A/N: This is one of the cruelest fics I have ever written, but it really had to be done. I hope it's not too melodramatic.
Spock knows that he is in love.
He throws himself against the door, aiming to bruise, to crack a bone, to injure himself somehow. He can't take it. He can't keep going like this.
He sinks to the floor. He is defeated. He cradles his head in his hands, screams. Tears flow down his cheeks, into his mouth, staining his clothes.
Abruptly he stops. He lowers his hands. He closes his eyes. He wipes his face.
Suicide is not an option, he knows. He could never leave this world. No matter how horrible things become, he can never leave, not while the captain is still alive.
On the bridge, Spock never shows the signs. Uhura never sees it, though she dated him for years. McCoy never catches on. The captain would be the one to guess, but he never will, because Spock is perfect around him. He lets the captain know that he is his friend. He smiles, very rarely, for the captain. He talks to him; tells him things he would tell him no one else. Sometimes they laugh together, and Spock's heart hurts with want, but he must feel nothing. Nothing.
He knows the captain will never love him. It is a fact of his existence that commanding officers cannot become involved with subordinates. And Spock would never, ever do anything to hurt the captain. He could take away the captain's command in a second, could figure out some way to get Kirk demoted, could comfort him falsely back in his cabin, feeling the texture of his captain's skin at length, smelling the brief scent of his hair—no.
The captain is the captain. Spock's duty to the captain is to respect and honor him. He would never, ever hurt him. He cannot jeopardize the captain's career by even attempting to enter in to a relationship with him.
Back in his quarters, Spock loses control again. He breaks two fingers punching the wall. He lies to McCoy, saying the door must have malfunctioned. McCoy believes him.
This is nothing out of the ordinary. This is the fifth year Spock has known his captain. This is the millionth time he has lost control.
He remembers the first time he realized that he loved his captain, a year into his acquaintance with him. The captain had just asked Uhura to open a channel to Starfleet command to inquire about the medical supplies on board. Spock had turned to say something to the captain and had, for the first and only time, frozen as he looked at him. Looked at him sprawled leisurely in his chair, chest moving imperceptibly under the weight of air, gold hair untidy, fingers tapping on the armrest. Spock recognizes, suddenly, the feeling weighing on his shoulders. It's love. Love for this statue, this Adonis, this Horatio Hornblower of a man. He feels lighter than air, at first, at the joy of this discovery. But when he realizes what the consequences must be, his very soul hurts, and never stops hurting.
Sixty years have passed since Spock has met his captain. He is standing outside of his captain's home in San Francisco, ringing the bell. He watches through the clear glass as an older woman, accompanied by two younger men, approach the door. The woman smiles through the pane and opens the door for him, greeting him. The men hug him warmly, offering him a drink, asking him how he has been. A woman, a little younger than the men, comes down the stairs. She hugs him too, inquires after his health. The older woman says she'll see about getting her husband.
Spock takes a seat on the couch, perfectly calm and resolute. His lips are light with a smile as he talks to the men and woman. Then his captain appears at the stairs, and Spock feels his insides grow warm again. His captain hugs him, long and hard, and Spock restrains himself, holds back curses and tears and kisses like he always has and always will, and hugs him back with exactly the same degree of pressure. His captain is happy to see him back from Bolan VI, how are the mining operations, what about the starbase there. The conversation goes back. Bones is doing well, his granddaughter is going to Harvard, did you hear Sulu got promoted to Rear Admiral, the party was a blast, you should have been there, Spock. You should have been there.
I am here, says Spock. I will always be here, Captain.
He allows himself to touch the captain's hand just once before he leaves.
When the captain is found dead of old age years later, McCoy breaks the news to Spock. Spock's face does not change, but his eyes go distant. He thanks McCoy for telling him.
He attends the funeral. He cannot bring himself to volunteer a eulogy. But as he hears them speak of his captain, as their words of praise echo amongst the high rafters, he feels drawn to the podium. After the final speaker has finished, Spock stands and walks to the casket, alone before the eyes of the mourners. The chamber, huge, is filled to the brim with people. The ceremony is being broadcast. Thousands have gathered outside.
Spock does not mount the platform. He stands next to the casket, one hand on its closed lid. He looks upwards as he speaks.
"The captain," he says, his soft voice carrying through the silent room, "was my friend. I have never known a man of better qualities. His very flaws suited him. His thoughts were always kind.
"I cannot say enough. All the words in the world could not construct for you a picture of my captain. It shames me that I cannot do him justice with my speech. But it moves me that all of you are here, pouring your love and thoughts into his memory, so that he may continue."
Spock pauses to breathe. He is not crying, but they can see the emotion within him, tossing his frail body like a battered ship in a fierce storm. His hand, flat against the coffin, is pressing so hard into the metal that it leaves a faint mark.
Spock speaks, so quiet he is almost whispering, but none must strain to hear him.
"I have been, and always shall be, his."
McCoy does not want to knock on Spock's door, but he knows he must.
There is no answer. McCoy closes his eyes, heart cold, and overrides the lock on the door. Unsurprisingly, the door has been keyed to answer to his voice.
Spock's body is propped up in a chair. The empty glass beside him contains traces of harridine, a deadly poison.
"You son of a bitch," says McCoy. "This would have been easier if you'd ever told him you loved him."
But McCoy knows Spock better than that. He knows that with every touch, with every look, which every gesture, Spock expressed his love.
They are both gone, now. But the feeling lingers in the air, remains. This is a love that will never dissipate.
This is a love that will never end.