The House of Kirk - Reboot

Author: Gyptian

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: Not mine.

Genre: Kid-fic, Friendship, Slash.

Summary: Carol Marcus, possessed of a young son and an engineering degree, was asked to help in reverse-engineering parts of the drill Nero had dropped into San Francisco Bay. In the summer of 2262, she died. Five weeks later, Captain James T. Kirk received an urgent message. The first thing he did was call Spock.

On a sleet-filled day in February of 2259, Carol Marcus received a desperate comm from an old classmate. The drill that had almost destroyed Earth was said to be cursed. It was hard to find skilled engineers who wanted to put their hands on the technology that had almost meant their death and that, allegedly, meant you died within months of putting your hands on it.

She was out of a job. Her husband of two years had divorced her and bought her out. Valentine's Day, the rooftop dinner date that should have saved their marriage, degenerated into another fight. One fight too many. Her only child was not his and he didn't like it. Had never liked it. That the doctor had just told him he would never have a kid of his own was just icing on the cake.

He took the company they'd built together. She kept the house and the kid. David, at seven years old, started having nightmares of getting left behind in forests and caves with grotesque monsters that he could describe in tentacle-writhing detail. They all had purple eyestalks.

"Shaun, Shaun, slow down, I can't hear you!" Carol told the man on the other side of the live comm call.

"Carol..." The man rubbed a hand over his forehead. "We could really use your help here. We're short three senior engineers and we really can't promote the young 'uns without a lot of unnecessary accidents. And Starfleet is breathing down our necks on this one because it promises to make dilithium mining more efficient, maybe even take away the necessity of sending people down to the surface. Something that needs for less personell and provides more fuel quick for all those ships being built is, like, worth a huge deal to them."

He leaned closer to the screen, which made the circles around his eyes stand out ."Look, I know this is a really unpopular project and you just got out of a pretty nasty spot, but it's a cushy job with a good salary and benefits, plus you get to play with future tech."

She barely had to think about it. "Actually, the change of scenery sounds good."


On 1 March 2259, Carol Marcus started work in a custom-built hangar, half-underground but with light coming in through a myriad of skylights, and she was on top of the world when she cut into the metal that lay like a wounded beast before her, defeated by humans and now cut into pieces.

When she passed the one-year mark, she was ceremonially drenched in oil, because she had defeated the curse. Everyone who survived the first year was safe, or was supposed to be.

In June 2262, Carol Marcus stood between an intern and a panel that short-circuited explosively. The intern had mild burns. Carol's back was an open wound where the skin had burnt away. She died several minutes later, before medics arrived on the scene.


James Kirk had changed into casual clothes and was ready to start shore leave on the lunar colony when his terminal beeped. He slid into his seat and opened it when it turned out to be personal, urgent and from a skeleton in his closet.

Kendra Marcus. Older sister of an ex-girlfriend who'd threatened him with extensive public embarrassment if he'd hurt her precious baby sister. She'd made good on the threat too, especially considering the fact he didn't embarrass easily.

He listened to the five-minute message. A million scenarios came alive and died in his head in the next half hour while he stared in the distance, before he answered with a one-sentence message. I'll take care of it.

He had never suffered from indecisiveness.

A few hours' research into Starfleet regulations confirmed what he'd already suspected. The rules needed changing.

Because enlisting Bones' help in this would have been a cruel and undeserved punishment, he only made one call. The face on the other side of the line lifted an eyebrow in inquiry.

"Spock. I have need of your brain and your Vulcan reputation for honesty." Kirk was in the habit of requesting various parts of Spock for difficult missions, in their preparation and, after the first few months, also in their aftermath when they went wrong. Between them, they'd dreamed up enough plans that the first two years of their five-year mission took up over half the textbook in Starfleet Academy's introductory course on unusual tactics on combat situations.

That Spock was also remarkable good in reassuring Kirk was kept between them.

Spock never refused Kirk any part of himself, on or off duty. Even before he'd broken it off with Uhura, which had probably contributed to the end of that relationship. Kirk tried to feel neither the guilt nor the glee that threatened at the memory.

