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Kirk awoke  with McCoy covered in blankets and his arms wrapped around the man's slim figure. There were bumps all over the fabric. He could hear Buttons purring while set in-between him. His blurring vision cleared enough to see the cat. Kirk gently stroked the cat's forehead. Button's leaned into the man's  large, warm hand as his hands traveled to the cats ear. Spock had left yesterday to attend to his Ambassador duties regarding a problem instigated by Klingons. Klingons were difficult to make peace with. That part was certain. The admiral sat on the edge of the bed. He felt something was missing. And someone was missing. He felt the center of the bed that didn't have the outline of his world.

Kirk leaned out of bed. He saw the see through windows displaying nature, at least the shapes of it, contrasting against the darkness. He could see the shapes of bushes with the Vulcan skyflowers and their small thorns that were barely noticeable with his gradually failing vision. Shame he couldn't get help improving  his vision. His allergies hindered him with that part, medically. Kirk got out of bed as Buttons pressed along McCoy's body. He could hear the doctor's groan. The time on the clock read three thirty three delta morning. He had to get use to standard time after years in space. He looked toward the serene, calm sight to see the darkness was  basking over the scenery. Kirk made his way into the bathroom where he prepared to start his day.

Kirk prepared breakfast afterwards.

"Mornin', sunshine," McCoy greeted the man, approaching the table. Kirk was rolling up the apron.

"Morning, Bones," Kirk replied.

"So, how are ya goin' to make yourself busy?" McCoy asked. "You are always restless when Spock is away."

"Hmmm," Kirk said, then he shrugged sliding himself into the chair. "I haven't decided."

"Maybe it will be easier deciding when ya are really old," McCoy said. "when my hair is completely grayed and so is Spock's." Kirk laughed.

"Ah, Bones," Kirk said. "that'll be easy."

"Easy is never easy when it comes to ya," McCoy said.

"We'll be living closer to the ancient hall of thoughts for that," Kirk said. "Vulcanian children getting to live by the best, and, greatest, men in the history of Star Fleet?" he cut the eggs. "that's a plus side," the well aged admiral gestured. "Getting to see little, chubby Vulcans again."

"Come on, Jim," McCoy said. "wasn't raisin' Saavik enough?"

"Yes," Kirk said. "it was. ." he chewed a bite on his egg then swallowed it. "but I don't want raise another one," he shook his fork waving it at the doctor's direction. "but I like to see them near the end of my life if anything."

"She was a handful," McCoy said. "at least we did somethin' right. Raisin' her."

"It's sad that she had to leave Star Fleet for personal issues," Kirk said. "I have not heard from her in years."

McCoy dipped his toast into the yolk.

"Perhaps we may see her again, eventually," McCoy noted.

Kirk cleared his throat.

"Speaking of Saavik," he began tentatively with his captain's voice. "Amanda is sick," McCoy looked up from his breakfast. "Sarek would like us to visit her. He doesn't think she is going to ride past this illness."

"Spock is not goin' to be there, isn't he?" McCoy said.

"He's gone for at least ten days," Kirk said. "he won't be able to make it back. We'll be there for him."

"Shame," McCoy said. "I'll get some time off startin' Wednesday. Rides only four days. But gettin' a ride? That's not easy."

"If it were only faster," Kirk said, with a sigh. "we might miss her."

"We won't," McCoy slid his hand forward to his husband's hand.

Kirk sighed, feeling emotional.

"I feel selfish not wanting her to go," Kirk said.

"Me too," McCoy said, tightly squeezing his husband's hand.

With a kiss to the lips, Kirk bid his second husband off to work. Sure, they were retired. But despite that arthritis, McCoy was determined on continuing to help people. His hands weren't quite steady as they were before. The doctor used medical marijuana to help ease his arthritis that caused mild pain. Kirk made his way back toward the house making his way toward the octagon shaped doorway.  He came to a stop looking at the size of it. Reminded him of a Hobbit's door. The doors automatically opened before him as the admiral had a fond laugh to himself. He didn't really notice the size before. He came to the living room then sat down taking out a padd to see a list of activities. The silence in the room felt off. The constant attention, his captain  side, was raised as ever. He peered around. The familiar, warm hum of the Enterprise engines. The vibrating floor felt like a past time. And he missed it. Janice giving him a cup of coffee in the morning normally woke him up. There was plenty of space in the apartment. It felt like  a life time ago that he was in a starship.

