DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of T'Kuht and is copyright (c) 2002 by T'Kuht.
"J.T., can you help me with this please," Spock requested.
The youngster that Spock had begun tutoring in partial exchange for yard work eagerly went to help with the antique car. Spock had decided that it was illogical to pay to have someone else change the oil and lube the chassis when he could just as well do it himself. Now however, he decided that it might not have been such a good idea. Oil had spewed all over the drive. An accident sent the drain plug from the oil pan flying and landed somewhere in the yard that was in the act of being cut. Spock had stopped J.T. immediately.
"I have lost the plug that goes into the oil pan. Do you know what one looks like?"
"Yes," he said. He'd fiddled and tinkered with enough engines to know what the components looked like in his sleep.
"Help me retrieve it. I did not hear it when it hit so I am confident that it did not hit a rock or concrete. You begin searching this section, and I will go over here," Spock instructed and fell to his knees. The only way they were going to find it was good old-fashioned nose to the ground searching.
The two looked a bit odd as they crawled along, patting the ground, but it was the only way they had to find the plug. Spock couldn't just forget about it. If J.T. hit it with the mower it might cause quite a bit of damage, and it was not something that the local stores would have handy. In fact, he would probably have to have a new one custom made to fit the 1926 Packard Roadster.
After almost an hour of searching, J.T. came up with it, stuck between the crack in the sidewalk and the grass he was just about to mow. " Bingo!"
"Thank you, J.T. You do not know how difficult it would have been to replace," Spock said full of relief that he would not have to go through that hassle.
"You can't just get them anywhere. But she sure is a perty car," the lad said.
Spock cocked an eyebrow. " The word is pretty, and yes she is."
"Yeah, I'll get back to the yard okay," he said and started the mower again. The warm July sunshine threatened to decimate the yard. No rain had fallen in the month of June at all and the grass was beginning to turn a crispy brown. If it had not been for the 4th of July party they were giving, Spock and Christine would not have bothered with the yard at all. Spock now had the plug back in the pan, but the oil that he had poured in had run all over the drive. Making absolutely certain that the plug was secure, he began pouring more oil in. This time, the plug remained in place. He'd have to get some oil-dry out to help sop up the mess later.
J.T. finished the yard with another three passes, pushed the mower to clean it before putting it away. His money making venture this year was not making much. "Do you have anything else you want me to do?" he asked. Since meeting the Vulcan and his wife, J.T. had become their handy boy. Many things about old houses and cars Spock was not familiar with, but J.T. was or he became familiar with very quickly.
"Yes, you can assist with cleaning this car. Have you ever done such work before?" Spock asked.
"Sure. But you'll have to move the car first," J.T. said.
"You have it sitting out in the sunlight. If you're going to wax it, you'll need it in the shade so the wax doesn't just bake on before you can get it off. It won't hurt the car, it'll just be so hard you can't hardly get it off," he explained. He had learned this lesson the hard way.
"Thank you. I shall do so. But the car is quite warm, would it better to wait?" the Vulcan asked. He was getting used to asking advice from a ten year old.
"For a little while anyway."
Spock put the car in the garage, began putting the ramps and the other things away while J.T. took care of the mower. With the chores done for at least half an hour, the two had a chance to rest out of the sunlight. Spock did not dare go into the house even to get a drink of water. He was thirsty, but he was also quite filthy. The boy went over to sit in his usual spot on the swing set up on the porch that went to the summerhouse. Since having it redone, it had seen quite a bit of use. J.T. preferred to do his lessons out here where it was not as confining as the house. Spock spent afternoons in the non-air conditioned room; Christine preferred to watch the sun go down over the bay from this spot. They would have a perfect vantage point for the fireworks display from the summerhouse patio.
"When do your friends arrive?" J.T. asked as he retied one of his shoestrings. Spock set the glass of water down. They'd put a utility sink in the garage to clean up while outside, but it came in quite handy for a quick drink. It was drunk in almost one gulp.
"They begin arriving tomorrow morning. I believe Dr. McCoy will be first. Would you like to meet him?" Spock asked as he sat down on the swing next to the boy.
"Why? Is he famous or something?"
"Dr. McCoy has indeed made many discoveries during his career, but I would not say he was a celebrity. He was the chief physician for the USS Enterprise for over twenty years."
At that name, the boy's head bobbed up. He had studied every plan and inch of the famous Starship. "Wow, you know someone who was on the Enterprise."
Spock looked at the boy with a little surprise. "As do you."
"I spent thirty years aboard the Enterprise, and Christine served for eight of those," he answered a little proudly.
"That is so cool. I have studied that ship from bow to stern and back again."
"Then you will wish to meet Captain Scott when he arrives," Spock said.
The boy knew that name as well. Scotty had written many of the documents the boy had in his possession. "You mean you are going to have Captain Montgomery Scott here in this house ... right here?"
"Yes, Montgomery Scott is one of my oldest friends," Spock said. In truth, Spock had known Scotty longer than any of them. Scott had signed aboard the Enterprise two years before Pike had stepped down as captain. He had a camaraderie with the Scotsman that he hadn't had with any other humans. Scott was a constant in his life where many had been only temporary. On almost any subject, Spock could give the engineer's response. He was a very predictable man. That was comforting in a world where things changed over night.