Spock was his friend. One did not come between friends and their significant others, for any reason.


They met in the cabin Kirk had rented in Monterey, close enough to San Francisco in emergencies, far enough away to hide from the press and star-struck cadets.

This was a conversation that should be kept as far from any record as possible.

Kirk sat Spock down on a blue vinyl couch decorated with grinning orange fish. "Can you meld with me?"

Spock did not startle, for he was a Vulcan. "Jim, I hesitate to do so outside of the line of duty and when no emergency is apparent." One should never assume, with Kirk.

"Look, I have a great deal to tell you, and no time to do so." He crouched before Spock and tried his puppy-dog eyes on for size.

"Can you specify the dearth of time in this case?" Because Kirk was also in the habit of claiming the ending of galaxies and universes if he didn't get his coffee on time.

"Less that forty-eight hours to change a core part of Starfleet policy, for very, very good reasons." And because Spock knew Kirk knew that Spock would catch a lie as soon as he entered his head, he simply settled his fingers on Kirk's psi points.

"My mind to your mind..." My thoughts to your thoughts. Kirk's mind called out the mental equivalent of a cheery welcome and whether Spock preferred tea or coffee. Spock brushed up against him and settled as easily as he did in Kirk's quarters for a chess game. If he took a great deal of comfort from this and if it aided in the healing of the broken family ties in his mind, he did not communicate this to Kirk. He merely responded he preferred tea, so Kirk's mind would buzz in laughter and cycle through green-yellow-nutmeg-sweet-sour-smile in amusement. Synaesthesia was a wondrous thing to behold for a precisely-ordered Vulcan mind.

Kirk started showing him the relevant memories.


He was seventeen and permanently horny. Kirk's eyes fixed automatically on the backside of a girl repairing her own car. "Need any help?"

A face framed by half-long brown frizz looked over a shoulder. "If you think you know more about hover cars than I do." It was a dare. It was irresistible.

Kirk did show her how to get rid of the brake that automatically activated when a car hit the speed limit, but mostly he stood by and watched a mind as agile as his wrap around a machine and not just repair it, but show it the loving care of a fellow enthusiast.

Their first date was figuring out the fuel that would work for his antique bike.


They graduated. They started college together. With the help of Carol's older sister, Kendra, Kirk finally moved out from under the thumb of his abusive stepfather and into an apartment with his girlfriend.

He was not ready.

Third semester, second accident that landed him in the hospital. His own fault for driving drunk. The only thing unharmed was the bike he and Carol had worked on together.

It was the first time he saw her cry. How can you do this to me? How can I trust you to be there for me, for our kids, if you are so reckless? If you can't even bring yourself to care enough about us, me, to take care of yourself?

He did not ask what she meant. He was too doped up to do anything but make pathetic noises as she broke up with him and walked away.

Kendra came to lecture him and bring him the bags with his clothes and personal effects. Most of them. She hung every single piece of his underwear from the flagpoles around campus.

He dropped out. He spent the next years lost in drinking and fights and sex, until a grey-haired Captain picked him up by the scruff of his neck and told him he could be better than his father.

It was a dare. Irresistible.

He checked on her a few times in the first months after the break-up, so he knew she'd switched to long-distance learning and moved in with her family. He never found out why until Kendra's call.


"Kirk, you pig, sit still and listen. I know you can, you're a big-ass captain now, so you get to deal with a-hole bosses like the rest of us." She looked white and too small for the bravado she pulled around herself like a cloak whenever called upon to protect those she considered family.

"My little sister is dead." She paused a few seconds, as if knowing Kirk would not hear anything after that announcement.

"You and she... that was a long time ago, and you were both young and stupid. I blamed you for a long time until I figured that out." A wan smile crossed her face, enough to reveal stretches of premature wrinkles in her cheeks. Too-long brown-grey hair hung in her eyes.

"Listen, I'd call to tell you this anyway, because you deserve to hear it... you loved her, no matter how idiotic you were. But... something happened."

