Hi, T'Pring! I understand you're looking for Spock at the moment -- he is currently in one of the piano rooms and has asked not to be disturbed until he speaks to JTK. Afterwards, we should meet him in the east office. See you then, and let me know if you have any additional questions! --U.
"He is proposing," T'Pring says aloud. "He did not tell me."
Sybok has a penchant for lying in whatever chair is within ten feet of T'Pring at any given time, and today is no different. She glances over her shoulder and can see that he is flopped across an armchair, a book open on his stomach, eyebrows raised at her.
"What, today? I'm not surprised. Didn't you see him today? Fidgety like a... fidgeting thing," Sybok says.
"Did I see the King today," T'Pring murmurs as she works on her PADD. "Apparently, I did not for more than 6.7 minutes, as I was engaged in running the Federation." She glances up and tilts her head at Sybok. "And you? Did you sleep well?"
"So well, I might give a repeat performance, like right about when you leave the room."
"Enough. Your brother the King is, at this moment, proposing marriage to Jim Kirk."
"Mazal tov to both of them."
T'Pring holds her breath for a moment, steadying her calm because it's Sybok and he has a propensity for disturbing it. "That means a wedding must be planned," she says.
"Okay." Sybok's eyebrows knit closely together and he leans a little further back over the arm of his chair. "T'Pring, are you -- asking for my help?"
"Obviously, His Majesty cannot be involved in the planning himself, so it is --"
"Why not?" Sybok snaps his fingers and nods, "Right, King thing. Still don't see why you need me. What about Nyota?"
"She will assist as well."
"So the three of us are going to plan a galactic royal wedding to be broadcast to trillions of people and usher in a new era of stability and hope for the entire Federation?"
"Anyone can do that," T'Pring replies. "We must ensure that Jim Kirk wears pants when it happens."
When Spock and Jim enter the east office two hours later, they are greeted by the now official Royal Wedding Committee, currently gathered in front of a large transparent monitor that was rolled into the office just for this occasion.
"Who borrowed that from the war room?" Spock asks.
"The war room's model is untouched," T'Pring answers as she drags bubbles of information around the space. "This is a new prototype from the Academy designed to withstand much larger quantities and types of information, and provide faster rendering times for the 3D models we intend on creating."
Sybok turns around and grins. "And it can make calls."
Spock appears intrigued and then he clears his throat. "We have an announcement," Spock says in an official, but giddy, tone.
T'Pring and Uhura exchange glances as they remain facing the monitor, sigh softly to themselves, and turn around.
"Yes, sire?" Uhura asks politely, all of them smiling gently because it would take a lump of inanimate matter to realize they are anything but engaged.
T'Pring takes in the two men in front of her -- Jim is wearing shoes but no socks; the hem of one pant leg is trapped in his shoe; the fly of his pants shows none of his usual (surprisingly fastidious) attention; his button-down shirt is messily tucked into the waist of his pants and is wrinkled, meaning it was tucked in but was not carefully removed when last he wore it; and, of course, his hair has been run through several times with fingers, not the fine teeth of a comb. The King is in a similar state of dishabille, and smiling much more than he allows himself in front of T'Pring. All obvious signs of their engagement, as is the gargantuan ring on Jim's hand that, upon Spock's presenting it to his nearest and dearest for approval, Sybok hypothesized it had once been part of a 20th century space station.
"You have an announcement," T'Pring repeats, because Spock -- no, correction: most males of her acquaintance prefer that others with sharp observational skills ignore their more obvious tells and humor them in moments like these. For the sake of saving time, she allows them these illogical quirks.
"Yes, we do, T'Pring, thank you," Spock says. She wonders how she could have missed the fact that he was nearly out of breath. "As -- well, I should say -- Prince Ja -- Commander -- Jim has agreed to marry me."
The three of them wait patiently for a moment and allow Jim to add excitedly, "We're getting married."
"Congratulations, Your Majesty," Uhura and T'Pring echo, while Sybok takes his familial liberties and claps Jim on the shoulder before moving on to embrace his brother warmly.
"We have not agreed on a date --" Spock begins, but T'Pring raises her if I may interrupt because I have already handled this eyebrows. He swallows and blinks at her.
"If you will accompany us to the board, you will see we have already selected a date that we hope you find acceptable," T'Pring says.
"And if you don't find it acceptable, T'Pring ran the algorithims, so you should blame her," Sybok says.
"October 17," Jim says as a screen is pulled up. "Also, this board is amazing -- any chance of the Enterprise --"
"If it can withstand planning your wedding, it will be put into mass production," T'Pring answers. "Sire? The 17th of October? You will then have four months before the Enterprise leaves for its tour."
"Can you think of any objections, obligations, previous engagements?" Spock asks Jim, and T'Pring notes the careful, controlled smile spreading across Spock's face, matched by a wide, glowing grin on Jim's.
"Just show me when to show up and I'll be there," Jim says, more to Spock than to the others.
"And I suppose October 17th works in my schedule as well," Spock says.
"Naturally," T'Pring says as she turns back to the board.
"For your information, we're taking control of the wedding planning," Uhura informs them. "You two just have to show up. Do you have any preferences as to a color scheme?"
"I look awful in yellow," Jim says quickly.
Everyone turns and stares and he replies, "I know, wrong track entirely, but I usually get away with just the black undershirt and. Yeah. Oh, or no shirt at all!"
"So we'll handle the color schemes, too," Uhura says. "If you'll excuse us?"
"Of course," Spock says kindly, and they swear he tells Jim as they leave, "You will wear a shirt, Jim. No shirt, no marriage."
T'Pring meets with her subcommittee (which Sybok and Uhura helpfully titled, "The Subcommittee on Where the Fuck is This Actually Happening", and that is surprisingly more concise than the official title in her files), but is entirely displeased with their results.
