Author: Jedi Buttercup
Category: B:tVS/Star Trek 4
Summary: James T. Kirk spots a familiar face in the middle of his grand adventure to the year 1986. 800 words.
Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not. I claim nothing but the plot.
Notes: Challenge fic. Apparently, I wasn't done with this story after all...
Somewhere in the middle of James T. Kirk's grand adventure to the year 1986, between his exhilaration at having Spock back and the overriding mission to locate and transport a pair of whales back to his own time, he remembered a certain long-lost ensign he'd briefly traded bodies with almost twenty years before. The incident had left him inexplicably stronger and quicker to heal than the average human being, and had even retarded the aging process to a certain degree, but he hadn't thought about the woman herself since the last of the nightmares had faded away.
For months, he'd been convinced that she'd been a time traveler from the late twentieth or early twenty-first century, and had obsessively checked the historical records for her name. He'd seen enough of her memories to know that she herself had been convinced of it, at least. And none of the logic Spock had applied to the subject had ever convinced him otherwise. Eventually, however, after failing to turn up even one reference to her in a year of searching, he'd given up and let her memory fade.
But now here he was, back in the late twentieth century. If her records had somehow been deleted between her actual lifetime and his own century, they might still exist in the current timeline. Surely it couldn't hurt to look her up while he was here? Just to be sure?
He made a mental note of it, hoping he'd have a chance to test his theory out later. In the meantime, however, he had other things to worry about. Dr. Taylor was leading his tour group down a spiral staircase to a window in the side of the tank displaying the Maritime Cetacean Institute's prized pair of humpback whales. They were perfect; a male and a female in a contained space, where they could be beamed up without too much difficulty.
"Here's a much better way to see George and Gracie," the doctor announced, standing with her back to the window. "Underwater."
Jim turned to make another comment to Spock, and abruptly noticed that his science officer was nowhere to be found. Just what was that Vulcan up to now?
Whale song broke out over the facility's speakers as Jim continued to look for his friend, and the other members of the tour group murmured, reacting to the sound. One little girl in particular seemed delighted; she was maybe five years old, and blonde, tugging at her mother's sleeve and pointing at the whales.
Jim let his eyes follow her gesture, smiling at the girl's excitement, as Dr. Taylor continued her lecture. "What you're hearing is whale song," she explained. "It is sung by the male. He'll sing anywhere from six to as long as thirty minutes--"
She continued speaking after that, but Jim didn't hear it. He'd finally spotted what the girl was pointing at; she wasn't gesturing at the whales at all, but Spock, floating in the water behind Dr. Taylor. He was swimming with the whales, pressing his hand against one; Jim knew a mind-meld when he saw one. What the hell was Spock thinking? Someone was going to see him! In fact, someone already had!
"Maybe he's singing to the man," the little girl chirped, loudly, breaking in over the doctor's continuing speech.
"Buffy!" her mother shushed her, and Jim's brain froze.
It couldn't be her, could it? The mystery ensign from his past? He wanted to say something to her-- but even if it was her, he was from her future. By at least twenty years, by the looks of things. She had the same eyes, he could see that as he looked closer, and the same chin; the mother's hair was all wrong, but he could see in her bone structure the shadow of the young woman he'd known as well.
It was her. So close, and yet so far.
Behind and above him, he heard Dr. Taylor cursing, and a clatter of footsteps on metal stairs. With a wrench, he broke his attention away from the girl and turned to pursue the marine biologist before she could do anything rash to Spock.
At least he'd have a better window now to start his searches again. California, with a birthdate in the early nineteen-eighties. He didn't think he'd find any more answers to his questions there than he had before, but at least it was something.
And who knew, this might not be the last chance he had to go voyaging into the past. He'd just have to hope he could hit the twenty-aughts next time. For now, though, he had an angry scientist to wrangle, a partially amnesiac friend to collect, and a world to save.
All in a day's work for the Captain of the Enterprise.