Another pause, this one enough to make Kirk both very impatient and very nervous. "She - by the time you guys broke up, she'd stopped using the pregnancy-inhibiting hypos. I guess she thought having a kid would settle you, or something. Turns out she never got to find out."

At this point, Kirk had embraced his terminal like it was his personal saviour. He let it go and took the single breath that'd engage his command training. "There is no easy way to say this. She kept the kid. She married, she divorced, she moved to Oakland. She was pretty happy." Kendra had a hand over her eyes now, and a voice that revealed her nose was clogged. She blew her it before continuing.

"Her son, his name is David. He's a good kid, and I'd take him in a flash." She closed her eyes, this time pinching her mouth and and eyebrows and taking five seconds to whisper, "I can't."

"Daniel and I, we're contracted to go to Piony III, the new colony we're setting up in conjunction with Betazed. We're not allowed to bring anyone but our own two girls." She swallowed. "I was only allowed temporary custody until we leave for training."

The rest came out in a rush. "Kirk, I know you're on Earth soon, it was on the news. When we go, David will become a ward of Starfleet because Carol was workin' on that cursed drill of the Romulans. They'll have unlimited access to his records and find out you are his biological father. Since you're posted on a ship, custody will default to your closest blood relation, which is to say your mother and that piece of excrement she still hasn't divorced. If it was just Winona I'd call her to make arrangements for visits but Kirk... I know him. I know what he did to you, what you looked like. Bloody hell, you camped out enough on my couch for me to have a very clear picture and never will any family of mine get in his hands."

She sat back down after getting the last bit out, which she'd yelled standing into the comm. Kirk had flinched from the screen though he knew the message was recorded. "I don't know what you can do, Kirk, but you've got a galaxy-wide reputation for pulling miracles from places where the sun don't shine and... you were a decent fella, even when you were self-destructing." She sighed and aimed the same look at she'd always turned on him when he'd pulled a stunt. "So, Kirk, this by way of saying your lovin' piece of meat put a bun in my sister's oven before she dumped you. It became the most gorgeous boy in the world and he needs your help."


After the stream of memories stopped, Spock did not pull away from Kirk. He felt a fresh wound bleed, or rather an old wound which had been opened and deepened with a few twists of the knife. He remained so he could offer the comfort he had difficulty expressing verbally.

After long minutes, Kirk had calmed and he ended the meld. Tear tracks showed on the human's face.

A sniffled laugh was pressed into the paper towel he replicated. "Wow. When I asked for your brain, I didn't mean it quite like that."

"Indeed." Spock knew humans often opened a conversation by stating the obvious, so he said, "You have a son."

Kirk nodded.

"What course of action do you propose?" Because after three and a half years, Kirk had determined the gist in 100% of the missions, and Spock was the source of close to three-quarters of the details, mostly in mistakes prevented and disasters avoided by impressing certain rules upon Kirk.

"My son..." Kirk left the sentence unfinished so he could fall on the floor and sprawl backward. After a minute, he continued. "David will end up with my mother and stepfather if we don't do anything."

Spock lifted an eyebrow at the plural, but considered that he had consented to help Kirk by showing up for this discussion and did not comment. Several years as a command team meant they rarely did anything separately. This had gradually extended to their personal life, to the point where Spock had been included in annual sessions of comforting McCoy when his daughter's birthday came around and his former wife allowed him only a half hour's time with the girl over subspace.

Firing off insults at Spock was as comforting to the doctor as poking holes in Kirk's ego. To have both at the same time had reduced the for need alcohol during these sessions.

Almost to low to hear, "But I don't want to leave the Enterprise."

"Either would be undesirable." They also had few secrets between them, no matter the darkness of their pasts. That included stories of Kirk's stepfather.

"Yeah...Spock, I'd hate to use the pathos of the Vulcan people for what is essentially deception." Kirk sat up, putting arms loosely around his knees. "But I'll need more or less a weapon of mass destruction if I am going to ask the Admirality to change the policy on keeping families aboard a ship."

