The days at the farm went by quietly. They spent time walking the fields and woods when Spock was up to the effort. Sometimes it was just Jim and Spock, and sometimes all three of them.
Bones had pulled out much of the medical equipment and set it up in Spock's room. The bedroom soon looked like his sickbay. Spock had raised his eyebrows at the amount of equipment that Bones had brought. Bones reassured him that the equipment was to ease his breathing and pain. "Thank you, Leonard, I appreciate your efforts to make my death as pain free as possible," He said after Bones' explanation.
Two weeks into their time on the farm, Sarek visited. Spock was spending the day in bed as he was beginning to feel weaker every day. Jim met Sarek outside so he could forewarn him about Spock's condition. "Sarek, Spock will be pleased to see you. Before you go in, I wanted to prepare you, as he is weaker than when you last saw him."
"Does Leonard know how much time he has left?" To Jim, it seemed as if he could hear the sorrow in Sarek's voice.
"Perhaps another week or so. He said the stress of the trip probably sped up the process." Jim tried to be as kind as he could in telling Sarek.
Sarek bowed his head and tried to calm his emotions. "Watching Spock die cannot be easy for you, James."
"Or for you, Sarek."
"Again, I thank you for taking care of my son." Two sad men, one who loved his son and one who loved Spock as his brother, went into the house.
Sarek and Jim entered the room. Sarek successfully hid any signs that he noticed a difference in Spock. "Jim, Leonard, could you leave us alone for a while," Spock requested. With a nod they left the room.
Spock and Sarek talked about Spock's childhood and events over the years. Spock was able to explain more about the process that had allowed him to blend the best of his Vulcan heritage with the best of his Earth heritage. Sarek began to understand Spock a little more, but he still couldn't totally fathom what Spock had been through. It was enough for Spock that Sarek tried to accept him with his emotions. After charging Leonard and James to call him every day with an update, Sarek left.
Jim joined Spock and sat at his side. "How did that go?"
"Better than I expected. My Father made more of an effort to understand me than he ever had in the past. It helped to reconcile many unresolved conflicts we had in the past."
"I'm glad you have been able to have time with your father. Many people never get that chance."
"Thanks to you, I gained a second chance at life when you rescued me from the Genesis planet. For that I thank you, Jim."
"Spock, you do realize it wasn't just me. Without a lot of help, we would never have pulled it off."
Bones entered at that point. "Pulled off what?" He had a seat next to Jim.
"Bringing Spock back from Genesis. I told him there were a lot of people involve in the rescue. I don't think anyone believed I would follow orders and stay away from the Genesis planet. Spock, did I ever tell you that First Officer Stiles contacted me and offered us the use of his ship, the Endeavor?"
Spock was exceedingly surprised by that revelation. "The Stiles who served with us during our first encounter with the Romulans?" Spock had never been certain Stiles would make it in Starfleet. At that time, Starfleet was becoming more diverse every day with the races they were pulling into the Academy, and the crews were having to adapt quickly. When Stiles transferred off the Enterprise, he had seemed less xenophobic. But Spock had never been genuinely convinced, he had changed.
"Yes, that Stiles. He wasn't the only officer who contacted me. But I couldn't let them jeopardize their careers. I turned them all down. But some of them ran interference for us and gave us time to get to Genesis. Those offers of assistance were for you, Spock. Do you realize the high regard your former crew mates had for you? Every ship that looked for a science officer vied for the officers you trained. Between the two of us, we probably served with or trained half the fleet."
Bones decided this was the time to tell what he knew about that incident. "Didn't you ever wonder why we weren't drummed out of the service after stealing and destroying the Enterprise? It wasn't just because we brought a couple of whales back."
Jim looked at him quizzically. "What do you know that we don't know, Bones?"
"Well, a few weeks ago, I just happen to run across this report that Admiral Miller, the head of the Starfleet Medical, wrote during the time we were waiting for Spock to recover on Vulcan. The project was to study the impact of our court martial on the moral of all of Starfleet. They used three scenarios, which were: putting us in a Starfleet rehabilitation center, forcing us to resign our commissions with no brig time or the scenario they chose-your reduction in rank."
"Bones, you never told me about that report." Bones smiled and it didn't take a telepath to tell he was pleased with himself. "Don't stop, tell us the rest," Jim said. Bones could tell he had piqued Spock's interest as well.
"There was not a ship in the fleet without a large group of our former ship mates. Starfleet reviewed some of the communications back and forth from the ships. Starfleet brass was very concerned about an uprising, if not an out right mutiny, if they came down too hard on us. Those Starfleet bureaucrats were scared to death and they buried every report on this subject they could find." Bones hated tin-plated bureaucrats, as he called them, with a passion, and always had. "But I have a few friends who thought I would like to see the report." He sat back with a smug look on his face.
