Disclaimers: James Kirk and Spock of Vulcan are their own beings. Paramount fools around with their images, often not very successfully. I think Jim and Spock like it better with me. I don't intend to infringe on any of Paramount's rights, whatever they may be, and I achieve no financial gain from writing this story.
Note: “Dawn” was originally published in Beyond Dreams 5 in 2002.
I. . . .
I am. . . .
I. . . .
A woman's voice, low and concerned. "Spock?"
The word comes from a great distance away, years and parsecs away, and it carries no knowledge of who I am. No one can know who I am. I do not know. And if I do not know, how can anyone else tell me?
Again, insistent this time. "Spock."
I perceive that I am expected to respond. In this endless night, this dark and terrifying world in which I have cowered and yet survived for ages, response has not been possible for as long as I can remember. Nevertheless, I attempt it. But there is a part of me that is still so far distant. It is enshrouded by that awful mystery, and it pulls me down, back into itself, though I do not want to go. Wearily, I return to the struggle.
I. . . .
I am. . . .
I am so tired. I have been fighting and fighting and fighting, but I do not know what I am opposing or why. There had been a time, I am suddenly sure, when I did not exist in the dark and I did not constantly fight. Even recently. . . . An image comes to me: a long and pulsating tunnel, beckoning, and a gentle push from behind to take the journey from here to there. The push somehow had a familiar tone. "Go on now, get back where you belong." I traversed the expanse, though it had been difficult and terrifying and I had lost my way many times. And that was how I came to be. . .where I am. A place where response might be possible, and there are words besides my screaming.
Another voice, deeper. "How is McCoy, T'Lar?"
"Indications are that he will recover with his sanity intact. Your son, however, is not responsive."
"He has endured much. Perhaps some time is required."
"Wisely spoken, Sarek. Your conclusions match my own. A katra transfer to a living body is unprecedented. No one can tell whether memory and personality will join to produce a semblance of the being once known as your son. You have caused us to enact a great experiment." There is a rustle of cloth and a sigh. "However, I am no longer part of it. I have done what you asked. Rehabilitation, of whatever sort, is healer's work. Sirard."
Another man's voice. "I am here, T'Lar."
"He is yours."
I travel a long road of silence. Or perhaps not. I am in another space, apart. And yet, there is no pain. A curiosity, to exist without the tearing apart. Ah. What I had been fighting for. To remain intact.
I contemplate that for a while, until I hear words that I do not always understand.
"Sarek, it will be as we agreed."
"Of course, Healer. I ask only the best for Spock."
"Then ask the admiral to join us. He has been with McCoy, but now his place is here."
Sounds: the whisper of wind, a clash of metal against rock. What I perceive as. . .footsteps? Hurried. Another voice. "Healer Sirard, what do you want me to do?"
"Perhaps much. Wait and observe. I will instruct you according to circumstances."
Now the healer's voice turns towards me. It is even and calm, yet somehow kind. "Spock. You are among friends. We will do you no harm. Open your eyes."
This time the dark relinquishes me more easily. I do not seem to be so far away. Eyes? Yes, it is possible. I open them.
Light. I blink desperately as my eyes tear, but I am suddenly greedy for something other than the blackness that has been my companion. Yes, there had been light and color before.
A vermilion sky silhouettes a man's rounded face. My gaze flows past his sharp, observing eyes to fasten on the domed color that drips down around me from above. An emotion surges through me. Home.
And another thought: blood.
"Spock, can you hear me?"
I nod and realize that I am lying on a long, cold slab of stone, outdoors, under the dawn sky of Vulcan. I am uncomfortable and chilled.
I have a body again. My awareness explodes as I feel arms, legs, the ambient temperature, the pull of gravity. I have not had a body for. . . . Frustration, because I cannot calculate the time. I know, without any doubt, that I should be able to make such an estimation. But I cannot reach that far back into the shadowy roiling.
"Both of you, help him to sit upright."
Two men touch me, supporting me as they urge me to sit, though at the healer's instruction they remove their hands as soon as I achieve balance by gripping the hard edge of the table. My legs dangle but that is not important. This new world, which is yet old as my gaze lights on one familiar line and curve after another, reveals itself. Satisfaction uncurls in that part of me that has escaped. For I have seen the world, and it is good.