The impossibility of keeping both his posting as a Captain and having custody of a son he'd never met before was to Kirk only a reason to make a plan to make it possible. Anyone else would have been informing Spock they were taking a ground posting and recommending him as Captain or left the child to his fate.

If the satisfaction of keeping Kirk aboard the Enterprise and with Spock was a large part of the reason that Spock immediately agreed, it was boxed up and put in the back of his head. Spock had become skilled in navigating around his attachment to the human.

"I believe... it would not be objectionably to expand the accommodations made in the rules for the Vulcans remaining in Starfleet who wish to have a family. It is both a biological necessity and socially desirable that facilities should exist for those not wishing to resign their commission." He tasted the next words in his mouth before speaking them, knowing they would form the basis for Kirk's argumentation in the matter. His words often worked as a catalyst to Kirk's mind, verbalising what it intuited and guiding it along. It was a powerful dynamic. "It would of course be discrimination if these facilities were unavailable for officers from other species, or from a mixed background."

Kirk's smile was worth the slightly dubious logic underlying his reasoning. "My father would support us, if I requested his help, but Jim," he held up a hand when Kirk bugged out his eyes and had already half-raised his fist. Any diplomatic pressure Starfleetwards from Vulcan would ensure they prevailed. "I ask for permission to disclose the entirety of our motivation to him. He can be trusted to treat the information confidentially." Kirk was less than enthusiastic about this, but nodded.

"Yeah...yeah...I guess..." He looked off sideways, which meant his mind would be sorting through possibilities. Spock's mind could calculate probabilities and extrapolate implications. Kirk's imagination spit out ready-to-manipulate scenarios of what waited at the bottom of a cliff in the split second before Kirk threw himself over the edge. It made him both unpredictable in the extreme and a brilliant strategist.

"Shit will hit the fan anyway, both in the shape of a publicity shit storm and in how much the admirality will not like us, as soon as becomes clear I basically took them on a run around the block for my own sake. We'll be doing crappy missions for a while." He breathed out a sigh. "If we're gonna land your dad as an ally, the least he deserves is a warning."

He looked like he had announced the cancellation of Christmas to the crew. "Jim." Spock waited for Kirk to turn his gaze back to him. "This will benefit the Vulcan people, because it means they will be able to retain a presence in the Federation's most powerful organisation more easily. In addition, my father will not mind coming to the aid of a child." The relationship between Spock and Sarek had improved markedly after McCoy had introduced Spock to the concept of parents making mistakes for the sake of their children by way of narrating years four through six of his marriage to Jocelyn. It made Spock slightly more amenable to the logic behind some of Sarek's more insistent announcements he ought to be more Vulcan.

Kirk nodded. "Alright." He clapped his hands together and stood. "Time to get cracking, then. I'll start preparing the request for the brass." He froze in the doorway. "Spock?"

"Yes, Jim?"

"What am I going to tell them when they ask about our timing? It will look... kinda odd."

"I think our presence on Earth and thus our availability for verbal clarification will be sufficient."

Kirk left for the terminal in the bedroom with a lopsided grin. Spock took a moment to regulate his heartbeat and sat himself in front of the terminal in the living room of the cabin. "Requesting a subspace connection to Sarek, Vulcan ambassador to Earth."


The Admirality, in the shape of Pike, glowered at them in an early morning meeting. Kirk's smile did not a whit to defrost him. "What trick are you pulling?"

"We are requesting-" Spock broke off when Pike waved a hand at him.

"I can read. I'm asking what you didn't put on paper." He pointed a finger at Kirk. "It's been only two weeks since you last pulled a crazy stunt during a negotiation for a treaty. You're still in the doghouse."

Kirk shrugged. "No time like the present, then."

Pike continued the questioning for three hours. He sighed, eventually. "Fine. Well, since the Vulcan ambassador is sponsoring this, it's going to be approved." He glared at Spock, now. "You boys have made my life hell for, I don't know, the next decade probably. I hope it makes you happy, Commander, and I don't want an invite to the wedding."