"Do you wish to meet him?" Spock asked.
The boy nearly leapt out of his seat in response. "YEAH!!"
"A simple yes would do," Spock chastised lightly.
"Yes sir," the boy said straightening to a more military bearing. Since meeting Spock he had tried to copy the Vulcan's manners and speech in certain instances.
"What are you two plotting?" came a voice from the porch. Spock watched as his wife stepped down to walk over to them. "I thought you two were going to work on the car."
"We are. We are resting while it cools down," Spock explained.
J.T. looked at the woman with new interest. "You were on the Enterprise?"
"Uh-huh. That's where I met Spock," she said sweetly and smiled at her husband.
"Golly, here I've been in the middle of famous people and haven't known it," he said. "Wait till the kids at school hear this."
Christine laughed. " I'm sure they'll be impressed. But we're not really famous you know. Well, I'm not. Spock is. At least you are a little more notable than the rest of us."
"I would not say notable. I do have a reputation, however."
"For getting in trouble. You should get him to go to class for show and tell day next year," Christine suggested teasingly. Spock could keep them in amazing tales for days.
"That would be so cool. Will ya come? Will ya huh?"
"I will on the condition that you stop using the term 'huh'. If your teacher approves I will come and speak to the class on an appropriate topic. You might wish to ask Christine as well. She is not completely without a reputation," Spock said throwing the ball squarely back at his wife. She might not be a major household name, but within the research and medical communities she was well respected and highly lauded.
"Oh, I'm sure they'd rather hear all about marauders and pirates and phaser battles than they would about germs and new bio-structures, but if you feel the need to put your class to sleep, I'll make sure to come. In fact, why don't we see if your class can come on a tour of Starfield? That might be more amusing."
"I'll be sure to ask when I get back to regular school."
Since doing miserably on his last semester's worth of work, J.T. had been sent to summer school, and Spock had tutored him almost daily with his lessons. He was improving rapidly, which pleased J.T.'s father immensely. He never questioned the boy when he mentioned he would be spending the time at Inspiration Point. In fact, with the arrangement they had, J.T. did not have to be sent to a day care or have a sitter with him after his classes let out. He always walked to Inspiration Point or Spock met him in the car.
"Speaking of getting back," Christine said and turned back to the house. She was in the middle of preparing the finger foods and the other things that could be made ahead of time. Before getting to the porch, "Oh, you'll have to go buy a roll away bed or something. Sulu is coming too."
"It will be agreeable to see him again. Is Commander Rand arriving with him?"
"Yes, she's coming too. So that's McCoy, Chekov, Scott, Sulu, Uhura, Rand, and Carol," she counted off. The one name that was painfully absent hung between them. It would be the first of the large-scale gatherings that they'd had since Jim's death. Spock wondered if he was ready for the ordeal or not. "Will the car be cooled off by now?"
J.T. Kirgsen looked over at the Packard. It had been sitting for nearly half an hour. "We could probably get started on it."
* * *
"You really have done things with this place since I was here the last time," Leonard McCoy was saying as Chris led him to the larger guest room. The group would have to double up if they were all going to squeeze in. Sarek and Amanda had offered beds for them at the embassy, but both Christine and Spock wanted the group to all be together and not spread out. That's why they had purchased the house in the first place.
"We got the summerhouse all fixed too," Christine was saying as she flopped his carry bag onto one of the twin beds. McCoy would be sharing with Scotty.
Spock was out unloading the rest of the luggage and would bring it later. He always acted as footman when there were any guests. "So, while I have you alone for a few minutes, how is he?"
Christine nodded, "Okay, he has these odd moments, like that car, but overall he's the same. He has a strange attachment for the boy that mows our yard, though."
"A boy, huh? Spock never was one for kids," McCoy mused. Reviewing the placement of furniture in the room, he switched the bag to the other bed. He liked windows. "You don't think he could be hinting, do you?"
Bones McCoy hadn't meant to hurt one of his best friends, but his statement wiped the smile off her face. "I don't know." A tear started to roll down her cheeks.
"Hey, hey, what is this? Spock's been good to you. I told that green blooded son of a bitch what I'd do if he hurt you," he threatened as he wrapped an arm around his favorite former nurse.
"Oh, Leonard, Spock's not mistreated me. He couldn't. But if he doesn't want a child, why does he feel a need to spend all his free time with that boy? J.T. is a good kid. He needs someone to be a friend to him, and they get along like two peas in a pod. He almost reminds me of someone." Her voice trailed off as she suddenly realized something. Spock wasn't necessarily looking for a son in his life as a bosom male companion. Jim Kirk had been the pal that Spock had not had in his youth. Jim Kirk was the best friend of all time and all life. The nearly 70-year-old Vulcan was now treating J.T. not as a son but as the friend he had lost only a few months ago. Christine smiled. At least if she looked at him in that manner, J.T. was not as disturbing to her. "You know, I think I've had it categorized all wrong. Thanks. I sometimes get so, well, you know how I get. I wish you were closer so I could just show up on your doorstep and yack your ear off. Why don't you move up here?" she pleaded half-heartedly. She knew he'd never leave his beloved Atlanta now that he was retired.