I do not understand what that means, and yet I think it. Illogical. I shake my head as if to cast off the errant thought, and even that movement is satisfying. To touch, to move, to see and hear. . . . I raise my hand and become lost in the contemplation of my open palm. I flex the fingers, then the thumb. Over again. And again. I touch two fingertips from different hands together. Fascinating.
The healer crouches before me and therefore enters my line of vision. I had forgotten he was present. "Spock, can you speak?"
My attention flies like a young bird from my limbs to my voice. I, too, have a voice that can take wing. I contemplate the possibility. It seems likely, so I open my mouth and attempt to form words, but nothing happens. Then I perform some action with my throat. A sort of rumble emerges, and then I try to speak again.
"Yes. I can. I can." I do not sound as I expected to.
"That is good. I am Healer Sirard. Will you repeat my name, Spock?"
"Healer Sirard." My voice is rough and deep, like a very old man's, or as though I have been sleeping for a long time. But the back of my hand is not veined and age-splotched, therefore. . . . "Rip Van Winkle," I say.
Sirard looks puzzled, but then an uncommon sound erupts from one of the other two men standing nearby, and I am compelled to turn my head to establish its source. A. . .laugh. A brown-haired human has laughed. And now he is staring at me with a strange light in his eyes. And a glint of moisture as well. I do not understand.
"It's an Earth legend about a man who slept for twenty years, and when he woke up it took a while for him to figure out where he was and what had happened. Spock's remembered that legend already and applied it to this situation." The man takes an eager step forward. "Am I right, Spock? You think you're just waking up?"
I am confused. I am not entirely sure why I said. . . . I slowly close my eyes to block my bewilderment and the look of expectation on that hopeful face; I cannot fulfill it. I sink back. For a moment the black is not so complete as it was, not with the dawnglow of the sun piercing through my eyelids. I lift my face to the light, but the shadows inside me are very long and growing.
"Too much," Sirard murmurs gently. "We must not force too much on him too soon. But I share your optimism, Admiral. This may be a good sign. It is doubtful that such a comment was random. Somewhere he is making associations. Interesting that a Terran reference emerged first. Let us proceed."
In the tearing apart time a roaring and a stretching and a wild wind had grasped me and sent me flying end over end to the farthest reaches of my world. I do not want to return there, but a cool breeze stirs around my seated form and banishes the healing balm of the sun. I am cold, as cold as I was for so long, so cold that I am shaking, and the wind takes me back into the formless space from whence I have emerged. Nooooooooo.
I. . . .
I am. . . .
I am Spock. They have named me so. But what is the naming without the knowing? Who am I?
After a long while there is a sharp pressure on my arm, almost a pain, and a concentrated hissing sound. Something in me identifies: hypospray. And then an angry voice: He's cold, can't you see it? He always looks pinched like that when he's really cold. Aren't there any blankets around here? Warmth flows through my body from within as whatever was introduced into my bloodstream begins to work, and a heavy cloth is draped over my shoulders. The faint shine of the sun trickles through my eyelids again.
"Spock. You must listen to me. Listen. Listen. Open your eyes, Spock. It is important. We require your attention for a short period of time, and then you will be able to rest."
I remember the light and the color, and I am warmer now. The light: it is good. So again I slowly open my eyes to this new and different, this old and familiar world. A white wool robe is wrapped around me; it feels very heavy, and I am slumped under its weight, as I can barely remain sitting. Why will they not leave me alone?
Sirard stands before me with a machine in his hands. A medical tricorder. He consults the data display and says, "The risk of shock has passed. All readings are stabilized." He stoops to look up into my face as if to confirm what he has just said. "Can you hear me? Do you understand me?"
It would be much easier not to answer him, but he has promised rest soon. I nod, though the movement of my head feels awkward. "Yes," I whisper. I do not know if he has heard me, because my chin is pressed down against my chest, so I say it again, louder. "Yes."
He turns to the other two men. "We must decide on his course of treatment immediately, so we can take him to the place of healing. As we agreed."
Sirard moves to my side, his tricorder still working, and an older man takes his place, one of those two who had helped me sit.
"Look at me," commands the voice of a being accustomed to obedience. I struggle to lift my head to see all of him. Living in this way, in the light, is difficult and requires much effort. But eventually I see him. This one's hair is gray, his face lined, and there is tension in the way his arms are folded within the sleeves of his robe. His eyes, however, are quiet. "Spock," he says, "do you know who I am?"