Spock did not know what to make of the Admiral's comment, until the evening news broke and he realised that, as far as Earth was concerned, the change in regulations meant Spock was going to marry Uhura, Chapel, several Vulcan females he was not personally acquainted with, the rest of the bridge staff, McCoy and, in a more outlandish article, it was predicted he would make the Enterprise's senior staff into his harem.

Kirk laughed himself sick.

In revenge, Spock made him eat Plomeek soup for supper. The lack of stimulation of the taste buds made Kirk stick out his tongue several times in complaint. It was satisfying.


There were sixteen hours left of the forty-eight, when Spock finally remembered to ask for clarification. "What was the reason behind the deadline, Jim? We will remain on Earth for several more weeks." They were waiting for a shuttle to take them to Iowa.

Kirk nodded. "I checked the progress on the colonisation project Kendra mentioned. They will start their training and acclimatisation soon. They'll be shipped out to a biodome that mimics Piony III's atmosphere, flora, fauna, gravity, weather and such. At that point, they'll be out of contact with anyone not going for at least three months, so the colonists will sort of... bond as a group. Tomorrow's the hearing in which Kendra's temporary custody of David will be transferred to Starfleet until they find him a permanent home. We basically need to get to church before the wedding bells ring."

Spock did not need to ask for clarification of the expression. It had been quite literally and vividly illustrated to him three months back, when a glitch in the translator - Uhura had been ill - had meant Kirk had, in the population's eyes, given Scotty away to a chieftain's daughter. The rescue mission had put the planet's prospect on membership status in peril. They'd kidnapping a Starfleet officer. Until Spock had succeeded in rescuing Scotty and Kirk had convinced them it was a test of their views on interspecies relations. Needless to say, the government had been happy it had passed the test with flying colours and organised a symbolic wedding between the planet and the Federation. Scotty had represented the Federation.


They were on time for their late-night check-in in the only hotel in Iowa City that had unlimited subspace access in its rooms.

Kirk informed his mother she was a grandmother.

After half an hour, Spock heard a knock on his door. He opened it and let in a defeated Kirk.

He pulled him along to bed and didn't complain when the man curled around him. It had become habit after the first time crewmembers had died. That first morning, Spock had quoted articles on the beneficial effects of physical affection to humans until Kirk stopped apologising.

He had returned the second time a mission had resulted in deaths amongst the crew, and every time after that.

"She was waiting for me to screw up from the moment I got my ship, she said."

Spock put his forehead against Kirk's so the human could feel the raised eyebrow in the dark room. It also meant Spock could slide into the surface layer of Kirk's mind. Physical affection had proved beneficial to half-Vulcans as well, especially on anniversaries of planetary destruction. "She will continue her vigil for the remainder of her life, then."

Kirk tightened his arms around him. His startled laughter felt like the stroke of fine wool over Spock's skin.


They were admitted to the court room after Kirk had signed a picture for the security guard's daughter. Spock was congratulated on his upcoming wedding. He only nodded in response.

"He listens to gossip. It is a certainty he will tell of our presence, should he speak to a journalist." Spock walked through the doorway and up the aisle to the front of the room a half-step behind Kirk. It was not open to an audience, but there were still a dozen people present. Kendra had brought her family, presumable in support of the boy who sat staring at his hands in the defendant's bench.

"Why did they hold it here? This is not a welcoming environment," Spock asked softly.

Kirk shook his head. "No, but it only comes to this if the family isn't cooperating in a custody case. Normally it's handled in a lawyer's office, or even at home. Then it would have happened two months before they entered the colonisation program, almost three weeks ago."

Spock didn't comment. They had been noticed.

"What is the meaning of this?" a displeased-looking judge asked. "We've got enough Starfleet presence here." Four officers sat in a neat line in dress uniforms on the opposite side of the isle from David Marcus.

Kirk looked down at his civilian outfit. "I thought it was pretty clear I wasn't here as Starfleet." He kneeled by David. "Hello."

