The Me You Never Knew by Djinn

I thought I knew him. I thought I understood what he wanted from me. We've all said those words or thought them or held them deep in our hearts. We thought we knew Spock.

And then he left.

And then he died.

And then he left again.

I'm an old woman now. It shouldn't matter to me where Spock goes or why. I shouldn't care that he's on Romulus--hell, I shouldn't even know that he's on Romulus. Don't look at me that way. I know you know he's on Romulus.

Oh, it's more the fact that I know that bugs you, huh? Some accesses just don't go away, not if you know people who know people. And I'm still a consultant to Emergency Ops. A living legend myself--it's enough to make you laugh, isn't it?

Ops became my life. A lot of people think I've never had another. They would be wrong.

First, there was the crush. I've lived that down over the years, thank God. I moved past the crush, but the feelings never left. I just learned to be more restrained about it. Jim used to tell me I'd gone Vulcan.

Jim. I miss him. I wish...

This is about Spock, not Jim. But it's hard to tell a story about Spock without bringing Jim into it. Or Len. Both of them. Their little trio. Together forever. I left them, though. I found my own path, but they stuck it out.

When Len died last year, I went to his funeral and cried. For him. For me. For what we had once. Only it wasn't really him. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

This is about Spock. Keep reminding me of that, all right? I'm an old woman; I tend to wander a bit.

So where was I? Oh, yeah. The crush. I wasn't the reason Spock left for Gol. Let's be straight on that. I was not the reason. I never meant that much to him. It should hurt to say that, but it doesn't. Age is a good thing--it dulls the pain a lot. Almost as much as a decent shot of tranqs. Not that I'd ever abuse meds.

Not that I'd admit to it, anyway, to anyone but you. I was a doctor. A damn fine one. So was Len. We'd never shoot ourselves full of stuff to make the pain go away.

Actually, Len wouldn't. He preferred to suck his down, his pretty amber fire-water burning the pain out of him. A few more drinks a day and Len would have been a lush, but he knew how much was too much. For all his putting it out there, he hid a lot more than he let burst forth. And he never crossed the line where drinking became a problem.

I wish I could say the same thing for me. But I can't. You don't get through med school as fast as I did without having a steady supply of stims. And when the stims made my heart race, I had the tranqs to reach for. It wasn't a good life, but I was marching double time to a future I'd let fall apart for Roger.

I quit abusing my meds when I got on the ship. Well, I quit abusing them once the V'ger crisis was over.

Actually, I never stopped abusing meds. How the hell do you think I survived in Ops all those years? There's a reason I keep my M.D. license up to date and it isn't just so I can help others.

Shocked you, have I? The paragon of Ops a drughead? Well, there you go. People aren't what you think. Which is sort of the point of this whole story. I'm not. Spock wasn't. Hell, Jim and Len weren't either.

There's the legend and then there's truth. And truth depends on inside knowledge. And on your perspective and how you view that inside knowledge. Truth is a damned slippery thing, as Len used to say.

And when you're old like me, truth is bendable. It becomes the things you want to remember, not the things you have to remember. And the things you don't want to remember, well, no one will blame you if you twist them up a bit to make them more palatable. It's what old folks do.

Rose colored glasses and all that.

So my crush. I fell in love with Spock. I fell in love with him while I was searching for my fiance. While, not after, not once I knew Roger was dead, but while. I fell for a man who thought I was a nuisance--if he gave me that much consideration--while I was searching for the man I loved.

I never really loved Roger, though. He was a way out of the chase. I was tired and I'd been working so hard, and he was brilliant and charismatic and he loved me.

He also loved that little slut Andrea, but I knew it and I let it happen. Because Roger represented freedom from the expectations I'd laid on myself. And that my parents had--they were both Ph.D.s. Nothing less for their little Christine. I have three now plus the M.D. I'm sure they'd be thrilled.

I nearly killed myself getting the first two--that was before all the drugs--and was halfway to the third when I met Roger. He saved me from myself. And then when he disappeared, he gave me an even better reason to let my future go. I would find him. I would search forever if I had to--in fact, that would have been great.

And then I met Spock and the whole damn house of cards came tumbling down because I'd finally met a man I could love.

Did Spock ever love me? Well, you're getting ahead of the story, now aren't you? I told you: I was a nuisance, nothing more. Not at this stage anyway.

I left the ship before he did. Another fact I want on record. I left first. And it had nothing to do with him. Okay, it had a lot to do with him, but it had to do with my future, too.

Jim encouraged me to go. Len didn't want me to. Len and I had a...

No, I'm not wandering. I'm not senile, damn it. I was just... I'm not sure I want to get into it. He can't defend himself here and... Okay, all right, Len and I were involved sometimes. It ebbed and flowed, for me, I mean. I'd need him or I wouldn't. That was before I had drugs. Len was my drug. Scratch the itch, still the pain, make me feel human again.

I loved Len. Just...not the way he wanted me to. Spock knew. Once we shared consciousness, he knew. He told me that I wasn't being fair to Len. A Vulcan giving romantic advice. Lovely moment for me.