"For you I'd do anything but move to the north. I'm a Southerner, not a Yankee. Don't you and Spock have any friends here?"
"Aside from either going to see his parents or spending some time with Anne and Ken, we really don't socialize. We stay home a lot. Well, I should rephrase that. I stay at work; Spock stays home a lot. He's really sort of become a house husband."
McCoy looked at her in near alarm. The chuckle started at the back of his throat, seeing Spock in an apron and pushing a vacuum cleaner was almost too much for the good doctor. Just then, Spock chose to appear loaded down with the bags and sent his wife as well as his old friend into absolute fits of laughter. With a sigh, he stood watching them and nodded. "Humans," he muttered.
* * *
"Spock, can I see you a moment," Christine whispered into her husband's ear as the sound level rose in their house 200%. Everyone had arrived amongst shouts and back thumping. Spock accompanied his wife to the small utility porch where it was away from the din.
"What is this?" she asked and presented him a small dark velvet box. Inside was the eternity band that was engraved to C.M. from J.K. Spock had placed it in the safe after Jim had given it to him and had not remembered that it was there. He took it as if it were fragile eggs. "Jim had intended to give it to Carol when he returned. He gave it to me in case he lost it. What do we do with it?"
The two stood there completely lost. Christine tried to think what would be best. Spock had no need to keep it. It was meant for Carol. However, Carol was just now getting to the point that she could speak Jim Kirk's name. How would being handed an engagement ring from a dead man affect her?
Christine sighed, "Well, I want her to have it. But on the other hand, I don't know if she needs it. It's one thing to be given a ring and have the person die but it's another one entirely to be given a ring from someone who is dead and be told that he wanted to marry you. Why don't we wait for a little while longer? She doesn't know we have it, and we can see how well she is adjusting before bringing it out."
Spock nearly smiled. Christine was probably correct. He would simply have presented the ring to the doctor because it belonged to her. Finding a moment from the chaos to show his wife affection, he allowed his right hand to caress her cheek, drew her chin up to a light kiss.
"Good GOD! Can't you two give it up for a few minutes, you've got guests," called Janice Rand from the kitchen.
Christine grinned evilly as they re-entered. "No, we can't. He finds me irresistible."
"She is the one who cannot keep her hands off me. She said so," Spock replied seriously.
Christine chuckled, "I won't dispute my esteemed husband's word. So, what did you guys decide about supper?"
"Crab and lobster, naturally," Jan repeated.
"Call Joe's and reserve seats while I go tend to the flock," Christine instructed.
Spock nodded as a servant to his master, "Yes, ma'am."
"That's 'yes, ma'am dear' to you, mister," she added and pecked him on the cheek.
"Yes, ma'am ... dear," he added quietly with a twinkle in his eyes.
* * *
The fourth of July was a cloudless, hot, perfect summer day. The water was finally warm enough to enjoy swimming for long periods of time without fear of freezing. Christine had made certain to include a large outdoor grill when the summerhouse had been remodeled. Even though Spock was a vegetarian, he used it frequently to grill the special meatless hot dogs and hamburgers that Christine had introduced to him the year before.
"Don't tell McCoy they aren't meat, and we'll see how long it takes him to figure it out," Christine whispered to Spock as he took over the skewers. Spock nodded. Any way that he could poke at his old friend would be fine with him. Over in the private section of the bay that was attached to their property, most of the guests were frolicking around. Spock's parents would be arriving at anytime.
"I told J.T. that he could come for the evening to watch the fireworks if his father said that it was all right," Spock mentioned just as Christine was getting ready to turn to go back to the house. Her sigh was audible even in the din. "There is a problem?"
"No, I don't guess so. But, Spock, couldn't you have left the boy out of the plans just this one time?" she asked hoping that she didn't sound too whiny.
Spock cocked his head to the side. He had not realized that he had included J.T. in a great deal of their plans. In fact, Christine had not spent any measurable time with the boy. It had always been Spock who had been in the boy's presence. "J.T. is greatly interested in starships. When I mentioned that Captain Scott would be attending, he was extremely excited. I could not, in good conscience, tell him that he was not welcome here when in fact he is. Isn't he?"
Christine closed her eyes a second. Arguing over a ten-year-old boy would do absolutely no good. "You know that I applaud your efforts to help him, but Spock, you aren't his father. You spend such a great deal of your time with him. Doesn't Barry object to so much time away from him?"
"As far as I am aware, Mr. Kirgsen appreciates the time that I take with his son. In fact, I was told the last time that I accompanied J.T. home that he had seen a great deal of improvement in his behavior since he has met me. He is calmer, more controlled."
"Controlled? Spock, he's a ten-year-old HUMAN boy. Even I can see with what little exposure I've had to him that he tries to imitate you in every fashion," she stated a little zealously.
"Is that bad? Am I not a role model worthy of being imitated?" Spock retorted not showing that the statement had cut him just a little.
Christine bit her lip. She'd stepped right into a hornet's nest. Going over to him, she put a hand lovingly on his arm. "You know that I think you are the most worthy man in the universe. Do not twist what I say to mean something different. I merely am saying that J.T. is a human boy who has difficulty in concentration and has no real friends, at least that I've seen or you've spoken of. You have worked wonders with him in that regard. You have a bosom companion, and he has someone who is loyal and of high moral character. However, he needs to spend time with his father, and he needs to develop friendships with children his own age if at all possible. Do you understand?"