"Why didn't you tell me about this before now, Bones?" Jim was surprised and shocked by what Bones had told him.
"Oh, I guess I was waiting for the right moment, and now seemed like a good time."
"If we are going to make confessions, I have one about my father. He had prepared a plan to rescue you if the outcome of the court martial was not favorable. He had obtained permission from Vulcan leaders to offer all of you asylum. You had gained the respect of Vulcan which is a difficult thing to obtain."
"Does everybody know more about what happened than I do," Jim questioned in exasperation?
"That's what you get for missing the meetings." Bones was delighted with himself, as he had been waiting for a long time to get even with Jim for that comment.
Jim rolled his eyes. He noticed Spock had closed his eyes and was looking paler. "Spock, are you okay?"
Spock opened his eyes and smiled at Jim. "I am just very tired."
Bones ran his scanner over Spock, pulled a hypo out, and pressed it against his neck. "We should let you rest. Let's go Jim."
"No, Leonard!" Spock grabbed Leonard's arm as well as Jim's. "Stay - I would prefer to have you close. I will try to rest." Bones looked at Jim and nodded his head, so they both sat back down. From that point on, one of them was with Spock at all times. He seemed to rest better with their presence. Jim did not ask, but he wondered if Spock was picking up their feelings of - concern and yes, love - which comforted him and allowed him to rest easier. Jim contacted Sarek daily and as Spock's time grew short, Sarek joined them and took his turn sitting with Spock. Sarek was able to ease some of Spock's discomfort by using Vulcan healing mind melds.
Late one night, Sarek's healing meld and Bones' pain medicine did not seem to be helping Spock. Jim supported Spock as he sat up in the bed and then propped him up with pillows. He did his best not to show his shock at how weak and thin Spock had become. "How about a game of chess? I don't have a 3D board here, but I do have a regular board we could use."
"A regular board would be fine, as I am not sure I could handle 3D chess at this point." Spock's breathing was becoming labored and he found it difficult to talk.
Jim set up the board and they began to play. "Did I ever tell you that Sam taught me how to play chess?"
"I have always wondered who taught you those erratic moves." Jim's illogical moves had always irritated Spock.
Jim laughed, "Actually, I developed those moves on my own. It always exasperated Sam, as well."
They continued to play in silence for a while. "Spock, do you remember when Sam died on Deneva?"
"Of course, Jim. I remember every mission we were on as if it was yesterday."
"I'm not sure I ever told you how much you helped me. Once we left the planet and the mission was over, I was devastated by Sam's death. You didn't say much, but your presence was especially comforting to me. I know Bones was worried, too. Neither of you left me alone to brood. Between the two of you keeping me busy and listening when I needed to talk, you kept me from dying inside. I thank you, Spock. And I do consider you a brother."
Spock remembered that time well. Bones had recommended they take turns staying with Jim, much as they were doing for him now. Spock didn't know how to comfort a human who was grieving, but soon learned his presence was all that was required. When Jim couldn't sleep, he had used the mind meld to offer him a chance to relax and forget momentarily. By the next mission, Jim had worked through his grief, enough to function normally.
"And I consider you the only brother I ever had. Sybok was gone before I had a chance to know him. He was my brother in name only. I should have told you about him."
Jim brushed aside the apology with a wave of his hand. "There is much about my family that I have never told anyone. That lapse was forgiven long ago."
"Jim, would you let me mind-meld with you again? I would like to try and stop the dreams about my death on the Enterprise. You should not have to relive two deaths."
"Are you sure you are up to the mind-meld? It won't weaken you, will it?"
"I can manage it, and I don't think it will harm me."
Jim moved the chess board out of the way. After Jim moved closer, Spock placed his fingers on the mind meld points. Due to the many years of melds, their link was almost instantaneous.
'Spock, I do not want to forget your death on the Enterprise.'
'I will not erase your memory--only ease the hurt it causes. Relax. It will take a moment to find that memory.' Spock searched until he found the memory he was looking for. Watching his death from Jim's point of view was uncomfortable and he understood why Jim continued to have nightmares. He eased the hurt caused by the memory until it was just a dull throb.
'The memory will be there, but you should not have any more nightmares.'
Jim could feel the sharp edges of his memory soften, and it was no longer as painful. 'Thank you, Spock.'
'You are welcome, Jim. . . . Have you ever wondered why we are able to mind-meld so easily?'
'You mean that isn't normal?'
'Not between a Vulcan and a human. Perhaps the fact our first mind-meld was a healing trance was a factor. Do you recall much about that first meld, Jim?'
'No, only the comfort of your presence.'
Spock pulled up the memory of the healing trance. Kirk, Spock and McCoy were evaluating a planet for contact by Federation representatives. During a riot, Kirk was severely injured. When they were in danger of being discovered, they fled to the hills to hide in caves, as the Enterprise was not due for several days.
