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Special thanks to T'Aaneli, my beta.



~~~~~

"Spock. You endangered the ship." Spock avoided Kirk's eyes, keeping them fixed on the mesh screen behind the Captain's head. He felt McCoy stiffened beside him.

"Now Jim, it wasn't his fault. He did all he could. I know my report--"

"Was I addressing you?" Kirk turned to stare at McCoy, his voice quiet.

"Well, no-"

"Then please don't interfere." Kirk moved his flint-hard stare from McCoy, shifting back to Spock. The Vulcan stood perfectly still and rigid.

"I've read your report, Commander. I found it disturbing, to say the least. Can you explain your actions?"

Spock swallowed, his voice suddenly trapped inside his throat. "I took a calculated risk. It failed. At the moment, it seemed the logical thing to do. I have no other explanation."

"That's simply not good enough, Spock. Can you tell me what the odds were for succeeding with that second attempt?"

"One thousand six hundred-"

"Astronomical, wouldn't you say?"

Spock blinked. "In a manner of speaking, yes."

"Look at me." Spock hesitated. "I said, look at me." Kirk's voice cut like a knife through the air, forcing Spock to drag his eyes down to meet Kirk's.

"Did you believe it would work, Spock?"

Trapped in Kirk's gaze, Spock couldn't retreat anywhere. There was such anger in those eyes, and it was all directed at him. He felt his heartbeat quicken, beating against his side.

"Answer me." Kirk's voiced raised a little.

"No."

McCoy breathed in. "Damn it, Jim. This isn't right and you know it. Sure, I was mad at Spock. I know what I wrote in my report. But this isn't fair. There was no other way. I see that now. You weren't there. You don't know-"

"There's always another way. Crippling the ship is usually not one of them. "

"But-"

"But what, Bones? Are you recanting your report?" McCoy closed his mouth.

"Spock." Kirk rose and walked around his desk, his anger suddenly dissipating, his manner almost pleading. "I know it must have been difficult for you, I'm not denying that, but the risk you took with the ship just isn't justified. I am expendable, the ship and the crew are not."

"There was also the planet, those people, Jim. What was Spock supposed to do? Be reasonable." McCoy was almost shouting in frustration.

"I am being reasonable, Doctor. How much assistance can a crippled ship render?" He turned back to Spock, softening his voice. "I can't allow that to happen again. I have to know that I can trust you. Do you understand?" Kirk noted the obvious exhaustion emanating from Spock and felt a twinge of guilt.

"Yes, sir."

"Good." He walked back around to his desk. "That's all gentlemen. You're both dismissed. And Spock, I'm ordering you to get some rest."

Spock nodded his understanding and turned to leave.

McCoy approached Kirk, "Don't you think that was a bit uncalled?"

Kirk didn't say anything, picking up the native headband he had worn down on the planet. Then he looked up. "I think Spock can handle a little heat, Bones. If you don't mind, I have two months of catch up to go through."

"Didn't you notice how sick that man is?"

"I ordered him to get some rest. What more do you want me to do? His health is your department."

McCoy was silenced for a moment. Narrowing his eyes he gave Kirk a questioning look. "What's really bothering you? This can't all just be about Spock. Is this about that girl down on the planet, what was her name?"

"Miramanee," Kirk whispered, fingering the headband.

"My scans revealed she was pregnant. Was that your doing?"

"She was my wife, Bones." Kirk snapped back in anger, biting back his next reply. "Sorry. I know you mean well. But it's none of your business. If you'll excuse me, I have a lot of work to do." Kirk turned to his computer console and turned it on, rifling thorough various PADDs.

After a moment McCoy left quietly.

~~~~~

"Spock. Wait up."

"There is nothing more that needs to be said, Doctor."

"I just want to talk to you for a minute. " He grabbed hold of Spock's arm, forcing him to turn around.

Spock sighed. "You do not need to apologize."

"I'm not apologizing, Spock. That's not what I need to talk to you about. Will you just give me a moment?" McCoy was visibly exasperated. "Between you and Jim, I'm surprised I don't have an ulcer."

"Doctor." Spock stood still, waiting almost impatiently.

"Sorry. Listen, has Jim spoken to you about that girl down on the planet? The one that died?"

Spock blinked in surprise. That was not what he had expected McCoy to say. "No. Should he have?"

"He called her his wife, remember? He wasn't hallucinating. They were actually married. A lot can happen in two months, Spock. She was pregnant with his child."