Spock nodded, began turning the hot dogs so that they wouldn't scorch too quickly. "I understand his need to develop friendships with children his own age. Perhaps if I had had someone when I was ten..." His voice trailed off as he caught sight of his father and mother coming around the corner of the house in the drive. "I have invited him. He will be here if his father wishes him to come. If you have something else to say, we will speak of it when there are no guests or other distractions," he commanded in that tone he'd acquired from years of military duty.
Christine swallowed. She didn't like the conversation already, and it wasn't even taking place yet. "Yes, sir."
"Yes, sir ... dear."
She smiled a little. "Yes sir, dear."
* * *
"Anne, do you think you could fit anymore people in there?" Christine asked lovingly as she patted the woman's extremely swollen belly. The twins were apparently eating very well.
"Oh, don't laugh. I am so miserable. If it weren't for the fact that being cooped up in the house was driving me nuts, I wouldn't have gotten out," she complained lightly as she waddled to the lawn chair. She was only three weeks away from the birth of her long awaited twins. Letting herself down as easily as she could and then taking the plate of food that Christine had carried for her, Anne Donaldson set it unceremoniously on the bulbous stomach. Spreading a napkin on her chest, she looked a little like a clown.
Ken came by and gave her a loving peck on the cheek. "Doesn't my lamb look divine?"
"Divinely fat," she complained.
"No, you aren't fat, you are gorgeous," Christine reminded.
Sarek overheard the comment from his place across the patio. "Indeed, even on Vulcan, a woman is no more beautiful than when she is about to give birth to the future."
Anne colored a little at the idea she was giving birth to the future, but it was true. Shifting a little in her seat, the gassy feeling she'd had all day was still there. She regretted eating as many cabbage rolls as she had for supper the night before. The hot dogs looked good though, and she dug in.
Over at the picnic table, McCoy was going on about the newest exploits of little Leonard when he saw something that nearly made him drop his plate. Spock bit into a thick hamburger without blinking twice. Warily he watched a little longer. He was eating the same thing that the Vulcan was, and it definitely tasted like top grade ground chuck. Checking Spock's father down the table, he noted the same burger. "Hey, this is fake meat!" he hollered.
Christine laughed, "How did you guess?"
"Spock and Sarek are eating burgers. You could have told us you know," he grumbled much to the delight of everyone else.
"And you would have griped the entire time. If you hadn't seen Spock and Sarek, would you have known it wasn't meat?" she asked with a challenge in her tone.
The older physician chewed the burger a little. With a definite growl he answered, "No."
"Good, then eat it and be quiet."
"Who's the kid on the bike?" Nyota asked as J.T. rolled into the drive.
Christine held her tongue and chose a smile to curve her lips. Spock rose from his seat to meet him. He was earlier than expected. "You are early."
"Dad is taking me to the carnival on the wharf to watch the display, but he said I could come over early if it was all right. Is it all right?" he asked hopefully clutching his backpack. He had brought all the tapes and books that he had on starships and the Enterprise.
"It is all right. I shall introduce you," Spock said and followed him through the yard to the summerhouse. "This is J.T. Kirgsen," he began and let the name sink into the group before continuing. Other than Anne, Ken and Christine, the group basically took a big inhaled breath. "He is our yard help, and I tutor him in his school work."
"Hi," he said jauntily and smiled in spite of his nerves. He had done a little research when he found out who was going to be here. He could name them all as well as what commendations they'd received in action. "Spock told me I could come meet you. I've been studying about starships and am really interested in the Enterprise. I have all her specifications and diagrams," he said and held out the backpack. He locked eyes with a jovial Scott.
"Lad, ye're after me own heart. Come sit down and we'll see what ye have. Perhaps Captain Sulu can tell you about the transwarp that his ship runs on."
The old Enterprise crew went back to their eating and began regaling the boy with tales of suspense and death defying tricks and engineering miracles that pulled them all out of the brink of non-existence. By the end of the afternoon, the boy was practically slack-jawed with all he'd heard. He'd have to get them to record them so he could prove that he'd met them.
* * *
The previous generations at Inspiration Point had seen fit to include a horseshoe pit to while away the summer hours, and Christine had insisted on getting sets of shoes to pitch on just such occasions. She poked McCoy on the shoulder as he dozed in the hammock. "Hey, get up and play with me!"
"Not with your husband watching," he muttered and tried to roll over and ended up swinging out and landing in a heap on the ground. "Damn!"
"Yes, I'm not that old. Think I bruised my elbow though. I ought to sue," he threatened lightly.
"You're not hurt. Come play with me. Carol and Chekov are on the other team," Christine insisted and hauled him up.
"Why don't you get your ever loving?" he asked as he was led to the sandy pit area.
"Because, he never misses and takes out all the fun," Christine said. "Besides, I miss you."
"It's not the same is it, being a continent away instead of a galaxy. We kept in touch better when we were further away," he admitted.
"That's why I want you to come up here and live," she replied a little sheepishly.
"All right, are you two gonna play or talk?" Carol called from the other side of the pit.
"We'll play, quit yer bitchin'," McCoy hollered back.
