Title: In Sickness and in Health
Author: Farfalla the Butterfly-Kitten
Email: blueberrysnail (at) yahoo dot com
Pairing: K/S
Rating: G
Thank you to Gamin Davis, Hypatia Kosh, and especially Lyrastar for various bitlets of help.
Summary: Kirk embarrasses himself at his own wedding
Written for the "Worst Day Ever" Friday the 13th Side by Side challenge and tweaked using ideas presented by Gamin.


In Sickness and in Health

Admiral James T. Kirk squinted out into the marvelous tawny glow of the Vulcan desert, the words of the regal old woman reverberating from the rocks and through his heart. "I now pronounce you wedded beings."

Actually, she was speaking in Vulcan and he had no earthly idea what the words were, but from the way she was gesturing towards him he could guess what they meant. He couldn't help but hear the tried-and-true Terran speech in his head, during the service, since he hadn't been able to understand a word of hers. For better or for worse. In sickness and in health. Well, that was close to 'never and always touching, and touched', right?

Love in any language. And commitment.

The thought occurred to him that the old chestnut was right--today *was* the happiest day of his life. He'd had another wedding day, of course, but the trial marriage with Lori Ciani had been an impassionate business transaction compared to this blissful phenomenon. His heartbeat seemed as rapid as a bird's, and he was beginning to feel lightheaded. He was so happy he could barely breathe.

"You are presented to the company as lawful spouses." T'Pau had switched languages now, in gracious acknowledgment of the many humans present. She held out her hands, beckoning Kirk and Spock to step forward towards the guests. Spock crooked his elbow and reached towards Kirk with two fingers outstretched, thus beckoning to him for the first time with the time-honored Vulcan marital display.

His chest heaving slightly with emotion, and sensing a bit of nausea he chalked up to nervousness, Kirk returned the gesture. A shivering spark of heat radiated from the place their fingers met, and traveled through Kirk's body like a warm flood of light. Anything so intimate as a public kiss would be unheard of on Vulcan, but this act was more meaningful than any "You may now kiss the bride."

Cheering drew Kirk's attention to the people in front of them. Sarek and Amanda were easiest to find, up front and center. Next to Amanda sat Kirk's mother and his nephew Peter, fresh off the last passenger vessel from Lunaport. Sulu and Rand hovered nearby, as well as Chekov, Scotty, Dr. Chapel, and Chief DiFalco.

The Vulcan faces he mostly didn't recognize, but he looked forward to getting to know every one of them. Relatives or business associates of Sarek or friends or students of Amanda, he guessed. He would meet them all at the reception Amanda was hosting later that night at Sarek's estate. Sarek might not approve of Spock's membership in Starfleet, but he definitely held Kirk in high esteem after watching him handle the Orion attack before the Babel conference. Besides, Amanda wanted to dance at her son's wedding, at least figuratively, and not even her regal Vulcan husband was going to stand in her way.

For some reason, Kirk's body wanted to interrupt his crowd-inspection with a variety of troubles. Bones had warned him to take it easy since his recovery from Vegan flu, but he believed in mind over body to the point where his confidence in his health overrode his prudence. The illness had run its course quickly, and he'd done his best to prevent Spock from growing too concerned over his welfare. He hadn't wanted anyone to suggest postponing this day... they had certainly waited long enough.

Beyond the guests stretched the reddish-gold sands that blanketed Vulcan. At this time of day the land was illuminated in the late-afternoon sun and shone radiantly. His head buzzed as his eyes confused themselves over the expanse of sand, unable to focus.

The guests blurred. Kirk's heart began to beat harder and seemed to rise into his head.

His eyes blanked.

Suddenly, the human groom pitched forward, his limbs utterly useless. Spock quickly caught him, but was unable to support his weight at such a short notice and was forced down to the sand to sit beneath him. A woman, probably Rand, let out a shrill shriek of alarm.

The best man dashed to Kirk's side. "Dammit, Spock, what happened?" he muttered.

"I do not know," Spock hissed back. "The air is thin here, but this is his first sign of infirmity to it. Also, the other humans present seem to be unaffected."

"His blood probably pooled from having to stand so still, too. Orthostatic... I knew this was a bad idea," McCoy griped, checking Kirk's pulse. "We could have done this on a starbase."

"Doctor, I would appreciate it if you would refrain from speaking unless necessary," Spock said through gritted teeth. He could feel T'Pau's eyes boring into him, even though she was behind them. He knew what she was thinking. *Outworlders.*

Uhura, who was Spock's maid of honor, had darted off into the crowd at the collapse of the grooms and now returned, bearing a pitcher of water. "Dr. McCoy, will this help?"

"That's okay, he's waking up," said McCoy, ignoring Spock's thin-lipped grimace. "Thanks anyway, though."

"Does he have heatstroke?" Uhura asked.

"This is just leftovers from that little bug he had last week. But that could be adding to it, with him cooking like a baked potato in that damn dress uniform," said McCoy, continuing to examine his woozy friend. "Won't know for sure 'til I get him back up there to Sickbay." He lifted his head in the direction of Christine Chapel, who'd been watching the whole time with her communicator at the ready. "Beam us up," he mouthed at her.

She murmured a few words into her communicator, and before the guests' eyes, both grooms, the best man, and the other doctor glimmered out of sight.