Jim was surprised to see the memory from Spock's point of view. Bones and Spock carried him on a stretcher up a steep hill. Spock continued to look down at Jim as they climbed further up the mountain. After a long, steep, climb; they entered a cave and placed the stretcher on the ground. 'Spock, he's running a fever and he's bleeding internally. There isn't much I can do. I don't have the equipment and . . .' Bones voice broke as he continued. 'He won't last long enough for the ship to save us.' Jim cringed at the grief he saw in Bones' face. He was shocked by how pale he appeared lying on the stretcher, but it was in a detached, unemotional way.
Jim could feel the mix of emotions which Spock attempted to control. 'Dr. McCoy, I may be able to help the captain. You have witnessed my mind-meld before. There is a deeper meld, which places me in a healing trance. All Vulcans are able to preform such a healing trance in times of illness or injury. In times of severe injury, a Healer will blend with the patient and add his healing powers to encourage recovery.'
'Spock, are you able to do this type of healing trance?'
'My teachers said I had the gift to become a Healer, but my Father would not agree. I have not been fully trained and I might not be able to bring us out of the trance. But, if there is no other hope, I can try.'
'Spock, please try; there is no other choice. What can I do to help you out of the trance?'
'When I ask, you must hit me as hard as you can and continue until I stop you.'
'You've got to be kidding.'
'No, I'm not. You must follow my instructions.'
'Okay, Spock, I'll do it. Now, what else can I do to help?'
'We must move Jim closer to the wall, and then help me position him, so I can reach his face.' Spock leaned against the wall and prepared himself for the meld. Carefully he positioned his hands on Jim's face. Jim remembered Spock entering his mind and the feeling of peace and comfort he felt. After a period of time, his pain eased. He floated in peace until he felt pain in his face--no, Spock's face.
'Wake up, Spock, damn you, wake up!' Jim saw Bones concerned face through Spock's eyes. 'You almost didn't make it back, Spock.'
'I didn't realize how dangerous the healing trance was for both of us, Spock,' Jim said after watching the scene from Spock's point of view.
'It was dangerous but our minds melded together more smoothly than any meld I had ever performed up to that point or after that time. I should not have been surprised we developed a t'hy'la link.'
'Spock, I have never asked before-but why did you go to Vulcan after the end of our first five-year mission?'
'Jim . . . Our last mind-meld, before I went to Vulcan, . . . scared me. I thought I would loose my identity. Your emotions overwhelmed me and I was terrified.'
'But Spock, I was injured, as were you. The chance of that happening again was very slim.'
'I was not thinking clearly at that time. I thought I had to run away and deny our t'hy'la link. But even when I was on Vulcan, I sensed the hurt and anger you felt.'
Jim could sense Spock's deep regret over his actions. Not wanting to dwell on that incident too long, Jim decided to change the subject. 'Let's not talk about that anymore. I can feel you getting weaker, and it's time to break the meld.'
It had been easier for Spock to talk to Jim through the mind-meld, but he also realized he needed to end the meld. Spock sunk back into the pillows in exhaustion.
"Spock, are you okay?"
"Don't worry, I needed to meld with you, one last time. . ." Exhaustion overcame him and he drifted off to sleep. Jim held Spock's hand and watched the slow rise and fall of his chest. Not wanting him to suffer, did not prevent him from trying to will his friend to live one more day.
Spock did survive one more day. And Jim was the one watching over Spock late the next evening. His thoughts jumped from memory to memory as he watched over Spock. The sounds in the room were a combination of machines humming and Spock wheezing for breath. He knew Spock had a matter of hours before the end would come. Chaotic thoughts and grief threatened to consume him. Knowing he had to be strong for Spock kept his anguish in control.
Overcome by fatigue, he almost dozed off, when Spock called out. "Jim . . . help me . . . can not breathe . . . need . . . outside. Jim!"
Jim was out of the chair kneeling beside the bed. "Bones," he screamed! "Sarek!"
"No, . . . Jim, . . . outside . . . need go . . . outside. Need . . . see . . . stars!"
Bones and Sarek showed up as Spock begged to be taken outside. It was obvious Spock wanted to die under the stars. Spock eyes pleaded with Jim and Jim looked to Bones. Bones shrugged his shoulders as he realized it would make no difference. "Do as he asked, James. You must grant him his request," Sarek declared.
With a nod, Jim picked Spock up blankets and all. Again he was shocked at how much weight Spock had lost. Jim choked back tears as he carried Spock out the front door. Bones and Sarek followed as Jim moved out into a pasture so no trees would block Spock's view of the stars. Easing Spock down on the ground, he sat with Spock leaning against his chest. "Jim, . . . thank . . . you. Stars . . . so many. Our . . . life . . . among . . . stars . . . magnificent!" Spock's face broke into a huge smile.
