Spock sat in the furthest corner of the mess sipping a spiced Vulcan tea. The warming beverage called to mind distant memories of his youth on Vulcan and his constant battle to subdue his human heritage. As he watched the interactions of the varied beings in the room, he was reminded once again that denying part of one’s genome was illogical. He had no answer to why it had taken so long to realize that, and he considered that perhaps Vulcans could learn much from other less logical beings.
Doctor McCoy approached with a mug of hot coffee and sat down across from him.
“Good morning, Spock,” he said with a smile. “Sleep well?”
Spock gazed at him over his cup. “I did not sleep,” he said matter of factly.
McCoy grinned and took a sip of his coffee. “Is that so?” he said.
“Indeed,” Spock said. “Saavik had many requests.”
McCoy sputtered and set down his mug while wiping at his mouth. “I swear, Spock,” he said, “you say things like that just to get a rise out of me.”
Spock looked at him calmly. “I was simply expounding on my reply to your query,” he said and raised an eyebrow. “I was not aware that you were reticent to speak about such matters.”
Before McCoy could answer, Captain Kirk slipped into the seat beside him. “Mister Spock,” he said in greeting. “I hear that Bones has finally let you go home.”
“That is correct,” Spock answered.
Kirk took a drink of his coffee and winked. “I suppose Saavik was happy about that?” he asked.
Spock considered the question and the inference with a raised eyebrow. “Saavik finds the arrangement satisfactory,” he said smoothly. “As do I.”
“Now don’t get him started,” McCoy said, shaking a finger at Kirk. “I’m not ready for our Vulcan friend to kiss and tell.”
Kirk laughed while Spock gazed at McCoy in confusion. “You have seen Saavik and I kiss many times,” he said. “Why should I need to tell you about it?”
McCoy shook his head. “It’s not the kissing that I’m worried about,” he said, only adding to Spock’s confusion. “In any case,” he continued, “I hope you didn’t overdo it.”
Spock stared at him a long time. “You have released me for any physical activity, have you not?” he asked.
“And is there a limit on copulation that you have failed to relay?” he continued.
Kirk and McCoy both choked on their coffee at the same time.
“Touche’, Bones,” Kirk said when he had finished coughing.
McCoy just shook his head. “See what I mean?” he said. “Who would have thought we’d be having this discussion all those years ago?” He glanced at Spock with a grin. “Back when Vulcans had inhibitions.”
Spock gave him a ghost of a smile. “It was a long time ago,” he said.
“Indeed it was,” Kirk said with a far-off look. Then turning to Spock, he managed a small smile. “We can have you back at the Academy by next month,” he said, “Just in time to intimidate a new class of recruits.”
Spock nodded. “This may be the last class for some time to experience my tutelage,” he said. “I have already put in for a leave of absence next year to prepare for the birth of my child.”
Kirk smiled. “Don’t take this the wrong way, Spock,” he said, “but I just can’t see you holding a baby.”
Spock smiled just a little. “It is true that I am well past the usual age for a first child,” he said. “However, I am anticipating the event.”
McCoy smiled. “You know what?” he said. “So am I.”
“Why, Bones!” Kirk said with a grin, “I thought a bunch of little Spocks made you nervous.”
“Well, maybe a little,” the doctor admitted, grinning. “It took years to get one sorted out, I’d hate to have to go through that again.”
Spock raised an eyebrow but didn’t comment. Kirk looked at him in surprise.
“Bones,” he said, “I think you’ve finally made our Vulcan friend speechless!”
“On the contrary,” Spock replied, “I do not comment because the doctor is correct. I have changed, as all things must. However, the doctor’s claims of responsibility for any improvements in my personality are debatable.”
Kirk laughed. “I’m going to miss having you around,” he said. “Though I suppose that change is inevitable too.”
Spock nodded while McCoy stared into his coffee cup. “I guess you’re going to have to get used to not having me around either,” he said when he finally looked up at the captain again. “I’m going to stay on Vulcan awhile.”
Kirk stared at him with his mouth hanging open. “On Vulcan?” he asked incredulously.
“Well...yeah,” McCoy answered. “I’ve got my research tenure at the Science Academy and opportunities I wouldn’t get anywhere else.” He grinned widely. “And I know some Vulcan acquaintances who will soon need a babysitter!”
Kirk laughed. “Well then,” he said wistfully. “I guess I’m going to have to visit Vulcan more often.” He eyed them both carefully. “Speaking of changes,” he said, “when exactly did you two start getting along so well?”
Spock and McCoy looked at one another then back at Kirk, but neither of them offered an explanation.
After a moment, Kirk shook his head and laughed again. “Time and tide wait for no man, I suppose,” he mused. “As you say, change is an essential part of life.”
“Indeed,” Spock agreed as his eyes shifted to the doorway. Saavik stood there scanning the room and almost smiled when she saw him. He stood and went to meet her halfway, their hands touching briefly and his eyes searching hers with a question. She blushed but nodded her assent.