"Please, she's a lady," Chekov replied as gallantly as possible.
"Thank you, Pavel," Carol said and pecked him on the cheek. Pavel, the ever youngster of the group, reddened as if he'd been given a full-blown kiss. He was the first one to pitch and missed so badly he nearly hit Sarek's chair. Luckily, Sarek was not in it.
"Way to go, Pav, trying to assassinate one of the high muckety mucks in the Federation would be a great way to end your career," Sulu said from the picnic table where he and Scott were busy going over the designs that J.T. had brought.
"I vas not aiming for him. I vas aiming for Christine," he explained and received an icy stare from Spock that was quickly warmed by a slightly raised brow.
"Perhaps you should aim two point five centimeters to the left and release the horse shoe earlier. That is if you wish to hit her," Spock supplied before he left to attend to other matters.
All around the sounds of jovial laughter and talking filled the bay. Spock and Christine's home was one people were eager to be part of. He had dear friends and loved ones and still he was alone. There were times when he needed to center himself. He had placed a small memorial plaque to Jim Kirk just out of the waterline. The tall, almost obelisk like stone simply had Captain J.T. Kirk etched into it. He had commissioned the piece without Christine's knowledge or approval. In fact, she still did not know that it was there. It blended so well with the other rocks and stones that no one had noticed it. He concentrated on it as he allowed all the other voices and sounds fade. His mind searched for any comfort that he had of Kirk's memory. It met with blank space. That was disquieting to him. He reasoned that it must be Kirk's human heritage that did not allow for any psychic connection to remain. With a start his mind said, When they die it will be the same. How will you cope?
His mind answered himself, I am Vulcan. Coping is not part of my being. I will simply accept my losses.
His wife and mother's laughs grew louder in his ears. Turning to face where they were standing, he watched the two women he loved more dearly than his own life. For a moment his heart seemed to squeeze tightly shut, but he asserted control. His father was lying on the ground looking up at a recalcitrant and apologetic Russian," Sir, I am wery, wery sorry. I did not mean to."
"It is quite all right. Thankfully, the ground is soft, and I am not breakable. However, perhaps I should take your spot at the horse shoe pit, and you sit down," he suggested as Chekov helped him up to a standing position.
Amanda was still giggling, "Pavel, that was priceless. I wish someone had been recording it."
Anne Donaldson groaned, "Ken get me out of this chair. Chris, which is the closest bathroom?"
"Oh, use the one in the summerhouse. We have an outhouse," Christine said and pointed towards the structure. She'd insisted they put a three quarter bath in outside for just such emergencies.
Anne toddled off almost comically as she walked. Ken shook his head. "I don't know how much more she can stand. Her feet are bloated, and she can't get comfortable at night so she keeps both of us awake."
"Don't worry, she'll be over this in no time, but you might as well forget about getting any sleep for the next twenty years or so," Amanda warned. "Even with Vulcan children you worry the nights away. Sarek used to accuse me of being over sensitive, but Spock is my baby. I can't see him any other way."
"You never have let me look at those baby pics of him," Christine reminded as she took up her shoes.
"I'll have T'Stal send the boxes the next time I call home. Or you can come with us anytime you please," she hinted.
"Maybe when work calms down," she said knowing that work would probably never calm down. It was not that she wished to avoid Vulcan, but her home was here on Earth not Vulcan. Besides T'Pau and T'Lar made her nervous.
The afternoon passed smoothly and as the sun began to fade Spock reminded J.T. of his outing with his father. "Did you have a specific time to be home?"
"Dad just said before supper. What time is it?" the boy asked not wanting to leave just yet. He was in the middle of explaining an idea he had to a genuinely interested Scott and Sulu. The boy had promise and tenacity.
"It is 1842 ... 6:42," Spock revised remembering that J.T. did not know military time well.
"Boy, I'd better scoot. I don't want to miss the fireworks. I sure wish I could come back though," he said as he gathered his stuff.
Scotty helped him. "There is no reason why ye can't, is there?"
The look on the boy's face was pure ecstasy. "Is it okay?"
Spock thought a moment before answering. Christine was busy with Anne and Nyota so he could not ask her or infer from her reaction. He went with what he wanted. "You may come any time."
"Thanks. I'll see if I can come by tomorrow," he said and hopped on the bike to pedal as fast as he could down the road.
"You've got a real engineer on your hands, Spock," Sulu said as they settled back in the lawn chairs.
"He is exceptionally bright although his schoolwork would not indicate that," Spock confided.
"Perhaps he just needed someone to be interested in him. He didn't mention his mother. What does she do?" Sulu asked and helped himself to left over potato salad.
"She is dead. She died last year from what I have gathered from him. He stays here when he is waiting for his father to return from work."
"Spock the babysitter. I never would have believed it. First he learns to cook, then he marries a human, now he baby-sits. What will you come up with next?" McCoy harrumphed into his lemonade.
Next to him on the bench, Anne suddenly yelped, "Ow!"
"I think I have a catch in my side, or it's those cabbage rolls," she decided and took a deep breath. The pain had been sharp but hadn't lasted long. She went back to her conversation with Nyota.
* * *
Twilight began settling in and the day's heat gave way to blissful breezes. As the sun slipped past the horizon, the group could see the smaller homemade fireworks displays begin going off. They sounded like far off gunfire to their ears. Spock found a moment to whisper in his wife's ear, "I love you."
