AN: I know it's a little behind the times, but this is my first foray into Star Trek: TOS, and my personal attempt at a tribute to an iconic character and actor.
The world of this story was borrowed with the extremely kind permission and support of Morgan Stuart, who created it in the Sherlock fanfic "Four at the Thousand Faces". If you like it at all here, you should absolutely check out that story. It's a lovely place, and I don't think I've done it justice.
Footnotes identifying the various characters herein can be found at the bottom of the page.
A square stone edifice stood alone in a sea of mist - monumental, independent of its surroundings - and before it stood a solitary figure. He was an elderly being clad in stately robes, his face severe and deeply lined by years.
He was familiar with this place, for he had often been here before, finding peace and comfort in its shades. Despite its apparent strangeness and tangible integrity, he knew it existed neither as a product of his own mind, nor in anything he ordinarily knew as reality.
No, this place was, and is, outside of space and time - for its existence is where it is needed, and the need is woven throughout all worlds. It is a place for refreshment, rest, strengthening and consolation, for all those hurt and cast down in fighting against evil.
It is a place of heroes, bringing aid and reward to noble souls. It is called the Thousand Faces - and now it welcomed one more of its children home.
Deliberately, but without hesitation, he moved up the steps of the entrance.
He was met in the entry by a dark, smallish man, relaxed but still standing with a military erectness. He wore a simple tunic, with the golden bracelet of a Roman military honor upon one wrist.
"Well met, Ambassador Spock," he saluted him with a smile. "Welcome back to us. It's been too long since your last visit."
Spock inclined his head. "Indeed. Well met, Marcus Aquila. However, I must inform you that the title of Ambassador suits me no longer."
Marcus looked at him more closely.(1) "You have come to stay, then, at last?"
"Indeed. My former existence has ended."
"Then I make you doubly welcome, Master Spock." He bowed. "The Thousand Faces will be glad of your strength and wisdom. May you find rest and refreshment here, as I did after the cares of my life."
The Vulcan inclined his head in thanks, and passed on, through the entry hall - leaving the outer world behind forevermore.
He began, almost at random, making his way through the halls, exchanging courtesies with some of those he met. As the Romano-Briton had said, many were glad to welcome him, though none stayed him for long.
A tall, dark-skinned warrior, with a golden brand upon his forehead, caught Spock's eye and smilingly bowed his head as he passed.(2)
Another man, a brunet American wearing a late twentieth century suit and trenchcoat(3), spun around as he passed to give a delighted - and slightly starstruck - grin. "Ambassador Spock?" he called, before his conversational partner (a serious-looking, black-haired young man, in an ornate dark blue military uniform(4)), reclaimed his attention.
A petite, dark-haired young woman in a pink-and-white jumpsuit stopped short at the sight of him. "Oh! Mr. Spock!" she exclaimed with a dimpled smile.
"Miss Heriot," he returned cordially. They had known one another for many years in these halls, and her mind and intellectual training always made her a fascinating conversationalist.(5)
"I'm so glad to see you," she said eagerly. "Are you staying long?"
"Oh, good! I've been wanting your input in my limited-multiverse research, but I can't stop now - Lucy Pevensie's promised me a horse-riding lesson, and I don't like to keep her waiting."(6)
"I will not detain you, then, although I look forward to learning more of your studies," he said sincerely. They parted ways, as Spock turned aside to pass through a cheerful lounge.
There a rakish-looking man looked up from the sleight-of-hand tricks he was practicing to remove his cigarette and give him a friendly, if sharklike, grin.(7)
And as he entered the next room, a quieter library, a tall and keen-eyed gentleman in Victorian dress actually rose from his armchair, with a smile, to greet him.
"I see you are joining us permanently, Mr. Spock," he remarked. "Welcome back - your presence shall enrich us all."
Spock bowed with great respect. "I am honored, Mr. Holmes."(8)
After that meeting, however, he came to a small gate half-hidden in an alcove, and, on going through it, found dimness, silence, and total solitude.
He was in a cultivated indoor garden, one he had been accustomed to visit before. It was apparently nighttime, but warm. Though he could only vaguely see the flowering plants blooming in the spaces between the paths, the air was filled with their scents, and he almost believed he could see stars through the tree-leaves above him.
He began walking the paths. He felt no real fatigue, for since he had entered the Thousand Faces the weakness and frailties of his old age had dropped away from him entirely, but the peaceful repose and quiet life of these gardens was exceedingly refreshing to his spirit.
Soon he came to an open patio of sorts within the garden. Old trees of dense foliage surrounded it closely on all sides, giving an air of privacy. There was a table in the middle, with an unlit lamp and a bottle of some sort upon it, and chairs in the open air.
Thinking, in the darkness, that all the chairs were empty, he was about to continue on when something stirred in the seat furthest from him.
"Who's that?" a soft voice drawled, and he halted stock-still.