She encounters Jim Kirk in a corridor on the way to her office and reports to him on the search for a location -- not literally, but congenially, as a form of "small talk", not quite understanding why he should be so invested in the process of her doing her job until she thinks about it from a Terran perspective.
"Well, my family has a house --"
"Too biased," T'Pring replies. "While we would certainly earn the points of those who support traditionalism, it would still be too Terran for a Federation monarch's wedding."
"What about somewhere Starfleet-related?"
"One of the remodeled cathedrals?"
"One of the gardens at Bentley?"
"That is a definite possibility," T'Pring admits, "Except I cannot yet control the weather and --"
"Weather dome," Jim replies. "Starfleet's got tons. We use them for setting up aid camps on planets with uninhabitable atmospheres. Mostly impenetrable -- I'm sure you could get a better, completely weapon-proof one for a fucking royal wedding -- and they're clear, too, so you won't lose the view of the actual garden."
T'Pring stares at him for a long moment and he stares right back until she speaks.
"You are a useful man," she says, and he blinks. "I am informed, and have noticed, that they are difficult to find -- His Majesty is fortunate to have done so."
"That -- was a compliment. A compliment, T'Pring!" Jim grins and runs down the palace corridor back to the rooms he and Spock are definitely not sharing directly under her nose when she specifically warned His Majesty how unwise that would be.
"That is behavior unbecoming a future Prince Consort!" she calls after him, but he is already speaking loudly to Spock and laughing. In any case, she can cross 'location' off her to-do list.
And, really, planning the wedding is the easy part. T'Pring, Uhura, and Sybok can stand at the electronic board and make all their plans, reservations, 3D renderings of the seating arrangements, security details, processionals, flower arrangements -- those all get done and that is fine.
It's when everyone else becomes involved that the shitshow can truly begin.
Hey, T'Pring -- why is my STD the color of kehlant shit? --JTK.
She opens the call function on her PADD and begins a conversation with the future Prince Consort that she had believed, after a thorough background check, would not be necessary unless his doctor friend was somehow murdered or incapacitated. Dr. Leonard McCoy is still listed as an active member of Starfleet, and so she has no idea why the future Prince Consort would ask her such a question.
"Your Highness, are you alone?" she asks him in her most controlled voice.
"Uh, your boss is lurking around in the bathroom, but I think he's out for the count," Jim remarks. "Or actually working in the tub, I --"
"I had believed your personal physician, Dr. McCoy, provided your comprehensive medical history, and at no point did it mention any sexually transmitted diseases, and so if some part of you," and here she pauses to take a quick, sharp breath because her king and his husband will be the death of her, "Is currently the color of some part of a kehlant and that is unusual for your biology, I strongly request that you submit your person for a thorough examination in order to monitor His Majesty's health, to be undertaken by a physician of our choosing."
Jim stares at her for a moment, and then looks away from his PADD to hold up a small paper card. "Save the date, T'Pring."
"You choose to employ economy of language now?" she asks curtly. "And how did you receive the cards before me?"
"Me and the delivery guy are pals -- look, I'm just saying, these are kind of ugly. Is this a Vulcan thing again --"
"Stop being culturally insensitive," Spock calls out from the bathroom.
"Vulcans don't have sonar, right?" Jim asks T'Pring.
"No. Please put on pants. I will be at His Majesty's quarters in two minutes," she says.
As promised, she lets herself into Spock's rooms two minutes later, and looks away as Jim covers himself with a PADD and then gathers the sheets around himself.
"I said two minutes," she informs him.
"I thought you were exaggerating and would give me like, ten minutes -- wait, why did I think that?" He calls out to the bathroom, "You're killing my brain, Spock! I used to be a genius! You've ruined --"
"Give me the card, please," T'Pring says as she snatches it from Jim's hand. He gets up and drags the sheets across the floor to the bathroom to continue his argument with Spock.
"You said this was the color of -- a kehlant?"
"Kehlant shit," he corrects from the bathroom. "Which, okay, you might have been going for --"
"I was not," she huffs, and stomps out. "Excuse me, sire," she calls out too late.
Once she has the official wedding stationer on her line, she informs him:
"This is puce, not redwood."
"I apologize, madame, but in the printing process, colors may --"
"No. Your services have not been rendered to the crown's liking and we will procure the official invites from some other designer with a sense of how colors and the printing process work -- one who understands that when someone orders the ink and borders on the invitations to the King's wedding in a redwood shade, you will produce that color on the paper itself, and not something that apparently resembles armadillo feces. Thank you again for your services, and enjoy the rest of your day."
She ends the call, stares at the card for another moment, and then notices Sybok standing in the doorway.
"Yes?" she asks.
She watches him watch her, and he walks away without a word.
Once he is gone, she takes a moment to close her eyes, regulate her breathing, control her eyebrows, be once again the T'Pring who ensures the monarchy runs from day to day (with pants on -- really, of all the things she was taught to expect, including the unexpected, the frequency of pantslessness was not one of them.)
That veneer of control slips slightly when she hears Sybok no more than 16 feet from her office door (in his office, though why he needs one is beyond any of them except His Majesty) burst out laughing. There is a loud thud, and she knows the chair he was sitting in has tipped over.
"You don't get out much, do you?" Jim asks Sybok.
"Of the three of us," Sybok replies with a motion to himself, T'Pring, and absent-Uhura, "You think I'm the one who doesn't get out much?"
"You're telling me my wedding to the king of the Federation is going to close with a parade, totally overlooking the price on my head. Do you know how much it is?" Jim pauses and adds, "It's a lot. Like, more than my finger candy here."
"It's tradition," T'Pring replies.
