Boldly Go: LIFETIME
Based on the "Lifetime" Sentence from my other fic, "Boldly Go: Twenty Sentences"
If she were Vulcan, she wouldn't even be middle aged. But, as he was painfully aware, she was only human, and ninety-one in Terran years meant a full life. Spock scoffed at his own thoughts, at the idea that she was "only human" and at the notion that anyone could consider living less than a century a "full life".
He'd slowed his life to adapt to her in the later years. A weak heart almost claimed her a decade earlier, proof that there was absolutely no connection between a soul and body when it came to humans. Where Vulcans ruled over their mortal coils, humans like his Nyota could be walking contradictions—unquestioningly strong in character and soul, yet prisoners to easily damaged or infected frames. As if a "weak heart" matched his bond-mate's personality even slightly…The idea was insulting. Not this woman, this creature, who'd always strived to be the best and accepted no substitutions, who fought for every inch of her life and his when necessary. His Nyota, who'd made it quite clear decades ago that she would not let fear of falling stop her from walking the tightrope that would be their life together, a "weak hearted" individual? It was nonsense, it was illogical.
Spock ran his hand over her hair. Silver now, and impossibly thin, but still long. Still soft, still able to twirl leisurely between his fingertips. Another Vulcan would call him fidgety, but that was simply one of Spock's human indulgences, succumbing to the softness of her—her hair, her skin, the clothing she wore to bed…Everything he'd ever known was so cold, so strict and uncompromising. That was not possible with her. She was strong, of course, and unyielding, but never icy or unappealing. Always, there was an inviting nature to her, something that screamed "human", and he reveled in it.
Nyota's eyes fluttered when he touched her hair like that. For a moment he paused his actions, worried he was perhaps disturbing her from the only peace she was getting these last dying days.
"I am sorry," he whispered softly, pulling his hand away. Spock was not even sure that Nyota recognized him anymore, a realization that was hard on him. However, when her eyes locked on his, he knew in that moment she was truly present.
"Feels nice," she murmured, a small smile in her eyes.
Spock did something completely unVulcan of him, and smiled back.
For all their years together, she had been the one to show all the emotions, to be angry for them, to be happy for them, to be illogical and wonderful for them. Nyota understood his nature and was rarely frustrated at him for his ways, though he wouldn't ever blame her if she found living with and loving a half Vulcan too demanding at times. She'd sacrificed the possibility of being showered with affection by a human lover, of being wooed and passionately engaged. Instead, she'd taken over the burden of expressing what he could not in life.
It was only fair, here at the end, he could do the same for her. A smile would not destroy his Vulcan side.
Spock was fully aware these were his last moments with her, and the end would be sooner rather than later. Her physician had broken down for him the pattern of a human death, what to expect in the ending of a life. She would be tired, of course, and weak. She would perhaps see things that were not there, perhaps even talk to dead friends and family. Whether or not they talked back, Spock was unsure. The concept was beyond him. His respect for science dictated a certain amount of realism when it came to an afterlife, but he kept his heart stowed inside a human home, and who was he to judge what was possible or not possible.
The worst thing about a human dying, though, was that while they seemed to be able to communicate with spirits, it was almost impossible for them to communicate with the living. Therefore, these last few days had been extremely lonely for the Vulcan. He had grown used to always having that sweet voice speak back to him, whether it be in love or outrage or teasing…The human phrase "the little things" felt appropriate at the moment. Saying hello in the morning, and goodnight in the evening. Hearing that frivolous but beautiful phrase "I love you" a million times a day, to which he rarely responded. Regrets were bountiful when he thought about all the times he sacrificed both their humanities for his Vulcan proprieties. He would have years to be a good Vulcan, to repent for the error of his human ways. Why not sin for her? The world would not have ended.
Her fingers twitched as if reaching for him, so he clasped his hand to hers.
"How do you feel? Do you need anything? Are you in any pain?" Spock questioned. He continued his previously halted actions of smoothing her hair, hoping to bring some relief to her, but really only wanting to be selfish and continue touching the tendrils that had been his undoing early in life.
