A/N: Okay, okay. Spock only got two chapters. Some people might kill me over this fact. I do apologize for it.
I want to thank everyone for being so bloody awesome, so supportive, so patient and so very great. You're the best fans ever, and I promise, I haven't vanished totally. I'll finish Sexual Harassment next, and I implore all of you to check out my Resonance of Fate drabble series. There might even be more Star Trek fic in the future- we'll see. Once again, I'll also ask everyone to please check out my website on my profile page, sign up for membership, and just generally be as awesome there as you are here!
They go first. Trelane is, apparently, not as powerful as his parents (and there's a chilling thought for you) and he could only handle one group at a time. By mutual consensus, we decide the younger group should go back first. Our ship has a disturbing amount of experience with certain members of her crew randomly vanishing, being taken, slipping away, becoming invisible, and generally winding up in really strange situations, so they were less likely to slip straight into- red alert, so to speak. (And what that says about us, I'm not going to dwell on.)
I leave my Spock's side to say one last good-bye to our alternate counterparts. I'm actually going to miss them, which feels narcissistic but is still true. They're good kids. They're interesting, and I'm curious as a cat to know more about the other reality that makes up their world. But we don't have the time, and in the end, I suppose the less I actually know about that world the better. Time is not a thing to play around with. Maybe meeting yourselves won't instantly eradicate the world(s) as we know it (them), but you still want to exercise caution.
I draw even with Jim, who turns to smile at me. The look on his face that I hated so much is gone, replaced with a look I know to be pure, easy contentment. The smile is honest and open and reaches his eyes, making them a pale, sky blue. I return it, clapping him on the shoulder and I am completely taken aback- only for a moment- when he draws me into a side hug. I pat his back lightly.
"Keep them safe. Take care of her." I tell him, "And yourself."
"You, too." He grips my hand firmly for a moment, searches my face as if committing it to memory. I let him.
"You really do look just like him." He mutters, after a minute, shaking his head. "It's crazy."
"All us old men start looking alike after a while." I tease, and he grins, stepping back. "You'll do just fine, Jim." Then, very softly, keeping half an eye on McCoy who is already watching me suspiciously- "Give 'em hell."
He laughs, rich and warm. "I try my best." He returns, throwing me a sloppy salute and a wink. I ignore Bones' what did you just say glare, and let the kid go back to his Spock's side. They immediately start to talk, low and soft. I offer his Bones a wave, and after a minute of suspicious stare he softens and lifts a hand, waving back with a lop-sided, reluctant smile.
"What did you tell him?" Bones asks, harshly, at last voicing it when he realizes he can't burn it into my skull telepathically, and I offer him my sweetest smile, pitching my voice to carry. "I told him to be good and listen to his doctor. What did you think I'd say, Bones?"
I clamp my hand to my heart as if mortally wounded, and I can hear the laughter coming from my younger self; his Bones is watching with arms folded and a bemused smile, shaking his head slowly and fighting laughter.
Good. It's good that this is ending in laughter. I throw an arm over Bone's shoulder, and he leans comfortably into it for a moment.
"Said your good-byes?"
"Yep." He watches the three of them regroup; that Bones and his Jim are shoving each other lightly, snipping about something I can't hear; their Spock slowly comes up behind, watches them for a moment, then promptly back-peddles when their shoving fight threatens to include him. He says something, and I can hear Jim's tone pick up into a wheedling whine, sounding utterly heart broken.
And then, in a glimmer of light that reminds me of a transporter beam, they're gone. The echoes of their laughter and voices ring for a moment, then fade away after them.
"Guess it's time to go home." I say, taking my weight off Bones, stretching. Spock makes his way over to us, and we turn to face Trelane. He looks as though he wants to speak- he sends me a particularly vicious pout- but there is a soft, warning, "Trelane..." from his father, and he huffs.
"Fine. Never get to have any fun..." Is the last thing I hear, before we, too, spin away into white, white, black.
When I wake up, I'm in the med bay. My head is pounding, just like before, but I seem to be otherwise unhurt...I slowly, carefully sit up. McCoy sits beside me, on another bed, and Spock is next to him.
"Welcome back, Captain." Spock says, as I stir, and Bones glances up.
"There's something for the headache on the desk, there, Jim." He points. I nod gratefully, accepting, and then I turn back to my first officer and medical officer, taking a slow, deep breath.
"What's the damage?"
"Surprisingly small." Bones replies. "You feel alright, other the the headache, Jim?"
"Fine. Ship's alright? Crew?"
"All fine." McCoy pushes upright, a little unsteady on his feet. "Apparently Trelane took it upon himself to let them know what was going on. They were worried, but not outright panicked. At least they knew- in a way- where we were."
