A/N: You guys...girls...whoever...are AWESOME! Just...wanted you to know that.

The trial of Gary Mitchell was necessarily postponed while the investigation into the death of Cadet Bjornsen, the man who fell to his death from the upper council room, took place. Many traumatized first years who had witnessed the fall were undergoing therapy right next to the remaining cadets for both witnessing the death and living through the tragic happenings when Nero attacked.

Jim had gone down to the bay to watch the reclamation teams pulling the space drill from the water. Spock stood next to him, refusing to let go of the human's hand the entire time. People on the street came to recognize both of them and would usually stop to thank one or both of them for their service. Jim tried to move on as quickly as he could from these interactions in order to avoid the inevitability of the conversation turning awkward. There was no question in Spock's mind that Jim would be much happier if no one stopped him at all.

As they walked slowly back towards the Vulcan Embassy, Jim just a bit ahead and Spock letting him lead, the human glanced back at Spock, a frown on the corner of his face. "Spock, there's something we need to go do."

A look of confusion passed over Spock's features and his eyebrows pulled together. "What is that?"

"We humans...like to say goodbye to those who have passed," Jim said slowly, knowing that his suggestion might be completely tossed aside. "We should...do something for your mother."

"It is illogical," Spock said instantly. "She is gone, she cannot hear us."

"I know," Jim replied, his hand tightening slightly in Spock's. "But it might...make you feel better if you can say the things you never got to say. You believe that the katra never leaves, right? Like most of the other Vulcans do? Then maybe there's a chance she can still hear you."

Jim could see that Spock would humor him in this. Turning, he started walking again, leading Spock to a quiet place on the embassy grounds, successfully navigating through the gate and the garden. He had prepared this earlier, a few candles setting on a bench and a holoprojection of Spock's mother sitting there as well. When the Vulcan saw it, he shook his head and looked at Jim.

"I do not understand the emotional need to bid farewell to a departed family member."

Ignoring the statement from Spock, Jim knelt down in the grass, trying not to show the pain in his eyes as his injuries twinged. He pulled Spock down with him, only letting go of his hand when Spock's knees rested on the ground, and started to light the candles. With that done, he sat back and looked at Spock expectantly.

"What is it you want me to do?" Spock asked, turning his brown eyes to Jim's face with his usual expressionless demeanor.

"Just...whatever you would want her to know about you."

"Speak out loud those thoughts?"

Jim nodded and Spock gave a small frown as he looked at the image of Amanda. He was silent for a long time and Jim feared that he didn't fully understand or didn't want to do this at all. Finally, though, Spock took a breath and looked at his own hands, resting on his thighs.

"Mother, I know you worried about raising me correctly. That the Vulcan way might not have been right for me. I can conclusively say that you might have been right. However, since this is the life I have now, I will live it fully." He paused, taking another breath and looking at the holoprojection once more, emotions in his eyes that Jim had never seen before. "I want you to know that I am not ashamed of you or my human heritage. Without it, I would not have been able to properly find the one person I am meant to be with. And that...despite my never having said it before, I do love you."

Spock stopped talking and looked at Jim, and he felt a sudden jolt of pain hit him suddenly. It felt much like a kick in the chest, and he blinked several times, trying to figure it out. It was almost like the onslaught he received when melded with old Spock back in the cave. Rubbing at his chest, Jim leaned forward and wrapped his arms around Spock.

"That was from you, wasn't it?" he asked, whispering the question into Spock's ear.

"You can feel my pain as I can feel yours. That is what being truly bonded means. You are my t'hy'la, Jim, and we are connected in all ways possible." The words, while being straightforward, were so full of emotion that Jim actually had to stop himself from asking Spock if he was okay. "I grieve for my mother, and I believe you felt it subconsciously, and that led you to do this for me."

A small trembling was beginning in Spock's arms and Jim sat back, looking at the Vulcan carefully. "So you know how I feel about you, right?" When there was nothing forthcoming from Spock, Jim continued. "You're not alone in your grief. I can...I don't know how, but I can feel the...pain...I have been since the night you...helped me."

Light of understanding came into Spock's eyes then and he reached out, putting his palm flat against Jim's cheek. "You are an amazingly dynamic individual. I will always find your mind and abilities fascinating. My mother, in all her years bonded with my father, could never sense his pain as he could hers. You, even before we were bonded, were sensing mine. James Kirk, you never cease to surprise me."

