The good Dr. McCoy had been with Spock and Uhura from the time they begun toying with the idea of a family to the moment ten years later, after endless rounds of hormone therapy, extractions, implantations, and a few disheartening failures, when he'd finally been able to look up from their result, proud and with a small tear clinging to the side of his eye, and say "Well, it seems that when it rains, it pours for you two."
From that point on Uhura had practically lived in sickbay. At first it was because she was too nauseous and too tired to leave for very long. Later, when she was less nauseous and less tired, she stayed because she needed too many treatments throughout the day to remain on the bridge for full shifts. Her absence had even inspired the captain and some engineers to arrange a temporary communication station in McCoy's office, to the CMO's chagrin ("Where in the hell am I supposed to go to get away from you people?" he had snapped upon seeing it).
And so, her days for nearly seven months had consisted of McCoy and having him indulge her with the true depths of his hypochondriac tendencies.
"Read this article," he told her one day when they were having lunch, "It's a mutated strand of J6F4, 'Orion flu'. It makes your stomach eat itself."
"Oh," she had said, putting her food away.
It wasn't all horrifying diseases and accidentally learning about the medical histories of her crew mates though. Occasionally, when the biobeds were empty and her earpiece was quiet, they found themselves enjoying each others company. He told her about his youth back on Earth. He had a plethora of tales: he had been a mathlete ("Learned the most useless skills ever there."), a vegetarian for a short while ("I ate grits. That's it."), and had shared a room with Kirk back at the academy ("Did you know he cries during those buddy-buddy dog movies?")
But overwhelmingly, her life consisted of watching McCoy and learning to read him like she would an alien language. The initial syntax, the cantankerous old man annoyed constantly with the children around him, was unappealing. (Unless you had a piece of pie for him, then he was prone to favors.)
The curmudgeon was only the surface though, not a reflection of the phonemes at all really. The only time she had seen him truly furious was after an incident wherein Kirk tried to fight off five Acamarians, singlehandedly. Most of the time, he was merely releasing frustration at the ludicrousness of others. If he really hated them all, he wouldn't have done what he did.
If McCoy was truly and deeply imbued with any trait, it was sincerity. She had watched him worked tirelessly to save helpless crew members, pulling dozens of people back from the brink of death. He would complain constantly about patients who didn't follow his orders but he never gave anything less than his full and complete skill to any given case. He would pour over his medical books if he had any inclining even a cough was the symptom of something more sinister and if there was something he could do for a patient, no matter how arduous or improbable, he would do it.
So she had believed him when he told her, "Pack your bags, darling. I'm ordering the Captain to give you medical leave on Vulcan. I just don't have the technology to assist with this birth. And don't even start to complain. I understand having a career which seems hell bent on destroying your life but damn it, take a break when you can."
"If you want your office back, just say so," she had muttered. Later that night, however, she began making plans. If McCoy said it, it was law, especially now.
By the end of the week, only three days after Dr. McCoy's announcement, they reach an orbit around New Vulcan. As Uhura makes her final preparations in their quarters, there is nothing in Spock's demeanor to suggest he is in distress. He watches her from his desk, moving only to bring her things when she asks. It was only when she is finished, after he puts her largest bag by the door and brings her a coat, that she begins to have an inkling her might be upset.
"That's your jacket," she says with a teasing smile, "I'd steal you away but I don't think you'll fit in my suitcase."
He nods, still somber, letting the hand holding the garment drop slowly. Uhura searches their bond but Spock's mind is intentionally silent.
Uhura reaches for her shoes and struggles with her round midsection. Before she can even sigh in exasperation, Spock is at her feet, unfastening her boots so he can slip them on her feet. Uhura watches him, affection rising high in her chest. He finishes the task and stars at her toes, one hand still gripping her ankle, gently massaging her swollen flesh through the leather.
His fingers stop their kneading but his eyes do not rise to meet hers. She reaches and gently strokes his hair, "I know, Ashayam. I know."
"I apologize for my inability to be reasonable," he says finally, his voice hoarse, "Your leave on Vulcan is the most optimal option for a healthy delivery and I am fully aware I cannot accompany you at the present moment and yet I find myself compromised at the thought of separation."
"No, no," she whispers, her palm coming to rest on his cheek, her voice low and deceptively calm, "It's alright to be sad. I'll miss you too."
"Then, forgive my behavior," he says. He leans into her palm, still starring intently at the ground, "I understand I am in no way alleviating the stress of the situation for you."
"There is nothing to forgive because there is nothing that is amiss," Uhura replies.
Spock lifts his hand to touch her wrist. Uhura lets the tip of her thumb outline the ridge of his cheekbone, racking her brain for a way to change the subject.
