Spock watched his wary husband sitting still and wished for once he could get Jim to calm down when adverse conditions presented themselves. Bottled anger was not conducive to healthy blood pressure levels in humans. However, now was most definitely not the time to bring it up.

After a half hour Jim got up and wandered out to get a drink of water. Spock stayed in his seat, which alerted the good doctor that something wasn't right in the Spock-Kirk household. He came over and sat down beside Spock.

"Hey, Spock," McCoy began amiably. Spock's eyes cut to the doctor and looked away again. "So, Jim's probably not handling this the best way possible. But it doesn't mean he doesn't love you."

Spock sighed. "Doctor, I am not questioning Jim's affections. I am questioning his mental health through this ordeal."

"Oh." McCoy brought his ankle up to rest on his knee. "In that case, I'll tell you the same thing I told him about you and the aftereffects of the Vulcan disaster. If he wants help, he'll come to you. Otherwise all you can do is be there for him."

Spock nodded thoughtfully. "Perhaps you have a point, Dr. McCoy. Thank you for your assistance."

McCoy started to get up and then sat back down. "Wait, what have you got planned?" Spock got up and moved past the other man. "Spock?" McCoy called again.

Spock walked out and found Jim leaning back against the wall with one foot propped up on the wall. At his husband's approach Jim stood up straight again.

"Spock…."

Spock reached out and took Jim's hand. In public. Jim jerked back and glanced around. "Um, Spock, kinda public place here. Vulcans and intimacy in public don't mix."

Spock entwined their fingers together. "My mate needs support. That is all I am concerned with at this point." He leaned closer and lowered his voice. "In the burning of uncertainty, I will be your solid ground," he quoted. Jim looked at him and his whole body seemed to relax. He leaned into his mate for a brief moment.

"That's fighting dirty," Jim mumbled, blushing.

Spock glanced around and when no one was looking he pressed a kiss into Jim's temple. "Come, t'hy'la. Let us walk the surrounding area until the admiral returns."

They released each other's hands but walked shoulder to shoulder, as they always did. They discussed things not related to the trial. Jim began planning a trip to Earth for Spock to (hopefully) meet his new mother-in-law. They talked about getting a bigger bed in Jim's quarters and sleeping there while letting Spock keep his old quarters for meditation and office hours. Then they fell silent for a bit.

As they walked back toward the courtroom, Jim stopped Spock and pulled him aside. "Hey, Spock, are you feeling alright?"

Spock blinked at Jim. "Yes, Jim, I am in optimal health physically and mentally. Why?"

Jim shrugged. "Your diet's changed all of a sudden."

Spock gave a small smile. "As has yours, ashayam." The two men regarded each other carefully. "I only ate Plomeek soup because my mother used to make me eat it as a child. I do not actually prefer it over regular vegetarian cuisine." Spock tilted his head at his mate.

"Well, Bones says I need to watch my diet anyway since I don't get to exercise as much anymore, so going vegetarian will actually be killing two birds with one stone." Jim smiled at his partner. "You cool with that?"

Spock nodded. "I accept your answer, provided you accept mine."

Jim grinned. "I do. Hey, up high!" He held up his hand. Spock stared him down. "That never gets old," Jim chuckled.

Further down the hall, a bright green light began to flash. "Jim, the court is reconvening," Spock pointed out. They walked back down and into the court, taking their places from earlier.

Admiral Burns came out and the court stood politely as called to. "Be seated," the admiral requested. When they were all still again he shuffled some papers and looked out into the gallery. "This was a difficult case. Testimony was given on both sides that gave me pause." Whispers started up and he cleared his throat loudly.

"However, a flag officer is held to a higher standard than the rest of the Fleet. Especially when given such a wide-sweeping duty as briefing an Admiral on upcoming missions. The charge brought before this court today is criminal negligence, and I believe the burden of proof has been met. Vice-Admiral Cooley, please stand."

The woman stood up slowly, her lawyer standing beside her.

"I find you guilty of criminal negligence as charged. I order that you be docked three months pay and that you be moved from Admiral Pike's office to another field to be determined at a later date. So finds this court," he finished, and down came the gavel.