"It's my death," he retorts. "Okay, if I have to sit out there with Spock, completely fucking out in the open, at least let me carry a phaser. Or a plasma rifle."
"You wish to ride with the King on one side and a plasma rifle on the other during your wedding parade?" T'Pring asks.
"He does have a price on his head, T'Pring," Sybok says.
"Spock can carry a plasma rifle, too, if he wants -- wait, can my future husband even shoot a gun?"
Sybok opens his mouth, closes it, and then says, "You know, that doesn't come up as often as you would think."
"I thought it would never come up," T'Pring says. "How foolish of me."
Uhura runs up, late for the meeting, and looks at the three of them in the middle of their stand off. "What are we talking about?"
"They want me to get my head blown off on my wedding day," Jim replies. "And their way of doing it is a hell of a lot less fun than mine."
"Are you guys still fighting about this?" Uhura asks T'Pring and Sybok. She says to Jim, "Body armor!"
"It's the rest of me I'm worried about! You know, this brain thing sitting up here on my neck."
"Man up or wear a helmet," Uhura says.
"Spock gets a plasma rifle," Jim says.
"I will have one strapped under the seat," T'Pring says.
"That's all I'm asking!" Jim says and that, apparently, concludes his participation in the meeting, so he walks away happily.
Until he turns around and shouts, "And snipers, obviously!"
"Well, obviously!" Sybok shouts back. "This is a wedding, after all!"
"Everything tastes like fennel," T'Pring informs the best chef in two star systems. That, apparently, was enough recommendation for Uhura to engage his services -- except neither of those star systems is the Vulcan-Eridani system, so T'Pring, well. It is not to her liking.
"Your Grace, why would I put fennel in a cupcake?"
"Why would you serve a cupcake to His Majesty on his wedding day?"
"It is a sample size; the actual cake will not be a cupcake."
"You take that tone with me?"
"T'Pring, I don't taste the fennel," Uhura says. "Are you sure it's not --"
"Vulcan ofactory systems are --"
"Bullshit, T'Pring," Sybok interrupts, "You just don't like his face."
"There is nothing particularly unflattering or disagreeable about his face," T'Pring replies.
"Your Grace showers kindness upon my humble visage," the chef says.
"Back off," Sybok says. "Did you use any herbs that could, possibly --"
"There is no fennel in the cupcake which is not technically a cupcake but only a sample size!"
"What about on your equipment?" Uhura asks.
"Your Grace presumes I prepare my desserts and entrees with the same equipment?" the chef asks, completely horrified.
"Either you snuck some fennel into these cupcakes or the duchess has a brain tumor affecting..."
Uhura trails off and glances at Sybok, and then they both glance at T'Pring, who stares back at them and then looks up to the chef.
"We have decided to go in another direction, but we thank you for your time and effort," T'Pring says.
As they leave, Sybok tries to pull up a medical diagnostics app on his PADD before T'Pring -- seriously -- glares his PADD into shutting down.
"You know, Spock and I once had this amazing gelato that was parsley-flavored, and you would think it was horrible but --"
"Okay, we have another tasting in two days but I might be able to move it to --" Uhura says as she interrupts Sybok, only to be interrupted by T'Pring.
"I thought he was your top choice."
Uhura looks offended and eventually replies, because T'Pring needs Uhura's very human thought processes broken down into a language she can understand, "He was, but you don't think I've been around you long enough to know I should cultivate multiple options?"
"Thank you for accommodating logic into your busy schedule," T'Pring says. "So few people do."
"Logic is boring," Sybok begins before T'Pring speeds up her walk to the shuttle.
"Kissing is fun," Uhura says as they're left in T'Pring's wake, "But I think she would tear your mouth off and sell your teeth in a marketplace. Not even the black market, but like, a farmer's market."
"It's nothing like that," Sybok laughs. "I like my teeth far too much."
"You should. They're very nice teeth, considering your inbreeding."
"Cheap shot, Your Grace."
They climb into the shuttle and Uhura sits primly next to T'Pring, Sybok across from her. "So, where next?" he asks.
"Just got the okay from chef number two -- his Core-side kitchen is on Tritan, so we can be back in time for dinner with our loved ones," Uhura says. She and Sybok laugh at the absurdity, and laugh more when T'Pring looks out a window demurely, trying to hide something that could be called a smirk, maybe.
Eventually, the three of them silently agree on a system that works: T'Pring imagines something unattainable, dozens of people are made to weep because they can't meet what she imagined, and Uhura and Sybok bring the two sides together in a compromise that, T'Pring supposes, will have to do for her sovereign's wedding.
It gets them through it, up to the actual day of the wedding.
T'Pring, Uhura, Sybok, and twenty attendants stand outside His Majesty's suite at 5 AM.
Technically, it's 4:58 AM and T'Pring promised someone or other that she would wait until 5:00 AM.
Which is ridiculous, as they have only six hours until guests begin to arrive, eight hours until the ceremony proper, eleven hours until the closing parade, and fourteen hours until the reception. That is not nearly enough --
Her alarm goes off and she knocks once before forcing both doors open.
Jim is startled awake and sits up, looking up wildly and clearly about to dive over His Majesty to cover his body until he notices it's T'Pring, Uhura, Sybok, and twenty strangers.
"What?" Jim whines painfully as he flops onto Spock's body -- less to protect Spock from danger, more to act as a nude human blanket.
"You must begin to prepare and dress," T'Pring says. She looks to Spock and says, "I recommended separate quarters --"
"I took your recommendation under consideration and went in another direction," Spock says through three yawns, his hand comfortably resting in Jim's hair. "Thank you, T'Pring. If you will give us a moment --"
"I'll give you a dressing gown, if that's what you mean and please don't upset T'Pring so that's exactly what you mean," Sybok says as he hands over a pair of folded gowns. "Your Majesty, we can stay here, but His Highness needs to follow T'Pring."
