "Meet," he announced with a flourish, "your older self!"

Spock looked unimpressed by the older Vulcan staring back at him and merely raised an eyebrow at Kirk. "I have already done so," he said flatly.

Kirk deflated visibly. "Oh."

The older version of Spock chuckled slightly, causing younger Spock to raise his eyebrows even further. "I admit I was not entirely truthful with you, Jim."

"You implied the universe would implode if you two ever met."

McCoy snorted. "And you believed that?"

Kirk looked slightly sheepish. "For all I knew Vulcans couldn't lie," he said pointedly, directing his gaze at Spock Prime.

"For all intents and purposes we prefer not to," the older Vulcan replied obediently, "however that is not to say we are physically incapable. We prefer to use the term misdirection or omission."

"Right," Kirk replied, "so as long as you use those words you aren't technically lying."

Spock Prime twinkled, reminding them momentarily of Dumbledore. "Precisely."

Younger Spock sighed slightly. "Perhaps we should proceed?"

Kirk cleared his throat. "Ok. You wouldn't happen to know where Ambassador Sarek is, would you?" He asked Ambassador 'Selek'.

"He is with me – I shall fetch him."

The older Vulcan disappeared from the screen.

"The universe would implode?" McCoy repeated, unable to stop himself.

Kirk scowled at him, but there was no malice in the action. "You're never repeating that to anyone."

"Oh, I think I might consider it."

"Bones..."

McCoy held up his hands. "Alright, your secret is safe."

Ambassadors Spock and Sarek appeared on screen. Sarek looked visibly surprised to see the three officers before him – so much so in fact, that he actually allowed his mouth to open a miniscule amount before promptly shutting it again, the Vulcan equivalent of gaping in shock.

"I see you have returned," he said evenly, though he could not hide the relief shining in his eyes as he caught sight of Spock sitting next to them unharmed. "It is gratifying to discover that you have not permanently disappeared."

Kirk grinned. "We're very pleased with that as well, Ambassador."

"Am I correct in assuming that this is not a social call informing me of your presence in this universe?"

"You are," Kirk replied. "We realise that Star Fleet is going to be calling for our blood after such a long disappearance."

Spock Prime looked amused. "I understand what you are asking Jim, and I assure you that our services shall be readily available."

Kirk smiled in open relief. "I really appreciate this," he replied politely. "There's no knowing how Star Fleet will react to our return."

"Do they know?" Spock Prime asked.

"Not yet," Kirk said impishly. "I thought we might have an advantage if we surprised them."

"How very Slytherin," Spock murmured, apparently not realising he had said it until he was fixed with four incredulous stares. "Forgive me," he said, louder this time, the tips of his ears turning slightly green.

Spock Prime smiled at them, the action more open than his younger counterpart would ever allow. "It appears that this was one mission which I would have enjoyed. Purely from a scientific perspective, of course," he added. "From what Jim tells me, the presence of magic in that universe was extremely fascinating."

Sarek's eyebrows sky-rocketed. "Magic?"

Kirk laughed again. "It's a long story, Ambassador. If I call Star Fleet now, it might save me from recounting it twice."

"That is logical."

It took five minutes to reach Star Fleet, with all the questioning from anyone who passed on their call, but they were finally rewarded with the sight of Admiral Pike's face swimming into view, feeling relieved that he was dealing with their call rather than some of the more questionably motivated Admirals.

Pike did actually gape in shock for several moments before remembering that he was also in the presence of two Vulcan Ambassadors. "Well," he said finally, "this is a surprise."

"Did you miss us?" Kirk asked cockily.

Pike smiled. "You wouldn't even begin to imagine how quiet my life has been without your almost daily predicaments. So," he leaned forwards, "what happened? Why don't we start from the top."

"It's very...strange," Kirk said, addressing everyone who jockeyed for space on the view screen. "Judging from your reaction to seeing us, I'm guessing you knew we disappeared."

"No kidding."

"Do you believe in magic, Admiral?" Kirk asked, plunging right in at the deep end.

Pike's eyes widened even more, if that was at all possible, and he looked at them all as though doubting the solidity of their mental states. "Of course not, it doesn't exist."

"Not in this universe," Spock said, making Pike's eyebrows tie into a knot of confusion. "We were involved in an accident which transpired in another, magical universe. It cause a temporary rift between our timelines and caused us to journey to the area of origin – twentieth century Earth."