I blink at him and the answer seems obvious. Not so easy to translate the thought into words, though. Eventually I manage to say, "You are Sarek."
Satisfaction curls his lips for a moment, but then the healer asks me, "And how do you know this is Sarek?"
"T'Lar used that name," I answer haltingly. "And he is Vulcan, so. . . ." It seems clear to me, but the others look at one another, and I interpret a negative emotion. They are. . .disappointed. I do not know why, but I experience a negative emotion of my own in response. I wish that whatever I had said had not produced such a reaction.
"Touch him," the healer instructs Sarek. "Do not project, but remain receptive for any indication of the parental bond."
"It was not a strong one," the Vulcan says. "We were not compatible."
"Nevertheless, we must use whatever we have available to aid in Spock's rehabilitation. Proceed."
Sarek places his hand on the layers of white and black fabric that cover my arm, then pushes them up so that his fingers make contact with my bare skin. I. . .cannot. . . . No! I clumsily turn to the side in an attempt to get away from him. I lose my precarious balance and slip down onto my elbow with a grunt. The sharp pain caused by the impact of my bone against the table surprises me, but I ignore that to try to elude his grasp. I do not wish him to touch me. I do not know why.
"Ahhh," the healer says. "I would advise you to remove your hand, Sarek. Spock, can you sit again on your own?"
Shakily, I push myself back up to a sitting position. Why will this healer not help me? I know, somehow, that healers touch and healers provide comfort and healers help to remove pain. I do not wish to return to the dark, but I cannot remain here much longer without sliding. . . . My eyelids droop and I contemplate my curled hands in my lap.
"I presume there was no thread?"
"None," Sarek says.
"The experiment is not conclusive. It may yet emerge," the healer says. "And now you, Admiral."
There is the sound of bodies moving, and then silence for a moment. "Is he all right?" the human asks. "Maybe this is too much for him."
The tricorder whirrs and Sirard says, "We must proceed. This decision is crucial. Duplicate what Sarek said."
"All right. I don't entirely understand what you're doing, but you're the expert." There is an audible intake of breath. "Spock," the man says quietly, "please look at me. Please. In just a few minutes you'll be able to rest, to sleep, but for now I really need you to," his voice quivers, "look at me."
I raise my head once again. This man, the human, shares my fatigue. His tiredness shows in the way he carries his shoulders, as if one break in their tension will cause him to collapse. The cut on his forehead and bruises on his face cause me to frown. He should not allow himself to be hurt. . . .
"Spock. . . ." He whispers my name again, and I turn my attention to his eyes. They are golden in color, intense and strikingly beautiful. Compelling. Much more compelling than my own palm or the red sky. I gaze into them, caught and fascinated.
"Do you know who I am?" he breathes.
For some reason I do not wish to answer. Answering exposes the possibility of more disappointment. Nevertheless, it seems almost automatic for my lips to move in response to his question. "Admiral. . ." I say quite slowly, "Admiral. . .no." I shake my head, because that is not who he is, I think. I think. I am unsure.
"Touch him," the healer says quietly. "In whatever way you wish."
Without hesitation, the human raises his hand and touches the side of my face, gently, laying the flat of his fingers upon my skin. His eyes shine like diamonds. "Spock," he whispers, "don't you know me?"
The cool pressure of his hand. . .it is distracting. I cannot concentrate on anything but that touch of flesh to flesh. So long I have gone without sensation, without reason or knowledge. There had just been the long struggle and the tearing apart and pain multiplied past telling, but I had wanted more, had yearned towards a body, my body and his body, his touch. . . .
So familiar. I have carried the ghost image of his hand on my face up through the darkness.
Something. . .changes. Within me a wild plume of fire erupts; it splits me asunder. Out of the dark silence, still so close, still so familiar, still my bane and my refuge, a part of me bursts forward into the morning in desperate recognition.
I raise my hand to cover his. His blunt fingers under mine. I do not know who I am, but I know who he is. He is the one who touches me.
"Jim," I say with certainty. "Your name is Jim."
The rising sun is as nothing to his dawning smile. "Yes," he says with unconcealed joy. "Yes."