"Can I get some coffee first?" Jim asks as he rubs his face.
"Coffee is waiting in your suite," T'Pring replies. "I recommend drinking your allowance for the day now, as you have an appointment for teeth whitening in one hour."
"My teeth aren't white enough?" Jim asks Spock sadly.
"Truthfully, I have considered asking you to get rid of your teeth all together," he replies.
"Wait, is that a joke about me embracing my toothless country upbringing, or a joke about facefucking?" Jim asks quite sincerely.
"I'm sure it can be both," Sybok interrupts. "Your Serene Highness, if you would...?"
Jim shuffles out after T'Pring and Sybok smiles at Spock. "So. Sleep for another hour, then you can get dressed and we can play video games until the parade or wedding, whichever comes first -- I think I've stopped caring, is that strange?"
"Is it too late to marry you?" Spock asks as he retreats back into his blankets.
"I don't go to the gym nearly as often as His Serene Highness, Prince Whine of Complainia," Sybok replies. "Also, our children would have no chance of those dazzling oceanic orbs for eyes. The whole sibling thing is a little gross, too."
Spock is asleep again and Sybok wanders off to synthesize them some breakfast, and closes the door so Spock can't hear Jim whining several rooms away as his eyebrows are plucked.
Sybok and Spock's game of Shi'Kahr Krash Kart VII is interrupted when Jim's face appears in the corner of the vidscreen.
"Wait, are -- you're actually playing video games?" Jim asks.
"It's a state secret," Sybok replies as he and Spock look to a part of the screen that's not Jim's face.
"I was saving it for our wedding night," Spock adds. "The magic is gone; we will be completely unhappy together. Keep the ring -- Sybok, that is cheating."
"No, Spock, it's logical," Sybok replies. "The point is to avoid crashing your kart."
"But what Vulcan would see math as punishment, it --"
"The ones who make video games, clearly, rather than --"
"I have a problem!" Jim says from the corner. "T'Pring says I have to wear a circlet."
"Jim, as your future husband and your king," Spock says seriously to his part of the screen as Sybok's avatar is lauded in a tiny parade, "I order you: please do anything T'Pring says or she will hurt you, and you will have probably deserved it. No jury would convict her."
"Because they're all terrified of her to boot -- anyway, I have a circlet, Jim," Sybok replies. "They're very masc -- new race, readysetgo."
"Cheater," Spock hisses.
Jim watches for another moment and then shuts off his vidscreen.
T'Pring tilts her head and gives him a look.
"I want to do fun things on my wedding day, too," Jim says.
"Do what I say and I will see what we can do," T'Pring says.
Jim sighs a deep, put-upon sigh and acquiesces.
Meanwhile, Uhura has forbid everyone on the Core from abducting Shras, who is technically her deputy anyway, because ze needs to shuttle her around the city making sure nothing has exploded.
Metaphorically speaking, though for fuck's sake, it really could be literal, couldn't it?
"Thank you for allowing me to work with you today," Shras begins when ze arrives in the palace garden where Uhura asked to meet hir. "It isn't that I don't enjoy my work with Her Grace T'Pring, of course, but --"
"Yes, Shras, today you're actually my deputy, isn't that wonderful, but tell me." Uhura points to a spot on the ceremonial dome the Starfleet engineers just erected in the central garden. "Is that -- how fucking stupid does this look?"
"They're getting married in a hamster ball!" Uhura shrieks. "I was busy with my actual work the day they test-raised the dome and they said it looked fine, which it does. It does look fine. But it looks stupid."
"It is for His Majesty's safety --"
"What is the fucking theme of this wedding?!" she asks. "King travels to Atlantis for wedding? Aid camp stages coup of wedding, hundreds of aristocrats sneer? Little mermaid gets her prince, live happily ever after?"
"Perhaps they can polish it a bit before the ceremony," Shras begins.
"Oh, yes, never mind that it is filthy, or is the filth-frosted translucency a feature? Find me an engineer, Shras, who can fix this. If we --"
"And a cleaning crew."
"And T'Pring's head on a plate, if you have a minute."
"Of course, Your Grace," ze says before scuttling off to appease her bloodlust.
Shras discovers the original engineers who designed the dome are long dead; the ones who erected the dome were security personnel who wouldn't know a weather dome from the Death Star; and there isn't a red shirt in si --
His Serene Highness, finally having had his teeth whitened, face made up, hair done, body stuffed into his modified dress uniform, knee-high boots polished and put on and polished again, was still in his suite with his ship's crew, all of them laughing as the photographer took some Royal Wedding Portraits.
"You're going to be in textbooks, Jim, do you realize that?" Gary asks. "Little kids are going to fall asleep hearing about the thrilling love story of King Spock and --"
"Thanks, no pressure," Jim replies. "Is Spock ever coming by? Joint portraits? I want to see if His Majesty looks like as big of a douche as I feel."
"Your husband may be King of the Federation, but you'll always be King of the douches," Madeleine assures him.
"Sweet. Really. I -- hey, Shras, you look paralyzed," Jim calls out. "Come say hi. Breathe a little. You all right?"
"Um, yes," Shras says. "Fine. Thank you, Your Serene -- I apologize, may I borrow your red shirt?"
Shras tugs gently at Scotty's sleeve and looks hopeful when Scotty turns around.
"Shrassie! What do you need me for?" Scotty asks.
"The Duchess of Nairobi would like a word with you, if you please," Shras pleads.
"Hey, everyone, let's go see Uhura!" Scotty announces.
"Oh no, please, it really isn't a good idea," ze says. "Just the Commander, if you please."
"Can my friend come, too?" Scotty asks with a significant look to his hip flask.
