"Mr Sulu, ahead warp one."
"Heading, Sir?" asked Uhura.
"Out there, thataway," commanded Captain James Tiberius Kirk with a wave of his hand.
Captain of the starship Enterprise, that's who he was. He'd reclaimed his command, his silver lady, and perhaps . . . ? Behind him stood his best friends, each having slipped into their accustomed places as though nothing had changed. But it had. Life. It has a way of laughing at us, he mused. Sometimes it's all a big surprise. Who would have thought, Jim, tomcat, Kirk in love with another man. Playboy of the galaxy, what a crock. Sometimes the very thing you're looking for is the one thing you can't see. He hadn't realized just what he was doing when he'd said goodbye to Spock at the end of the first five year mission. He'd been left with an emptiness inside that leeched the meaning from his life. Subsequently, he'd done a lot of foolish things, married a woman he didn't love, taken a position he didn't want. That hollow feeling had changed him, making him the cold, selfish man who could so easily usurp Will Decker's command. But when Spock stepped onto the bridge asking permission to come aboard, at last he recognized the reason for his depression. The darkness lifted and he came fully alive again.
But as it turned out, Spock, in his stoic way, had suffered that same emptiness. For him the logical solution had been to remove all emotion from his heart and mind. It had been a struggle for Jim or any of his friends and shipmates to break through to him. Then strangely enough, it was V'ger, the machine they fought, that succeeded in bringing him back to Jim. After that confrontation they were Captain and First Officer and so much more from the moment Spock had awakened in sick bay and looked at him with passion in his eyes, his austere face soft with knowledge. He offered Jim his hand and Jim had taken it, eagerly, into both of his, holding their hands clasped tightly together. From that moment he'd felt bonded by that simple feeling. Had be been granted a second chance? He believed so. He would make it different this time, make it what it always should have been, the two of them united, no longer as just a command team. Together as one, heart, body, soul. Yes, that's what they would have in all ways for always.
But somehow it didn't go down the way he'd hoped or how he'd planned. First, there was still V'ger to be dealt with, followed by endless reports, and debriefing by the admiralty. All of this topped off by a whirlwind publicity tour to boost recruitment for Fleet. It had taken much longer than he'd anticipated to find enough time when he and Spock could speak privately without interruptions, too long. When duty was at last fulfilled, Jim found that he couldn't speak. The man who had openly laughed in sick bay and displayed his warm regard was gone. Spock had retreated behind the facade of his perfect Vulcan mask which was so much more impenetrable after Gol. Jim kept looking for the chink in his armor but Spock never gave him an opening. He'd lost his second chance. No, it wasn't the way he'd hoped or planned but somehow it would have to be enough. Still he hoped.
Throughout the years, although his reputation never died, Jim didn't go back to indiscriminately bedding women. Sure, he went back to the chase, he was after all a senusual being; flirting was part of his nature. However, it was always only a game of catch and release after he'd realized what and who he really wanted. He wasn't looking for a life partner - he already had one. As a result, he was even more careful to hook up only with women who understood this and weren't looking for anything serious. And, he was never drawn to sate his body's need with other men, probably because that would have been too close to unfaithfulness.
Gol, that damn place! As the years went on, his hope that Pon Farr might aid his cause proved futile. Gol! Sometimes Jim thought that he would see it reduced to rubble if he could. Gol had taught Spock control. And so eventually, Jim forced himself to accept that a chance for a more passionate life with Spock had passed. He had to. Otherwise bitterness might poison what he did have, create an unpleasant no win scenario for them both. Jim and Spock had a great life together. The adventure continued and Jim was content that Spock was always by his side. Spock would never leave him. And then came Khan.
They were all laughing, playing in the water of San Francisco Bay as the whales sang and the ominous gray that hung oppressively over their world dissipated. As the probe withdrew, the sky lightened to a beautiful blue and the sun sparkled in splashes of water. Joy filled Jim's soul as he reached out to Spock who grasped his arm. Buffeted by the turbulent water, Jim and Spock held tight to one another. Then Jim grabbed Spock by both arms, held him for a fleeting moment, and laughing, threw him into the water. They went under together and came up gasping and drenched by bay water and rain. Spock's usually perfectly arranged bangs were askew. Only moments before, they had all been standing on the wing of the Klingon ship that they had piloted into the water to release the whales that the crew of the Enterprise had retrieved from the past to save present day Earth. They had watched anxiously as their world, on the brink of destruction, was given a second chance. Then and there, as he reveled in the laughter of friends, indeed family, who cavorted in the water with the exuberance of youth, Jim vowed that his silence was over. He would be double damned if he didn't fight for the life that he and Spock deserved!
