Author's Note: This will contain spoilers for the new movie. As mentioned in the summary, this story ties in with Silver in the Dark, but it's not necessary to read one in order to understand the other. (For those who have read that story, this one operates under the assumption that death, rather like the Nexus, isn't impacted by time in any normal sense).
He never looked for Jim.
He never even went to the Enterprise-B, to the site of his death. It would have been an illogical move. There was nothing to see there, after all, except the gaping hole which had sucked the other man into space – and that would be repaired soon. He had no reason to divert his current activities near Romulus. No reason to go looking for a dead man, no reason to attend a memorial service which would be over-crowded by the pomp and glorification of Starfleet, and no reason to think about it. Jim was gone. He felt him go, was brought to his knees in the middle of his quarters when the sharp pain suddenly invaded his mind, and a decades-old bond stretched, shredded, and finally broke, leaving behind only a bloody spiritual wound. He was found hours later, when he failed to show up for a scheduled meeting – lying only half-conscious on the floor. By then the news had spread. James T. Kirk had died admirably, saving many lives and protecting the Enterprise. It was the sort of death he would have been pleased with. It was a fitting end.
Spock had broken his hand after he put it through one of the walls in his quarters.
It was an unfitting way to react, giving in to that demon of despair and even going so far as to injure himself. Vulcans did mourn, but they did it as they did most things – quietly, calmly, with privacy and dignity. There was no logic to his actions. Putting a fist through a wall wasn't going to change anything. Wishing that Jim had never rescued him from Genesis accomplished nothing, except to display a grotesque lack of gratitude for his sacrifices. He did them all a disservice by behaving shamefully, and so he forced back the drowning tide of despair, dusted himself off, and returned to the tasks at hand. He was expecting the visits from old friends. Expecting McCoy to rant about his seeming insensitivity, expecting them to needle him into moments of remembrance, and going through 'the old days' and asking why he hadn't attended the memorial service. But he was surprised – because the rants and questions never came, and rather than remembrance he received, instead, condolences. Solemn ones. He was not expecting them to understand… but then, it wouldn't be his first time underestimating them. His human friends. At first he thought it was an uncharacteristic understanding of his Vulcan nature which they had displayed.
Years later, he would realize that it wasn't the case. In his withdrawal they did not perceive the cool logic of a Vulcan, but the retreating form of a wounded animal, shrinking away from its loss and pain. If he was being honest with himself, he would admit – it was a more accurate assessment of his actions than the alternative. Never in his life had he met someone to equal James Kirk. Not in their impact upon himself as a person, and not in their impact upon the universe as a whole. Their years together shone brightly in his mind. Incomparable. Untouchable. He knew they would always be his golden days, and none of the life which stretched before him would hold anything as promising or as vibrant. So he gave it all away, to worthy causes, to Vulcan and Romulus and the Federation. This time was not for himself. This time was repayment for what had come before, and would never come again.
When he learned that Jim had been out there all along, alive but lost, it nearly undid him.
He had not been expecting such news to reach him along the usual channels of the public information system. Of course, he had not been expecting such news at all, so this was understandable. But there was something to be said for the shock of going through the latest articles at his modest computer terminal and reading the headline 'Admiral Kirk Dies Again'.
His initial reaction was to dismiss the possibility that the article was speaking literally. It was more likely that it had something to do with a part of Jim's legacy, and the title was simply meant to be eye-catching and appropriate in some circuitous sense.
Then he actually read it.
One broken glass of tea and several priority calls to Starfleet later, including a personal transmission to Captain Picard, and Spock found himself slumped against the wall of his meditation room like a puppet with its strings cut. All of this time. All of this time! Jim had been alive, and no one had known it. There had been no logical reason to suspect it. He had felt the bond between them sever, and had naturally assumed that death was the culprit. Never before had he heard of such a thing as the Nexus, or had any reason to tie the spatial anomaly which struck the Enterprise-B to a possibility of Jim's survival. He had given up on the one person who had never, ever given up on him, and now it truly was too late to make amends. Logic – ever reliable, ever constant – had failed him. A wound which had scarred over, which he had turned away from had now been ripped open again, as painful and hollow as the day it was first made.
His emotions threatened to drown him. He needed to center himself, needed to regain his control before it all slipped through his fingers like so much sand. With care he lowered himself onto his meditation mat, forgoing the usual change into his robes and the lighting of candles. He had no energy for it. A quick word and the computer dimmed the lights, so that soon all he was surrounded by was darkness, and the erratic rhythm of his own breathing. He focused on evening it out. Bringing it under control.
I should have been there, his emotional side wailed.
Illogical. He could not have known that his presence was needed.
If it were me, Jim would have been there, the unreasonable voice of doubt and pain persisted. This was also illogical. Had their situations been reversed, Jim would have had no means of knowing the truth any more than Spock had. Unfortunately, no matter how many times he told himself this, the concept refused to release him from its grip. His friend had snatched him too many times from the iron jaws of death, even against unreasonable odds and with little more than his intuition as evidence, for him to really doubt his proficiency at such a task. Running the odds in his head and using past instances as the basis for his analysis, Spock estimated that there was a 97.5% chance, even with the lack of substantiating evidence, that Jim would have found him in the Nexus.
He was there.
And I never looked for him.
Bowing his head, Spock clenched a narrow, weathered hand against the flat material of his mediation mat, and failed to fight off the hot tears which tracked along his cheeks.
It was several days before he was able to compose himself suitably again. But life, as always, refused to be held back, and it took Spock along with it. The seeming resurrection of James Kirk was filed away into the annals of history as another one of space's curious anomalies, and if anyone noticed the increasingly tired, worn down air which surrounded Ambassador Spock, then they likely attributed it to his aging. He was half human, after all. He could not be expected to display the same vitality as full-blooded Vulcans. Time crept by with almost sadistic slowness, every inch bringing him towards a death which he was anticipating, but was far too honourable to speed along. His human friends had all run the course of their lifespans. There was no one else left from the old days of the Enterprise, days when they had been young and bright and fuelled by the spirit of exploration. Now all that remained was Spock – and he bore that burden silently, alone.
He was not expecting to be flung into an alternate timeline.
It was easily one of the most bittersweet experiences of his life, meeting that Jim Kirk who wasn't his Jim Kirk. That young, bright man who seemed like a ghost, but was no more the friend which Spock had lost than his Mirror universe counterpart would have been. He had sent him to his young Spock. He had wished them better fortunes together.
And then, as always, he had carried on. There was still work to be done and there were still years to stretch before him. It made little difference whether he was in an alternate timeline or not, he found – he was still alone. But he would be lying if he said that he was without his apprehensions. Fear was not a flattering emotion, and it was one he was generally gifted and suppressing. But this fear would not fade away. What if his transition through time had obliterated the timeline in which he originated? What if every trace of everything he had ever known now no longer existed?
What if he would never again find the katra of the Jim Kirk who had spent so many years beside him?
Spock considered this as he stood amidst the foundations of the Vulcan colony he was helping to establish. He turned his gaze skyward, taking note of the purple streaks of early sunset which marked the horizon, and the dusty brown mountains in the distance. What if it was his fate to forever be alone?
If you are there to be found, he swore to the coming darkness, then I will find you.
I will not fail to look for you again.