Shras looks momentarily terrified and leads the way back to the garden, and nearly trips over hirs own shoes when His Majesty himself and Sybok emerge from the other suite in the wing. "Shras, Commander Scott," His Majesty says, and Shras bows and steps it up to a run once they've passed.
"So there's nothing to be done," Uhura sighs when Scotty spends four seconds looking at the dome.
"Nothing at all," he replies.
"Oh well," she says. "Do you have fifteen minutes to assist me with something?"
"Sir yes sir," he says, and passes his flask to Shras. "Shouldn't take more than twenty."
"Fifteen," she adds to Shras, then glances to Scotty. "Guests start arriving in three hours --"
"And five minutes is going to take that much --"
"Five of your minutes --"
"Please!" Shras says. "Your Grace, when you two are finished I'll be in the kitchen and I believe security has finished inspecting the back room of your office so you can go there, thank you, Your Grace," and ze's gone before Uhura or Scotty can comment.
"Think ze's onto us?" Scotty asks.
"See! Five minutes! You're wasting my precious time!" Uhura says. She grabs him by the wrist and leads him back to the palace, Scotty rambling on about something or other and Shras probably in another room mixing hir antacid with bleach.
"What happened to the whole 'don't see your spouse before the ceremony' tradition?" Sybok asks as they enter Jim's suite. "I think I told T'Pring I would at least try..."
Spock stops and gives Sybok his highest eyebrow, and Sybok holds his hands up in surrender.
Jim's crew minus Commander Scott, who he just saw outside, collectively turns around and offers their best whistles and catcalls when Spock enters.
"Children," Sybok remarks.
"Not ours, thankfully," Spock replies under his breath to Sybok. "Good morning to all of you. I will be brief."
"Yeah, you've still got Shi'Kahr Krash Kart VIII and IX to work through before the parade, don't you?" Jim asks sarcastically.
"You have IX in your suite?!" Chekov asks.
"Could you pretend you're not seventeen," Gary pleads, "Just for like, five minutes. The five minutes when the King is here and he can judge me to my face."
"All of you are welcome to my suite before the festivities begin," Spock says, and then narrows his eyes on Jim. "Except you."
"That's okay," Jim replies. "I've got the rest of my life to kick your ass in all the video games, forever and --"
"I'm going to vomit," McCoy interrupts.
"Just take the picture!" Madeleine calls.
"Just take it all off -- uh, Jim, not you, Your Majesty," Gaila says before she buries her face in Madeleine's shoulder.
"Please don't tempt him," Spock says as he walks over and lets the photographer arrange him next to Jim.
"Aren't you glad you went with the 'fuck me' boots instead of those slippers?" Jim asks.
"In just a few hours, it will be your job to carry me if they cause my feet to ache," Spock says.
"Isn't that in all our service contracts?" McCoy asks.
"Shut up and back off, all of you," Jim laughs, and he pulls Spock against him just as the flash goes off.
"Oh," Sybok says slowly. "The Kirks are here."
Uhura and T'Pring stop their pre-ceremony game planning to turn and look at the people being escorted to Jim's suite, where the entire wedding party, tradition be damned apparently, is gathered. There is Commander Kirk in her dress uniform, her son Sam, his wife, and Winona's husband, who breaks off from the set and looks to the three of them almost sheepishly.
"You seating guests yet?" Frank asks.
"Through that door," Uhura motions. "There are ushers waiting there."
He walks away and Sybok mouths, "AWK-WARD", and then realizes he should fucking fly to Jim's suite and make sure no one gets too trigger happy.
Sybok arrives just as the Kirks do, and edges his way inside just ahead of them.
It makes no difference whether he announces them or not, as Winona Kirk has a way of announcing herself and, lucky for him and T'Pring's ulcer, it wasn't with a phaser blast through the nearest window.
"Look at my baby," Winona drawls, "All dressed up, ready to become a princess."
"Just like he always dreamed, right?" Sam grins.
"Does this mean we get upgrades, too?" Aurelan asks. "I'd like to be an archduchess."
"No, darling, I always call you my queen, and that's what you'll be," Sam says as he holds her hand. "Just as soon as we kill everyone in line for the throne."
Everyone glances at Spock, who tilts his head and smiles from the corner of his mouth.
"If you would like to spend the weekend as sovereigns, please, let me know and I will make sure to arrange it so Jim and I may vacation on the Federation's credit account," Spock says. "You may also be paid a visit from the Klingons, so --"
"Change of plans, I'm busy," Sam replies. "Doing anything else. Academic stuff. It's... it's what I do."
"Pity," Spock says, smiling a little wider, especially when Jim grabs his hand and walks over to embrace his family.
"Show a little backbone, Sam," Jim laughs. "Think of all the educational grants you could enact for the teeming, toothless ungratefuls I'm technically prince of."
"Is that a guillotine I hear being set up outside?" Sybok asks with a glance to the door.
"Why are you so fixated on teeth today?" Spock asks, and he looks to Winona. "Not five minutes after waking this morning, he --"
"No way, you brought up removing all my teeth so I'd be better for face fucking."
"Oh, your father loved that," Winona says. A shudder ripples through the room and she glares at everyone. "Two kids in 22 months. How surprised are any of you that George --"
"Never gonna be drunk enough," McCoy mutters into his flask.
"He's my dad!" Jim replies.
"He's an entire chapter on the command track," Gary laughs.
"Blame the Pikes for that," Winona informs him. "You have one little foursome on --"
"Hold me," Jim moans as he moves to faint against Spock. "I really can't take this today."
"He's not pregnant, is he?" Winona asks. "George thought he was for a week after we --"
"Mom, please!" Jim whines.
"Okay," Sam says to his mother after a quick glance to his chronometer. "That took -- wow -- less than 5 minutes. Name your prize."