The boy didn't respond. Kirk continued undeterred. "I'm James Kirk. I knew your mum a long time ago. Your aunt too."

The boy finally turned his head to Kirk, with a glare blank enough to rival Kirk's in a stand-off with hostiles. Spock, meanwhile, let himself be scanned by the Marcus family.

"Are you his boyfriend?" Kendra finally blurted, breaking the tense silence that had descended over the courtroom.

"No," Spock said. "He is my friend." He turned back to the boy, who was now looking at him with something approaching curiosity. He tilted his head.

"Mum said Vulcans were cool and didn't deserve what the big evil dude did to them with the drill she was working on," David said. "You're Vulcan, right? You're his friend?"

"Yes, to both questions." When the boy smiled, the family resemblance was uncanny, for Kirk had adopted an identical expression.

"He's half-Vulcan, actually," Kirk told the kid, who dropped the smile but seemed less tense than before. "His mum thought Vulcans were cool too, so she married one."

It was unsettling to hear the resolution to several years of diplomatic turmoil summarised in one sentence. Indeed, his mother had deemed his father a viable romantic partner, declared her interest, received his attempts at courtship in return and, against the will of almost every relevant authority, paved the way for interspecies marriage.

"Oh. So have you met a lot of other different-kind-of-people... aliens?" David had twisted in his chair to better look at Kirk.

"Lots." Kirk had dropped from his crouch and was sitting on the floor. "Most of them are cool."

"Good." David nodded. "That's important, mum said, goin' and meeting other people. She did, like, a bunch of inventing that made it easier."

"Yeah, she was the best in inventing stuff. Spock is too, you know. Even smarter than me, like your mum." This made David turn back to Spock and squint at him. Spock shifted on his feet. For some reason, this made David grin.

"He does mum's shiftin' when he's nervous." This made Kirk laugh.

"Why'd you leave mum?" The boy suddenly asked.

After a moment's gaping, Kirk said. "She left me actually. She... she was really smart and I was kind of an idiot back then and I hurt her. So she left."

"Aunt Kendra said you're coming to take me away." Spock lifted his eyebrows at the child's bluntness.

"Yeah, that's the plan."

"I'll get to meet aliens?"

"Would you like to?"

David considered this. "As long as they don't have purple eyestalks. That's scary."

Spock wondered at the child's readiness to leave with what was essentially a stranger, until he turned his head and looked at Kendra Marcus. She was nodding, a tight smile on her face. It seemed some preparation had gone into this meeting, even if success had not been assured. When she caught his gaze, she leaned closer to him and spoke in a low voice so she would not interrupt those in front.

"Imagine, your mother's just died. The only family you've ever known is going away as well. You'll get left behind, all alone, in some big orphanage probably, hoping for someone, anyone to give you a family. But wait, in walks the father you've never met, who travels in a space ship across the galaxy, who saved Earth, who your mother's told you stories about your whole life... He'll grab hold of that chance. Besides..." she looked back at David, who was telling the judge they didn't need to give him to Starfleet anymore, his dad was here. The judge seemed to be developing a case of indigestion. "He's still in denial stage, has heavy-duty nightmares but he keeps saying he's fine." She shook her head. "He won't be fine for a couple of years."

Spock nodded. The cycle of grief was familiar to him.

"Tell me, really and honestly, do you think Kirk can do this? Because he's our only hope at the moment, we've signed away our lives when we signed the colonisation contract, but I can raise hell for David's sake if I need to... the boy he was eight years ago..." she shook her head. "Please, as his friend, tell me, can he do it?"

He considered her question and answered to the best of his capacity. "I believe he would say he has four hundred children, what is one more?" He put a hand on the woman's shoulder. Tears were kept somewhere behind the scowl on her face. The boy was not the only one who grieved. "He protects all those he considers his, fiercely, and we have developed a succesful strategy for curbing his more self-destructive instincts." A certain doctor came to mind. "Our chief medical officer plays a leading role in convincing him to err on the side of caution in gambling with his own life." He could not keep his lips from quirking. "I pride myself in having not inconsiderable influence on the Captain in this matter."

