Spock looked around his quarters for what he believed would be the last time. He entered the shared bathroom that separated his room from his captain’s. He knew that he had not left any toiletries behind but he entered anyway and went through the motions of checking, for what he was leaving was no longer behind the door opposite to the one where he came to a stop close but not too close to cause it to open. He had never entered that other room, his captain’s quarters, through this door. Always he had walked through the corridor, buzzed, and waited permission to enter. To do otherwise would be to imply an intimacy with which he had not been privileged. The door in this room was another memory of a love that never was. He had attained many high degrees, been heralded for his scientific achievements, for his success in battle. But none of it mattered to him as much as the one thing at which he had not succeeded – being able to go through that door as though it were his right, knowing that he would be warmly welcomed. Sighing, he turned, re-entered his quarters, picked up his duffle, and exited into the corridor hearing the swish as the door closed behind him, ending this phase of his life.
Their five year mission had ended and Spock knew that he would never see him again. It was only happenstance that they had met here one last time. His Jim had smiled brightly when they said goodbye. The sunlight played in his golden hair. His hazel eyes were joyous as he grabbed him by the arm in greeting. As always he dazzled with life as though it were his aura.
“Spock! I’m glad I ran into you.”
“Captain,” I incline my head. Life’s full of flaws. Seeing him so unexpectedly, I find it difficult to control my reaction. I have fought so hard knowing the price I’d have to pay but love will abide, who knows the cause?
“Jim, Spock!” He admonishes me, laughing at the old banter. Does he realize that his hand still grasps my upper arm? Does he not understand what it means that I allow it instead of pulling away to evict him from my personal space as I do with everyone else? I am a touch telepath; he knows! Or is it that he does not want to know, refuses to know. How often he has touched me. Our fingers have touched during games of three dimensional chess, our minds have touched during melds, our bodies have yielded just that beat too long when we’ve engaged during floor exercises, and how often on distant planets have I protected his body with my own. For I have valued his life above my own. And when I shook with the fiercest desire, he held me and he risked his career to get me to Vulcan where I killed him in my madness. Where I held him close in my arms so overwhelmed by the anguish of believing that I had killed he whom I love above all others. The pain so filled me that the madness of Pon Farr was driven out and replaced by a suicidal insanity, until miraculously he awoke to tell me that he and Dr. McCoy had feigned his death.
Janice Lester, Elaan of Troyius, Miramanee, Edith Keeler, I have endeavored to take things in stride when he flirted and bedded countless women on many planets. Countless, though I have a perfect memory, I refuse to let myself give a tally of just how many there have been. And I never drew one response from him, all the while he fell over girls he never knew. Now he says, “I’m glad I ran into you. I was gonna comm. I thought you’d be on your way to Vulcan by now.”
“There were some experiments in the lab that I had to conclude before leaving.”
“Well, of course.” He rubs his hand up and down my arm one last time before releasing me with a pat. I am not a dog or a cat, though you have often said that I have the grace of one. He looks down and then quickly hunches his shoulders inward, a characteristic gesture that I have seen often enough to know it foreshadows no good news, before standing tall to meet my eyes and say with a shy smile, “Congratulate me. I’m getting married!” He beams at me again.
Shocked, I ask, “To whom, Captain? You have only been at home 16.8 . . .” He interrupts me before I can give him the complete calculation.
“It’s Lori Ciani. Admiral Nogura introduced her to me at the reception that Starfleet threw for us when we returned.”
I, of course, remember that he had spent the night dancing and flirting with a petite blonde. Another of the girls he never knew, I thought. “Yes, of course, Vice-Admiral Ciani of the Admiralty.” My heart had jumped when I saw him but he was not here to stop me from leaving him, to acknowledge that I’ve done everything I know to try and make him mine. Amanda, the human mother whose blood enables me to feel pain, use to tell me when I came home battered by the other children’s cruel gibes that time washes clean . . . wounds unseen, but I don’t know what it means. “If this is what you want . . .”
“It is, Spock,” he gravely asserts. His eyes search my face; what does he hope to find?
“Then may you both live long and prosper.” Apparently, my response is a . . . relief to him?
Throwing his arm around my shoulders, “Thank you,” he says before drawing me in to hold me close too briefly. Though I ache to make this a full embrace, I keep my hands clasped firmly behind my back. He steps away and exclaims, “I’m just here to see how the repair of Enterprise is coming along. How about you give me a few minutes to talk to Scotty and then we go for a few beers,” he laughs modifying it to, “a cup of tea or something. I mean after spending five years together on a daily basis, I’ve kind of missed you over the last two weeks. And who knows when we’ll be out there again.”
Caught in my fears, I decline. “I regret that I cannot do that, Captain. I have a shuttle to catch,” I explain knowing that this memory is going to hurt me for a long, long time.
“Okay, then, I guess I’ll see you at the wedding if you can make it back this way. We’ll be sure to send you an announcement.” He promises, “We’ll stay in touch,” and makes an awkward ta’al, he never could quite get it right, which I return.
‘Cause I’ve done everything I know
To try and make you mine
And I think I’m gonna love you
For a long, long time.
I feel him watching me as I walk away. The pain shakes my katra almost bringing me to my knees. With great effort, I forebear compromising myself by turning back. I must go home, to Gol where I shall learn to live with the memory of a love that never was – or die trying. I’m going to miss you for a long, long time. “Goodbye, my Jim.”