"Where's the baby?" Nyota asked, so softly he was not sure he heard her correctly, but Spocks's heart sank when he registered her words. Her mind was not as clear as he had hoped. His wife was asking for the baby, their first son, a baby that had died eons ago, small and sickly and perfect in every way. They'd mourned that loss of life together in a completely human manner, conceiving their second and only living child, as if the universe was offering its apologies for being so cruel in the first place. That son was on a mission in deep space and probably would not get the message in time to come home to say his goodbyes.
Spock did not know how to respond, not wanting to upset her. "The baby is content, my wife," he said simply, hoping she would not inquire further. No need for ancient ghosts to disturb her like that now. Thankfully, she simply nodded, giving his hand a small squeeze.
For a moment they were quiet, Spock reveling in the fact that he could look into her eyes. He remembered back to that illogical moment in his office back in the academy days when they'd first broken all the rules. It had been the way she looked at him that pressed them closer than student and teacher. Something in her gaze back then had told him wordlessly that she understood him, that she saw he was made of glass and not stone. Why he ever submitted to her, he was never sure, as he could have very easily ignored the feelings. Instead, he chose not to, and was grateful for it.
"You idiot…" Nyota mumbled, her eyes fluttered again. Spock was taken aback.
"I do not understand…"
"…You were going to put me on that other starship."
Spock shuddered inwardly at the thought that had haunted him for years. He had no idea why his dying wife felt the need to bring up the biggest mistake of his life there in her last moments.
"I regret that moment of failed logic, Nyota."
"Please, even if you'd kept me there, I would have cheated just like Jim if I had to…I would've gotten on," she smiled this time fully, eyes closed.
"You have always been unreasonably stubborn, that is true," Spock replied, moving his chair closer so that he could lean on the edge of the bed. She might not have been completely coherent, but he'd take her any way he could at that moment.
"Remember that time I hid under your desk when that strategy professor came in for a consult?"
Spock bowed his head, amazed as ever at her unique ability to be the end of him. "I do, indeed."
"We were so…careless," she said the word as if it were a term of endearment. A small laugh hissed from her. Spock was suddenly filled with terror, and he tried everything he could to make sure his fear could not be seen on his face. She was really going to be gone, his one and only would be taken from him, their bond severed leaving him with only half a heart with frayed threads for the rest of his existence. Damn her for being human, damn him for being Vulcan, damn them both for ever being so incredibly selfish and selfless.
There was something in the way she was glowing at him that surged him into a panic. A small part of him realized her heart rate was decreasing; her breath was not as steady as it had been. Somehow, he knew, this was it. He didn't want to lose her. A lifetime was simply not enough to revel in what they had. Spock couldn't stop himself, surging from his chair to get as close to her as possible. He pressed a kiss onto her temple, the tip of her nose, the corner of her mouth.
"Please, do not leave me," he begged, his own voice sounding foreign to him with its desperation. He pressed their foreheads together, trying to be gentle with her but also finding it difficult to fight off the outrage surging through him.
"I never will," she muttered, her voice faint.
"But you are," Spock insisted, feeling like a child.
Another smile. "As if you could ever be rid of me."
"Why would I want to be rid of you? I want you to be with me, always."
"Spock, I'll get on the starship one way or another…"
He knew what she meant, that her stubbornness would survive if even if her body could not, that somehow she would always be with him in spirit, in some locked, cobwebbed corner of his own heart.
"I'll cheat, be a stowaway, hide in a shipping crate if I have to…"
"That is h-h-highly il-logical," he sputtered, unable to resist teasing her one last time…With as complicated a life as theirs had been, it was important to have a good sense of humor.
Nyota grinned knowingly. "Which is why it will work," she heavily sighed, her free hand lifting up slowly from the bed to caress the side of his face. He pressed it against his skin, moving slightly to kiss her palm. Their faces were so close he could count her eyelashes, and Spock tentatively tasted her lips, trying to memorize the feel of her forever.
When her last breath came, a smile lingering on the edges of her lips, Spock laid his head on her now still chest, breathed in the silence, and honored a long beloved wife the in proper human way—with tears.
Author's note. Holy shit, I just made myself cry. I didn't know that was possible. Well then. Anyways, Reviews are loved. By the way, newest chapter of "Boldly Go" has been posted...FYI