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POV: Chapel
Year 2 of 2nd 5yr mission
T'Sai: 4 and 1/2 yrs old

The action and adventure had lured her into Starfleet, lured her away from the humdrum normalcy of small town nursing. Christine had wanted something different than patching up drunkards and reckless teens. She had wanted space and its wonders and mysteries…and in the seven years she had served under Dr. McCoy on the Enterprise, she had seen many wondrous and mysterious things, had treated and cured all manner of strange illnesses and biological hiccups. She loved her job and wouldn't trade it for the universe. Some days she really hated her job.

"Christine!" She sighed and turned to the red-faced man glowering at her from across sickbay. They were near to overflowing from the outbreak of Trexalion Pox and Dr. McCoy, she could see, was nearing the end of his tether.

"Yes, Doctor." She kept her voice calm, serene. It wouldn't do to let him see how frustrated and tired she was. It would just add to his own ire and cause a tirade that nobody needed to hear just then. The sickness had started shortly after the return of the landing party and had quickly spread throughout the ship. It was a harmless little virus, small bumpy rashes spread over the dermal layer accompanied with slight nausea and chills. It was, in many ways, similar to Terran Chicken Pox. In fact, those suffering from this current outbreak were those who had never contracted Chicken Pox in their youth.

The treatment was simple, a hypospray of anti-nausea meds, application of Tordian lotion and plenty of fluids and rest. So very simple, but for the extremely low tolerance to discomfort some of the crew seemed to possess. The male population of the crew, to be specific. And if she was a betting woman, she would lay money on one male in particular being the cause of the good doctor's current temperament. Patient Zero, also known as Captain Kirk, had the uncanny ability to push every last button McCoy possessed until the doctor was pulling his own hair and stammering in unintelligible rage.

"Would someone please explain to me how the hell medical leave translates into double shifts? That man is going to be the death of me. Sitting up there in his chair like he’s not susceptible to the same ills as every other damn person on this ship. What the hell is wrong with him? Truly. Explain it to me. I implore you to tell me how he can think scratching himself raw on the command bridge for sixteen hours straight is conducive to healing." McCoy fumed as he prepared a hypo with enough sedatives to knock out a Klingon.

"I believe, Doctor, that he wanted to leave Spock free of duty to care for T'Sai in the privacy of their quarters. He also wouldn’t want to bother you for more lotion as he’s fully aware we are low on supplies, that additional supplies are still fourteen hours away and that you’re still angry at him for contaminating the ship."

McCoy merely grunted his response and thrust a bottle of lotion into her hand.

"Take that to Spock. Make sure to scan the sprite and send her vitals to my padd. Oh, and let Spock know that his husband will be unconscious in sickbay for the foreseeable future."

With that, McCoy exited sickbay with a bounce in his step. It never failed to equally amaze and amuse her how positively cheerful that man became when the opportunity arose to jab the captain with a hypospray.

"Will do, Doctor," she replied to his back before setting off for the officer's quarters.

In the last refit, between the end of their first five-year mission and the onset of their second, Starfleet had taken it upon themselves to redesign the captain's quarters. It had been a lovely surprise for Jim and Spock when they returned to see their quarters combined into a family friendly living space. They now had an entryway which housed their shared office and comfortable seating for guests or themselves when enjoying downtime. They had gained a private bedroom for themselves as well as one for T'Sai. Starfleet had even gone as far as to paint four different murals of four different seasonal planets for T'Sai. It was known to everyone, without it ever being said, that Scotty had been responsible for the design of the suite while Nyota had painted T'Sai's room.

Christine reached their quarters and chimed for entrance. She waited a full minute before letting herself in. It was a steadfast rule that no one was to enter if the privacy light was engaged, but if it was not, they were welcome to enter without waiting for admittance. Chiming was really only an announcement made to be polite.

The common room was empty, but giggling could be heard from T'Sai's room. Crossing to the door, she observed the scene before her and felt her affection for her Commander rush over her anew.

Spock lay sprawled across T'Sai's bed, clad in loose fitting pajamas, hair a mess, blowing raspberries onto his daughters stomach. T'Sai's giggles echoed off the walls mixed with squeals of delight as she squirmed and tried to dodge her father's lips. Long fingers danced over her skin eliciting more giggles and flailing limbs.

"Do you yield?" Spock's rich baritone leaked amusement into the atmosphere and Christine had to hold her hand over her chest to contain the heart that wanted to leap out.

"No! I shall never yield, papa."

"If you do not yield I cannot cease this torture." Spock tweaked her tiny ear to demonstrate his point.

"Never!" T'sai's giggles once more filled the room as Spock leaned over and blew forcefully against her side, right over her heart. Tiny hands grasped at Spock's hair as she curled her body around him in her fit of 'torture'. "Okay. Okay! I yield!"

Spock leaned back and ran a hand through her dark hair. "A wise decision, dan-tal-kam. I am highly skilled in this torture technique. You may ask your father for confirmation of this fact."

"Daddy says it's unfair that you're not ticklish like us."

"It may be unfair; however, it is the only weapon I have in my arsenal to sway stubborn captains and children who refuse to bathe."

"It still itches, papa." T'Sai moved to scratch at a bump on her arm but Spock stopped her before she could.

"I know, ashaya, but the warmth of the water will ease your discomfort. Trust me in this."

"And on that note, I have more lotion for you." Christine's comment brought forth twin expressions of surprise.

"Forgive me, Christine. I did not hear you enter." Spock stood to accept the lotion and made an attempt to straighten his hair into some semblance of order.

"Nothing to forgive, and in my medical opinion," she spoke directly to T'Sai as she stepped forward to scan her, "A warm bath will indeed help relieve the itch."

"You're all conspiring against me!" With a dramatic cry, T'Sai flung her arm across her face and plunged an imaginary dagger into her heart. This action earned an audible sigh from Spock who glanced at the ceiling while uttering 'Jim' under his breath.

"I'll leave you to see to her bath." Christine wanted to leave before she could no longer contain her laughter. As she turned to exit the room, she remembered her secondary assignment. "Oh, and Dr. McCoy wanted you to know that Jim and he will be spending some quality time together so don't worry if you don't see him for a day or two."

"How many hyposprays did McCoy take to the bridge?"

"Oh, just the one containing the sedatives. The rest are ready and waiting for when the captain's less conscious." Grinning at the twitch of Spock's lips, Christine made her departure. Returning to sickbay and the filled beds and the complaining patients she could only smile.

Some days, she really loved her job.

dan-tal-kam: dearest
ashaya: love

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