"Hmm, me too. Have you had a good day?" she asked and wrapped her arms around his waist to hug him.
"It has been a pleasant day. Are you still angry about J.T.?
"I'm not angry. It's... I thought we were going to talk about this later?" she asked a little miffed that he was bringing this up now.
"Yes, we did agree. He asked if he could return to speak to Captains Scott and Sulu. I gave him permission. Captain Scott believes he has a great deal of potential as an engineer," Spock explained quietly.
Christine smiled despite her annoyed attitude. "Well, if Scotty thinks that he's got potential, he'll be the best."
"Indeed. Shall we see if our guests need anything before it gets dark?" Spock suggested.
The sun was completely down and the fireworks were almost ready to begin. Everyone was sitting in the chairs closer to the dock so that they could have an unobstructed view of the display.
Ken sighed, "What is it this time?"
Anne exhaled. "I don't know. I think I'm sick," she said trying to catch her breath. She had a gripy stomach and her belly was cramping badly almost every five minutes now. Before it had just been annoying.
"Dr. McCoy," Ken said and tapped the older physician on the shoulder.
"Anne doesn't feel well," he said. All eyes turned to the pregnant woman who was now trying to just breathe regularly.
"Good grief, woman. How long have you been in pain?" he asked.
"Well, I guess all day. Why?"
"You're going to have a baby that's why," he answered with a laugh.
"But I'm not due for three weeks," she insisted and exhaled another breath.
"Honey, babies come when babies come. Twins are always a little early. Spock, you'd better call the ambulance," McCoy said.
"I fear it will be impossible to get one until after the fireworks display. None of the ferries are running till everything is completed."
"Then you two had better find a bed and start boiling water, we're going to miss the fireworks," he stated and the chaos began.
* * *
Outside the thunder of fireworks was going off and inside the screams of a woman in labor was setting the tone for the evening. Water was boiling in every pot Spock could think of. He was not certain why he'd been ordered to boil large amounts of water or why he was sterilizing every knife and pair of scissors in the house. He and his father had simply done what they were told. In the living room the others had taken up pacing or trying to concentrate on something else besides all the noise. After Ken had passed out twice he'd been banished to the downstairs till it was over with. Between the fireworks and his wife's cries he was about to go insane. He sat next to Sarek trying to breathe in some of the Vulcan's calm. The problem was, the Vulcan found himself quite stirred up. Spock's birth had been scientifically controlled, and he had not been present for Sybok's. A door opening and shutting upstairs and hurried footsteps brought everyone's attention up. Carol Marcus was on a mission. She needed the sterilized equipment. "Don't worry. I just need the knife and the scissors," she said. Spock handed her the pot to take with her.
She passed Ken's worried form. "She's fine, everything is fine. This is normal."
"Normal ... my God, it sounds like you're torturing her," he said as another cry came from the master bedroom. Getting up to start pacing he swore, "God, I'll never touch her ever again if you just make everything okay."
Sarek nearly smiled. "I am certain that things will be fine. Dr. McCoy is an excellent surgeon and Drs. Chapel and Marcus are equally talented."
"I gotta remember that," Ken said and stopped pacing as the room started spinning again. "Is it getting hot in here for anyone else?"
"He's gonna go again," Amanda warned just before Ken fell over. "Spock."
Spock appeared and helped heft Ken over to the couch. Sulu, Scott, and Chekov had taken up positions as sort of watchmen out on the porch. They also got to watch the fireworks this way. Janice and Amanda busied themselves in the kitchen with the dishes from that afternoon. After all, when everything else begins going berserk, they fell back on what they knew instinctively, clean.
* * *
"Honey, you're gonna have to push," Nyota was saying as Anne collapsed against the bed pillows.
Her back was killing her, and she felt like her insides were going to burst. She knew she had to push, but she was so tired. "You do it for me," she replied smartly.
"Nope, I didn't sleep with your husband to get this way. You're gonna have to do what we tell you," Uhura insisted and helped prop her back up. When Ken was sent out, she had come in to try to help keep her calmed down.
Carol came back in the room with the pot. "Ken is fine. Don't worry about him," she reported.
"Okay, okay. I gotta push," she repeated.
Christine wiped her brow. "Not now. Wait till Leonard tells you to," she said sweetly.
"Shit. Hurry, tell me to push," she practically begged.
"Not yet. Just making sure we're all in the right spots," he said and moved his hand a little further down to find what he was looking for. A tiny head met his inserted fingers.
"Okay, we're going to try to do this as smoothly as possible, but we have no painkillers and if I have to go ahead and snip you, it's gonna hurt."
"DO IT!" she hollered.
"Okay, start pushing."
With all the strength she could muster, she heaved herself up to try to push a baby the size of a small watermelon out a hole the size of a baseball. Even when she got this baby out, there was another one waiting to see the light of day. According to the last doctor's reports, the first baby should be the girl.
"Go ahead and scream, we don't care," Uhura insisted and hoped her hands would recover after being crushed in Anne's grip.
With a yell as primordial as every ancient woman as they gave birth, the intense pressure ripped through her but she could feel the pain and relief at the same time. "That was good. One more ought to do it," McCoy instructed.