"Where magic existed," McCoy added helpfully.

"I...see."

"It is true," Spock informed him.

Pike didn't look so sure. "Yes, well...if I have a Vulcan before me – a reliable one, at that – promoting the existence of magic, I suppose I have no choice but to accept it. What do you think, Amabassadors?"

"We believe their transcript of events thus far," Sarek replied.

Pike looked as though he wanted to either laugh at the absurdity of the situation or run away screaming. "So that explains why no one could find you."

"Precisely," Kirk replied. "As you're probably also aware, several people from their universe were transferred here in our place."

Pike nodded. "Mr Scott did mention something to that effect."

"We were forced to stay there for several months until they managed to find a counter-spell, which they performed, and now here we are," Kirk summarised. "The intricate details will really take too long, but that's essentially what happened."

Pike nodded. "I see," he murmured. "Do you have any evidence of this happening?"

"Aside from the fact that we disappeared from the face of the...well, ship," McCoy replied, "and several stick wielding maniacs suddenly appeared?"

"Yes."

"No," McCoy said. "But those moments should be on video record."

"We have yet to be sent your security tapes," Pike told them. "We have barely heard from your ship for months. Mr Scott is facing serious charges for that."

"I am aware of that, sir," Kirk replied politely, "but surely that would create bad publicity?"

Pike grinned, clearly catching the hint. "It would."

"In addition," Sarek added, "punishing three officers who previously saved the planet from destruction would no doubt create tension among the population of the Federation." He raised a significant eyebrow. "Vulcan would be less than pleased with the news that harsh disciplinary action was taken on them, even more so when it is considered that one of them is a member of an endangered race."

Pike nodded, his expression sly. "There is of course the question of what they were doing the entire time."

This time it was Spock Prime who piped up. "As there is little evidence for the entire fiasco except for limited conversations-"

"With an admiral known for paranoia," Pike added.

"-and unreliable security videos which were, of course, destroyed in the battle with the Gaaran ship," Spock Prime continued, "the entire scenario is reduced to little more than a rumour."

"Has it yet been publicised?" Spock asked.

Pike shook his head. "Star Fleet wanted to be sure of its facts before it gave any information to the press. Added to that the fact that we're still struggling to rebuild the Federation, the Admirality didn't want to seem less than on top of things. The news of your rogue ship and the disappearance of three well known heroes remained unknown. To do otherwise would be to invite bad public opinion."

"Which of course cannot be worsened with the entire thing being revealed through public trial," McCoy continued, catching on.

Pike nodded, grinning fully. "Precisely. We will of course have to punish you in some way – such actions cannot be allowed to go free."

Kirk nodded. "We understand that, sir. What did you have in mind?"

"A reduction of your shore leave time to half of what it was," Pike said, "the necessity in finishing all the paperwork you missed and being sent to an extremely tedious diplomatic conference to support the Federation. We've been looking for appropriate candidates for a while, but no one seems willing enough to look convincing."

"Those punishments are acceptable," all three Vulcans announced simultaneously, causing the humans to blink.

"But be warned, Captain," Pike said, his tone abruptly, serious, "I won't be able to get Star Fleet's most famous officers off the hook every time. There will come an occasion where you will be left to deal with another Admiral – a less lenient and friendly one," he added without a trace of humility.

Kirk smiled but kept his voice serious in reply. "I understand, Admiral Pike."

"Good. I will of course do my best to outline this argument to the rest of the Admirality, since they do of course have to be consulted, but I have no doubt that everything will work out as we have planned."

"Thank you," Kirk said sincerely, inclining his head slightly.

"It had better not happen again," Pike warned, giving Kirk a very stern glare. "They're itching for a reason to bust you back to Ensign once everyone's got over the publicity surrounding Nero."

"I'll do my best to keep everyone in order," Kirk answered wryly.

"What about the Ehlette fiasco?" McCoy asked suddenly.

"Ah," Pike said. "Mr Scott's actions were commendable – there was very little loss of life and he performed as well as he could in that situation. I doubt there will be any serious punishment for him. In fact, he has helped rid Star Fleet of yet another political problem."

McCoy glanced at the closed door without being able to stop himself, Scott's face filtering back into his mind. "I wouldn't exactly call it that."

"No," Pike agreed, "but that is how Star Fleet will see it. The matter regarding the Gaaran Ehlette will be resolved when Mr Scott is fit enough to return to duty."

