Two weeks later and Spock was once more in the waiting room at Starfleet Medical, patiently waiting for Jim to emerge from the checkup rooms. He’d given quite a lot of thought to where they might go today, and if Jim was amenable, he had a suggestion. Seeing Jim step through the doorway on the other side of the room brought him quickly to his feet.
“Hey.” Greeted Jim with a smile. As they began walking out, Jim asked, “You know where you want to go today?” Spock nodded.
“I had thought we might visit the Beach Chalet; there is a restaurant there and we may eat before we sightsee.”
“That sounds great!” Said Jim enthusiastically. “I’m pretty hungry; nowadays it seems like I have to have something to munch on every few hours.”
“That is probably because you are…I believe the expression is ‘eating for two’?” Remarked Spock. Jim grinned.
“Yep, that’s it. Let’s go then.”
They made the trip as they usually did, chatting on and off about various things going on for them. Jim described his last pregnancy class and what he’d learned about disturbing phenomena known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, where a child displayed no signs of illness or cause of death that could be found through examination. Apparently even with the medical technology available today, there was very little chance of spotting a child who was susceptible to it, making preventative measures almost impossible to take. There were only signs, like poor prenatal care, that showed a child as having the risk of being susceptible for it. All any parent could do was stay informed and be wary.
Spock in turn told Jim about his science projects, which he seemed to find very interesting. He even offered some advice on one that involved the study of how alien plants might be affected by Earth’s conditions. Having grown up in a farming community probably made him at least a little qualified on the subject.
After finally arriving, they both placed orders and took seats in the outdoor eating area.
“Are you okay out here?” Asked Jim. “This is a lot warmer than I’m used to for this time of year, but it’s kind of chilly for you, isn’t it?” Spock shook his head minutely.
“It is inconsequential. I am wearing adequate clothing, and the food will be quite warm.” He noticed that the tables were rather low setting, and that Jim was unable to move as close as he was due to his expanding belly. “Are you comfortable?” He asked without thinking. Jim followed his glance and smiled.
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
“I trust everything is still going well?” Asked Spock, feeling it would be polite to ask. Jim nodded.
“Yeah, everything’s good. Sam and Aury are thrilled that I’m about halfway through now. Though, the second half will probably seem to drag on a lot longer, if what I heard from the instructor in my class is true. She’s had two kids, so she must know what she’s talking about. There won’t be much more morning sickness, but I already need bigger shoes because my feet are swollen. Soon I’ll be waddling around like some kind of fat duck.” Spock wasn’t sure how to respond to that. He had an odd picture in his head of Jim walking very much like a duck.
Jim smiled a little wistfully. “It’s already dragged on plenty for them. They can’t wait to get this kid.”
“My mother greatly anticipated my birth.” Replied Spock. “My conception was a difficult achievement for them, and it took over a year to do it. It might have taken longer if the doctors who made it possible had not had someone else’s research to start their own.”
“You mean the baby that was created from the stolen DNA of Commanders Charles Tucker and T’Pol?” Asked Jim. “I’ve heard that story.” He hesitated. “I also heard that they were romantically involved for a little while, before and after the baby. Do you think they might have stayed together if she hadn’t died? They got together again after they found out she existed, so maybe it made them hopeful.” Spock was surprised.
“I suppose it is possible, but I have heard instances where two unsuitable partners stayed together because of a child, and everyone suffered emotionally as a result.”
“Well, yeah, that can happen.” Replied Jim. “But sometimes the really good relationships end because one or both partners can’t move past their grief and anger over the situation, and everything just kind of falls apart.”
“You have a good point.” Admitted Spock. “I suppose there may have been a possibility of them resuming their relationship. Neither one of them married or was seriously attached by the end of their mission, when they would have parted ways. But Commander Tucker’s death took away that option.”
“Yeah.” Said Jim, sounding wistful again.
Their food arrived soon and they spent most of their meal in companionable silence, studying the view and enjoying their selected dishes. After they’d finished and paid, they began exploring the house and beach. They did not explore the beach too much; it was crawling with tourists and locals. The house was, however, empty for the most part. As they walked through a corridor, Jim spoke up abruptly.
“I wonder sometimes if my parents would still be together if my dad was alive.”
“What do you mean?” Asked Spock, surprised. Jim shrugged.