But he was right. It wasn't fair. So I left Len and traded him in for a new future, an impossible schedule, and my handy home pharmacy.

I avoided Len, but I saw Spock. Just before he went to Gol. I've never told anyone that except Len, and he would have found out eventually because he had the whole katra thing going, but he never told anyone else, I'm sure, because it hurt him. I hurt him. Just like I always did.

Spock came to me before he left. I was apparently on his personal bucket list. You've heard of those, right? Those lists you make of things you want to do before you kick the bucket. Visit Risa, see the Orion Nebula close up, that kind of thing. Spock's were a bit different.

Gol apparently suggests that you do the things you still have feelings for. Test the waters. So Spock did me. But I'm not sure that was where he should have been. I think...

No, I'm not done talking. I'm just thinking for a moment. How much do I want to say and all--this isn't just my story, you realize? There are others in this, others who might get hurt.

Yes, damn it, this is about Jim. And no, I don't know if he and Spock were involved. But I know what I felt when I shared Spock's consciousness, and there were some damn strong feelings about our captain. And I think I'm going to leave it at that.

No, I never did worry about it because I also found out he had feelings for me. I'd somehow gone from nuisance to interest, and I was the last to know. And it wasn't like a head-over-heels sort of thing. He was interested, but only mildly. And that interest was in fucking me.

That was it. No love, really. He just wanted to fuck me. So we did.

As fucking goes, it was good. Okay, it was really good. I wouldn't have minded him staying a while. Or forever.

He went to Gol the next day.

Not good for a girl's self esteem. My drugs weren't cutting it, so I looked up Len. We drank his bourbon and screwed ourselves silly and somewhere in the middle of it, I started to cry and told him what had happened with Spock.

Len retired the next day. Hightailed it back to Georgia. And I went back to school and resolved to forget I'd ever known any of them. And that was easy. Until Jim took a desk job.

Running into him in the hall was an accident. The first time. But he looked so good and there was an edge to him that I recognized. His drug had always been the Enterprise and now it was gone, and he wasn't the sort to find relief in chemicals.

Admiral Ciani was his drug of choice for a while. Then he was free again and we kept running into each other and sometimes we'd extend our evenings past drinks or dinner all the way into bed.

Always mine. He liked to leave before morning. I never took it personally. We were using each other and you don't blame the drug for wearing off.

Jim took it hard that Spock left. I could tell, even if he only mentioned it a couple of times.

I never volunteered that Spock and I had done the horizontal tango. Or that it had been good.

It was good with Jim, too. I think, under different circumstances, I might have loved him and he might have loved me. But he was stuck on Earth and I was going to Decker's Enterprise. And that was a wedge that pushed us apart. He didn't get mad or upset; he just started to take other routes through Starfleet Command.

I still miss Jim. I can't believe he's gone. He died a surprise there.

Spock came back from Gol. Everyone knows that story. It's taught in classes. Jim versus V'ger. He won, of course. And I got the thrill of seeing how close Spock could get to someone once his barriers were down. And it wasn't me he wanted to get close to.

I ran like a big chicken. I fled the ship and never looked back. Len thought it was the idea of working for him again that was making me run. He told me that while we were in bed after the V'ger crisis was over.

Yes, I used him. Yes, he let me. It was how it was between us. I'm not proud of it, but haven't you done things you're not proud of?

It wasn't working for him that made me run, or maybe it sort of was--I didn't want to go backwards. I hadn't ingested that many chemicals to end up right where I'd started.

So I left. And I worked for a while as a doctor, was bored out of my mind, and finally joined up at Ops.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Well, until everyone came home and decamped at Starfleet Command. Spock with his cadets. Len with Starfleet Medical. The others working with Spock.

And Jim? Jim found a woman and left Starfleet. I hoped he'd be happy. But I'd seen him when he'd been forced to live under the stars instead of in them, and it wasn't pretty. Antonia was a beautiful woman, but who can compete with the firmament?

Jim came back. I saw them all at one time or another in the halls, but Spock and Len tended to avoid ops. Jim and Admiral Cartwright were close, though. So I saw him.

Couldn't help bumping into him. And yes, I do mean bumping groins. Jim understood light. He understood immediate versus long term.

Although I think he was looking for long term. He just never found it.

Len avoided me like I had the plague. Couldn't blame him and since I'd sworn off my McCoy drug, I was glad.

Spock, though, showed up at my apartment one night--thankfully not one when Jim and I were working out our mutual stress. He wanted to apologize for having used me. I told him he didn't have to. It was awkward, and it didn't make me feel good. He left very quickly.

And then he took his cadets out on their training cruse. Yes, that cruise.

He died. Spock died. I'd considered that eventuality--we worked in a dangerous line of business. Death was always in the air. I'd thought this wouldn't hurt.

It hurt like hell. But I'm not sure if it hurt worse that he was gone, or that he hadn't loved me and never would.

I popped a few tranqs and went into work. No one appeared to notice anything. No one but Jan offered condolences. And I'd never shared what had gone on with her. Not with Spock, or Len, or especially, Jim. I wasn't sure she'd forgive me for Jim, even if she had moved on long ago. But she'd been part of the Spock crush, back when I shared things.