She huffed out something between relief and regret.

Their conversation broke off when one of Starfleet's JAG officers yelled it was unconscionable.

Spock stepped towards Kirk, who had reacted violently the only time Spock had used the word that implied Kirk had no conscience. Before the human males could attempt to win the fight by seeing who could growl the loudest or by thumping their own chest, Spock put a hand over Kirk's mouth. Kirk would win, but lose credibility.

"Your honour," he said to the civil judge, whose dread at getting involved in a Starfleet pissing contest was tangible, "you will find Starfleet's policy in the matter of custody have been updated, and that it is best if court is dismissed until all files are reviewed by all parties." Kirk had broken into David Marcus's file to remove the privacy block on the identity of the biological father earlier that morning.

Spock had found him, when he had not shown up in time to leave after breakfast, crying for the second time in as many days, near incoherent. Spock had reviewed the file himself to discover the cause of distress. "David George Marcus" had stared up at him from the birth certificate. The middle name was sufficient cause.

Kirk, too, was familiar with grief. A lifetime of it.

The judge nodded and called for everyone to reconvene tomorrow. Half a dozen padds were already out. Spock collected Kirk and the Marcus family with a glance. They went to the Marcus residence, which had a living room full of boxes. Two of those contained nearly all of David Marcus' earthly possessions. Most had been sold in anticipation of his move.

Kirk disappeared upstairs with the boy. Spock left them to it, and let himself be questioned by Kendra and her husband while he watched them prepare lunch.


They retired to their hotel after dinner. This time, Kirk came to him immediately after changing into pajamas.

Spock handed him tea. Kirk accepted it and blew on the steaming surface. "You have not requested coffee."

Kirk's attempt at a smile failed. "I think I'll need a good night's sleep. Something tells me we'll be in big trouble by dawn tomorrow." He pointed at his ear. "My spidey sense is tingling."

Spock did not know what that phrase signified, so he changed the topic. "Jim, I was wondering if I might ask a personal question."

This seemed to be amusing, because Kirk hid his grin behind the cup in his hands. "Anything."

"Do I resemble Carol Marcus, as you claimed? I did not observe it in the memories you shared."

Kirk drank his tea and put his cup in the recycler before sprawling on the bed. The prospect of sharing it for a second night in a row was not unpleasant to Spock. "I guess you're both intelligent and I... care a lot about you, yeah."

"Then there is this sense I get... She challenged me. From the get-go, she wasn't easy for me to understand, just when I thought I had her figured out, she'd do something insane like fill the living room with fire retardant foam so it looked like it'd snowed or want to climb a mountain 'cause she'd read about this bird that nestled at the top of it."

"You... well. Kobayashi Maru. It took me two times and a whole lot of asking around to actually figure out it was a genuine no-win and then when I wanted to change it the code was so tight it took me months to find a spot to insert a subroutine that would change the simulation. And then you called me out in front of the entire Academy and called it cheating. This was before we started working together."

It was a dare. Irresistible.

He rolled over so he could see Spock, still seated in a chair to drink the last of his tea. "Why are you asking?"

Spock considered prevarication. It seemed an unnecessary effort to keep Kirk at a distance now, especially in the light of the... exuberant speculation and plethora of accusations they would both face in the morning. The good doctor's lecture on keeping him in the dark would be the least of their worries. "She is the first long-term romantic partner you had."

"Yeah..." Kirk trailed off. "But... are you asking me if she's the reason I mostly have one-night stands?" He narrowed his eyes. It seemed his mind had engaged. "But no... you asked about your resemblance to her." Eyes widened, almost comically.

Kirk shot up into a seated position, almost tumbling forward off the bed. In a very small voice, "Spock?"

Spock put his cup away and approached Kirk slowly, taking care to make no unexpected movements. He fell to his knees so Kirk was larger than him and tried to formulate a sentence that would express his intent. When words failed, he curled his thumb, ring finger and pinkie into his palm and offered the other two fingers to Kirk.

