She rises up before him, a swan neck, beautiful. His first command, but more than that - he can already sense. A ship like Enterprise comes once in a blue moon, and he hopes that blue moon never, ever goes away. He tugs at his gold shirt, and smiles.

--

She falls.

He watches her, and feels the emotions welling up within him, loss, pain, anger; to have already sacrificed today, to have lost ones future, one's own flesh and blood, and now – to lose her, to lose she that has saved him, sustained him, his love, his life. It is almost too much to bear.

Almost.

But because he is Kirk, he does bear it.

Because he is Kirk, he knows that he will win.

--

She rises.

She rises up before him, a figure of beauty. She is not his love, this he knows. She is a replica, a copy, a salve, a reward for his success, and he knows he will not love this ship as he loved her. She who was his life.

But for one, shining moment, he can pretend that she didn't die at Genesis.

--

He falls.

It is another replica, not even trying to disguise itself, not even attempting to parrot his love. He wonders why he found it so easy to abandon the chair, and he realises that it was because it wasn't her chair, her consoles. At night he dreams of her, of those days, of him, young and vibrant, of her corridors, red and blue and beautiful.

But this one is green, and silver, and nothing like his long lost love.

So he falls, and thinks himself dead; for now he joins her.

Somehow, he thinks to himself, quietly, this is not how he was meant to die.

--

He is deadlocked.

He knows this place is false. Another salve, another copy. But it tries to make him happy. The only thing he doesn't accept is when she appears before him, and he walks down her corridors, and he demands to leave, because she is dead and gone, and it besmirches her memory to see her again, a fake, a copy, a forgery.

But he accepts the rest; for he knows there can be nothing better. He is trapped here.

--

He rises.

He came back to make a difference, and he knows as his lungs slow, and his heart slows, and his very being slows that soon he will be gone forever, but he accepts this.

Because he can see her...

A shining white angel, not the refit, his love butchered, but her, with her cylindrical nacelles, her main deflector dish, his ship, his Enterprise, and she flies above him. Waiting for him.

'Oh my...' he says, and he means to say, 'oh my love', but then he knows he doesn't need to. And he rises, and he feels young again, and knows that an entire cosmos is out there waiting. He looks down, and he is in his command golds, his true self made flesh once more, ready for the next stage.

He looks down at Picard, and his own corpse, and wishes Picard, who has his own ship, his own crew, his own future, the best of luck, his only regret being that he never got to saw Picards angel, his loves successor, the latest imitation. But then he smiles. His own love awaits.

He reaches down, and somehow he knows that a communicator is there.

He flips it open, and closes his eyes.

'Enterprise,' he says, 'beam me up.'

And he is gone is light, to dance amongst the stars forever... with her.