It felt surreal to be retired. And yet, he was.  He wanted to do something.  Anything to distract him.

Perhaps music would be a nice start?

"Computer," Kirk said. "play Landslide by Stevie Nicks."

And the song began to play.

"Thank you, Computer," Kirk said.

Kirk got up from the chair and began pacing by the doors that lead to the patio. There were few community events. He saw a community event that stood out to him as he leaned against the glass wall. He went over to the book case then tapped along the children's books that he recalled Spock and McCoy had been asking him to get rid of since they didn't need. The little Romulan who cried war, the little Vulcan who put his thumb into vegetable pie, little Klingon riding hood, the three Klingons and the Ferengi, Trill had a little symbiote, and so many others. He raised his head as the lyrics finally reached him. He had always heard it was a good song but he did not realize how accurate it hit him at home when it came to him that he had built his life around him. It was true. Kirk would not deny it. Crossing the galaxy for him, crossing enemy lines on away missions during their five year mission in space, and risking his life to ensure his first officers  heart remained beating.

Yes, change, change was coming.

And it was going to be good for Star Fleet.

"Computer," Kirk said. "turn music off," He couldn't relax even with that thought. "Computer, what time does the reading book drive end?"

"It ends in nine hours and thirty-three minutes," the computer replied. A warm smile grew on the admiral's face.

"Thank you, Miss Chapel," Kirk said. Christine Chapel's voice was selected long ago to be the official voice of the LCAR's system. Time would only tell if it would be replaced with a different voice entirely in the future.

Kirk resumed taking the books out of the bookcase leaving only the adult books that his husbands approved of. He moved the books to the counter. He tapped his fingers onto the books contemplating how in the world was he going to send the books to the drive without directions? Of course, ask the neighbors. A smile grew on his  face. Best way to start off neighborly was introducing himself. He looked down to see Buttons moving along his ankle. He knelt down gently combing his fingers through the cats fur. The soft, vibrating cat had a purr that soothed him. Buttons flopped down onto its back and held his paws out. Kirk stood up then headed toward the bedroom. There had to be a box somewhere. He went to his closet and rummaged around for a box. Any box. He eventually found one that hadn't been unpacked. It was marked 'fine china'  which he carefully left on the bed.

Neighbors, who hadn't met, were either away or enjoying a quiet evening.

Kirk hoped for the second.

He put the children books into the box and instead slid in Button's bed. The space in the book shelf was big enough to hold a cat. Buttons rested into the bed, walked around in a circle, and sat down purring. Kirk lifted the box into his hands  heading outside. He placed it onto the back end of the motorcycle inside the cage. Kirk checked his shoelaces then checked his zipper if it was d--ziiip. He headed toward the neighboring house. It was quite homely but it was more of a artistic mansion that had four floors determined by the outside. It looked like an unusual house design that had several pancakes stacked on top with long blue sticks put inside that looked small from a giant's view point but to a miniature person that it looked huge. They even had a flight of stairs. The admiral made his way to the door then pressed on the rounded doorbell set by the side of the  octagon shaped door with his short, well rounded finger.

The sound echoed throughout the building sounding like a classic sound heard often in Dracula related productions. It was heavy and sounded intimidating. The admiral straightened his black and red buttoned up shirt then locked his hands behind his back, waiting. Patience was always his talent as a captain. He overheard a shout from within the building. The stumble of feet was next. The elder admiral sighed. The building didn't look bad, really. Asides to the awful shade of  orange that made it look like an awful variation of the color brown. Pink would have gone great with the paint job. The light shade of blue didn't go well with the terrible orange. Kirk frowned when he noticed there were a intricate design with the orange that had different shades to it. He pinched the bridge of his nose then lowered his hand locking his hands behind his back.  The doors slid open to reveal nothing. Absolutely nothing stand in the doorway. Suddenly a mass of insects merged together moving up and up and up until they were taller than him. The insects changed to a shade of brown and grew a definite shape with the fabric appearing on their bodies. Kirk grew a smiel greeting the next door neighboor. Who happened to appear Chinese at first glance with the way his face and the way his eyes were set. He had a long thin lip that had darker shades of yellow in circles.

"Hello," Kirk said, performing the ta'al. "Admiral James T. Kirk of the Enterpris--" he realized his mistake mid-sentence so he began to switch. "Earth, just moved in," he gestured over his shoulder. "with my husbands."