Back when I let people in.

You get that, right? That this is not normal, this sharing of information that is my life and all its secrets? I closed down a long time ago. I don't let people in. This is the first item on my bucket list, toots, and it's only happening once, so pay attention.

So, he died. Spock was dead. And the ship came back, and I got a call from Jim to meet him at Starfleet Medical. It was Len. Collapsed, acting weird.

Jim left me with him. I was the only person he trusted to watch over him. He told me things were happening I might not understand.

But I did. Spock had left himself inside Len. Who better to understand that than I? I'd shared fucking consciousness with him. Who Goddamned better?

There was no one worse to leave him with. Len needed comforting. And Spock was inside him. And I was a walking wound from Spock's death.

I guess it was my first and only threesome. I know it was wrong. I used them both. But they used me, too. When Jim came back, we didn't say a word. I went back to Ops and they went on their wild ride and pretty soon Spock was back in his body. It was a miracle, but not unexpected from this crew.

It was a miracle. And there was another. That Starfleet birth control that never fails? Yeah, well, it failed. And I found out a few weeks later I was pregnant.

Do you want some water? I can open a window.

You said you wanted answers. You've said that all your life. Well, now I'm giving them to you. You're his daughter. Maybe both of theirs. But your biological dad is the man you called Uncle Len. I never kept you from him.

Don't look at me that way. He forgot, don't you understand? He forgot what happened during those days. He was out of his mind and some of what he went through just disappeared. He never said a thing. He saw I was pregnant and asked who the lucky man was.

No, damn it, that wasn't his idea of a joke.

No, it did not mean I was a slut. He was serious. In your father's mind, the man who was with me would be lucky.

Yes, he was seriously misinformed. God, I wish I hadn't raised you to speak your mind. Try holding back a little. I'm an old woman, damn it all.

Yes, that did sound like him. Don't give me that look; I never kept you from him. Live with it, it's done.

Silence is it? Fine. Silence it is.

Oh, for Christ's sake, girl. Buck the hell up. You wanted to know--you begged me to tell you when you were younger.

Yes, I did say this was about Spock. That's why we need to finish the story. Please, sit down, I need to finish the sto--

I need you to get me to Romulus or Spock will die.

I figured that would get your attention. Can you sit down now? And stop glaring at me like that. It wasn't as if Len and I were going to settle down and get the happily-ever-after ending. I didn't love him like that. I couldn't have done that to him--saddled him with me--not when I really loved Spock.

You're right. Spock doesn't love me. But that didn't stop him from coming to me decades ago when Valeris turned out to be a traitor. She'd won his heart. Little bitch. He came to me after she was sent to Rura Penthe. He needed me.

Okay, fine, he needed someone. But he came to me, and he had options back home. All Vulcan males have options. He chose to come to me, and he bonded with me, and he's been finding his way back to me every seven years now for a long time, but he can't now because he's stuck on Romulus.

How do I know? I told you, friends who know people who know people.

Oh, how do I know he needs me? Well, let's just say that's something that goes soul deep. He needs me and he needs me soon. And you can get me where I need to go. You know people who know people.

What? You think I'm telling you this just to get what I need? Do you really think I'm like that?

Hmmm. I guess you know me better than I thought. Well, all right, I'm using you. But I've just spent the last however long telling you that I'm a user so why is this a goddamned surprise?

I love you, Jenny. I chose to have you when I didn't have to. I wanted you, and I love you, and the only thing I've never been honest about is your father--and I never lied. I just never told you the truth.

I didn't place expectations on you the way my parents did on me. I let you go your own way when you needed to. I let you into my heart when I locked out everyone else. And granted it may not be a heart that anyone really wants into, but you're there, sweetie, and now I need your help. And I expect to get it.

What if I didn't go? He'd die.

I don't know if I'd die. Probably not: I'm not Vulcan. But that's immaterial. And to be honest, if I go, I probably will die. I'm too old for this kind of thing. The Pon Farr isn't mushy hearts and flowers sex, let alone trying to do it in a Romulan cave.

Yes, I promise I'll come back once it's over if I'm still alive. I swear. Oh for God's sake, Jenny, aren't we a little old for "cross your heart and hope to die"?

Fine. Cross my heart and hope to die. Or not to die. Whichever works out best for all of us. Now, go do what needs to be done.

Jenny, please don't cry. I love you, kiddo. I swear to God, I love you.

No, I don't love him more. This isn't just about him. You've lived long enough to know that; I've seen you teach it to your kids. There is such a thing as obligation and duty and honor. And love, okay, yes, this is about love.

No, I don't think you should tell them who their grandfather was. Or at least wait until I'm gone--I mean dead gone, not just chasing after Spock gone--to do it. I don't want to see recrimination in their eyes. You have a right to hate me for this; I'd rather they didn't.

You don't hate me? You probably should. You're the best thing about me, honey. You and your kids and the good things you'll all do in life.

Me. I'm not a very nice person.

I never have been.