Shore leave—more accurately, Iowa leave. Kirk doesn’t love Riverside, but he loves the ramshackle farmhouse, once his grandfather’s and now his.
Bones finds him out in one of the old cornfields, lying between the fallow rows, flannel shirt off and crumpled beneath his head. “I was wondering where you were,” he says.
“Here,” Kirk answers, and doesn’t open his eyes.
Bones lies down too, mirroring him, the tops of their heads not quite touching. “Thought I’d grill those rib-eyes for dinner,” Bones says after a while.
Lazily, Kirk stretches a hand up over his head, and Bones takes it.
As a child, Grace was lanky and awkward, her brown hair in tangles. At night, in her pajamas, she would climb out onto the tree between their houses and shimmy across; they’d play hologames for hours.
The night they graduated high school, Grace climbed inside to stand on Leonard’s bedroom floor. Her skin was luminous; her pale nightgown shimmered; her dark hair shone in the moonlight. For a moment Leonard thought he was dreaming about a goddess.
She crawled into bed with him. Her bare arms and feet were cold. He wrapped his arms around her to keep her warm.
Myriam was just waking up as Christine was leaving. Pulling the sheet around herself and pushing her curls out of her eyes, she mumbled, “Early.”
Christine zipped up a boot and went to kiss her. “Assembly at school. It’s an honor code allegation, so we all have to be there.”
“Stupid,” Myriam muttered, but managed a, “Love you,” and another kiss.
It was a beautiful morning, and there was going to be an interesting lab in Christine’s pathology class if she could just get through the stupid assembly.
When she left, she thought she’d be home in time for dinner.
“How did you get these credits?” Gaila asks suspiciously.
“Poker game. It’s a useful skill—I’ll teach you if you want. Now come on—we’re going somewhere.”
Fifteen minutes later, Jim’s grinning as he leads her into the Mandarin Risa, easily the priciest hotel in town.
Some girls had gone to hotels. Gaila wasn’t allowed out.
“What are we doing here?” she hisses.
“Getting room service and fucking in the hot tub and jumping on the bed.” He gives her a light kiss. “You game?”
“Jumping on the bed?”
Jim nods, very seriously.
Gaila links their arms. “I am game.”
“I’m naught but a short, balding Scotsman who loves sandwiches!” Scotty protests. “And her—well, look at her!” He cuts his eyes toward the other side of the mess, where Carolyn Palamas is deep in conversation with Martine and Jaeger.
“You’re the brilliant chief engineer of the flagship of the Federation fleet,” Uhura says. “And a sweet man besides. We’ve got leave soon on Betazed; ask Carolyn to have dinner with you there.”
Scotty gulps. “Dinner? With me?”
Uhura pats him on the shoulder and gets up. “With you. Bet you a fifth of nonsynthesized Dewar’s that she says yes."
He is privy to much unshared knowledge. It is an honor; Nyota does not easily reveal information about herself.
He was unprepared for this particular discovery.
“I should think they would be…quite inconvenient during combat training.”
“I waited until I’d finished the hand-to-hand requirement,” she explains. She smiles at him, warm and open. “It’s OK. You can touch them.”
She sighs contentedly as he touches a hesitant a finger to her nipple—it is an unusual and fascinating sight, this ring of metal through such a sensitive area.
She gasps and pulls him closer when he puts his mouth there.
When he and Hikaru are in bed, James traces what will be the outlines. “They’re going to be beautiful. I just…I hate the idea of you in pain.”
“She’s not going to do it all at once,” Hikaru reminds him. “Only a couple of hours tomorrow. And I promise I’ll ask her to stop if it’s too much.”
“I wish I could be with you.”
“Me too. But most shops have that policy. And I know how you feel about blood.”
James laughs and kisses one shoulder blade, where the tip of the left wing will lie.
Wings, for flight.
His first night home, Chris wakes up and he’s pretty sure he’s dreaming.
Beside him, Number One says, “You’re not,” with the infinitesimal curve of her lips that Chris knows translates to a smile.
“Tell me I didn’t say that out loud.”
“Very well, I won’t,” she says, and he laughs.
He's not dreaming. She was with him last night; she’s with him now.
“I’m glad you’re here,” he says, and brushes her hair back from her eyes. He traces her eyebrows, her cheekbones—this miracle of a woman.
“I am glad, too,” she tells him, and kisses his palm.
He will marry again. It is the logical course, both to repopulate the species and to serve as an example to others to do the same. He is not young, but he remains capable of reproduction. Amanda would not desire for him to be alone.
He was alone before he met her; his work, his music, and his scholarship were sufficient. There is no filling the empty space that was Amanda; solitude is preferable.
He seats himself at his desk to return T’Pau’s message. I consent to the search for a mate as discussed.
He will marry again. He must.
She wishes it weren’t called a sickbay. She isn’t sick. She is happy, healthy, and holding a baby boy with delicately pointed ears, cinnamon skin, and fine dark hair.
Spock, in a chair next to her biobed, traces a finger across their son’s tiny fist.
“Come up here,” Nyota says. “I want to be with both of you.”
Nyota moves over, careful not to disturb the baby. Spock puts an arm around her, and she nestles into his shoulder. “He’s perfect,” she says.
“He is,” Spock says softly. “As are you.”
No one disturbs the family as they rest, together.