Sybok sighs deeply and walks out around the time Winona begins naming things she would like Jim to do, which is around the same time he notices Spock and Jim ignoring the world and groping each other's hands somewhere in Spock's ridiculous overblown sleeve, and around the time Gary suggests a game of "Can you drink a shot out of it?" using objects in the room. Really, if drinking out of vaguely priceless heirlooms is the worst they can come up with today, he will count himself fortunate.
When Sybok exits and returns to where he left T'Pring and Uhura, he finds T'Pring standing there looking off into the distance blankly. He stops and she snaps back to attention.
"I am disturbingly calm," T'Pring says as she holds a new arrangement of flowers.
"Are those for me?" Sybok asks as he motions to the flowers. "Coordinating your bouquet to my boutonnière?"
"Be more archaic, Sybok," T'Pring replies. "These are to replace the ones an ambassador's dog has eaten just outside the translucent-not-transparent wedding dome. Somehow, this is the least of my problems and I am disturbingly calm."
"And repetitive, but lucid enough to notice that," he replies because with an armful of flowers, he can't ignore her. He offers to take them from her and she mechnically hands them over.
"The holophonorist is not a legal resident of the Federation," T'Pring says with the corners of her mouth tightened into something that's maybe a smile, but considering the words coming out of her mouth -- Sybok thinks he's right to be afraid, and clutches the flowers a little closer.
"Well, no one --"
"It means we must, somehow, launder money to pay for her services, or pay her in citizenship, or something else that will surely arise when we need it least," T'Pring says. "And that canid that belongs to the Deltan ambassador. Well."
"Well, we can escort it out," Sybok finishes. "And you can invite the holophonorist to be a citizen of the Federation for her work, not pay her in citizenship."
"And there have been seventeen death threats to the Prince Consort in the last hour, but only nine for the King, so security considers this a good sign."
"But they've only been... they haven't even stepped out of the palace yet?" Sybok asks.
"These are the men we serve," T'Pring says. "If you will excuse me."
"T'Pring," Sybok interrupts as she walks away. "Maybe you should rest for a bit, before everything starts."
"Thank you, Sybok," she replies, "But I am on my way to the kitchens for a bag to trap that canid in, and then some royal ceremonial rocks to shove into that bag before I throw it into the ocean. I would appreciate a few small favors, if you have the time?"
Sybok nods with his eyes wider than they should be, but T'Pring doesn't seem to notice and she? Needs to get drunk. Immediately. And then she'll fall asleep on his lap and he can drag her to a room where she can sleep until the honeymoon is over.
...Spock and Jim's honeymoon. He just wants to put her to bed even his brain can't do anything right.
"When they processional is assembled, have the guards lock all the rooms and guard all the wings of the palace except the one suite where His Majesty and the Prince Consort will change after the ceremony. The very last thing any of us need is drunken intercourse where diplomatic incidents may arise."
He laughs to himself and nods, and watches her head off in the direction of the kitchens (please, not actually to kill that dog) before he continues on his way to the garden.
Sybok does get T'Pring into a suite for a nap before he, sadly, has to prod her awake because everyone is in the corridor waiting to begin the procession out of the palace, through the garden, and into the ceremonial weather dome.
"Do not," she says as she wakes up again, "Do not tell Nyota."
"Tell her what? That even Vulcans drool in their sleep? Never," he says and, what, it's his brother's wedding day. He's allowed to feel goodwill and kindness towards all creatures.
In the corridor, Gary Mitchell is arguing with Jim and Chekov regarding... Chekov.
"Rankwise? He shouldn't even be in the procession -- no offense, kid," Jim replies. "Not only that, but you can't walk arm-in-arm down the fucking aisle with someone who makes you look like a sexual predator."
"I'm not linking arms with Bones," Gary says, threatening and frightened all at once.
"I know where you've been," McCoy replies. "The feeling's mutual."
"I'll walk with the lad," Scotty says.
"Everyone will walk in a single file down the aisle," T'Pring announces. "Commander and Dr. Kirk will be --"
"It's Dr. Hepburn, actually," Sam corrects.
T'Pring pauses and stares at him, and he adds, "I took Aurie's last name... when we got married... what's wrong with your eyes..."
"Shut up," Sybok whispers, "Don't make eye contact."
T'Pring glares Sam into silence and continues. "Commander Kirk and Dr. Hepburn first, and all of you," she says with a glare to the Enterprise's officers, "Will walk in a silent, aesthetically pleasing single file."
"But who goes first?" Gary whines.
"Bones, then rank order and shut up or I'll demote you right here," Jim snaps.
"And you," T'Pring interrupts. As she hisses in Jim's ear, Sybok sidles up to Spock's side and tugs on his sleeve.
"Ready?" he asks Spock.
"What is she telling him?" Spock asks with some genuine bewilderment in his voice. Well, whatever helps him focus on something besides the cameras capturing these images for the consumption of trillions of people now and in the future.
"Well, if her complaints over the past few weeks have been any indication," Sybok begins, not at all noticing that he's staring at her speak and the firm look in her eyes. "She's telling him how to walk."
"How -- how to walk? Jim knows --"
"Jim sprints down corridors, and if the two of you had actually bothered to show up for the rehearsals instead of 'discussing the Klingons' or whatever you call it now --"
"We were discussing the Klingons."
"Don't tell me that, Spock, it just makes me sad," Sybok sighs. "But she is probably advising him that this isn't a jaunt out of your room to the war room, his hands deep in his pockets, eyes on the floor, clocking in at approximately the speed of light." Sybok watches Jim's posture straighten, his hands come out of his pockets, some kind of -- clarity, maybe, coming into his face. "She's telling him that, against all logic and reason, all political savvy, pretty much everything in the universe, he's won you, and now he has to walk down that aisle and show everyone how he did it. Back straight, chin up --"
"She could also tell him that his fly is open," Spock says.