The crowd was left in disarray. Sarek quickly took charge of the situation, striding aboard the platform with his robes swishing around his legs. "Gentlebeings," he orated, "I am sure that Admiral Kirk will recover shortly. As most of you know, the Human homeworld has an atmosphere of twenty-one percent pure oxygen." Several in the crowd mumbled knowingly. "Kirk will be treated aboard his ship and then return to us, and I would ask you to remain as our guests for the duration unless and until we hear otherwise."

The guests nodded, mostly appeased, and began to file away, following Sarek and Amanda toward their home. The Enterprise crewmembers hung behind, surrounding a wide-eyed and distraught Mrs. Kirk, who was demanding to be beamed aboard. Uhura patted her hand reassuringly, and flipped open her own communicator.

T'Pau remained at the top of the wedding platform in her temporary throne, her face frozen into a sullen smirk. This family! What troubles they caused for her. Never a ceremony performed smoothly. Always these improprieties...

Next time they needed someone to officiate at a ritual, she decided, it would not be herself. Let T'Lar handle it.

When Kirk realized he was indoors again, he was very glad to find himself lying peacefully flat in a Sickbay bed. He shifted slightly against the cool, crisp sheets, his head simmering in nausea.

McCoy noted his wakening and approached the biobed. Through the mists of his discomfort, Kirk was slightly amused to notice that the doctor's lapel still sported the outlandish Vulcan plant he had pinned on for a boutonnière. "How are we feeling?" McCoy asked.

Kirk tried to speak, but the net of sickness had him trapped and even the slightest movement of his head put him in fear of vomiting. His lips moved in vain, producing no sound.

He turned to Spock, who sat by his side still splendidly bedecked in the glittering white robe. The Vulcan's shining brown eyes watched him with tender concern.

Steeling himself for the simple act of muscular movement, Kirk feebly reached for Spock's hand and placed it on his temple, knowing he would be understood.

"He is greatly nauseated," Spock translated for McCoy and Chapel.

"I kept telling him to drink more water," said a knowing female voice by the door. Kirk's eyebrows twitched as he recognized the sound of his mother.

"So did I," McCoy grumbled. "He also roasted down there in that velour deathtrap he's wearing. Last time we were on Vulcan, it took 'im a lot longer to get sick, but he hadn't just recovered from some damn alien virus." He shifted around the room, searching.

"Looking for these, Len?" Chapel handed him a bottle of small yellow and green pills.

"Oh." He nodded and took it from her. "Thank you."

McCoy removed a pill from the bottle and gave it to Kirk, who let it fall in between his lips. Water was provided, and somehow he managed to swallow it.

Chapel approached the biobed holding a hypo. "This is so you can go back down there when you feel better," she explained, releasing its contents into Kirk's upper arm.

"What's in there?" asked Kirk's mother.

"Stuff to fight back his symptoms, mixed with something to help his body glean as much oxygen as it can from the thin air down there," McCoy explained. "It's not a good idea to take too much of it, but for cases like this I'd say it's all right."

"Tri-ox," Chapel added.

"Yeah." McCoy smirked. "Now, let's see. Why does this sound familiar?"

Enough of the anti-nausea pill had worked on Kirk by now so that he was able to respond with a faint smile. "It's really tri-ox this time, Jim," McCoy added with a chuckle.

Spock looked a little embarrassed--for a Vulcan--and sidled slightly closer to Kirk. His new husband leaned into his comforting touch. "Everything's okay down there, right? We're legal?" Kirk asked in a mumble.

"The ceremony was completed to the satisfaction of the Vulcan officials involved," Spock confirmed.

"Well, that's a relief." Kirk licked his lips. "What about your family?"

"My father has been married to a Terran woman for nearly five decades," Spock reminded him. "He has encountered enough human eccentricities to fill an encyclopedia. In addition, his experience as an ambassador has provided him with many opportunities to appreciate the difference in alien biologies, sometimes first-hand."

"You mean--he's passed out like this before?" Kirk blinked.

"Not at his wedding," Spock was quick to add, "but yes. There are worlds with an atmosphere even thinner than Vulcan, and there are other circumstances that can cause a visiting outworlder to lose consciousness."

"I see."

"Leonard? Are you sure it's safe for him to go back down there?" Kirk's mother piped up from the back of the room.

"Absolutely, ma'am," McCoy said as he strode to her side and took her hand. "And once we're there, I'd be honored if you'd dance with me at your son's reception."

"I'd love to, you Southern charmer," she answered, smiling back at him with all the sparkle she'd gathered in her seventy-two years.

Chapel gave Kirk a wry smile and winked at him, and he gave a sheepish grin in response. "Here, Admiral. Have some water."

"Thank you." He sat up, slowly, and took the glass.

It wasn't long before Kirk had regained control of his faculties, and rose to his feet as soon as he felt the strength to stand up. Everyone in Sickbay was very relieved that his legs supported him, and they hurried back to the transporter room, Kirk and Spock hovering close together. They took their positions on the transporter pad, eager to arrive at Sarek and Amanda's mansion to see what kind of a party Vulcans held after a wedding.

"Hey, Bones," Kirk nudged McCoy as the technician keyed in the coordinates for Sarek's dwelling.

"Yeah?"

"Thanks for stepping in and fixing me up just now. You, too, Christine."

"We appreciate your expertise," Spock added.

"Our pleasure," Chapel answered, grinning. "It's what we're here for."

"Jim!" growled McCoy.

"What?"

As their forms dissolved into particles, McCoy's ringing voice echoed on the Enterprise transporter pad. "You are NOT spending your wedding night down there!"