"Aaaah, Kirk-Kun,  I am  Orichuy-Chun," Orichuy said, bowing his head. "I did not believe the rumors were true."

Kirk smiled back.

"You just joined the federation, Mr Orichuy-chun," Kirk said. Orichuy tilted his head with his hands together.

"That was ten years ago," Orichuy said. "chun is a word for younger people."

Kirk's face fell.

 "My bad," Kirk said. "I need directions to the Elonzo Book Drive.  Says it's a yearly thing."

"I would be honored," Orichuy said. "does your device have a GPS?"

"Why yes," Kirk said.

"It needs access to our GPS system," Orichuy said. "it responds to verbal requests."

"Come along, please," Kirk said. "this is a first time I am using a motorcycle."

"Then why did you get it?" Orichuy asked, raising a thin eyebrow.

"First time is always a treat," Kirk said.  "I am a fast learner, Orichuy-chun."

Orichuy smiled.

"You will blend in nicely, Kirk-Kun," Orichuy said.

The two went over to the motorcycle with the taller man behind Kirk. Orichuy set in the changes into the machine once they had arrived. The admiral didn't need directions, because all he needed was help. That part was certain to Orichuy. The Deltarian species were a curious ones that were primarily made of beetles that took on human form. When winter came, they hibernated. And then it would seem that no one was lurking on the planet surface. Activity on the planet was active when snow was not around. It was a primary reason that any who entered Star Fleet not be placed on arctic assignment. Nowadays, the Deltarians have been finding ways to avoid hibernation all together.

There were underground tunnels built such as: pathway tunnels leading from the house to the garage on the surface, cars, airplanes, submarines, and helicopters. But it was unavoidable to remain outside in the cold when it came to below freezing temperatures. A new suit of the kind had came out twenty years ago, a proto-type that allowed inhabitants to walk in the snow to head somewhere thanks to the advancement of technology. The suit was out of the prototype phase and was still slowly being handed out by each layer of society in the form of bracelets. The Deltarians were tentatively defined as shapeshifters due to their natural ability.

"Thank you," Kirk said, beaming toward the taller man.

"You are welcome," Orichuy said, as the older man got onto the motorcycle. "are you intending to participate in community events?"

Kirk put on his motorcycle gear with the helmet first.

"Uh huh," Kirk said.

"So many of your kind is participating in volunteer work," Orichuy said. "that is touching."

"Expect more of it in your lifetime," Kirk replied.  "we're going to be leaving in a couple days to visit someone special. Very close to us," the man sighed. "after that,  I don't know, but I am burying myself into volunteer work!" he added cheerfully.

"That so?" Orichuy said.

"Uh huh," Kirk said. "Elonzo Reading Drive." and off he went speeding off into the distance.

"Oooh boy," Orichuy said.

Kirk laid down on to the couch with a relieved sigh. The cushions deflating around his figure.  Buttons leaped up onto the admiral's thigh then  made his way onto the captain's stomach. Kirk still did not feel content as he rubbed the forehead of the cat.  Button's purred. He could feel his other husband's annoyance throbbing through the bond. The link with Spock, etched thousands of light years away, was warmly glowing in warmth and love. He could feel Spock's presence even when he wasn't away. He was likely meditating. McCoy and Kirk could have gone but McCoy didn't want to go back into unforeseen space for diplomatic missions. Normally spouses joined Ambassadors.  Kirk, obviously, would not leave without McCoy. It was Spock who had to break the ice. The retired admiral sighed. He had only been gone for a few hours. As it turned out, the drive was only two hours away in a large city while the small town nestled with over 10,000 people was thirty-three minutes away.

A ghost town to be exact.

And frankly, damn it, he missed his first officer.

His thoughts crossed over toward the birds.

"Computer," Kirk said. "will parental birds leave their babies alone if human scent has rubbed off on them?"

"No," the computer replied.

Kirk stroked Buttons contemplating how to proceed.

One, he could use a  pair of binoculars to see the birds from afar.  

But his vision was failing. He would only be able to see fluffy balls of fur. Two, he could watch closely while keeping Buttons away from the baby chicks.  He stroked the cat gently. He didn't like to bother the cat. When Buttons was on him in his lap then Kirk could not move. Kirk didn't like it when Buttons cried because he moved him. He sat there for a good hour thinking what else to do after the baby birds. Buttons was curled on his stomach fast asleep. Kirk carefully slid the cat off sliding him on to the couch. He got up then headed his way to the back yard.