“A lot of people tell me that they were so in love, and that they’d have been together forever if it wasn’t for the attack, but do they really know that? A lot of people start off thinking that they’re soulmates, and they wind up splitting after a little while, or even a long time. Sometimes love just seems to fade away, or people even begin to hate each other. I just sometimes can’t help but wonder if that would be the case with my parents. I guess my mom thinks so; she still grieves for him. But maybe he wasn’t really her soulmate, and her real one is still out there but she’s too blinded by her grief to find him. I just don’t know.”
“I cannot predict what would have happened with your parents.” Spock said apologetically. “Perhaps it is simply best to try to focus on the positive aspects of their relationship.”
“Yeah.” Said Jim. “Maybe it’s good that they never had a chance to get tired of each other. At least Mom will always remember him as the man she loved.”
They walked on in silence for a while after that. Spock couldn’t help but keep thinking about what Jim had said. His parents shared a bond, a foolproof way of knowing what they meant to each other. It reminded him of a fear he’d inadvertently voiced to his father as a child.
Sarek had been lecturing him about how he would have to make a choice one day, to be human or Vulcan, and Spock had mistakenly believed that he was also to choose between his parents somehow, to choose to love and favor one and forget the other. Sarek, in a rare display of compassion, had assured him that that no matter what, that was not the case and never would be. For a brief moment, however, Spock had been truly frightened by the possibility of the three of them no longer being together as a family. It was understandable that Jim would wonder such a thing about his family, the outcomes of human relationships being as varied as they were.
The continued to explore, chatting about nothing particularly important until it was time for them to leave again. When they got on their shuttle, Jim turned to say something to Spock.
“I wanted to tell you, Sam and Aury want to invite you to dinner at their place in a couple of weeks, after our last class together. Then they get their baby doll and start simulating childcare.” He paused. “They want to get to know the guy who’s helping keep me out of trouble. They know that Vulcans are vegetarians, so I’m sure we can fix something you can eat. You don’t have to come if you’re busy or anything.” He finished rather hastily.
“I would be glad to attend dinner at your family’s home.” Spock replied. “What time should I arrive?”
“I think 5:30 would be a good time.” Answered Jim, looking relieved. “We should have everything ready by then.”
After Jim had switched shuttles, Spock wondered if Jim was eager for him to meet his family. He’d seemed nervous that Spock might say no, and quite relieved when he’d accepted. He knew that even among humans, there were those whose family’s opinion mattered a great deal to them, whether it was about romantic partners or friends. Was it possible that Jim was looking for his family’s approval on his friendship with Spock?
If that was a real possibility, it meant that Jim’s family was very important to him. If he really wanted them to approve of Spock, it might mean that Spock was becoming important to him as well. If that was the case, it was a promising possibility.
Spock was fine until it occurred to him that if, for some reason, Jim’s brother and sister-in-law did not approve of him, Jim might change his opinions and stop spending time with him. He immediately set up his meditation mat and candles and began trying to center himself. He had to keep himself calm and focus.
As he began his meditation, he swore to himself that he was going to be the perfect dinner guest. He would give Jim’s family no reason to think that he should not be around him. He would go and make the best impression he could.
When two weeks finally rolled around, Spock was caught between nervousness and anticipation. All he could keep thinking was that he knew practically nothing about these people and had no way to impress them. He went over and over in his head how he could try to prove that he was a worthy companion, before reminding himself that he was not there to ask them for permission to court Jim. He was just going for a friendly visit.
He took a shuttle to the address Jim had sent to his padd, not too far from the academy grounds, arriving in front of a typical looking San Francisco apartment building. As he stepped off the shuttle, he saw a few other people he recognized from the academy getting off. He also recognized some people getting on. He realized that this was probably a place that housed mostly Starfleet personnel. There were a few buildings close to the grounds that advertised in the hopes of drawing officers in need of housing. It was a fairly good business, having homes available for Starfleet officers, whether they needed them now, or when they returned from off-planet missions.
He went up to the entrance and pressed a button, buzzing for entry. The only reply was a noise to let him know the door was unlocked. He opened it and entered the lift, going to the right floor. He moved to the door marked 7D. He knocked firmly. The door opened to reveal Jim’s face, which broke into a smile when he saw him.
“Hey, you’re early!” He stood aside, allowing Spock entry. He took a quick look around before turning back to Jim.
“I hope that is not inconvenient.”