"It is not, Spock!" Jim snaps after a quick pat to his crotch. "Dammit."
"He will always fall for it," Spock whispers to Sybok. "Always."
"I need to vomit," Sybok sighs, and he heads off to find their father.
All that aside, it's a fairly no frills ceremony. Except for the actual frills hanging off the chairs in the aisle, of course.
McCoy remembers the rings (Uhura remembers to pass the rings to McCoy, who is able to hold the rings in his pocket until they are needed, unlike the end of the bachelor party when he attempted to throw a chair and crush the entire institution of marriage before he curled up on the floor and slept), everyone remembers to step with the right foot first, no one is assassinated at any point, and --
And they all see Jim smirk as he slips the ring on Spock's finger, but it's not a mocking -- maybe it is a mocking smirk, as that seems to be their central channel of expressing affection, but --
It's real, real enough that T'Pring is sure two trillion sentient creatures heard the thickness in Jim's voice (for once, not growling or shrieking or outright yelling to make himself heard) as he slipped the ring on and said, simply, "With this ring, we are partnered."
"With this ring, we are partnered," Spock replies, and T'Pring, who has heard every speech Spock has ever made at least twice over, can hear him controlling the tone of his voice -- not too impassioned, not too quick, but completely deliberate and full of feeling. They are partnered and they will not be stopped.
She can buy that.
The Chief Justice announces, "You are now joined for as long as you will have each other," and T'Pring wonders at their momentary forethought, because they at least consulted with each other on how to kiss in front of the entire Federation -- Jim's hand goes to the back of Spock's neck and the ring catches the light of the one photographer allowed in the dome, and they engage in what Uhura and the media have deemed their 'trademark' move, that press of their foreheads together, eyes closed, both of them grinning.
T'Pring is glad she had Jim's teeth whitened this morning, and she escapes to check on the final preparations for the parade.
It doesn't strike Jim until he's actually in the carriage (not horse-drawn, they're not barbaric, for fuck's sake) that -- well, that this isn't just a really amusing Saturday for him and Spock. It's a fucking clusterfuck of a circus and he and Spock are in a white carriage with flowers adorning every surface and a pair of plasma rifles (freshly charged, they're actually still warm) rubbing against his calf just out of view.
"So you remember how to fire one of those in case you need to?" Jim asks as their carriage begins to move behind the eternally long parade of soldiers (a peacekeeping armada is still an armada, he reflects), performers, and more soldiers and then more soldiers.
"And you remember to fall to the floor of the carriage and let the snipers do their work in case of --" Jim watches Spock swallow quickly and add, "Anything?" Nearly invisible, if he hadn't memorized every movement of Spock's body.
"Should have worn a hat," Jim sighs. He leans back slightly in the carriage and then sits up straight again, completely at attention and smiling a little at the crowds. "Hey Spock," he says as he takes Spock's hand and runs his thumb deliberately over the ring.
"Can I kiss you here? In the carriage?" Jim asks. "I'll keep my eyes open, you know. For murderers."
"What," Spock laughs as he leans in and kisses Jim, but only briefly (because of the murderers).
T'Pring reflects on the discussion about the first dance for the grooms as she enters the palace's grand ballroom, where most of the guests are already seated and waiting for Jim and Spock to return. They have appetizers to keep them mollified, and T'Pring has a large iced chocolate drink to begin the long process of winding down from the event of the year, possibly the decade. No, it's still too early in the decade -- she would count the coronation more significant, but the wedding generated more press.
She notices she's walking on the edge of the dance floor and remembers the discussion about the first dance.
"And now, the question that, I shit you not, I've seen break up marriages," Uhura announced as she, T'Pring, Sybok, Jim, Spock, and trusty note-taking Shras sat around a conference table in Spock's office. "The reception. First dance. Let's each make a list of five and then we'll start narrowing it down. Ready? Go."
Everyone, but everyone, scribbled down titles, but T'Pring noticed that Jim and Spock were -- simply looking at each other, confused and then laughing as Jim reached for Spock's hand. "Fuck, we're the worst," he muttered.
"What?" T'Pring asked. "Why haven't you written any titles?"
"Uh," Jim began. "We're kind of... really bad... not very good... at music."
"What?" Sybok asked. "Not true, Spock can play the Vulcan lute, or so our tutor with the wandering eye would tell our father."
"What?" Jim asked, a grin spreading across his face as he leaned in towards Spock. "Your music tutor? Tell me more!"
"Don't worry, your husband is as pure as the purest of purity -- or was, until you arrived," Sybok sighed. "What was his name? Derek? Fred?"
"Kuval," Spock said with a glare to Sybok.
"Of course," Sybok said. "I was so close. And then -- why did he leave?"
"I heard -- well." Uhura laughed and added, "I heard exactly what you did. Wandering eyes might have become wandering hands -- or did?"
"He was just friendly," Spock insisted. "And he joined the Peace Corps."
"One of these Southern hemisphere Vulcans, you understand," Sybok said to Jim. "Haven't got the taste for Surak, a little too... friendly."
"If this conversation continues for much longer, I will look up Kuval and all of you --"
"Hey hey," Jim protested, "I just wanted to know. If I ever run into this guy at a party, we're gonna have words. Maybe a threeway."
"We were discussing music," T'Pring interrupted. "Why have you chosen no songs? Your choices would lend considerable weight to the matter and allow us to continue making the rest of the arrangements for the wedding."
"Oh, right, the music," Jim began. "Yeah, uh. We don't listen to much music."
"I take you to concerts constantly!" Uhura reminded Spock.
"I tune out," Spock admitted. "And I have a handheld PADD you have not confiscated yet."
