Jim stayed on the Bridge another hour, until the crew had transitioned shifts. As comforting as it was to be back on his ship, on his bridge, in his chair, he was tired and more than ready to get some sleep. Preferably spent wrapped around his new husband.
That thought came as he watched Uhura leave, which reminded him they did have a few loose ends to wrap up. Damn.
Jim handed over the con and headed out, Spock more than willing to come along with only a quick gesture as a hint. Or maybe he felt that Jim wanted to talk. This whole bond thing was going to take some getting used to.
Once they were both in the turbolift, Jim paused it. He didn't want this overheard by accident. “Um, have you thought about what we're going to tell Uhura?” he asked.
“I am uncertain what you are speaking of,” Spock replied. “She ended our relationship when she refused my offer of marriage.”
Jim bit his lip. “She's not going to quite see it that way,” he said, trying to figure out how to explain. “Women, well, human women … look, Uhura was emotionally attached to you, even if she chickened out when the chips were down. She begged hard for a second chance, and isn't going to be happy to find out that not only did I refuse her, I took her place and then we decided to keep it that way.”
Spock looked uncertain, maybe a little disbelieving. “Nyota is a strong, logically minded woman. Certainly she will understand ...”
“Spock,” Jim cut in, “no matter how logical she is on the Bridge, this is going to cut to the core. She's still a human woman, with human emotions.”
“I bow to your superior experience,” Spock said. “What do you advise?”
Spock struggled with an illogical sense of shame as he approached the private quarters of Nyota Uhura. He had not felt so before Jim had explained. Human courtship was in many ways still a mystery to him despite the length of his relationship with Nyota. She had been intrigued by the Vulcan courtship traditions and willing to explain human traditions when she felt the need for something more in their relationship. But the emotional aspects of courtship were something they rarely discussed, and the emotional aspects of breaking up they never discussed.
Jim had explained that while it was Nyota who had rejected Spock, there would still be difficulties of emotions and they did owe it to her to explain the new situation. Spock felt obliged, as the one who had shared a relationship with her, to be the one to explain. This did not mean he did not miss the presence of Jim at his side. He had a feeling there would be many verbal missteps in the next hour.
Nyota opened her door, looking in surprise at Spock before gesturing for him to enter.
“You look better,” she said softly. “It was good to see you back on the Bridge.”
“I have recovered,” Spock agreed.
Looking uneasy, Nyota sat on the couch in her main room. “I'm glad we made it to Shi'masu in time, but … why wouldn't you give me a second chance?”
Spock had been expecting that complaint. “I cannot be certain,” he admitted as he sat in a chair. He did not feel it would be proper to join her on the couch under these circumstances. “I believed I was behaving logically. In your initial refusal you gave several logical reasons why we should not wed, and to set those aside would be illogical. However, I believe in my emotional state it is possible I was punishing you for refusing.”
“Spock,” she breathed. “I'm so sorry. I misunderstood.”
“It is true I could have done a better job explaining the situation,” he conceded.
“So … what now?” she asked in a tone Spock had never heard before. “Will you be returning to Shi'masu to be with your new wife?”
“No,” he replied. Jim had been right, she had not understood the significance of the delays in their trip. “We did not reach Shi'masu in time for me to take a Vulcan bride.”
Brow furrowed, she said, “But you're well now. You survived. Captain Kirk said you needed a mate for that.”
“He was correct,” Spock answered. “I would not have survived without his assistance.”
“I don't understand.” Her voice took on a tone of anger, an emotion Spock had come to recognize.
“Jim,” Spock said, marveling at the sound of his telsu's name, “came to me when there was no other option. I would have died shortly after the engines were shut down for repairs without his aid.”
While her face was deadpan and quite pale, Nyota's eyes sparkled with emotion. “You … you … he said you wouldn't accept me … how could you accept him?” she spat.
“It felt right,” was the only answer that Spock could give. There was also the matter of Jim's logical arguments, but Spock found the words to explain would not come.
Any further response from Nyota was cut off when the comm panel in her quarters attracted their attention. “What?” she snapped into it.
“Commander Spock is needed on the Bridge,” was the announcement.
Nyota acknowledged and cut the line. “Our discussion is not over,” she informed him before walking to the door.
“I expected as much,” he admitted. “I am sorry that we hurt you.”
