“Ouch. Damn.”

Spock pulled back from touching Jim, unable to prevent a frown from appearing.

Jim winced. “Sorry. Sorry. It’s just I kind of ache everywhere.”

“Doctor McCoy released you from the medbay too early.”

“No, honey. I’m all right.”

“Yet I am unable to touch you in any way.” He tucked the sheets and blanket around Jim’s prone form upon the bed. Carefully.

“Bones has me off for another 72 hours. Twenty four of those on bedrest. It’ll be fine. I will. I promise.”

Spock remained unmoved by his declarations. It had been a near thing. Jim had spent two weeks in the medbay, the first in a coma. Spock had nearly lost him more than once in those two weeks. After Jim had fixed the warp core was surely bad enough, but now that they were bonded, married, the loss of Jim was without comprehension. Spock would not entertain the idea.

“I love you,” Jim intoned softly.

“And I you. But you take too many chances and—”

“Spock. I’m the captain.”

“All the more reason you are not expendable on away missions.”


“There has been discussion of late indicating that Starfleet will restrict commanding officers from landing parties,” Spock told him.   

Jim frowned. “What? That is hardly fair.”

“What is not fair is how many times I have had to face your probable death,” Spock said, speaking more sharply than he meant to. But it had the intended effect, for Jim quieted down then, biting his lip and sinking against the pillows. His blue eyes were shiny but there were no outward signs of tears.

“I’m sorry,” Jim said softly, faintly.

It reminded Spock too much of the time Admiral Marcus had advised he was about to murder the entire Enterprise crew and Jim had turned to face Spock and all the rest of them to say he was sorry. Spock had never seen Jim look so hopeless.

Spock lowered himself to sit on the bed beside Jim and held out his hand toward Jim so that Jim could rest his hand in Spock’s rather than having Spock seize his hand. Jim put his warm hand on Spock’s, palm side down.

“Ashaya, I would never seek to turn you into something or someone you are not. I only ask that, now that we are two, perhaps three or more some day—”

Jim’s eyes widened.

“That you recall there is someone who waits for you, always, to return safely to them.”

“I never want to hurt you ever,” Jim replied.

“I know. So I ask, only, for your consideration,” Spock said. “And I will give the same back to you.”

A small smile appeared and though it was not Jim’s full wattage smile, Spock would take it. “You got it.”

“You should rest now, T’hy’la.”

“Are you going to the bridge?”

“Negative. Mr. Scott is there at present. I will work here in our quarters to watch over you.”

“You don’t have to.”

“I do, in fact.”

The smile widened. “Sorry about the birthday sex. Or lack thereof. When I’m better—”

“I am unconcerned for whether I get, as you said, ‘tail’ for my birthday,” Spock said, severely. “I just want you to be better. ‘Tail’ can wait.”

Jim laughed softly. “I love you. So so much. You have no idea.”

Spock tapped his fingers on his head, which made Jim laugh again.

“All right. Maybe you do.”

“Sleep. When you wake you can have something to eat.”

Jim lowered his lashes. Looked at Spock innocently. “Ice cream?”

“We shall see. Rest.” Spock rose, leaned over and cautiously kissed Jim’s forehead. As birthday’s went, it was not Spock’s finest, but Jim was alive and beautiful and in their bed, and that was acceptable.

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