Kirk scrubbed his face with his hands as they finished their talk with Sarek. He and his crew knew they had to face the consequences of stealing the Enterprise, damaging the Excelsior, and a slew of other charges. And they would, willingly, but right now:
He was tired, they all were. The thought of getting up from their seats in the family area felt like someone strapped hundreds of weights on them.
But he was the captain. He set the tone. So he sat forward with his arms resting on his knees and pushed energy into his voice. "Thank you, Sarek. We appreciate everything you're doing."
Sarek held up a hand. "It is I who owe you an incalculable debt for all you have done."
Kirk thought of what else to say when the quiet – and the glum atmosphere – shattered.
"Get back here!"
Saavik suddenly hit the room, face set and eyebrows screwed together, as she ate the room's width in long, hard strides that defied Amanda's order.
"What the-!" McCoy started.
Amanda reached the room, following the younger woman. "Don't think you can avoid this by walking out!"
Sarek started firmly, "My wife-"
Kirk doubted either woman noticed they were here. Amanda didn't heed her husband, that was for certain. She was leaving the room, still hollering after Saavik.
"I would love to know how I was cursed with another STUBBORN VULCAN! And why do you all have to be so tall!"
Sarek's eyes closed slowly and Kirk wondered if he thought back to quieter days in his house.
McCoy came up with something to say, thank goodness. "They certainly liven up a place."
Eyes still closed, the ambassador answered, "They are, indeed." He opened his eyelids and suddenly focused on them. "Perhaps you could speak with Saavik."
They could; she was a lieutenant. They each outranked her.
Chekov surprised them all by answering. "Ve vould, sir, but ve're scared of them."
It wasn't a great joke, but it was the one they needed in that moment. Uhura spluttered in laughter while Sulu and Scotty went from stunned silence to laughing. McCoy and Kirk did basically the same as all of them.
Sarek only said, "You are a wise man, Commander," and left for his office.
They leaned on one another until they stopped the laughter, but then Scotty repeated it and hearing him attempt Chekov's accent sent them into bending over, holding their ribs, until they finally blinked away happy tears.
"You know what," Kirk said, eyes alive again, "let's go work on that ship."
It was the in joke for the day. They took transportation, walked in a pack, some one of them repeating the line and sending them all off again.
It started dying off, revived by Sulu stating he could do what the proposed schematics for the helm said, but he was "scared of the design, sir."
The best was Saavik coming on board to help and McCoy shouting in mock terror at the sight of her.
Kirk explained to the confused Vulcan, once he stopped laughing. He even went looking for the doctor to – maybe apologize or something. After all, Saavik was already holding a grudge. Amanda felt the Vulcan needed sleep so McCoy snuck up behind her while Kirk distracted her. One hypospray in the arm and down Saavik went.
Now people screamed and laughed when she showed up.
Kirk still chuckled as he found McCoy outside with a paintbrush. The captain read what was painted on the hull:
The HMS Bounty.
"Bones, I love it."
"Very nice choice," came a feminine voice. Amanda.
Without thinking, McCoy yelled in fake terror and Kirk could tell the doctor realized what he was doing midway but couldn't stop in time.
Amanda patted McCoy's arm. "Leonard, that was the appropriate reaction."
She went up the ramp, searching for Saavik.