She did not respond but followed in stony silence to the Bridge. When they arrived, Admiral Mobatsu was on the screen, glaring at Jim. Jim was looking a bit ragged but was glaring back from the captain's chair with equal venom. The crew was well aware of the enmity that had been building between the admiral and their captain, if not the why, and those on the Bridge sat alert for the coming conflict.
Spock stepped up beside Jim's chair, and Nyota joined her compatriot in communications at the communications console. Admiral Mobatsu sent them both a nasty look. He had been aware of the relationship between Nyota and Spock for over a year, but his every attempt to cause trouble had been quietly blocked by Jim and Admiral Pike. Spock had been grateful for the support before, but now he was concerned that it would make the announcement to Starfleet of his relationship with Jim that much more difficult.
“Commander Spock, Captain Kirk,” Admiral Mobatsu spat. “What is the meaning of this message I have just received?”
“You will have to be more specific than that, Admiral,” Jim said politely, if evasively.
“The Vulcan embassy has just informed Starfleet that all your paperwork should be changed to show your species as Vulcan instead of Terran,” the Admiral spat. “What is this nonsense?”
Spock felt a surge of puzzlement from Jim, though the captain's expression remained bland. They both ignored the gasps from around the room. With a curiously cocked eyebrow, Jim turned to Spock and said, “Perhaps you could explain to the Admiral, Mr. Spock.”
“Of course, Captain,” Spock said. Turning to the screen and the admiral he explained. “For his many positive contributions to the survival of the Vulcan species, Captain Kirk has been invited to consider Shi'masu his home. Traditionally, considering the planet Vulcan home is what made one Vulcan, and this relationship is considered to have transferred to Shi'masu since the destruction of Vulcan. Therefore, to consider Shi'masu his home means the Captain is Vulcan by the oldest definition of our species. It is an honor that has rarely been conferred upon an outsider.” He turned to Jim and caught his telsu's blue eyes. “It is an honor my mother was never accorded.”
Jim's eyes brightened with a hint of tears and the captain laid a comforting touch on Spock's hand, a momentary action only but one which conveyed a new level of closeness to any who was watching. Spock accepted the comfort and ignored the probable gossip that would now circulate, for now.
“Old cultural traditions have no impact on Federation standards for species identification,” Admiral Mobatsu interrupted.
Spock turned back to the screen and raised an eyebrow slightly. “Federation law was founded on a combination of Terran and Vulcan traditions. The definition of the Vulcan species was grandfathered in from the tradition I described.”
“So, by Federation law ...” Jim began.
“You are legally Vulcan,” Spock confirmed. “It is simply a law which, never having been used in this manner in the years since the inception of the Federation, has been forgotten.”
“This is absurd,” Admiral Mobatsu blustered. “He's human.”
“Biologically, yes,” Spock agreed.
“There's no precedent for this insanity. I won't process this nonsense ...”
“That is incorrect,” Spock interrupted. “I am half human and half Vulcan, biologically speaking, but my documentation has me specified as Vulcan. This is not because I was born on Vulcan rather than Earth, but because I can consider Vulcan home. Legally, I am Vulcan. I am the precedent.” Spock did not regret the slight twisting of the truth. He had not been fully accepted by his father's people until earlier that day, but his paperwork had never reflected that.
Admiral Mobatsu went red under his dark skin, his mouth opening and closing silently as his throat closed with rage. “This … this … this,” he finally stuttered. “I will protest this nonsense to the highest level.”
Jim shot Spock a look filled with repressed laughter. They both knew that in this case there was nothing that the Admiral could do. It was Federation law.
Before anyone could come up with a reply to that absurdity, Admiral Pike appeared at Admiral Mobatsu's shoulder. “Ah, excellent. You're still talking to the Enterprise,” Admiral Pike said. “Jim, Spock, I wanted to say congratulations.”
This time Jim let a puzzled look cross his face to match the feeling of puzzlement he projected down their bond. “Admiral?” he asked politely.
“The Vulcan Embassy just filed your marriage certificate.” Admiral Pike waved a PADD towards the camera even though it was impossible to read the contents that way.
The Bridge crew looked at their captain, clearly waiting for the joke, all except Nyota. She could be heard letting out a shocked gasp, and Spock had a feeling it would be wise to avoid her for a few days. She must have assumed they had ended their relationship now that he was stable.