"Thank you, Admiral," they chorused and Pike gave them a slightly weary wave before turning off the com at his end, the area where his face had been turning blank.

McCoy sat back in his chair, the relief and exhaustion after their narrow escape bubbling over to make him laugh uncontrollably. He didn't even care that he was getting stared at – it was just so good to know that everything was back to normal.

"What?" Kirk demanded when McCoy's hysterics had died down a bit.

"It's just occurred to me," McCoy explained, "that Vulcans are natural Slytherins."

Kirk's amused laughter joined with his own to echo around the small room and even Spock allowed himself a half smile. But as they laughed, they couldn't help but wonder what was happening in the wizarding universe at that moment, and they couldn't help that regret that their own return had meant the continuation of what would be a long and bloody war.

"So," McCoy sputtered after several minute of laughter on the part of the two humans, and amused grins on behalf of the Vulcans, "are you going to tell them, Jim?"

That sobered Kirk up. "Tell them what?" His voice indicated that he had a sneaking suspicion of what McCoy was talking about, but was yet unsure.

"You know," McCoy said, voice becoming knowing and slightly mischievous, "a certain discussion in the Room of Requirement followed up by a certain idiot of a captain knocking himself into a coma?"

"I didn't knock myself into a coma!" Kirk protested.

"Stop avoiding the issue," McCoy crowed. "Tell them!"

Now both Vulcans were giving them curious looks, and Spock was beginning to look as distinctly uncomfortable as Spock could look.

"Captain?" Sarek asked as politely as his curiosity would allow. There was an underlying tone of command to it, and Kirk actually gulped slightly, his skin reddening.

"Well," he stuttered, throwing Spock a lost look, "I...uh...I mean, we..." he trailed off once he caught sight of the Ambassadors' raised eyebrows.

"What Jim is so eloquently trying to say," McCoy said in amusement, looking Sarek in the eye and ignoring Kirk's frantic signals to shut up, "is that in several months you might end up attending both a Vulcan and human wedding."

There was a pregnant silence.

"Bones!"

"Someone had to tell them the good news," McCoy said, almost laughing at his friends' blushing faces. "You were beating about the bush too much."

"There was a reason I was beating around the bush," Kirk hissed, "and that was because I didn't know how to phrase it! I'll tell you one thing – what you said wasn't what I had in mind!"

"I deduce from that statement that you do not plan on bonding yourself to my son?" Sarek asked with a completely straight face.

Kirk went even redder. "Well," he coughed, giving Spock another quick glance to find that the Vulcan was avoiding eye contact, "it's too soon to tell, Ambassador, but I do...erm," he hesitated slightly, suddenly uncomfortable about admitting to his feelings in front of his First Officer's father, "love him," he concluded lamely.

Spock Prime, to their surprise, chuckled lightly. "It is gratifying to learn that the future has come to pass, albeit earlier than expected."

Kirk and McCoy gaped, but it was Kirk who spoke. "It...it is?"

Spock Prime nodded. "It is," he replied.

McCoy turned the full force of his shocked expression to Sarek, who looked completely serene. "Did you know about this, Ambassador?" he demanded, almost forgetting to keep his tone civil.

Sarek nodded, a small smile lurking about his lips. "I did of course question Ambassador Selek on the topic of the future of my son. It is, after all, my prerogative as his father."

"You knew?" Spock asked sharply, staring at his father.

"Would you prefer that I remained in ignorance of the fact?"

"Well..." Kirk said slowly when Spock failed to answer, "it would have made this conversation a lot harder..."

"Are you kidding?" McCoy squawked. "I was trying to make it awkward!"

Spock Prime raised his eyebrows. "I see that nothing has changed."

"Damn right it hasn't!" McCoy replied, grinning this time. "I thought it would be funny."

Kirk grinned smugly at him. "Looks like it backfired on you, Bones. But if you'd like to make the situation more awkward, I can help you there."

And with that he leaned over to Spock, who had drawn back slightly, mouth agape, to stare at the oncoming human in shock. As Kirk came closer, Spock stiffened into an almost statuesque representation of himself, ears turning steadily greener and greener, the colour travelling across his face until he closely resembled an old fashioned drawing of a pixie.

His eyes darted from McCoy, to Sarek, to his older self and back again, making him look like a trapped animal. "Jim..."