For a moment we look at each other, he in his joy, me basking in the comfort of his flesh beneath my flesh and the knowledge that I have not caused disappointment, and everything is right. No past pain, no present confusion or frustration. . . .
But Sirard is saying, "What more, Spock? His name is Jim, yes, but do you remember anything else about this man?"
The moment of peace passes. I name him, they name me, but what is the naming without the knowing?
My hand drops to my lap, and Jim leaves me. He takes a step back. And since I can find no words to explain how I felt when he touched me, I say, "No. I know nothing." I am cold again.
"It does not matter," Sirard says briskly. "There was significant recognition. Admiral Kirk, I ask for your assistance in Spock's rehabilitation."
"Of course. What do you want me to do?"
"Come with us to the place of healing. There your wounds will also be cared for, and you as well as Spock will be able to recuperate. Above all, you will be the focal point in attempting to re-integrate Spock's memory and personality. None other should touch him lest their psychic signature interfere. Will you give us your time and energy?"
Jim draws a deep breath. "Sirard. I brought Spock here. I thought he was dead. For weeks, I thought he was dead. Can you imagine what it means to me that he's here now, alive, talking, knowing my name?"
"I cannot share in your emotion, Admiral, but I have an adequate imagination."
"Then you know my answer. Until the Starfleet Military Police come to take me away for trial, I'm yours."
"It will not come to that, Kirk," the Vulcan named Sarek says. "Vulcan will protect you, and I am not without influence."
"I appreciate that, Sarek, but eventually. . . . Well, we'll deal with that at a later time. Until then, can you take care of my friends? And see that McCoy gets medical attention?"
"Of course, Kirk. A human doctor from Shikahr is waiting for him. You need not worry about your officers."
Sirard holds his hands wide. "Then let us go now. Admiral, please assist Spock to his feet. The aircar pad is but a few paces down this path."
It is difficult to find my balance when they ask me to walk, but with Jim's hands supporting me, I manage.
"Rip van Winkle, eh?" he says in a low undertone as I carefully place one foot in front of the other. "You always did have a mischievous sense of humor, Spock. You're there, I know you are. We'll find you. I'll find you."
What he says means nothing to me, as I am intent only on finding a place to sit again. My body is one giant uncoordinated ache, and I find myself wondering what could have happened to it. Surely this is not my normal state? I remember. . .I remember. . . . Then I release the thought like a falcon is freed from its jesses, and it flies away.
In the aircar, I sit in a back seat between Sirard and Jim, though not for long. Even as the noise and vibration of flight begins, before our flight path levels, the rest of my energy alarmingly drains away. The choice is to fall forward or to the side. Each is distasteful to me; it means relinquishing control of the body when I have just regained it. But I have no choice. I slump against the human. He grunts in surprise, but a moment later, with gratitude, I feel his arms go around me. He shifts, twisting and leaning back against the vehicle's side wall, I shift, moving forward so that my head rests upon his chest and within the crook of his arm, and we are in a comfortable position where I can drift. The dark hovers behind me, always present, but for now I find that I can not-fight and yet still not succumb to it. A different form of peace. Jim's jacket beneath my cheek is somewhat scratchy, but I do not move from the comfort of his slow inhalations.
"Is this all right, Sirard?"
"Yes, Admiral. We will work on a rehabilitation plan once you are medicated and rested, but for now please feel free to respond to Spock's needs. Give him what he wants."
A small silence. Then Jim's voice, reflective, coming from over my head. "He would never want this from me in public. Not in front of you, not if he were himself. He's always been so strong -- in every way. I don't want you to think he's like this."
"I do not. However, the question is not Spock's strength but your own. The coming days and weeks, perhaps months, will be difficult, and no one can predict with any certainty whether or how quickly Spock's current condition may change. Are you strong enough to allow him to be weak?"
Jim returns no immediate answer, but a moment later his fingers rest upon my head and then thread through my hair. I find the attention most soothing.
"Just watch me, Healer. Just watch me."
The flight seems very long. My body wishes to drop into a different darkness, to succumb to sleep. I think I know what sleep is. It is another shadow. Perhaps it is not terrifying, but I am not sure if I can trust this perception, and so I fight my fatigue. I concentrate on the sounds of the aircar and Jim's heartbeat. And on the occasional words my companions exchange.
Jim abruptly says, "We're not bonded, you know. If you're counting on a mental link, it's not there."