Jim blanched at Admiral Pike's words. “Already,” he gasped. “I thought they'd take a little longer than that,” he muttered softly for Spock's ears only.
“Marriage?” Admiral Mobatsu bellowed. “What is this travesty?”
“Commander Spock and Captain Kirk were married according to Vulcan tradition three days ago,” Admiral Pike said proudly. “The Vulcan Council ratified the occasion a few hours ago. The Embassy was kind enough to send me a copy when they sent the formal paperwork to the Federation databanks.”
“Who would think to comm Pike?” Jim asked quietly.
At the same time, Admiral Mobatsu bellowed, “How dare you flout regulations like this. You are both going to be transferred immediately ...”
Spock was pleased to be able to cut the Admiral off with calm, confident words. “No, we will not.”
“Excuse me?” Admiral Mobatsu puffed up with outrage. “What right do you have to tell me ...”
“A number of laws and regulations were grandfathered into Federation law and Starfleet regulations,” Spock interrupted again. “One states that Vulcans are not forbidden from serving with their telsu – their marriage partner. It is assumed that Vulcans will follow the dictates of logic over emotion and so there is no risk in letting them serve together.”
“When did you find that out?” Jim asked before the Admiral could bellow again.
“Ambassador Selek pointed it out to me earlier today,” Spock replied.
“You could have mentioned that this afternoon,” Jim grumbled.
“I had thought the ambassador had told you before you beamed to Shi'masu,” Spock said.
Over their private conversation came the bellow of Admiral Mobatsu. “That is absurd.” This time Admiral Pike cut him off.
“Actually, it's true. The rule is mostly ignored because of how few Vulcans are in Starfleet, but Ambassador Sarek was kind enough to highlight it in a document he sent along with the marriage certificate.”
“Your father filed the paperwork?” Jim hissed.
“He is the Ambassador to Earth,” Spock pointed out. He was puzzled by it but still pleased that his father was showing such support for his relationship with Jim.
“Though the document is signed by Ambassador Selek,” Admiral Pike added.
Jim chuckled. “That's it, you can't tell me that Vulcans don't have a sense of humor ever again.”
Spock found the corner of his lips quirking slightly. It did seem as though his alternate self had set up this incident. “I am not certain that Ambassador Selek is a good representative of the average Vulcan.”
“Ah, but he is Vulcan,” Jim said pointedly.
“Well, I just wanted to say congratulations,” Admiral Pike said. He paused, looking at something behind Jim and Spock. The loud sob from Nyota gave a probable cause for his distraction, but Jim and Spock did their best to ignore it. Drawing attention to her emotional turmoil would not bring comfort at this time. “Umm … So sorry for interrupting your call, Admiral.”
“I will file a formal complaint about this whole mess,” Admiral Mobatsu announced. “We'll see just how long this situation lasts.”
“No, you won't, Admiral,” Admiral Pike cut in. “It's all quite legal. I can quote the regulation numbers if you need.”
“That regulation is not relevant,” Admiral Mobatsu said viciously. “They are not Vulcan, neither of them.”
Admiral Pike looked surprised. “Commander Spock has always been considered Vulcan. To do otherwise would be a grave insult to the Vulcan people. His father is the Vulcan Ambassador to Earth.”
That cut Admiral Mobatsu off. “We shall see,” he finally said and left the room in an audible state of anger.
“Well, good luck with the Delgasians,” Admiral Pike said with a hint of smugness. Everyone knew he would handle Admiral Mobatsu yet again. “I look forward to seeing the report on this. I'd love to know how it all came together.”
The word of Jim and Spock's wedding had spread even faster than usual on the Enterprise grapevine, or so it seemed to Jim walking back from the Bridge. Every crew member they passed was either giving them odd looks or clapping and cheering, or both. Jim was relieved to escape into his quarters, barely looking as Spock walked past to go to his own.
Flopping onto the couch, Jim let out a deep sigh.
He had only a moment to rest before the chime on his door rang. Fortunately, the trigger for the door was within reach without having to move. Spock was standing outside and came in without waiting for a comment from Jim.
“Should rig you with an entrance code,” Jim muttered as he let his head land on the back of the couch. “You wanna move in here? Over there? Separate quarters?”
“I think we have plenty of time to discuss such things later,” Spock suggested. Jim was pleased when Spock chose to sit on the free end of the couch. “Now is not the time to make further momentous decisions.”