I relax, a little more at ease knowing that my ship and crew were unharmed and not completely in the dark about the situation.
"We're going to have an interesting story to tell." I say, thoughtfully, and Bones nods.
"All things considered, it could have been- far worse." He says, sighing and running a hand through his hair. "Get some rest, Jim. Let the headache back off some. Spock's already feeling better, he can take over for a few hours."
Spock nods. "The affect of whatever Trelene did seems to be far lessened on me." He agrees, and I nod, letting out a low, soft breath and closing my eyes. I lean back onto the pillows, pulse and head throbbing in time, and play through everything that had just happened in my mind.
And I can't help but smile.
My head pounds like a bitch. Like the worst hangover ever, combined with a dinosaur sitting on your head, combined with a nice, happy punch to the jaw.
I groan. Someone is shaking me.
"Go 'way and lemme die in peace."
"Jim, you're not dying. Now sit up before I stop tryin' to be nice."
I crack open an eye- and then yelp and wish I hadn't because damn, my head.
"Personal space, Bones, shit-"
"Do you want me to make you feel better?"
I try the whole opening my eyes thing again. This time, Bones has backed off. The lights are dimmed, and I can make out Spock just a few feet away, watching us.
"Thank you, master of the obvious. Here." He shoves a small pill in my hand- not a hypo, thank the Lord- and backs off again.
I swallow it dry, leaning back against the headboard and drawing my knees to my chest. "Everyone okay?"
"Seem to be in one piece." Bones turns his back to fiddle with something on a shelf, but he's not ignoring me. It's more that he can't seem to look at me for long, and I don't really blame him. Something feels...different. I think we all pick up on it. It's subtle, but it's there, and when I look over at Spock I get the same look I got when he found out about what the Ambassador had done.
Now, I get Spock's not been on his stride since the entire thing with Nero. Can't blame him. Don't blame him. None of us are exactly rock-steady except maybe Bones, and I'm not how the hell he's so calm about all this 'cept Bones is Bones and as much as he hates space and flight it's damn hard to shake him up. Really shake him up, I mean.
Anyway, Spock's about as hard to read as Latin, and even harder to understand. I get why, but that doesn't make it any easier. So now he's giving me this searching look, like he's trying to find something I'm hiding from him.
"Spock?" I ask, because there's this strange kind of tension, something almost fragile in the room right now, and wouldn't it just be typical if I was the one to break it? But it feels like the right moment to speak. Even Bones has stopped fussing with whatever he's pretending to organize, standing with his back to us, very, very still.
Spock studies me for a long moment, then he starts across the room. I don't move- it feels like if I move, he'll bolt away like a spooked deer. I damn near spook when he voluntarily reaches out, curiously, looking like I'm some kind of experiment that hasn't come out the way he's expected, and touches my hand. He cocks his head, and his face is blank as it ever is but his brow furrows just a little, and when he pulls away-
Well. Look at that. Fucking look at that.
He's smiling at me.
Okay, no, not really, that's- sort of a lie. But it's- what that other Spock did, when he looked at his Kirk, his McCoy. It's not really the same, but that's the closest thing I can compare it to. It's just...this weird softening of the eyes, the way his lips don't tip up at the corners but his eyes do- in fact, it's all in his eyes. And it's gone just about as fast as I saw it.
"You two gonna kiss now, or?..." Bones' voice breaks the moment, and suddenly Spock is back near the door and damn if I didn't even see him move.
"I think that might upset Uhura." I quip, and grin when he ducks his head- it's Spock's equivalent of a blush. Sometimes, if you say just the right thing, you can even get the tips of his ears to turn green. Uhura and I got it to happen just once, and I'm forbidden to speak of it.
"What was that?" I ask, when Bones' chuckling stops. He looks up again, and the expression is totally gone.
"An- experiment." He says, haltingly, and when he looks over at McCoy he looks almost like he wants to do the same thing, but doesn't.
"Should I worry now? I mean, seriously, am I going start-" The joke dies in my throat, only partly because McCoy just pinched me.
And partly because Spock has very visibly just gone bye-bye on me again, retreating fast and hard. I sigh.
"Hey, Spock, I was just messing with you. You find what you needed to?"
He looks up, and bingo, there it is again, fast and almost invisible. "Yes, Captain." He says, softly, and the weird, fragile feeling comes back into the air. "I believe I did."
Bones, beside me, places a hand on my shoulder. There's something new between us none of us understands, but I can't help but think whatever this whole event caused- it- can't be bad. I mean, it doesn't feel bad.
And, even though I know it won't get a reaction, I return Spock's smile.