Kirk, with a huge grin on his face, proceeded to grab Spock on one shoulder and lightly tug on one pointed ear until Spock had no choice but to lean forwards. Ignoring the continued frantic pleadings and horrified expression on McCoy's face, Kirk planted his lips firmly on Spock's, taking great care to make it as obscenely obvious as possible.

What followed was what resembled a female slap fight as Spock frantically tried to simultaneously unplug his lips from Kirk's and swat the human's hands away from his zip. After a few milliseconds of this, during which Spock Prime's smile widened knowingly – which McCoy pretended not to notice – Spock seemed to resign himself to his fate and returned the kiss, adding a strange touching of the fingers.

Which he then proceeded to stroke, causing Kirk to go beetroot red. McCoy decided that he really really didn't want to know what that was, especially if it made that certain captain, notorious womaniser, turn red.

"ALRIGHT!" McCoy bellowed, shattering the moment and causing the two kissers to break apart in shock. "I GET THE POINT! You have succeeded in making this situation awkward – are you happy?"

Spock settled back in his seat, looking slightly dazed. "Extremely."

Kirk promptly burst into a laughing fit so strong that it could not be broken for several long minutes, especially when he caught sight of McCoy's thunderstruck expression.

"Damn it Jim," McCoy whispered, unable to erase the image from his eyeballs, "you promised you wouldn't ever do that in front of me..."

"No I didn't," Kirk gasped.

"Well you should have!" McCoy snapped back. He turned his accusing gaze on Spock. "Didn't it even occur to you that you were doing this in front of your father and yourself of all people?"

Spock nodded sagely. "That did occur to me Leonard, which led to my initial reluctance. However, the only adverse reaction to the situation would appear to be yours."

"Adverse..." McCoy spluttered, incapable of any more coherent thought.

"I must admit," Spock Prime said with the air of someone who was about to make matters for McCoy much worse, "that I do not remember the first kiss between Jim and I occurring in that fashion."

"Oh God," McCoy groaned, clamping a hand over his ears. "Oh God..."

Sarek was clearly struggling not to break into a full blown smile. "Your covert tactics of causing situations to disintegrate leave much to be desired," he said simply.

"Oh God..." was McCoy's only reply.

"Well," Kirk said with a significant grin at Spock, "since that was such a success, do you feel like doing it again?"

"Not here damn it!" McCoy yelled in desperation, eyes widening as the two began to move closer together with exaggerated slowness.

Finally having had enough, he jumped to his feet and proceeded to rifle through his desk drawers, producing a spare empty hypo which he pretended to load, out of Kirk's sight, before lifting it up.

"I warned you, Jim."

He flung himself forwards, chasing a stunned and frightened Kirk from the room before he could kiss Spock again. Spock turned back to face the two Vulcan Ambassadors with an apologetic expression over his features, though a slight curve to his lips betrayed his happiness.

"I apologise..."

"It is inconsequential," Sarek said simply, allowing himself to give his hand a small wave to brush the apology aside. "I am, however, pleased that you have managed to enter a relationship with your captain."

Spock appeared slightly shocked by this easy approval, but ducked his head gratefully.

"-NO KISSING IN MY SICKBAY!" McCoy could be heard screeching from the other room. "HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU?"

Spock Prime chuckled again. "That seems familiar," he said quietly, his eyes lost in the past.

"In any case," Sarek said, bringing everyone back to the present and ignoring the odd comment, "I believe it would be wise to allow you to diffuse the situation."

Spock's lips twitched. "That shall indeed be a rather long and arduous procedure," he agreed, raising his hand into the customary farewell. "Live long and prosper," he said respectfully, schooling his features back to their usual impassive nature even as the other two Vulcans did the same.

"Peace and long life," the intoned, and the screen went dark.

Allowing himself a brief sigh where he knew no-one could hear him, Spock levered himself from his chair and walked towards the door, hearing as he did so the noise level raise abruptly. Nothing had changed in their travel to the other universe, he reflected as he saw a ranting McCoy brandishing an empty hypo at a sheepish Kirk. He moved forwards to take his customary role as the logical mediator, noticing as he did so that Scott was standing at the doorway, having ripped out his IVs in his hurry to watch the scene unfolding before him, a wide smile of relief spreading under his nose.

Nothing had changed at all, and for that Spock was supremely grateful, even if he refused to admit it.

The End.