“Been enough of those already today,” Jim agreed. He could have lived without half of them being told to the entire beta shift Bridge crew. He would have told them, at some point. Eventually. Probably.
Jim looked over at his stiffly sitting first officer, his telsu, and decided to push his luck. He twisted so that he was leaning against Spock instead of the corner of the couch, his head propped on the half-Vulcan's shoulder. It took a moment, but Spock's posture shifted, supporting Jim's weight instead of staying ramrod straight.
“How'd it go with Uhura?” Jim asked softly.
“We had only begun to discuss the matter when Admiral Mobatsu summoned us,” Spock replied. “I had not yet mentioned our marriage.”
“Shit,” Jim muttered, pressing his face into Spock's shoulder. “No wonder she was so upset.”
“That is an accurate assessment,” Spock agreed. He wound his fingers with Jim's of his own initiative, his thumb rubbing against the ring.
“You wanna try again?” Jim asked, rubbing Spock's fingers gently in return. “Might be wise to avoid her for awhile, though. We're probably going to get the stink eye from some of the female crew.”
“I bow to your superior knowledge of the human female,” Spock said. The comment was deadpan, but Jim could sense the perverse humor in it.
“Experience hard learned,” Jim drawled.
“Fascinating,” Spock said. “But I have no desire to go anywhere this night. I will reconsider tomorrow.”
“That mean you're mine for the night?”
Spock's eyebrow raised. “Not every interaction will be as … intense as it was during pon farr.”
Jim chuckled. “Don't think I could survive that every time,” he admitted. “Hope you weren't concerned ...” Jim felt an odd burst of emotion from Spock, a bit of embarrassment, a bit of agreement, a bit of desire. It was the last he decided to focus on. “Though I am hoping we can try for something like that more than once ever seven years.”
“That can likely be arranged,” Spock replied. His fingers trailed over the back of Jim's hand, lingering around the ring.
“I'd …” Jim began, but was interrupted when a large yawn erupted. “I'd settle for a bit of a fondle and some good company while I sleep,” he admitted after he yanked his jaw back into alignment.
“Quite wise,” Spock said. It was deadpan again, but Jim could feel the tickle in the back of his mind that he was pretty sure meant Spock was teasing him. “Perhaps you would join me for dinner?”
“I am not going out there to face those gossip mongers again,” Jim protested. He hauled himself upright and untangled his hands.
“It will be necessary at some point,” Spock pointed out.
“Not tonight,” Jim insisted even as his stomach was rude enough to growl.
“Not tonight,” Spock agreed. “I requested Yeoman Rand bring something from the mess. We can remain here.”
Jim hung his head and rubbed his palms against his face. “You do realize that's almost worse for our reputations,” he grumbled.
“I believe it is quite fitting for your reputation,” Spock suggested. “It is our … honeymoon I believe is the human parlance.”
The blood drained from his face as Admiral Pike's words suddenly came back to Jim. “I'm going to kill Spock.”
“What have I done?” Spock asked. His concern and confusion broke through Jim's shock.
“Not you,” he assured his telsu, wrapping his hands around Spock's sensitive Vulcan fingers. “The other you. He told Pike the day we were married, and Pike told the Bridge crew. If anyone stops to think they'll realize we were married while you were supposedly fighting for your life.”
“I was, in essence,” Spock pointed out.
“Yeah, but what if the crew thinks the whole thing was some kind of hoax. If someone were to report that we were really playing hooky ...”
“The Elders will correct any such report,” Spock said confidently. “That is not a matter for you to concern yourself with now.”
Jim wanted to protest further. The crew might lose all respect for him over this. Even if no one reported such suspicions, it could cause any number of problems locally. But before he could express this, the chime to the door rang, and Spock shook Jim free to answer it.
Yeoman Rand was standing outside, a tray of food in her hands and a wide eyed expression on her face that no amount of professionalism could cover. Her eyes bounced frantically between Spock and Jim with a mixture of eagerness, concern, and curiosity.
“Thank you, Yeoman,” Spock said stiffly, taking the tray from her.
“Um … right. My pleasure, sir,” she replied. Before the door could close, she took half a step forward to block the track. “I … um, well, I just wanted to say congratulation, sirs. A lot of us are really pleased to hear about you two. Really, more of us should have seen it coming, the way you two always fought ...”