"Yes, Spock, our life was spectacular. You have been and always will be my . . ."
"Friend!" Spock finished Jim's sentence and his life passed from his body. Jim pulled him even closer and sobbed as he had not done since he was a child. Tears ran down Bones' face freely. No one noticed the moistness around Sarek's eyes. As they grieved, Spock's body disappeared and all Jim held was the blanket. They sat in the pasture, nobody speaking, until the sky turned pink with first light.
The Year 2841
The Guardian of Forever returned Spock to the Guardian planet a few hours after he left. "All is as it was. Time is unchanged." They carefully carried Spock's body to the buildings and called the James T. Kirk to return and pick up his body. The scientists had tried to determine if Spock had changed the past but hadn't been able to find any problems. Despite many questions the Guardian revealed nothing of Spock's journey to the past. They speculated for years about where Spock had gone. An autopsy had shown he died of illnesses he had been fighting for years.
As per his will, Spock was buried on Earth next to James T. Kirk. After the death of Spock, Starfleet went ahead with plans to erect a statue of the most famous trio in Starfleet history. James T. Kirk, Leonard McCoy, and Mr. Spock had all refused to allow a statue of themselves to be erected during their lifetimes. Starfleet had been planning this honor for years. They wanted to show their respect for the most decorated team in Starfleet. The charmed three had their detractors, but often they were people who were resentful of the trio's success and popularity. Many pointed out the number of times Jim Kirk had broken the Prime Directive.
Starfleet realized the Prime Directive was the ideal but in reality it did not cover all circumstances. In the early years of Starfleet, Jim Kirk and his crew had to be the diplomats, scientists, defenders of the Federation, and goodwill ambassadors. As the years passed, every decision the crew of the Enterprise made was analyzed and critiqued. And, most often their decisions were upheld as the most logical judgment they could have made at the time. Jim Kirk's inherent sense of honor, dignity, courage and nobleness had helped him through many difficult situations. An integral part of that magic was Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy. They helped Jim Kirk stay centered and were the counter balance of his conscience. The ensemble had been the cause of thousands of individuals joining Starfleet. Dozens of planets had heaped honors on the team.
Finally, the day for the dedication of the statue arrived. Starfleet decided the best place to erect the statue was on the grounds of Starfleet Academy. Descendants of Jim Kirk's nephew, Peter, and Leonard McCoy's daughter, Joanna, and Mr. Spock's daughter, Amanda, were present for the ceremony. When the tarp was removed it displayed the famous three, with James Kirk in the center and Leonard McCoy and Mr. Spock flanking him. Jim had a communicator in his hand, Dr. McCoy with his medical tricorder, and Mr. Spock had his tricorder slung over his shoulder. All three were wearing their uniforms from their first five-year mission.
Family members were seated in the front rows with representatives of numerous Federation planets behind them. All of Starfleet Academy was present with members of Starfleet command scattered throughout the assembly. The Chancellor of the Klingon High Council of the Klingon Empire expounded on the legend that was James Kirk. The Romulan Praetor proclaimed the saga of Mr. Spock. The leader of Yolanda, a direct descendant of Natira, spoke of the chronicle of Dr. Leonard McCoy. Finally, the President of the Federation recited the accomplishments of the legends of Starfleet.
No one saw the three beings who floated near the statues. They were dressed very much like their statues. "Can you believe that dribble, Jim? I thought we squelched that statue nonsense ages ago."
"Bones, we should have known once we all died, they would proceed with their plans for the statue."
"Then it's your fault, Spock, if you had lived forever like you were supposed to, this would never have happened."
"Leonard, it must have been that red blood that did me in."
"That's the only part of you I liked." Spock raised his eyebrows at that comment.
"Gentlemen, let's not fight, we are finally together again."
"Jim, have you noticed those three boys over there. The ones who look like they are eight or nine years' old. They seem to be watching us," Spock said.
"That can't be--we are on a different plane of existence; no one can see us."
"Nevertheless, I think Spock is right. They are pointing right at us," Bones said.
"I think the one with the light red hair is one of my great-great-great nephews. I can never remember how many greats."
"You're right, Jim, and the one with the dark hair is a great-great-great . . . whatever, a grandchild of mine. He's Joanna's descendant."
"And, the obvious Vulcan child is my great-grandchild. He is my daughter Amanda's grandchild."
The children ran to their parents to tell them what they saw by the statues. Their parents shooed them off to play. The children quickly returned to their games and seemed to become fast friends.
"Well, my friends, I think the next generation is in good hands from what I have seen. I say we return to some of the worlds we visited and see how they are doing." They turned to leave and Jim had a hand on each of his friends' shoulders as he said, "Let's head to the star on the right; it looks like an interesting one." The boys stopped playing and watched the image of their famous relatives fade into the distance, knowing they would always remember this day even if no one ever believed their story.