Kirk had been his friend even when he and Nyota had still been in a relationship and had observed this particular action many times. He would understand.

A trembling human hand reciprocated the gesture.

Joy, when communicated through this, their first kiss, was purple-sprinting-hang-gliding-flash-gurgle-woodsmoke-brown-like-Spock's-eyes-lighting-up.

A hand slid down his cheek and tilted his head up by his chin. Lips slid softly over his own, back and forth, lightly, doubling the telepathic feedback from the hand that touched his lower psi points. He was too caught up, it seemed, for the mouth moved away and bit him on the tip of his nose. The resultant gasp was immediately swallowed in a smiling human mouth.

Spock moved his free hand up so he could put his fingers on the psi points and communicate the sensations that coursed through him to Kirk. The human mind grabbed hold like the human hands that went around his arms, and he fell forward onto Kirk and into Jim, if you do not wish to meld say so now.

The only response was another kiss and a hand over the one he had on Kirk's face.

They never did move beyond that kiss, too busy wallowing in mutual affection. I am so taking you for a walk by the beach before we go back into space.

If time allows.


The only other time Spock had spent a full night in a meld, his life had been in danger and, because he was a child, he had been incapable of initiating a healing trance. A healer had assisted him and remained connected him for the 13.948 hours it took him to repair his body.

The human subconscious produced more vivid images during the night than when conscious and wow I don't think I've ever had my dreams stop because they were dismissed as illogical by the nosy Vulcan mind attached to mine.

Spock declined to comment and detached himself so he could replicate a breakfast for them. Kirk chuckled his way through an omelet.


The next morning, the story of the custody case and Kirk's paternity were covered by a series of headlines that made Spock put a pre-emptive hand on Kirk's fist so he would not smash his padd when he read the news.

They did not open the messages from the Starfleet waiting in their inboxes.

The hotel staff all seemed to have some sort of business in the foyer and stared after them when they left for the courthouse. A crowd, outfitted with banners both supportive and not, awaited them there. Kirk, with the long practice intergalactic fame afforded him, ignored them. Spock ensured no one came near and no weapons were drawn anywhere in the crowd.


Kirk, despite being on active duty, was given custody after three long weeks arguing in the court room.

After the second day, the Marcuses kept David at home and it became an open mudslinging contest between Starfleet officers in front of a civil judge.

The fact that he had changed regulations to make it possible worked in his favour, remarkably enough, and the publicity meant the change was not turned back by Starfleet Command, though both Spock and Kirk received a royal reaming from Pike.

It paled in comparison to McCoy's flood of rage. He did not appreciate his exclusion.

Kirk finally shut him up with the question whether he minded being spared the pain of a custody case. He shut Kirk up in turn when he told him Kirk "would have been worth it and bring him back without a scratch on him, you pointy-eared hobgoblin of a computer. I can't believe he dragged you along for emotional support and that you actually seem to be providing it."

The nights were spent sleeping, in the same bed, yes, but with no more interaction than a "g'night" and an occassional arm slung over the other.


By the time the judge ruled in Kirk's favour, their shore leave was over. Enterprise had been repaired and Scotty had had time to bring them up to his standards. The Marcuses saw them off on the early-morning private shuttle to San Francisco Sarek had provided.

A tearful Kendra embraced Kirk. "I will kill you if you hurt him."

"Yes ma'am," Kirk mumbled into her shoulder.

Spock and Kirk disappeared into the shuttle, a still-sleepy David between them.

They were some of the last to beam up to the Enterprise. The alpha bridge crew, Scotty and McCoy awaited them. "Welcome back aboard Sirs, young man," Scotty said.

Kirk put a hand on David's shoulder. "Crew, meet David Marcus, my son. David, meet Doctor Leonard McCoy, Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Scott, Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu, Lieutenant Nyota Uhura and Ensign Pavel Chekov."

They would find Kirk and Spock's cabins had been made smaller so a bedroom could fit inbetween, with a door opening onto Kirk's room.