It was ten minutes past the time Jim was supposed to meet them, but Spock knew that was hardly unusual. Ever since Admiral Evans had retired, Jim had been taking on far more duties than he probably should. He’d told Spock that he was only going to HQ for an hour or so that Saturday morning, but an hour after he’d left, Jim had messaged him that he would just meet Spock and Surak at the San Francisco Zoo.
“He’s not coming,” Surak said, forlorn.
“He did not message me indicating that.” Spock paused as he surveyed the crowd. “He will be here.”
Spock hoped he was not lying to his son.
And then a moment later, he felt the prickle of Jim nearby just as Surak hopped up and down.
Sure enough, Jim came into view. He’d changed from the admiral’s uniform he’d worn that morning and now wore ripped blue jeans, a gray T-shirt, and a red plaid flannel shirt over that, left unbuttoned. He looked, of course, completely gorgeous.
Surak immediately started to run toward him.
“Surak, no running.”
His son ignored him and reached Jim in seconds. Jim swooped up the boy with a laugh, holding him close.
“Hey there, Tiger.”
“Not a tiger, Daddy. Lion.”
“Oh. Right. Yeah. A lion. Hey there, Lion.”’
Jim reached Spock with their son and leaned in to peck Spock on the lips. “Hi, Sweetheart.”
“You are late.”
“I know. Went home to change.” He smiled at Surak. “To make up for it I’ll get you the biggest stuffed animal of your choice.”
“Oh, come on, Spock. If I can’t spoil our son, who can I spoil?” His smile widened. “I’ll buy you one too, if you want.” He winked at Spock, who rolled his eyes.
“Sa-Mekh already got the tickets.”
“Of course he did. Your Sa-Mekh is very efficient. Shall we?”
Once inside, he set Surak down so that the boy could walk, though it was more like running, and Spock hoped that meant he would be burning a lot off of his manic energy, something he somehow had gotten from Jim, though they were not biologically related.
“Jim.” They stopped before an enclosure with flamingos.
“I have been thinking about a blue-eyed, blond-haired child.”
Jim glanced at him. “I’m sorry?”
“I am speaking of expanding our family. Surak was created through me and a surrogate. I would like to suggest using you and a surrogate for our next child.”
Spock nodded. “It would please me greatly for that child to resemble you. If you recall, when we first bonded and married, we spoke of filling our home with the love and laughter of children.”
“Uh. Well. Yeah. We did.” Jim watched Surak for a moment and then looked back at Spock. “With the job—”
“We can handle it, Adun.”
“Are you sure? Because the bulk of it will be on you. And you did mention wanting to move more into diplomacy and perhaps ambassadorship, like your dad and the other you.”
“There is time for that, Jim.”
Jim nodded. “Yeah. I mean, if you think there is. By the time a baby would be born, I’d probably be okay to take some parental leave.”
“I am certain.”
His mate blew out a breath. “Well.”
“Come on, Daddy.” Surak reached for Jim’s hand and tugged him from the flamingos and down a pathway toward the next exhibit. Spock dutifully followed.
For the moment, Spock let Jim just enjoy the day with Surak as their little boy, excitedly dashed from animal to animal. When they reached the lions, Surak grew pensive.
“Yeah, kiddo?” Jim crouched down next to him.
“Why are they in a cage?”
“Well, the enclosure protects them from us and us from them. It’s not ideal, of course. But see these animals are here because this zoo works for conservation and to preserve them so they don’t become extinct like so many other animals that used to roam the Earth. They study them so they can protect them from being destroy by humans. And maybe when you have children of your own someday, these beautiful animals will still be here on Earth.”
Surak put his little hand on the glass. “I want to help save them.”
“That would be fantastic.”
Surak turned to Jim, putting his hands on Jim’s face. “Up.”
Jim laughed. “Okay, okay.” He stood up and picked up their son, carrying him to the next exhibit. And later, when they wandered the gift shops so that Surak could choose his animal, a stuffed lion, of course, bigger than the boy himself, Spock thought dryly, as Jim also allowed Surak to pick out one of those giant sugar flavored hard candy on a stick, Jim leaned over and whispered to Spock, “Yes, let’s do it. Let’s have another.”