Jim gave him a tiny smile, not quite reaching his eyes, still holding a bit of sadness, and reached to take Spock's hand in his own. "And I hope I never do."


"In the matter of James Kirk versus Gary Mitchell and James Komack, this council rules in favor of Mr. Kirk."

A collective sigh left those gathered. Spock looked over to where Jim was standing, relief flooding through him. This meant that those two had nothing more than a penal colony to look forward to and Jim was finally free to move on with his life. With everything that awaited him, it would be a good life.

When the prisoners were led away, Barnett turned to the council room and gave a smile to Jim. Spock knew what was coming, but Jim did not. Having sent in the final results of the exams, he knew that it was only a matter of time for this to happen.

"Mr. Kirk," Barnett said, drawing the attention back to himself. But Spock was busy watching Jim instead. He wanted to see the moment of realization when it hit. "I see no reason to reconvene this council when another matter can be solved right here."

Barnett stood and picked up something from his desk. The other council members sat back and watched as he walked around and down from the raised dais where they were sitting. Jim stiffened and Spock shot him a shaft of love and comfort in his direction. He would be there with him, but Jim needed to do this on his own. He needed to prove that he was able to take command.

"We received the official results of your exams, and by the knowledge you already posses, you have tested out of every class you are required to take apart from the standard command classes. So, as a member of the Starfleet council..." Barnett paused and held up the medal to Jim's chest. "I award you with the honorary command of the Enterprise, under the supervision of Commander Pike. We will see you back here in a year for your final exams."

The medal was pinned to Jim's chest and Spock felt a swell of pride come from his bond mate. The fear was replaced by wonderment and a sense of completeness that Spock had never sensed from Jim. This was a whole person, finally, after what the Vulcan knew was years of suffering, Jim Kirk was at a point that he was allowing himself to feel something other than the damaged emotions.

The council dismissed them and Jim walked up to Spock, a muted smile on his face as he looked up at the Vulcan. "One year."

"I did hear him. That means you must learn as much as you can about commanding a starship in that time," Spock said calmly.

"I...can't believe it. I didn't think I would pass..." Spock's eyebrow raised in response to that statement and Jim put up both hands. "Okay, admittedly I thought I might. But I never thought I would test out of so many classes."

"You are both intelligent and well versed in much of what Starfleet Academy has to teach the students. That is in addition to your instinctual ability to lead." Spock's no nonsense tone made the words sound logical. He knew how he came off to others. But Jim, he knew, heard what he wasn't saying as well.

"How do we celebrate this?" Jim's question caught Spock off guard and the Vulcan stared for a moment. "I mean, how do Vulcan's celebrate?"

"I do not believe a traditional Vulcan celebration will be possible at this point in time," Spock said, trying very carefully to keep his reminded grief from his voice. Jim meant nothing with his inquiry and Spock knew it. "However, there is a human celebratory outing I would like to try once. While we are still on Earth, that is."

A smile spread across Jim's face as he regarded Spock. "And what would that be?"

"I believe it is considered traditional for couple who are celebrating something to 'go out on the town' as the colloquial terminology goes." Spock carefully intertwined his fingers in Jim's and started slowly towards the doors. "I would like to partake in such a thing."

"Spock," Jim said quietly, bumping his elbow playfully into the Vulcan's. "Are you asking me out on a date?"

"Yes, I believe so."

"If we're officially bonded, then what's the point of dating?" Jim asked quietly, almost teasingly.

"Being bonded does not necessarily mean that I am complete in my learning about you," Spock answered just as quickly. He looked over at the human and gave the tiniest of smiles, barely discernible to anyone but Jim. "And I believe that I will always be learning new and fascinating things about you."

A bit of color came up and dusted Jim's cheeks pink as the human blinked and dropped his gaze. "I'm sure you will. So what sort of places interest you to go on our date?"


Deep in the underground facility somewhere on Earth, Admiral Alexander Marcus looked down at the frozen face of one of the altered specimens he was being introduced to. He knew about the wars, knew where they came from. These cryotubes held war criminals, and one of Marcus's best hopes if it came to all out war.

"We do not know the proper sequence to wake them as of yet," the scientist next to him said. "We are still working on that."

"Let me know when you do," the admiral replied, walking down the length of the cryotube he was currently looking at. A strong looking young man, chiseled features, by every rights a prime specimen. He ran a hand down the name plate and read it.

Hopefully this man would be everything he needed to put his plans for the protection of Earth underway. He had great expectations for this man. For Kahn Noonien Singh.