"It has been a while since we've been apart, huh?" Uhura thinks about it for a moment, "The last time you were away from me was almost two years ago. I went on a three week research trip to a Class M planet. I fractured my left tibia."
Spock turns his head to look the very spot which still throbs before it rained back on Earth. She sees his view shift.
"Yes. I was carrying too many scrolls. We found hundreds in this old abandoned temple. That was such a beautiful language. Each letter was like a picture. I took as many as I could carry and then some," Uhura's hand moves, writing in the air, remembering the beautiful scripts. Spock's head rises again to watch at her digits, "I slipped off a path and I couldn't grab anything and I landed feet first."
Spock's eyes darken. Her communicator has been destroyed in the fall. Only her life signal, and the physiological trauma of the accident on her body, had been picked up by the Enterprise. After the incident, her husband had made her a new communicators, this one plated in transparent aluminum, the same material used on the exterior of space ships.
"Then," Uhura continues, "Lydia - Ensign Gomez - she climbed down and carried me to some stable ground and she rubbed my shoulder," Uhura mimics the motion and Spock's eyes rise again to look at her new gesture, "as she hailed the Enterprise and she told me this ridiculous story about a monkey who outsmarted a tiger so I wouldn't think about the pain."
"You suffered from an unstable fracture," Spock murmurs, "You required an internal fixation device. Dr. McCoy preformed a surgery immediately after your return."
"Right," Uhura said, smiling, "You had the conn so Lydia stayed with me the entire time. But you were there when I woke up."
"I left the bridge as soon as was feasible."
"And," Uhura was grinning widely now, "There was that kiss."
Spock's eyebrows quirk. He had been emotionally compromised then too. When he had seen her awakening, when he had seen her smile and heard Dr. McCoy discuss the success of his procedure, Spock had been unable to resist the urge to embrace her.
"Even Dr. McCoy was blown away by it," Uhura laughs, "He let you finish and then he told either you had to not to rile up the patients or get out of his medical bay."
"Dr. McCoy complained to several crew members about my behaviors in the medical bay. Captain Kirk believed his very detailed and repeated recollections of the event in question was an indication of," Spock's lips press together, "enviousness."
"He wouldn't have been the only one who was jealous that day," Uhura whispers, touching her brow. Spock's eyes finally meet hers and she forces a smile she is certain he doesn't believe.
Lydia, who had been three months pregnant, had been kept in medical bay too. Uhura had watched as Christine preformed an 3D scan on Lydia's fetus.
"Good looking guy," McCoy had said, upon seeing the scan and Uhura had agreed quietly, mournfully.
That had been the night. Three days later, she had finally built up the courage to tell Spock. She wanted to try, just one more time, for a child. She had an entire speech prepared but in the end, it had been a rant, the central theme of which had been relatively simple: it wasn't logical but it was what she wanted.
And he had agreed with her, with no argument.
"It'll be nice to have a break to sleep," Uhura says, with all the fake enthusiasm and passion as she could muster, "We wouldn't have much of that soon."
"Yes. Adequate rest will promote optimal maternal health and fetal development."
"And I'll get to see New Vulcan. The embassy library is famous. Maybe I can teach you something about your culture by the time I come back."
"It will be nice for Sarek to see his grandchildren too right?"
"I am certain he will enjoy seeing the progeny of his progeny. Vulcan, like Humans are evolutionarily inclined to find satisfaction in seeing their genetic influences passed down through generations."
They have arrived in the transporter room. Scotty is busy with the controls. Upon seeing the transporter warm up, Uhura breaks down a little, reaching to clutch a fistful of Spock's sleeve. She turns to Spock and he is leaning into her. They move in unison, their kiss quick and professional as always but anything but chaste. Spock sighs, leaning his head against hers.
"I'm lying. It's going to be awful without you," Uhura admits, eyes closed. Spock nods and for the first time all day, she feels him in her mind. He is just as torn as she is.
"We must do what we must do, Nyota. This option is the only reasonable course of action."
"It is. I know it is." Yet for some reason, she can't bring herself to release him. His brows furrow.
Finally, she sees his mouth quirk. He looks at her with amused eyes.
"What? What is it?"
"It would seem, our son has just struck one of our daughters in the buttocks. She is not pleased."
She paused, jarred by his sudden mood change, before laughing. He watched her, pride evident in his eyes, before he rested his hand on waist. Uhura wonders if she too will eventually feel the fledgeling bond which has becoming interlaced with that of her and her husbands.
Uhura pressed her fingers to Spock's and spoke to her unborn child, gently teasing her as she would her father "S'ti th'laktra, my daughter. I grieve with thee."