There was cheering from the Enterprise crew, minus its captain and First Officer. They were silently regarding each other.

"It's over," Jim breathed. Small shivers ran through his frame. "It's really over."

"It is over," Spock assured him.

Just then, the Vice-Admiral stalked over, with her attorney begging her to stop. She came before the two officers.

"You freaking queers. The real crime here is letting you two anywhere near a ship. I hope you rot in hell." Cooley spat her words out.

The gallery fell silent, and the crew of the USS Enterprise closed in on the angry Vice-Admiral.

Jim held his hands up. "Hey guys, back down. Let her leave. She's been punished for her crime and hasn't done anything else wrong. Yet. Let her go."

The furious woman stormed off, and Jim shook his head in disgust. Finally he turned back to his First Officer.

"Hey, I hear there's a bar somewhere around here…."

Spock gestured toward the door. "After you, Captain." The two men walked out of the court and down the hall. Their crew watched them leave.

"Hey Garas, you feel like going to the bar too?" the security officer asked his friend.

Garas thought about the possibility of seeing his captain and commander in a more laid-back fashion, and then shook his head. "Nah. I think I'll just head back to the ship." The two men shared a look and then headed toward the transporter room.

In the bar, Jim sat back with his drink and sighed. "God, I don't know if I can keep doing this shit," he complained.

His companion regarded him steadily. "My answer remains the same, Captain. My place is by your side, regardless of where that takes us."

Jim smiled. "You know what?"

Spock tilted his head.

"We're doing something a hell of a lot more fun for our first anniversary." Jim laughed and Spock shook his head.


Epilogue


Jim wrestled with his decision to remain with Starfleet. In the end, he stayed. So did his husband.

The abrasive comment uttered by Vice-Admiral Jeanne-Marie Cooley at the end of her trial was captured by no less than five reporters for different major news conglomerates. It was played and replayed ad infinitum on the newscasts and on the intergalactic entertainment carriers. The public's outcry was intense. She resigned her commission in disgrace. She was not heard from again.

Jim Kirk and Chris Pike sat down in Pike's office and had that heart-to-heart Jim had desired. Afterward, Jim made it known to the Admiralty that his ship would not be taking orders from any other officer besides Pike. It was the start of a great working relationship.


Spock awoke suddenly. His internal clock told him it was just past three in the morning. His feet had gone numb and his fingers were aching from the cold. He narrowed his eyes and tucked the suffering fingers into his companion's armpits.

"Eep!" Jim cried out, jerking from a perfectly good dream. That yelp was followed by a moan of frustration as his husband's subarctic feet tangled with his. "Dear God Almighty, you're either going to give me hypothermia or I'm gonna kill you in my sleep." His words had no real heat behind them.

The half-frozen Vulcan snuggled back down under the covers with his mate. "It was your idea to come to Iowa in the winter," he reminded the other man.

"Yeah, well you attempted to cook me for our wedding last year so I figured our first anniversary should be spent in my hometown's version of winter. Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas," Jim growled.

There was only faint breathing in response, and Jim realized his husband had fallen back asleep. He pulled the covers up to Spock's ears and wrapped his body around his partner's. Eventually he fell asleep too. They had happened to awake almost exactly on the one year anniversary of their bonding, but didn't realize it. They just knew they were content to be together, for the rest of their days. They slept on in peace.


Final A/N: My many, undying thanks go to the multitudes of K/S writers who paved the way before me. I have the thank first and foremost my beta, mockingbirdhill, for listening to the story every time she turned around and supporting me even when I was stuck and could write no more. To my reviewers, you've cheered me on as I took on this endeavor and I couldn't have done this without you. You're the reason I posted this, and the reason I wrote it in the first place. All credit for Vulcan language goes to the Vulcan Language Institute, www . starbase-10 . de/vld. Remove spaces from periods. Sarah McLachlan's work is her own, I do not own it or its lyrics.

I will have you know there are three stories after this one, but they're all domestic fluff stories of Jim and Spock together. If you wish to see them I will certainly post them, but it's up to you. Send me a message. Otherwise, I will leave you here and say a fond adieu and thank you for the experience of a lifetime. Y'all were awesome.