After the trial, the pats on the back, the variations of "Well, Kirk, you've saved the world again!"; the flirtatious goodbye to a new friend from the past, Jim waited while Spock said farewell to Sarek. He heard Spock respond to his father who inquired what message he should give to Lady Amanda, "Tell her, I feel fine."
For a moment father and son regarded one another in silence and then it seemed that Sarek at last acknowledged that his son was an adult, a man who had and would continue to make his own choices rather than those dictated by his father or Vulcan culture. "Live long and prosper, Father."
Mirroring Spock's gesture, Sarek lifted his hand, formed the ta'al, and returned the blessing. "Live long and prosper, my son."
With that Spock left Sarek and returned to Jim's side. As they walked away together in perfect sync, Jim couldn't help but smile and tease. "So, you "feel fine", Mr. Spock?"
"Yes, I do, Admiral." To Jim's surprise, he added, "Better than I ever have."
Shaking his head but with a smile on his face, Jim admonished, "No longer Admiral, Spock."
"They cannot rescind what you have achieved, Admiral. Not even racing around the sun can reverse the truth. You are still the youngest captain and the youngest admiral in Starfleet history." They had stopped walking and stood face to face. "I 'feel' that there is unlikely to ever be another who will equal your accomplishments . . . in this world or in any other, though there will be those who shall 'try' to emulate you."
Jim smiled at Spock's praise and said, "Oh, you feel that, do you?" Placing his hands against Spock's chest, he bend his head, unable to go on for the moment, uncharacteristically humbled by the knowledge that this special being thought so highly of him.
Spock covered Jim's hands with his own, "Yes."
Jim looked up into Spock's beautiful brown eyes and said, "I have something to tell you. I've been wanting to say this for a long time but something . . ." James Kirk, the guy who'd spent his career talking himself into and out of tight situations, was in this most important moment at a loss for words. He began again, "Why, I don't know but all those years ago . . . before you went to Gol . . . I got in my own way." He shook his head. "Spock, I wondered how I'd make it through when I lost you. And finding you again on Genesis was the best worst day of my life. We were granted a miracle," he thought of his son, lost on Genesis, "though dearly priced. I made up my mind to speak then but I knew that I had to wait until you were well . . . now here I am again and . . ."
"And I can also feel something of what you have to say to me," Spock moved closer, his fingers formed in the O'zhesta to caress Jim's hand and to remind him that he is a touch telepath, "which I would be very pleased to hear. But first, do you not think that it would be better if we were to retire to your apartment where we would be afforded more privacy?"
"What?" Jim looked around suddenly reminded that they were not alone. Bones, Uhura, Scotty, Chekov, and Sulu stood not that far away from them. "Oh." He'd been so engaged in his conversation with Spock that he had forgotten that there were witnesses. He moved to pull his hands from Spock's, not that he gave a rat's ass who might see them but he didn't want to embarrass his . . . his love. Jim assumed his command face as they turned as one and paced shoulder to shoulder. Jim and Spock walked toward the crew and passed right by them with Jim calling out, "We'll meet up with you guys later. Celebrate our freedom. Go and see our new ship."
"What, you don't wanna go right now?" Bones teased.
Jim didn't even hear him. He was too busy talking to Spock. Before they moved too far away, Jim could be heard to say, "Just when I thought our chance had passed . . . ."
McCoy watched with a smirk on his face as the two entered the turbolift. "About damn time," he muttered and then he smiled widely enough to feel it in his cheeks. "Come on", he said to the others, "let's go celebrate. I doubt we'll be seeing Jim and his hobgoblin any time soon. They've got a lot of time to make up for."
The senior crew of the Starship Enterprise walked away laughing.