"I had no such preconception."
"Then why. . .why that little test with Sarek?"
"The ambassador told me he believed the two of you had melded often."
I can feel Jim's heavy swallow as it ripples down his throat and chest. "I don't know how he knew that. But we did. All the time. But. . .mostly during lovemaking. I don't know if that's. . . ."
"You need not explain yourself to me, Admiral. Sarek indicated that it was probable that you and his son shared an unconventional relationship. I do not judge it. We each must find our own best solutions to the challenges life gives us, and Spock has faced many unusual challenges due to his mixed heritage. It would be illogical not to use every tool at my disposal to assist my patient."
"I'm your best tool?" There is amusement in Jim's voice, and I find that my lips move in an automatic shared response. No one sees, but I feel the slight curve of a smile that was not there before. This is. . .pleasant.
"I believe so. I sought the individual most familiar with Spock's mental landscape. You are he."
Another stretch of time passes. The faint sound of the aircar's motor is a soothing backdrop to this place. Like the touch of Jim's hand, it is familiar, as if it too belongs to the before time. For the first time since I emerged from the tearing apart, I attempt to deliberately recall it. There must have been light, and voices, and people.
But a curtain is drawn between the stages of my life. My effort to remember anything takes me back only so far, to the time of dissolution and terror, of screaming and anguish and that desperate struggle always to gather the runaway parts of myself, when I never knew who I was, only that the punishment would never, ever end. . . .
I. . . .
I. . . .
"Shhhh," Jim says, and he strokes my hair gently. "It's all right. You're going to be okay. It's all right."
I blink and my midnight of the soul recedes. I am with Jim, clutching at his dirty white shirt with curled fingers that are shaking. . . . I take a deep breath to remind myself that I have a body and I am here. He is here.
"Excellent," the healer murmurs. "I have made a good choice."
And Sirard is here, too.
The tone of the motor changes, and the hiss of atmosphere against the wings of the 'car indicates we are descending. I spend a moment wondering how I know this, but then there is a thump and our vehicle is on the ground again.
When I slowly move my protesting body to stand in the warming air, a device is waiting for us on the gray plasticrete of the landing pad. It is a motorized chair, and Sirard indicates that I am to sit in it. I consider, but there is something about what Jim had said. . . . I don't want you to think he's like this. Am I one who would obey the healer's outstretched hand and sit? Am I? What am I like?
"No," I say.
"Spock," he says, "you are weak. Your body will require much recuperation before you will be strong again. It is logical to use mechanical aids until your energy returns."
"No," I say again, and this time I add, "walking is logical." I glance at Jim to determine if I have disappointed him.
But Jim simply takes my arm and propels me along a path towards the low, one-story sandstone building that is the only edifice visible. The rest is desert and low hills. "Then let's pretend you're being logical and not stubborn and go inside, before your logic makes you collapse."
Sirard walks beside us up to the large arched door that is the entry to the building. "Pride is not logical. It is a human trait."
"Sirard, if you think that, then you haven't known the Vulcans I've known."
Inside, a long hallway stretches before us, and I realize I may not be able to traverse the entire distance. My rejection of the chair may have been a miscalculation, forcing me to relinquish control of the body again. But Sirard directs us to a side hall with just a few doors, and we enter through the last one. I am grateful to stop and stand in the center of a small room furnished with a bed, a chair, and a chest of drawers. Jim then steers me to the chair and pushes on my shoulder. I sit.
Sirard gestures towards another inner doorway. "This suite is intended for a patient to occupy with a family member who is in attendance during treatment. The patient lives and sleeps in that larger room, and the family member sleeps here. However, we may modify arrangements. Admiral Kirk, I will ask you a question. Did you and Spock often sleep together?"
It is odd to me that the healer continues to call Jim admiral. The term does not sound right to my ears. My ears. . . . I raise one shaking hand and trace a pointed tip. My ears are pointed like Sirard's. Not like Jim's. That is because I am. . .Vulcan? I consider that but can find no answer. There does not seem to be certitude in it. Perhaps I am merely too fatigued to be thinking properly. And then there is the question of hair. . . . Sirard has none on his shining bald head. I touch my head and confirm that I am like Jim; I have hair. I wonder what I look like but I am not motivated to ask.
". . .shared an apartment on Earth, but we had separate quarters on the ship. We slept together as often as duty allowed."