“No, not at all.” Assured Jim. “Come on in, not that there’s very far to come! Sam’s finishing up something at the academy and Aurelan’s getting some more orange juice for me to drink. She says it’s good for the baby.” Spock very quickly found himself in a kitchen/living room. There appeared to be three doors that led to other rooms. There had to be a bathroom, and at least one of the others had to be the master bedroom. So unless Jim was sleeping on the couch (a thought he nearly balked at) the third door must lead to his room. He rather wanted to look inside.
“Jim.” He said, getting his attention. “Is there somewhere I may put my bag? Somewhere out of the way?”
“Sure.” Replied Jim. He looked around quickly. “Uh, would you be okay with leaving it in my room? You can just set it next to mine.”
“That would be acceptable.” Said Spock. He followed Jim the short distance to the third door and through it once it opened. It was a fairly simple room. It was not decorated at all; any pictures or ‘knickknacks’ as they were called would be supplied by whoever was staying in the room. There was a simple dresser and chest of drawers, along with a double bed that was neatly made up, a small bedside table with a lamp on it, and a door that most likely led to a closet. It was similar in appearance to a motel room, minus a few things, clearly intended for short term use. Jim’s bag was sitting on the corner of the bed.
“You can just set it there.” He said, gesturing toward it. Spock tentatively stepped into the room and set his bag next to Jim’s. He studied the room once more and stepped back out, followed by Jim who shut the door behind himself. Just as they were going back into the dining area, the door opened and a young, petite, blue-eyed woman with wavy dark brown hair walked through with what appeared to be a gallon of orange juice in hand. She broke into a friendly smile when she saw them.
“You must be Spock.” She set down the juice and held up a hand in greeting. “It’s nice to meet you; Jim’s told us so much about you. I’m Aurelan, as you’ve probably guessed, and George called me on my way back, so he should be here any minute.” Spock looked at Jim, a little confused.
“My brother.” Explained Jim. “His full name’s George Samuel Kirk Jr. I’ve always called him Sam. We needed a way of knowing who we were talking about; him or our dad, and Junior is kind of dorky.” Jim shrugged. “He started going by George after he left home.” Right then, the door opened again to reveal a smiling young man, about three years older than Jim.
“Oh, hey.” He said, noticing Spock. “You must be Spock. I’m George Kirk.” Spock nodded.
“It is a pleasure to meet you both.” Sam noticed the orange juice sitting on the counter. “Oh good, you got it.” He grinned at Spock. “We need to keep Jimmy eating good if we want our little boy to be good and strong when he’s born.” Spock blinked, surprised.
“You are aware that you are having a son?” Jim grinned sheepishly.
“Yeah, that’s my fault. They kept changing their minds about finding out and bugging me for my opinion that I got so frustrated and just sort of…blurted it out.” He glanced at them ruefully. “Now they’re trying to figure out what to name him.”
“Yeah, we were kind of shocked when he just blurted it out.” Said Sam with a grin. “But at least now we can carry pictures of the sonogram with us without having to worry about ruining the surprise.”
“Well,” said Jim, looking around at them all, “why don’t we eat now?”
Spock knew by the end of the night that he’d had absolutely nothing to worry about. The Kirks were friendly and polite, as well as very intelligent. It seemed such things ran in the Kirk family and, if Sam’s marriage was anything to judge by, they found quite attractive. They’d inquired as to his studies and described some of their own work to him, which he found quite interesting. He’d asked plenty of questions and even offered a few suggestions, which they graciously listened to.
After dinner, which included a rather pleasing vegetarian lasagna, was over, Jim gave Spock his bag back and offered to walk him out. As they walked down, Jim spoke.
“I hope you enjoyed this, at least a little. Sam and Aury don’t usually get to talk to someone who can keep up with their work that well.”
“I found the discussion quite stimulating.” Replied Spock.
“Well, maybe you can do it again sometime.” Jim suggested. “I’m sure they’d be glad to have you back.”
“That would be agreeable.” Said Spock, and he meant it.
Jim saw him off at the door and he made his way to the shuttle. The December air was chilly to him, and he wanted to get back to his quarters to turn up the heat and get into bed. His first meeting with Jim’s family had gone quite well. If he continued to gain their favor, they would be far less likely to object to him if he and Jim were able to begin a romantic relationship.
He was honestly looking forward to his next visit to the Kirk home.