This time with a more determined stance, she kept pushing until that pressure was released. For a time she lay back catching her breath. She didn't hear anything. Nearly blacking out from the strain, she waited and breathed in. "What... I don't hear anything ... she's supposed to cry?"
"She's okay, just a little messy," McCoy assured. "You've got some more work to do. Worry about that first."
Opening her eyes, she searched to find what had happened to her firstborn. Christine had her and was cleaning her up. Getting the gunk out of her mouth, she tapped her lightly on the bottoms of the feet to get her to take in air and speak. Her first cries sounded like a sick cat, but she yowled in anger at being so rudely awakened to the world.
"She's a beauty, Anne," Christine said and showed the still delivering mother the baby.
"Ken should be here," she said tears rolling down her face. The cramping started up again.
"I'll take her down while you're still working. She'll be a daddy's girl," Christine assured and bundled the newborn up in the towel before bringing her out to the world. Carol was in near tears as she went by. The two women met each others' eyes. They laughed through the tears. "You'd think that we've never seen newborns before."
* * *
Downstairs the plaintive cries of the first of the Donaldson twins held everyone captive. They were trying to revive Ken. Christine appeared at the top of the stairs. With a grin so wide she could barely contain herself, she descended carefully with the squirming bundle. This one was anxious to get out and see what the world had to offer.
Christine approached her employee. He could only sit in the chair with his mouth wide open. "Close your mouth, a bug will fly in, Daddy."
Placing the baby in his lap, she positioned her so that she could look straight up at her father. Squinting at the bright light, she stared him right in the eye. Ken felt tears pouring down his cheeks. For 45 years he'd been footloose and fancy free. Now he felt the weight of responsibility hit him, and he liked it. Reaching out to pick the bundle up, all he could say was, "Wow!"
"She's perfect," Amanda declared.
"Yep," he replied and held her gently. She weighed nothing, and he was afraid he'd drop her.
"What are you going to name her?" Janice asked as they gathered around the newest member of the family.
"We decided on Eliza Jane, but I think we can work Christine in there somewhere. That is, if you don't mind having a namesake, boss?" he asked and looked up at the startled Chapel.
She nodded, "That's fine with me."
They were so engrossed with the little girl that they had forgotten that there were two babies expected until another cry came from upstairs. This one was strong and loud. It was also as mad as a hatter.
"My boy's arrived," Ken declared proudly. He was about to burst. The day was getting to be too much for him.
"Why don't you come up and see for yourself," Christine suggested. Taking the baby so that he could get up and walk up the stairs, she followed.
Passing Spock before she headed up, her expression of joy was one he wanted to remember always. The door to the master bedroom opened, and Carol came out with laundry baskets loaded with the dirty linens.
"Congratulations Papa," she smiled and cooed at the girl Christine held. "She's tired but fine. And what a boy."
Ken walked in to find his wife thoroughly exhausted but still more beautiful than any other person he had ever seen. Nyota was wiping her brow as Anne held her son. Leonard McCoy mopped up. "Well, for a first pregnancy, you got through pretty easy," he said. "I had to stitch her up a little, but other than that she's fine. You'll be heading to the hospital for the official go over, of course," he commanded more than asked.
"As soon as we can get a ferry," Ken said.
"It'll probably be tomorrow morning. First ferry starts at 0500," Christine supplied as she handed Anne the baby girl that she hadn't gotten to see up close yet. "The babies are premature, but they certainly act full term."
"Probably because they are. I think your doctor was a few weeks off. I'd say these two were right on time," McCoy declared. "Nothing like being born on holidays for timing. We'll all remember their birthdays."
Ken kissed his wife, didn't care that she had sweated so much her makeup was completely gone. "I thought we might want to add Christine to Eliza's name. It seems only fitting."
"Then we should add Spock's as well," Anne conceded but couldn't imagine a son named Andrew Frederick Spock.
"I wonder if he has something more human in his name?" Ken asked and looked at Christine.
"I don't know. I'll go ask Amanda and let you know, but don't change the babies' names for us. We're just glad you could have them here," she assured.
* * *
Downstairs, Spock listened to Sulu recount the tale of Demora's birth and how nervous he'd been. The Vulcan had never been in the position of impending fatherhood and never would be, at least with Christine as his wife. That look of motherly joy that she had with the newborn in her arms would be one he'd never see aimed at children of their own and for that he was disheartened. His facial features however belied any chaos within. He met Christine as she came down the main staircase followed by Carol and Nyota. They would leave the new parents alone with their babies for a while.
"Everything is well?" he asked although he didn't need to.
"Perfect. We have two babies, and more people than we can possibly bed down," Christine noted. "Oh, Amanda, I was supposed to ask if Spock has a more human name in that string of appellations of his?"
Spock's mother looked at him for confirmation. It was a name he rarely acknowledged that he had, but on this occasion, they were among friends. "Yes, Harold."
"OH MY GOD!" Leonard McCoy nearly hooted as he stopped halfway down the stairs. He had never imagined that he and Spock would share that in common.
"I believe that is your middle name also," Spock said smugly.
"I can't stand it. I'll have my name changed as soon as I can get back to Atlanta," the doctor grimaced but smiled. "Nyah, Harold's a nice name. Suits you."