"And I've been kind of busy, um, you know. Being out in space," Jim added.
"And neither of you have the slightest inkling as to what kind of music you would prefer to dance to at your wedding?" T'Pring asked.
They looked at her blankly, and T'Pring nodded.
"We will use the music that played during the first dance of the coronation ball. It is practical and emotionally significant in the narrative of your union."
"She just killed the romance," Jim sighed as he rests his head on the table.
"Our union?" Spock asked.
"If you will excuse us," T'Pring continued, "We now have to research a music coordinator for the reception."
"I like Beethoven," Spock supplied as the wedding planners leave.
"You can't dance to Beethoven," Sybok said, disgusted. "Just. You can't."
"That is a lot of chocolate," Sybok says as he blocks T'Pring's path on the edge of the dance floor. "Are you sure you don't want me to just inject it between your toes? It would take no time at all!"
She nearly smiles but instead tilts her head and asks, "Where is the happy couple?"
"Still changing," Sybok laughs. "I left Shras guarding the door they were attempting to break through using only their pelvises."
"This may surprise you," T'Pring begins, "But I did not need that mental image."
"He's my little brother, your sovereign, and... our friend? What is Jim Kirk to us?"
"A liability," she suggests to her glass. "But intelligent, for a human."
"When they come back from their honeymoon --"
"They are staying at the palace."
"You know. Mentally. When they mentally return, I'll make sure to tell him you think well of him, and he won't know what to do with himself."
She is about to tell him about running into Jim in the hallway and finding out he is a useful man, who came up with the dome idea, but then Jim and Spock are announced and, just as she predicted, the spectator-guests swoon when they dance their first dance to the piece from the coronation ball.
"Well done," Sybok informs her. He gives a tiny wave when Spock smiles over Jim's shoulder at them, and does the same for Jim when he looks over Spock's shoulder. "They are so... disgustingly happy with each other, aren't they?"
She agrees and, eventually, Spock orders them to dance together.
"Prince Frederick is here," Spock informs her as Jim, still holding his hand, talks to someone behind Spock. "And he is quite taken with you, so either dance with my brother and give Frederick the wrong impression as to your social and sexual availability, or I will elevate you to princess and you may end up married to him."
T'Pring blinks at him and Jim chimes in over Spock's shoulder, suddenly invested, "Sybok's not inbred and Spock is feeling puckish. Come on. It's our wedding."
"Puckish?" she asks.
She dances with Sarek instead, and Spock declares her off-duty for the night.
However, T'Pring is never really off-duty, and even in her chocolate relaxation haze manages to take note of the following:
Frederick cries into the fur of one of the palace corgis as the party winds down; Sulu brings him a pity drink and they end up crying under a table together, sharing their childhood nightmares until Gaila and Madeline rescue him.
McCoy, after several drinks, forgets he technically isn't a parent to either Gary or Chekov and spends most of the night separating them until he inadvertently seduces one of the cocktail waitresses with his -15 on the Kinsey scale and the careless strands of hair falling into his eyes. Priceless china is broken in the process.
Sam and Aurelan dance quietly in a corner of the room, oblivious to all, until they are shown to their room in the palace at a reasonable hour.
Except they rush back into the ballroom and whimper to T'Pring that they found Winona Kirk there with the Deltan delegation and could they possibly have another room (but not too close to Jim because he has a tendency towards yelling in the heat of the moment?)
Gary and Chekov take a stroll in the garden and christen the ceremonial wedding dome with sex on the raised platform where Jim and Spock were married earlier. They return in time for the cake.
Uhura and Commander Scott disappear midway through the reception and will resurface in two days; Shras goes with them and never speaks of it to anyone.
All in all -- it is not the unbridled disaster T'Pring had expected.
The best man's speech is made in a corner of the ballroom, McCoy speaking quietly to Jim and Spock with a hand on each of their shoulders and everyone warned away with an impatient bark when they come too close.
T'Pring wonders what he says to Jim and Spock, because afterwards, they embrace and kiss and do not stop, not even to breathe it seems, until she approaches and pinches them both at their waists.
"Your Majesty, Your Highness," she mutters, "It is time to say goodnight."
"So it is," Spock says, and Jim says nothing, simply smiles, blindsided by exhaustion, and takes both of Spock's hands in his own.
They leave the ballroom for their wing of the palace, and T'Pring surveys the landscape of the ballroom: the drunk diplomats and politicians beginning to team up to generate some political scandals, the family members reunited and laughing on this happy occasion, Uhura probably in the kitchen with that engineer, and --
And Sybok giving her an arched eyebrow that is so reminiscent of his brother, but with a tinge of... recklessness about it.
T'Pring approaches slowly, her hands clasped loosely behind her back, and motions to the door with an arched eyebrow of her own.
"Well, really now," Sybok replies. "And what would the Lord Chamberlain T'Pring say?"
"She agrees that Shi'Kahr Krash Kart IX is wasted on His Majesty's sadly weak hand-eye coordination skills, and that the new bonus levels will only be unlocked by two players of considerable skill as well as motor skills uncompromised by the day's events."
"T'Pring," Sybok says after a sharp intake of breath, "You could not be more attractive right now -- not just to me, mind you, but to any organism in the known universe with even the slightest hint of sentience and common sense."
She -- somehow, she couldn't bring herself to say any of the thousands of coy lines that presented in her mind: the night is young, Sybok or I will show you mine if you show me yours or do you always talk this much?
He has enough words for the two of them -- for all of them, really -- so she smiles at him and leaves the ballroom, and nods to herself when he rushes out after her and, so boldly and with a laugh that echoes down the corridor, links their arms together and begins discussing the challenges he and Spock discovered while they played Shi'Kahr Krash Kart VII and VIII earlier that day.