"I presume that you mean the term 'slept together' in its literal meaning and not as a colloquial term for sexual relations."
Jim sighs, and that sound brings my gaze back to him. "Yes, Sirard, that's what I meant."
"Then I am correct in assuming that Spock would not find it unusual to share a bed with you while he sleeps?"
"I'd like to think that he'd want me there. We had a good relationship, Healer. Better than good most of the time."
"Then I will ask you. Will you share the larger bed in the inner room with Spock? I will then be able to occupy this room, the better to monitor his therapy and progress."
"All you had to do was ask," Jim says with a touch of exasperation.
"It is a delicate subject even for humans, and I am not as conversant with the attitudes of humans towards private, intimate matters as I might be. If I give offense, please correct my ignorance so that I will not do so again."
"No offense. Just. . . ." I observe that Jim pinches the bridge of his nose and seems to sway on his feet. "It’s been a very long forty-eight hours. Or sixty-two hours, I've lost count. I don't have the patience that I should right now."
"Forgive me," Sirard says as he advances towards the one who touches me, "I have neglected your needs and forgotten that you have gone through an ordeal as well. Your patience is, indeed, exemplary. Let us establish Spock in the bed and then you can both sleep."
They pry my fingers from the rough, white cloth that I still have clutched about me, then they remove the short black robe I am wearing. I look at it with distaste as Jim flings it to the floor. He does not seem to like it, either. I stand in black underclothing, shivering, my arms wrapped around myself.
"Here you go," Jim encourages, and he eases a new, cream-colored garment over my head. It falls to my knees and is soft to the touch and warm.
Unlike the high, hard, cold table on which I had lain before, the bed platform is yielding, comfortable, and low to the ground. I have no choice but to recline on it -- Jim and Sirard both expect it and my body has no reserves of energy left -- but as I ease onto my back and stare up at the high ceiling, I am dismayed. It is clear that they expect me to sleep here. But sleep is darkness, loss of light. I emit a sound that indicates my distress.
Sirard sits on the bed next to me. "Admiral Kirk will return in a few minutes. He is using the bathroom. Humans do so frequently."
That is not the answer I wish to hear. "No," I say as clearly as I can. Already this ability to communicate seems natural. For how long had I not been able to share my thoughts and wishes with another? Back then, when I was trapped. . . . There had been no one. Not even the one who is Spock. A tight, desperate feeling rises in my chest. Though I swallow, I cannot banish it, it grows stronger instead. I do not wish to be trapped again, not in the tearing apart blackness and not in this thing called sleep that mimics it. "I. . .will. . .not. . .sleep," I manage through my constricted throat.
"You must, Spock. It is the body's natural method of restoration and healing. I anticipate that you will sleep considerably more than the norm over the next several days."
And what if I do not emerge from this resting? What if the healer's casual assumption of positive results from sleep is wrong, and the darkness when I close my eyes transforms into the all-encompassing darkness that is still so close to me, that hovers just a moment's loss-of-control away? This body that I inhabit reacts even more to my panicked thoughts. My lungs heave mightily and loudly for air. My heart pounds its pulse in my temples. I attempt to remove myself from the insidious place where I am expected to relinquish consciousness.
"Hey now, what's going on? You're supposed to stay in bed, not jump out of it." Jim grabs my flailing arms and easily pushes me back where I had been. I abandon my attempt at flight under the force of his hands on my shoulders and instead clutch urgently at his upper arms. He is solid and strong.
"Spock seems to be fearful of sleeping," Sirard tells him. "I do not exactly know why. . .although a few suppositions come easily."
"Yeah," Jim says softly. "Sleep and. . . . Where he's been. What happened to him."
Jim stares down at me. His face is clean and his hair wet. He is clothed in white underpants and a short-sleeved white shirt that clings to his chest, and strands of damp, curling hair clump high on his forehead. I stare back at him.
"Spock, will it make a difference for you to know that I'm going to sleep, too? Right next to you." He nods at the empty space on the bed to my right.
"No!" I say sharply. "Not you. . . ." The thought of Jim caught also in the maelstrom of nothingness erases all the rest of my words. I hang on to him even more tightly.
"Yes, me, too," he insists. "But we'll just be sleeping. Together. Sleep is good, and it isn't anything for you to fear. You'll close your eyes and when you open them again, you'll be here with us."