Spock closed his eyes.

"I can't imagine what he's going through right now. And I know he feels guilty leaving you to handle things here."

Opening his eyes, Spock looked at McCoy, "What would you have me say, Doctor?"

"I wouldn't have you say anything Spock. Just remember that he's your best friend and he's going through a lot right now. I thought you should now."

"Your logic is flawed. There is nothing I can do. Indeed, I've done enough already."

"Oh, don't give me any of that guilt crap. We all make mistakes. We live and learn, that's how it goes. Don't make another one. Go back there and talk to him."

Spock looked in the direction of Kirk's quarters, confusion on his face. "Would I not cause more damage? I have already angered him. He does not wish to speak with me."

"Listen, Spock, I've already tired. He won't talk to me. That leaves you."

"What makes you think I would be more successful, Doctor?"

McCoy suddenly looked tired. "I don't, Spock. But it couldn't hurt."

Spock turned back to his quarters, activating the door. "I will go to him later. Not now."

The door closed leaving McCoy standing alone in the corridor.

~~~~~

Spock stood outside the Captain's quarters. There was no answer from within. He took a deep breath, almost a sigh, and turned to head back down the corridor to his quarters.

The door opened suddenly.

"Spock?" Kirk stood in the doorway, still in uniform.

"Captain. I had assumed you were not in. My apologies. I did not wish to disturb you."

"It's alright, Spock, I could use the break. What is it? I thought I told you to get some rest."

"You did. I have spent a good portion of the day in meditation. It was quite restful. "

"Good. I'm glad. What can I do for you?"

"I thought you might need assistance in going through the reports from the last two months."

"No need. I'm almost done."

"Then I shall take my leave of you, sir." He turned to leave.

"Wait. Don't go." Kirk looked at Spock for a moment. "I'm glad you came by. Would you care to come in?"

"If you are certain it is not an imposition."

Kirk grinned. "Come in." Kirk headed for the service area, keying in a request for coffee. He looked at Spock. "Tea or coffee, Mr. Spock?"

"Tea." Spock sat down.

Kirk brought their beverages over and handed Spock his tea. "So what's the real reason for this visit?" Kirk blew on his coffee, sitting down across from Spock.

"McCoy is concerned about you."

Kirk smiled wryly, "Really? I never would have guessed." He took a sip. "He's concerned about you as well. And frankly so am I. When was the last time you slept the whole night through?"

"Vulcans are capable of suppressing the need for sleep in times of great stress. I assure you, I am quite well."

"Hmm. My eyes tell me otherwise. You've lost a lot of weight."

"The weight will return."

"I suppose it will."

A long silence followed, each sipping their beverages. Kirk was the first to speak. "You're not mad at me, are you Spock? For that lecture earlier today? I think I let my emotions run away with me a bit."

"Although I cannot deny that I was...uncomfortable with some of your remarks, in truth I found no fault with them."

"I thought I might've damaged our friendship."

"Are your friendships usually so transitory?"

Kirk smiled. "No. Not the good ones, anyway."

"Then no. I still call you my friend."

Another silence followed.

"Jim? Do you care to speak about your wife? McCoy seems to think this is what you need, to unburden yourself. It is not something I am familiar with, but I am your friend. I will listen to whatever you have to say."

Kirk closed his eyes, bringing his hands up to his face. "There isn't much to say." Kirk got up and walked away, pacing a little. "It seems like a dream. A long, beautiful dream, which keeps slipping away." Kirk stopped and looked at Spock intently. "But it was real. She was real."

Kirk started pacing again. "I loved her. But it was a different me. A different man, this Quirock, who died on that obelisk. I have his memories. But she deserves more than that. She was going to have a child. My child. Kirk stopped moving, standing in front of the bookcase, his back towards Spock.

Spock sat for a moment, determining what he should do next. He got up slowly and walked over, placing his hand on Kirk's shoulder.

"I grieve with thee." Some of the tension eased from under his hand.

Kirk turned to faced him. "I know. Thank you."

"Jim, tell me about her. That is a good way to keep her in your memories. Then she will be in mine as well."

Kirk looked up at Spock, eyes shining. "How did you get so wise?"

Spock answered Kirk with a look of confusion. "Wise?"

Kirk smiled ruefully, "Never mind."

The silence returned. Spock waited patiently for Kirk to speak.

"She had the sweetest smile. That's what I think I'll remember the most."

~~~~~

the end.

~~~~~

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