His eyes smiled as he touched her face and kissed her openly in the crowded mess hall. They ignored the surprised murmurs and open stares as he led her back to the table.
As they seated themselves across from the captain and the doctor, Spock offered the remainder of his tea to Saavik who took it eagerly. The spiced drink reminded her of Vulcan, her adopted home, and of Spock who had first introduced her to it. As she sipped it, she noticed the wide eyed stares of the two humans and couldn’t help but blush again.
“Would you like to explain that?” McCoy asked, “or do I need to drag you down to sickbay for more tests?”
“There is no need for your potions and tests, Doctor,” Spock replied as he folded his hands together much like Sarek often did. “I do not suffer from a hormone imbalance at this time.”
“Then why...?” Kirk began.
“Why did I kiss Saavik?” Spock prompted as he noted their shocked expressions with amusement.
“As you are aware, public displays of affection have long been considered distasteful in Vulcan society,” he explained. “However, this attitude is slowly changing and it is wise to be prepared to assimilate to the new culture.”
He sat back and looked at them thoughtfully. “But the main reason I kissed Saavik,” he said, “is because I wanted to.”
McCoy shook his head and chuckled softly. “I’m an old man, Spock,” he said. “The least you could do is warn a body.”
Spock let both eyebrows slowly rise. “You wish me to communicate to you my intentions toward Saavik?” he asked.
“I think your intentions are pretty clear,” Kirk interrupted with a laugh.“We’re just not used to seeing Vulcans acting on their impulses.”
“I do resist some of them,” Spock said dryly as his eyes shifted to meet Saavik’s. She smiled a little as she touched his mind.
What is it you resist, husband? she asked coyly.
His answer came not in words but in intimate images that made her lower her eyes despite the privacy of their communication.
You are shameless, k’diwa.
Perhaps, he thought. But I love you.
She looked up at him again and laid her fingers on his offered ones. They both noticed that Kirk and McCoy were watching them with interest.
“You were just communicating, weren’t you?” McCoy asked. Spock inclined his head in acknowledgment.
“Fascinating!” McCoy said.
Kirk laughed at McCoy’s use of the word. “Well,” he said after a moment, “we’re taking your father home to Vulcan. And I guess, the good doctor also,” he said, nodding toward McCoy. “There will be time to visit with your mother before we continue to Earth.”
“Thank you, Jim,” Spock said.
Kirk turned to Saavik. “And what are your plans?” he asked.
“I shall stay on Vulcan a short while before joining a scientific mission to the Garadius system,” she said. “When it is complete I shall return to Vulcan to await the arrival of my child....and my husband.”
The doctor studied them with some concern. “That’s a long time to be apart,” he said.
“Indeed,” Spock said, as he abandoned the touching of fingers to simply holding Saavik’s hand. “The separation will be difficult, but we have obligations to fulfill.”
Kirk slowly shook his head. “Long distance relationships are hard,” he said. “But I guess the mental link will help.”
“Yes,” Spock said, “it is always a comfort.”
Kirk nodded. “And,” he said with a grin, “when I’m on Earth, I can stop by and distract you.”
Spock slowly raised an eyebrow. “I will welcome your distractions, Jim,” he said, “provided you remember that the good doctor will not be nearby to ‘put us back together’.”
Kirk and McCoy laughed.
“And I’ll watch over Saavik when she gets back to Vulcan,” McCoy offered. “And your parents will too, I’m sure.”
Spock allowed himself a slight smile. “Thank you, Leonard,” he said, “that is also a comfort.”
They sat in silence for some time knowing that their time together would soon be ending. While Kirk and McCoy were lost in their own private thoughts, Spock reached out to Saavik’s mind again.
Tell me your heart
A mind-caress and then...a thought...
Spock smiled openly, shocking McCoy and Kirk out of their musings.
“I think that’s our cue to go pack or something,” McCoy said with a grin. He got up to leave, elbowing the captain in the ribs as he did so.
“Right...” Kirk said as he got up to follow him. “See you two later.”
Spock nodded at them but his eyes were on Saavik again.
“Ha,” he said aloud, “fan-vel du istaya.”
She smiled at him. “Anything I wish?” she asked.
He raised an eyebrow. “Within my ability to do, of course,” he amended. He rose and offered his hand to help her up. He was keenly aware of the many eyes now watching them, but ignored the attention.
She stood in front of him, her eyes smiling but her face an impassive mask. He clasped his hands behind his back, hiding his own emotions with Vulcan calm. Her gentle laughter in his mind nearly broke his charade.
The crew will talk, she thought to him.
Yes, he replied and smiled at her. Let them.
Then he dropped the pretense entirely and offered his hand to her. She took it as they walked from the room, leaving behind the shocked but rumor-hungry crew of the Enterprise.