For a few moments, there was silence in the garden, save for the soft breeze.
Then the other individual rose from his chair to peer into the darkness. "Gimme a sec here," he muttered, bending over the lamp. He struck a match and lit it - it was an oil lamp, but it illuminated the scene quite well.
Spock felt an expression very nearly approaching a smile upon his face. Before him stood a man - brown-haired, blue-eyed, hale and healthy in a short-sleeved Starfleet Medical tunic - whom he had not been privileged to so see in many years.
"Bones," he said, the old name coming to his lips unbidden.
Leonard McCoy stared at him, a joyful, wondering grin slowly taking over his countenance. "Spock!"
He came quickly around the table, to seize the Vulcan's shoulders and stare again.
Spock returned the grip with one hand, reaching up, slowly, with the other, to touch his old comrade's face.
"Well, ain't that a sight for sore eyes," Doctor McCoy said, looking him over. Spock suddenly realized that, just as his former shipmate, he was wearing his old Science uniform, with the braid of a Lieutenant-Commander on the sleeves. It sat upon him more comfortably than any of Starfleet's later uniforms could, or any civilian attire.
"Indeed," he said. "It has been too long."
They stood thus for some moments before the human at last released Spock, shaking his head. "Well c'mon, sit down, man! Don't just stand there."
They both seated themselves by the table, Doctor McCoy pouring them both drinks from the bottle - Spock noted now that there were three glasses on the table, the third still clean and empty.
It was not precisely a surprising sight, but an unwelcome one nevertheless. "Jim has still not come?"
Bones shook his head with an unhappy grimace. "Not a glimpse. Wherever he is, I know he's not just killin' time, but..." he trailed off, spinning his glass in his hand.
"You know he will come, Doctor," Spock said quietly. "Your entrance to these halls may have come first, but we all shall gather here, in our proper time."
"I know, I know. Jim'll be along, sooner or later." He shrugged, giving a wry smile. "Just gotta be patient."
Spock arched an eyebrow, for the opening was too tempting to pass up. "Then it is no wonder you find it difficult, doctor - I have never observed that patience was one of your strong points."
"Ha. Please, Spock - I put up with you for a century. In fact, I'd call that one of my greatest achievements."
"And yet I observed very little forbearance or self-discipline in our interactions." He paused. "On your part, of course."
McCoy gave him a narrow-eyed glare. "Never strangled you, did I?"
Spock paused thoughtfully for a moment. "I do not believe so. However, if that was truly a trial for you, I must regret to inform you that you will now have an eternity to practice that particular form of self-denial."
Apparently McCoy had not yet understood Spock's altered circumstances; when he had worked through Spock's last sentence, his glass suddenly froze, half-way to his lips. "And what does that mean?" he asked.
"I have died, Doctor."
Doctor McCoy's reaction was quite satisfying; he had never encountered another being from whom he could provoke this particular mixture of shock and aggravation. Even the young Leonard of the other universe had not been the same.
When he had regained his composure, he said, "What, again?" He peered closely at Spock. "For real, this time. No kidding?"
He raised a disdainful eyebrow. "I am a Vulcan, Doctor McCoy," he reminded him gravely, though his eyes were dancing with merriment. "I do not 'kid'."
The doctor laughed delightedly at that.
"In any case, I am quite certain of my death."
"And...it's permanent, right? No Genesis weirdness...Vulcan voodoo..." he waved a hand.
He shook his head. "Even if there were some chance of my resurrection, Doctor... no one remains in that life who would recall me."
Leonard McCoy gave him a warm, affectionate smile. "Then welcome home, Spock. It's darn good to have you."
Spock paused a moment, for this welcome struck him more deeply than any of those preceding it.
Now, for the first time, he truly felt himself to have come home. Jim's absence was, of course, a loss, but it was not a permanent one - and the waiting would no longer be wearisome. This conversation, and company, had already made him more content - more whole - than he had been in many years.
So, when he replied, he allowed his joy and affection to show unmasked in his voice and gaze.
"It is most pleasing to be here...my friend."
(1) Marcus Aquila is from The Eagle of the Ninth.
(2) The warrior is Teal'c of Stargate: SG-1, an individual who owes much to Spock.
(3) The American fan-boy is Agent Fox Mulder of X-Files.
(4) Colonel Roy Mustang of Fullmetal Alchemist. He and Mulder have a fair amount in common.
(5) Zoe Heriot of Doctor Who, a teen genius with an emotionally-stunting upbringing worthy of the Vulcans themselves.
(6) Lucy Pevensie, the Valiant Queen of the Chronicles of Narnia.
(7) Rollin Hand of Mission: Impossible. His actor was considered for the role of Spock, while Leonard Nimoy played Rollin's replacement in the IMF.
(8) Sherlock Holmes: Possibly one of Spock's ancestors in a literal sense, and most certainly one in a literary sense.