As Casterian protocol dictated, Jim bowed at the waist, avoiding eye contact with the Queen. His gaze flickered to Spock, Uhura and Sulu beside him, doing the same but bowed lower, also as Casterian protocol dictated.
"Your presence has been most stimulating, Captain," the Queen purred. "Are you certain you won't join me in my bed tonight?"
Jim cleared his throat, fighting back at grin at the flare of jealousy that reached him through the bond. "I'm flattered, your Majesty, but I'm in a serious relationship and Humans don't traditionally have relations with other people in those situations."
"Rise, Kirk," the Queen ordered. "You may look upon me." Swallowing roughly, he straightened and met her gaze. "I have angered your mates."
His eyes widened slightly as he realized that Casterians were telepathic-another detail they'd failed to mention in the information that had been sent to Enterprise amongst their protocol journals.
He nodded, unnecessarily adding, "Yes."
The Queen tilted her head inquisitively. "The information you sent indicated Humans are monogamous. Why, then, do you have two mates?"
Jim flushed. "With respect, your Majesty, it's a long story."
"You can show me," she whispered. "If you wish. I mean no harm, Captain. I am merely curious. You have more than one mate and yet you are equally committed to both."
Pausing only a moment, Jim stepped forward, bringing the thoughts he wanted her to see to the forefront of his mind, like he'd practiced a couple dozen times in meditation with Spock. He used his eidetic memory to weave together a brief tale of what he and his partners had endured-what he'd endured. Her probing was gentle and shallow, taking only the thoughts that he offered, reaching no further.
"The female," she murmured. "She carries your children." Her eyes widened. "They are yours and the other male's. How-?"
He showed her the memories he could bear of their incarceration and how Kogav had used them as lab rats, manipulating his and Spock's DNA, manipulating the genetics so that the zygotes were just Human enough to survive and impregnating Nyota with the results. When the Queen broke the connection, Jim heard a sharp gasp and turned to find Sulu staring at him eyes wide, his jaw slack with disbelief.
Jim grimaced. "I'm sorry, Sulu. I didn't mean for you to find out this way. We were going to tell everyone tomorrow."
A slow smile slid across the young Lieutenant's face. "I always said it was going to take both Spock AND Uhura to keep you in line. As far as-well- congrats, sir."
"Thanks, Sulu," Jim returned with a grin. "Though I'd appreciate it if you kept this under wraps until the staff meeting tomorrow morning."
"Yes, sir," Sulu agreed.
# # #/p
He studied Scotty and Chekov's expressions, anxious for them to say or do something. He, Spock and Nyota had just told the entire story from their bonding to finding out Nyota was pregnant. Relief flooded through him when both men laughed and rose instantly, Scott slapping Jim enthusiastically on the back while Chekov began conversing with Nyota in rapid Russian, laying a hand on her protruding abdomen.
Chekov's gaze locked with his. "Do you know ze genders yet?"
Jim grinned. "A boy and a girl."
"Well, done, lad!" Scott boomed. "This calls for a celebration! Mess Hall 1730 hours! I'll bring my best brew! I won't take no for an answer, so don't even try getting out of it."
Jim chuckled. "I wouldn't dream it, Scotty."
# # #
It had been a rambunctious night. Since Nyota couldn't drink anyway, she'd agreed to be what would have been termed in Earth's 21st century as the "designated driver". As no driving was involved aboard a starship to get back to their quarters, her duties were mostly seeing that a drunk-beyond-reason Jim and an indulgent Spock made it out of the whole situation unscathed and having not pulled some stupid stunt like streaking the corridors of the ship naked as the day they were born. God knows Jim had come close and Spock, who had indulged in a dark chocolate liquor, had been in no fit state to talk him out of it.
Nyota shook her head indulgently as she watched her boys sleeping off the night of alcoholic debauchery, pressing a hypo into the side of first Spock's neck and then Jim's to counter the effects of the alcohol, which had a bonus side effect of preventing hangovers. Jim stirred, his eyes opening at the sting.
"What was that?" he asked in a slurred whisper.
Jim nodded. "Thanks." He scooted back into Spock, making room for her to lay in front of him.
She shrugged out of her uniform. "We're not going to be able to work it this way for much longer. My belly already hangs off the edge of the bed."
Jim frowned. "I can sleep on the pull out if you need me to."
"No," she sighed. "If it comes down to it, I'll take the pullout. I'm going to miss cuddling with both you and Spock, but it's only delaying the inevitable. Like it or not, I've got at least another five months to go and I'm not going to get smaller anytime soon."
"Five months?" he murmured, doing the math.
She shrugged. "Spock's guessing. Vulcan pregnancies are typically 10 months, so I guess he figures it's a similar process. And based on his mother's pregnancy…"
Jim shook his head. "Let's not worry about it tonight. It's going to be what it's going to be. Now-" He patted the mattress in front of him. "Get your ass in this bed so I can grope you in your sleep."
Grinning, she replied smartly, "Yes, sir." She then climbed into bed, laying her hands over his as his arms encircled her waist, his face buried in her hair.