"As it does you. Why were you supposed to ask?" Spock asked.
"I have a feeling that the boy's name will be Andrew Frederick Harold Donaldson. At least that is what he was needing the name for."
The group was far too wound up to go to bed. The addition of six extra people made it difficult to split up anyway. Eventually, around two in the morning, the house quieted down. Everyone headed to bed except Spock and Christine who had no bed to head to. Christine started out to the summerhouse where Sarek and Amanda were going to bunk when Spock's hand stopped her. "Spock, you startled me," she breathed and smiled a little strangely.
"They are asleep already," he said nodding toward the darkened outbuilding.
"Oh, well, do you think they'll be warm enough? I was going to bring out an extra blanket."
"They have an extra blanket. I brought out the same thing."
They walked along their yard until they got to the shoreline. A small bench sat unobtrusively at the water's edge. Spock sat down and Christine snuggled beside him. The stars were so brilliant even though there were a lot of lights that would interfere with the visibility. It had been a perfect summer evening. Sleepily, Christine rested her head on her husband's shoulder. "We are very lucky," she sighed.
"Indeed. I would say that is a correct statement." They stayed that way for a time. "I'm so tired, but there isn't any room in the inn," Christine chuckled.
"We have accommodations," Spock assured and led her to the garage. The flivver's top was down and a pair of pillows and a blanket was piled in the back seat. Christine started to laugh loudly until she remembered that Sarek and Amanda slept only a few yards away. Giddily, she shook her head. "Why is it that when we all get together, we end up sleeping in a car?"
"I do not know. Perhaps we should not invite them anymore," Spock suggested comically.
"No no no ... friends are always welcome. If we have to sleep in the car, at least this time it's not freezing cold outside." Christine climbed into the car; Spock followed her. As they made themselves comfortable, the suspension of the car squeaked. "Good grief," Christine laughed.
"Yes, apparently any sexual intercourse would be quite noisy," Spock surmised.
"You are insatiable," his wife poked as she stabbed him with her elbow trying to get in a more permanent position. "Sorry."
"That is all right. You were quite happy tonight," Spock said with a tinge of regret in his tone.
Christine nodded. "Mmm-hmm, weren't you?"
"The birth of children is always a welcome event. I simply thought..." He stopped wondering precisely why he was troubling her with this line of thought.
"What?" she asked. When he didn't reply, she lifted up away from him and looked into his eyes in the night sky. "What do you mean?"
"Your joy. I did not realize until I saw you with Eliza in your arms what upset you so about T'Zel. You should have had children. If I had not been such a blind fool..." Spock began, but Christine's hand at his lips stopped him.
"Please. I don't want to go there. I have you. I am content with that," she replied softly.
Spock looked deep into her eyes, allowed his touch to open his mental shields to her. She was content but not happy. "Do you believe me?" she asked.
His answer was to pull her close to him, he held her tightly. "Yes."
"Good. Now, we need to get some sleep. It's going to be a busy day tomorrow," she declared twisting around to face the night sky.
"J.T. is coming back tomorrow. He and Scott are going to consult on the diagrams of the Enterprise," he explained quickly feeling her start to tense. "What is it about him that you find so difficult to be comfortable with?"
Her head rolled on his chest. "It's just that he ... I don't know. You're going to say I'm being silly. He takes you away from me," she said softly.
"You yourself told me you did not wish me to work for you."
"I know ... look," Christine said and turned on her side so that she could hug him tightly. "It's a problem that I have to deal with. I promise that I will not be so poo-pooey about him. He's a good kid. He needs a male figure. And you need a bosom male companion."
Spock nearly argued with his wife. But he had no basis for his argument. He did need someone to be the human friend that Jim Kirk had been. If he found that someone in a 10 year old boy, then it was so. He had not thought about what J.T. had come to mean to him. His wife's appraisal was not so off the wall however. With J.T. he had that same easy manner that it had taken almost a year to develop with Kirk. He had used the experience with Kirk to create the comfortable feel with the boy almost instantly. It did not hurt that J.T. was an outcast in this society as well, and that was something that Spock could identify with immediately.
"You are correct. I shall endeavor to get him to do things with people his own age however. You were correct about that as well. Now that he has met 'legends', perhaps the children will give him some opening to become better friends."
"Maybe you're right," Christine purred as she relaxed against her husband's well-muscled shoulder. She might not get much sleep, but she'd at least stay cozy. With a delighted moan, she sniffed his shirt. "I love this cologne."
"Thank you, but do not make that sound," he instructed.
"It is highly erotic, and we have no likely means to complete what you may start," he revealed sternly.
"Hmm, party pooper. Okay, I'll not make love sounds in your ear. But, you owe me as soon as we get the gang out of here."
"A debt I will gladly pay, with interest," he replied and kissed her on the head. She settled down and was beginning to drift off when the quiet night air was broken by two shrieks. Both of them turned to see lights pop on one by one. In the summer house, Sarek's voice could be heard. "No rest for the weary."
"Just like old times," Amanda replied and soon the door opened to allow the two dressed in bedclothes as they headed for the house. Spock and Christine decided to stay in the car. They weren't the ones who felt obligated to go feed twins. They could do whatever they wanted with their nights.