The octagon doors opened before his figure.

Kirk made his way down the rocky path toward the dock. He came to a stop near the shed that he saw a wooden patio where the shed rested on. The two baby birds were resting side by side. Kirk took out his personal padd and took several snapshots of the baby birds. The babies were set side by side coated in fur snuggled. The admiral swore they were snoring lightly. He stepped back then looked up to see Buttons headed his way mewing. The captain picked the nest up, gently, then went over to the hill. He placed the nest onto the roof of the shed. He stopped, hesitating looking down toward Buttons. The admiral rubbed his forehead. He looked for a tree. His eyes brightened when he saw a perfect tree near his yard---but it was up high. He was a mountain climber but he wasn't fond of flying using rocket boots. Kirk walked over then knelt down toward  the cat.  

"Stay away from the bird nest," Kirk said, shaking his index finger.

Buttons mewed.

"I mean it, or you're getting spayed," Kirk said.

Buttons mewed, rubbing along his wrist.

"Be a good boy and don't fall to your instinct," Kirk said. "Admiral's orders."

Buttons mewed as the admiral scratched along the cats ear.

"Good boy,"  Kirk said. "you're a good star fleet officer."

Kirk picked up the pitch black cat as the cat's body formed a 'c' shape listening to the cats cries. He stroked Button's spine gently heading up the steps to the front door. He walked into the house then came back out with Buttons on a leash. Buttons stopped, resting on the grass so he wrapped the leash around the table leg. He went over to the water hose that was long and a shade of green. Kirk did his morning chore of watering the plants from back to front but ever so much checking on Buttons. He saw the mother bird feed the young ones ever so often earning a smile on his face. He turned the water off then turned the hose on aiming it at the grass. The  hose slowly became squishy and springy once more so he put the hose back. He came over to the garden  and tied the handle around his leg. Buttons laid down alongside the man's pant leg.

He brought over a bucket and proceeded to do the weeding.

Only the great bird of the galaxy knew how long it took for him to rip the weeds out with root in tow.

Buttons clawed at the string connecting him to the admiral. Kirk happily went away with his weeding at the back. Buttons flopped over chewing on the string as the admiral hummed to himself. The cat's fangs dug into the long threat putting holes into it. Chewing on it, actually. The string gave away. Buttons mewed swatting at the string then turned in the direction of the bird nest that the admiral had placed. Kirk felt a bead of sweat roll down his neck and under the hem of his shirt.  His breath was thick and heavy as he gazed intently at the predator stalking it's prey. Making his way toward the branchless tree right by the shed. It's cold, yellow eyes narrowed in concentration. His claws unsheathed from rounded, soft paws. His body rolled back and coiled, poised delicately to strike. He sprung! He leapt forward like a great lion of lore. That it was, until Kirk caught the cat in mid-air before he landed on the wooden bark with claws out.

"No birds for you," Kirk scolded Buttons. The cat mewed softly, pleading into Kirk's eyes. Kirk shook his head while fondly petting the cat. "I'm sorry, but no birds for you."

The admiral made his way back into the house and dropped the cat inside listening to the pleading mews.

The admiral glared back at the cat.

Buttons sat down onto the rug staring back at the admiral with pleading eyes.

"Sit there and think about what you almost did today," Kirk said. "cats need to eat, I understand, but not baby birds."

The admiral was about to return to his gardening when the computer chimed.

 "Request for a lecture at Star Fleet Campus in  September," the computer announced.

Kirk rubbed his forehead.

"I forgot to turn the automatic email option off," Kirk said. "I will get to that, computer."

 The computers voice ceased with a familiar, nostalgic chime to it.

He made his way back outside where the garden awaited for him. The admiral knelt down to the grassy patch wearing his large gloves. His fingers dug around in the soil for the weeds roots. Riip, Riiip, riiiip went his weeding spree. The weeds fell into the bucket. His gloves were covered in dirt. He elected to ignore the worms that the foots had dug up so instead he slid the worms back into the soil. The intense atmosphere had faded to  content. He was busy. He turned sideways toward the direction of the nest to see the mother bird had returned. Except the baby birds were not in the nest.

They were on the hard, hot roof.

He stood up in alarm then took off the gloves then made his way after the baby birds.

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