“Thank you, Yeoman,” Jim snapped, cutting her off. “Your sentiment is appreciated, but it has been a long day ...”
She got the hint, thank goodness, and stepped back. Jim let out a sigh of relief as the door shut.
Hauling himself to the table, Jim collapsed into one chair as Spock settled in the other. The tray Spock set on the table held several simple dishes, all suitable for stomachs strained by too long without regular food or for Vulcans. For once, Jim didn't care that the only options before him were vegetarian.
They ate in silence, and as they ate Jim let his mind wander over the events of the last few hours. He had so many questions he didn't know where to begin. What was most important. But then Jim was hit by one of the things Spock said back before the procedure to fix his wings.
“You changed your will?” Jim blurted.
“There was some risk I would die in the process of trying to correct the DNA modification ...” Spock began.
“Yeah, I get that,” Jim cut in. “I don't like it, but I get it. And you're fine. Scotty worked his usual magic, and you're fine.”
“As I have yet to hear back from Dr. McCoy about the DNA analysis there is no way to be certain of that, though the evidence we have so far does led to that conclusion,” Spock said. “However, given the risk it was logical to update my will to reflect the recent changes in my life.”
“Anything I need to know about?” Jim asked uncertainly. “Anything Uhura is going to get mad about?”
“Nyota was never in my will,” Spock replied.
“Why not?” Jim asked, his brow furrowed in surprise. “You two were together for years.”
“There was no formal bond between us, nor did I intend for there to be one at the time,” Spock said. “I had considered leaving her my ka'athyra but had never followed through.”
“So what did you change?” Jim asked, trying to remember just what a ka'athyra was.
“My lyre,” Spock replied, answering the unspoken question before the spoken one. “I left all my possessions to you save a few bequests.”
Jim wondered if he'd ever get his jaw off the table again. “Me?” he squeaked.
“It is appropriate as my telsu,” Spock said.
“Huh,” Jim breathed. “Should do the same, I guess. Mine leaves everything to Bones at the moment.”
“You leave nothing to your family?” Spock asked. His eyebrow raised slightly, indicating surprise.
The question was better ignored for now, as far as Jim was concerned. He and Spock had touched on elements of their childhoods in conversations over the past two years but had never covered the meat of the matter. Jim was in no mood to get into it now. The data was all there, shared somewhere in their brains. They could dig it out later. “I suppose you left your Vulcan artifacts to your people.”
“No. Those I left to you with the provision you might donate them if you so desired.” Jim was shocked and deeply honored. Real artifacts from old Vulcan were so amazingly rare now the Vulcans were almost illogically protective.
“I … thank you,” Jim said, uncertain how else to express himself.
Spock's fingers brushed against the back of Jim's hand before retreating back to his flatware.
Jim looked down at his half empty plate and found he was no longer hungry. Rather, he wanted to follow up on all those touches. “I'm done,” he said, pushing the plate away. “Guess I'll see you in bed when you're ready.” He stood and stepped away from the table, but before he could get away Spock stood as well.
“My main bequest was in the matter of these,” Spock said. From a shelf by the table he picked up a long container. Opening it, he retrieved a spray of large white feathers with green shafts.
“Those are from your wings,” Jim said. His hand came up of its own volition and brushed against the soft plumage, a shiver running down his spine as he remembered the sensations he had felt the last time he had touched such feathers.
“That is correct,” Spock said. “Dr. McCoy collected these for me and stored them here for safety. Some are intended for scientific study. One should go to Ambassador Selek and another to our father.”
“Awfully sentimental for a Vulcan,” Jim couldn't help but comment.
“I blame the k'oh-nar,” Spock replied. “This one is for you.” He plucked one feather from the bunch and held it out to Jim
The thrill of desire was definitely not limited to Jim this time when he reached out to touch the proffered feather. “Any intended purpose in this gift?” Jim asked playfully.
“A sentimental gesture,” Spock said.
“Is it?” Jim asked. He reached out and trailed the feather down Spock's hand from wrist to finger tips. They both gasped together as the sensation bounced between them. “Shit,” Jim hissed.
“Colloquially stated, but I agree with the sentiment,” Spock said, gasping again when Jim repeated the motion.
Jim looked at his telsu and smirked. “Come here, you,” he said, taking a step back and crooking a finger in invitation. “I want to see what happens when I apply this feather somewhere else.”