Jim stopped at the nurse’s desk in the Starfleet hospital outside the area where he’d been told Jaylah had been taken.
“Hi, James Kirk. Here to see Jaylah, Ensign.”
She nodded. “She’s resting comfortably in room 424, Captain.”
Jim went down the hall, shuffling the items in his hands as he did so, until he found the correct room. There was no door on the outside, as often was the case with hospital rooms. He craned his neck around the opening to see if she was awake or had other visitors. He saw no one and Jaylah sitting up.
“James T,” she greeted him instantly as he approached her bed. She smiled. “You came.”
“Of course I did.” He thrust the bouquet of flowers in her general direction, as well as the balloon declaring “Congratulations.”
She tilted her head. “Over there, on the table, please.”
Jim saw there was a vase already on the table filled with flowers as well as a big stuffed bear wearing a blue diaper. He shook his head and added his flowers over there and set his balloon next to her bed.
“Well? Where is the little one?”
“They take him for a walk. He’ll be back in a moment.”
“Commander Spock and Uhura.”
“Ah.” He nodded. “They beat me here. Last minute meetings are a pain. Bear come from them?”
He sat on the edge of her bed, but other than a slightly reproachful look, Jaylah let him. “So, what’s next for you? With a baby…”
They both looked toward the door at the commotion, in the form of his first and communication’s officers returning with the baby. Of course Uhura had the little blue wrapped bundle and was cooing nonsensically at him.
“Some linguistic you are,” Jim joked.
“Captain,” Spock exclaimed. “We did not expect you to be free for some hours.”
Jim’s lips twitched. “I charmed my way out early.”
Uhura rolled her eyes at him, but stopped to show him Jaylah’s little bundle of joy. “Beautiful, isn’t he?”
“I’ll say. Give me that baby.” Jim scooped him up into his arms as Spock joined them by the bed.
“Be careful, James T.”
“I know how to handle babies,” Jim insisted.
“When have you held one that young?” Uhura asked.
Jim didn’t answer at first. He let the little boy grab his index finger. Then he said softly, “On Tarsus, when a woman there lost her life shortly after giving birth. I cared for the infant for a time.”
There was a very subdued collective gasp, but Jim didn’t miss it.
“Well, you’re just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Let me give you to your beautiful mama.”
He turned to Jaylah and laid the bundle in her arms.
“Gorgeous. You’re very lucky.”
Uhura cleared her throat. “What about you, Captain? Think you’ll have one of your own one day?”
He shrugged. “Anything’s possible, Lieutenant. With surrogacy, it’s definitely possible someday.” He yawned. Then he covered his face in embarrassment. “I’m so sorry.”
“You are exhausted,” Spock said, quietly. He looked to Uhura. “Nyota, I am taking him home to rest. Would you like to stay a little longer?”
“Sure. I can get back to my place on my own.”
Spock grabbed his arm.
“I’ll be by tomorrow,” Jim called out as he was shuffled out of the room. “I could have stayed,” he grumbled, even as he sagged against Spock.
“As you say, we will come tomorrow.” Spock paused. “Well?”
Jim sighed. “Yeah, I got it. The promotion.”
“So you are…”
“Admiral Kirk, yeah. Can we stop and get fries on the way home?”
“And a burger.”
Jim smiled, leaned over and kissed Spock on the cheek. “Thanks, honey.”