He knew today would be the anniversary, if he was in his own time and not in the past. The knowledge of this was both perplexing and disheartening. Truthfully, it had been a weight that had rested comfortably on his heart always, but there existed things that occasionally made it harder to bear.
Ironically enough, it was on a day like today that he had left. It had been an early autumn morning, misty, crisp, and refreshingly sunny. Yet, there was a juxtaposing sadness to this otherwise beautiful day, if only to him. He still chose on this morning to sit facing the window, a steaming hot cup of tea in his hand. It had been his tradition since, though he didn’t know exactly how healthy or conducive it was to his frame of mind.
When Jim had left, Spock didn’t allow himself to be angry. He didn’t allow himself to be sad, or cry, or weep, or protest, for it would have been as illogical as it was ineffective. This was simply his mate’s way, it had always been. He had known that for years and perhaps the logic in him had always known it would one day drive a wedge, as when the announcement came he found he was not terribly surprised. But he really couldn’t say for sure, as his logic was always and would always be uncertain where Jim was concerned. As immovable as stone, he stood by his conviction that the time spent with his mate was worth the inevitable break.
The one emotion he did allow himself, however, was a sense of loneliness, for that was nigh inescapable. Spock was lonely before Jim and he certainly would be after, even after having bonded with Saavik and fathering a child. As far as he was concerned, the world began with Jim and the world ended with him, though he would have never told him that. Perhaps he already knew, but it didn’t stop him from uprooting, so of what use was it in any case?
When he had left he told Spock he loved him. He told him this wasn’t about him, he did nothing to cause it. He told him it wouldn’t be forever, and it was only this last promise that Spock truly didn’t believe. Unfortunately, he had been right. When Jim left their San Francisco apartment, the Vulcan knew deep-down it would be the very last time he would see him. It was that knowledge that caused the first bond between them to sever, and it left a gaping hole that could only be occupied by his culminating desolation.
When Jim was lost to the Nexus, most of the bonds broke. They bled and ached for years afterward, but it was only when his mate finally died that the insufferable pain was replaced with a complete sense of hollowness. On occasions since that time, Spock feels like what he imagines it would to be the shell of a dead tree. Instead of pain, he feels empty, incomplete, and lifeless, a sort of emptiness that only Jim could ever fill and that no one else will be able to. It is an incompletion that Spock will keep until he dies.
But there had been one good thing that had come out of his grave mistake- as selfish as said good thing was. Spock had been able to see his mate again. It was not the same Jim he knew, in more than just the fact that he was considerably younger. In this version of their past, Jim had grown into someone Spock barely recognized, and yet, his presence still caused a stirring within that the Vulcan had been so sure would never respond again. The essence of the man Spock loved was still there within this alternate universe version of his husband, and the few remaining strands of their bonds instantly recognized this.
Oddly enough, this Kirk seemed to have sensed it too, if only briefly and without any real knowledge of what the feeling was.
It had been gratifying to feel even a fraction of that warmth again. Spock had worried that it would only make his suffering more unbearable, but it seemed to have satiated some need within him to be close to Jim again. It would never replace him, not even remotely, but it was something he could hold on to and treasure- not unlike the birthday card.
The card was a pendant that Jim had given him a few years before things went sour, before he began feeling his innate need to break free. Spock kept it on his person always, typically on a chain around his neck- though, when in uniform, it was simply tucked away safely into his inner breast pocket. He tried to keep himself from opening it too frequently, and sometimes he would make it as long as a year- but only sometimes. Usually, Spock couldn’t resist the item for much longer than a week, and so he would pry it open to watch the hologram memory of Jim- the Jim that was certain, the Jim that would have stood by him always, the Jim that always kept his promises.
On the anniversary of the date, however, Spock didn’t feel guilty about it in the slightest. It was the one day that he felt entitled to this.
Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you…The small figure of Jim would sing. He would then stop and grin in resignation and every single time it would make Spock’s heart leap into his throat.
I know I know, it’s illogical to celebrate something you had nothing to do with, but I haven’t had the chance to congratulate you on your appointment to the ambassadorship so I thought I’d seize
the occasion… Bravo, Spock — they tell me your first mission may take you away for awhile, so I’ll be the first to wish you luck… and to say…
The Jim figure would then pause a moment, gradually losing his sense of amused giddiness.
I miss you, old friend.
As grainy as the image was, Spock could see the sincerity in Jim’s eyes as he pledged this, as clearly as he could see the blue of Earth’s sky.
I suppose I’d always imagined us…outgrowing Starfleet together. Watching life swing us into our Emeritus years…I look around at the new cadets now and can’t help thinking… has it really been so long? Wasn’t it only yesterday we stepped onto the Enterprise as boys? That I had to prove to the crew I deserved command… and their respect?
He would then shrug and laugh a bit to himself, making it seem even more convincing that he was actually in the room at this very moment.
I know what you’d say — ‘It’s their turn now, Jim…’ And of course you’re right… but it got me thinking:
Who’s to say we can’t go one more round? By the last tally, only twenty five percent of the galaxy’s been chartered…I’d call that negligent. Criminal even —an invitation.
And it was so like him to see a statistic as such. Nevertheless, it was an invitation that Spock would have gladly accepted. He could only wonder when such lofty dreams had abandoned his mate in favor of uncertainty.
You once said being a starship captain was my first, best destiny… if that’s true, then yours is
to be by my side. If there’s any true logic to the universe… we’ll end up on that bridge again someday.
Then the message would end, the pendant would close, and Spock would be left to wallow in the shreds of a dream unfulfilled, a promise not kept. He would stare out into the distance at the warm, autumnal-filled scene and feel the dull ache of the gaping hole within him. His world had been Jim. His life had been Jim. When he was gone, so was his sense of appreciation for the beauty of things. It was not a pleasant fact, but it remained.
When he stood from his chair, he felt his age. It was true that he had not been young for a very long time, but it was now that he began the descent into his twilight years. He would have never predicted this time in his life would have been spent in an alternate version of his past where all he once knew and loved was gone, but perhaps that had just been unwarranted optimism on his part.
He didn’t like to look at himself as an old man with no past and no real future, and so he tried to make things seem purposeful by starting the Vulcan colony and helping them a long in their survival. But again, the facts of the situation remained.
He would die soon, and he wasn’t afraid. He would allow himself to hope that beyond that veil, Jim would be waiting for him. He would allow himself to imagine that they’d be young and spry again, decked out in their original uniforms and back on the bridge of the Enterprise in its hay-day, because that’s the only place he had ever truly wanted and needed to be. He would allow himself to think that in death, Jim would keep his promise.
There was no logic to back this dream up, no scientific facts or evidence- only feeling. Because as his friend had told him once before, it is sometimes a feeling that is all one has to go on.
And if life is but a dream, than they would certainly find their way back to one another.