Sirard nods. "Indeed, I will not leave this suite. I will be here."
But I care not for Sirard. All my attention is focused on Jim. "How do you know?"
He moves one arm out from under my grip and reaches up to run a fingertip gently down my cheek. His voice has a catch to it as he quietly says, "Oh, Spock. My t'hy'la. Because I know things that you don't understand right now. You're still coming back to yourself, so the world isn't clear to you. You've going to have to trust us instead. Will you trust me? You and I: we've always trusted each other before."
I consider past the fearful thrumming of my heart. Jim seems so sure of himself. Hesitantly I ask, "We have slept before?"
"Many times. Just like this. With you on the left side of the bed and me on the right. Let me show you." He climbs over me and reclines, then turns and props himself up on one elbow to regard me. His other hand reaches for one of my own. Our fingers entwine.
"Once, on New Alexandria, we shared a bed on shore leave." Jim's gaze leaves my face for just a moment to look up at Sirard. He seems to gather resolve and then comes back to me. "We. . .touched each other for a long time, just like we are now and even more, and you were very happy. I know I was. It was the beginning of our lives together. And then we slept. And while we were sleeping, we met each other in a dream. You were in my dream, I was in your dream, and we awakened in the morning, happy and together."
"The colucar," Sirard breathes. "Your katras melded in the unconscious state. I did not know."
Jim ignores the healer. "That happened many other times, and each time it was so special, a night of profound peace and a special sort of communion. Sometimes you'd lean over me and kiss me good night and whisper "Sweet Dreams" to tease me, because you knew how much I valued it when our dreams merged." He swallows. "Bones used to say you didn't have a sense of humor, but I always knew differently."
He pauses. "So. Now you know. Not only isn't there a reason to fear sleeping, but there's a reason to want it. I'd like to have that again with you, but it won't happen unless you get accustomed to sleeping again."
Jim is a most persuasive person. I can almost understand what he says, almost catch a wisp of the emotion he describes. The possibility of peace and communion with this one who touches me is a temptation I cannot resist.
The agitation of my body has calmed somewhat while he has been speaking. My respiration is almost normal. The pit of dark despair that I fear so much is still close, but arrayed against it is the vision Jim has painted. And my body aches so much that I do not know how I could have resisted even had I decided to do so. I have, it seems, been conquered.
Besides, I do not think that I am one who would show his fear as I have been doing.
I believe Jim knows my thoughts. He smiles at me. "So, what do you say? Meet me in your dreams?"
"Yes," I say quietly. "I will sleep."
"Good." Jim sighs and lays down flat upon the bed. Then he sits up again and our handclasp comes undone. "Sirard, we're accustomed to pillows. Do you think there's anything like that in this Vulcan place of healing?"
"Of course. And I will also bring medication for your forehead. Tomorrow we will have it laser sealed."
"All right," Jim says wearily.
He lies quietly by my side while Sirard goes away and then comes back, and he tolerates the healer's application of medicine without words. I also have nothing to say. I am floating in my decision to trust him and will not allow other thoughts. Experimentally, carefully, I close my eyes. The blankness: it is not the same as in the dissolution, I think.
Sirard replaces the lid to the pot of ointment he has applied. Jim says, very quietly, "I wasn't sure if it would be good for him to hear all that. About our lives together."
"Your strategy has worked, has it not? He will sleep with you. He is almost asleep already."
Jim draws a shaky breath that reveals his utter lack of energy. "Strategy? Don't give me so much credit. Just desperate, precious memories."
The healer stands. "You have lost much, Admiral Kirk. More than I had realized. We will work to revive his past, which is your past as well."
There is the rustle of movement as Sirard draws a blanket over my body, then footsteps as he approaches the doorway and then returns.
"Admiral Kirk?" he asks in a whisper.
"Yeah," Jim replies, his voice slurring.
"I would not advise any sexual activity between you at this time."
There is silence and then, "I know, Sirard."
The healer leaves the room. Jim adjusts his pillow and turns over onto his side, facing me. We are not touching.
"Sweet dreams, Spock."
I do not reply. I am suspended high upon a mountain cliff with the abyss below me. I tremble. Then the whisper of the summer wind touches my face. I love you, the wind says, and on spread wings I throw myself into the darkness.