Notes: So originally I started writing this for the weekly prompt over at a writing guild that I am a member of over at Gaia, but I missed the deadline and then it was going to just die a sort of painful death on my hard drive that a lot of my fics faced. And then an English assignment saved it and I finished it for that. Constructive criticism is welcomed; but be a bit gentle, it's my first venture. There's actually a loose part two of this planned, but I don't know when I'll finish it.
Title: Goes Unsaid
Fandom: Star Trek: The Original Series
Prompt: home; what matters to me and why
Words: 3110 words
Warnings: Lots of angst; major character death; massive spoilers for The Wrath of Khan (which inspired this); extremely minor spoilers for The Search for Spock; songfic ahead!
Disclaimer: Star Trek and all associated characters are the property of Paramount and Gene Roddenberry (and maybe others, but I don't want to list all of them); needless to say that I don't own them. Song lyrics used are from Michael Buble's Home - maybe listen to it while you read? It might help.
About Spock, there was so much that he could have said; so much that he wanted to say, but all of that seemed so... personal, and Jim Kirk just couldn't get those words past his lips. His throat was tight and he was fighting back tears; trying to keep an emotional breakdown at bay.
"Don't grieve, admiral. It is logical."
Even then, the words had caught in his throat. He'd long struggled with his own want and need to say them, but always his insecurity, his resignation, had gotten in the way and the words were dead before they could pass from his lips. And then, at his last time to speak them, when time was limited and ticking by fast, and he realized that there was just too much to be said, too much that needed to be conveyed. The words hadn't come.
The cadets, surprisingly, are the ones who look the most calm at the funeral, the ones who seemed the most in control of themselves, of their grief. But then, they had known Spock as only an instructor, as the well-known Starfleet officer. It just wasn't as... personal for them.
All of Spock's friends are there, silent and still, but none of them have dry eyes. Each of them is feeling that acute loss which comes with the death of an old friend, a good one. And they're remembering all of the missions completed, all of the good times shared and the bad ones too, and they'll all do their best to keep his memory alive. There's a way for all of them to commemorate him, honour him, keep him close; and all of them will do so in their own way.
Death is a part of life in Starfleet, and Jim had believed that he'd accepted that when he'd joined. He'd thought that he could deal with death, and he had done so well enough up to that point.
He'd never thought that he would outlive Spock.
The thought stabs Jim straight through the heart and reminded him of how alone he was. The feeling of isolation slunk back in and threatened to overwhelm him. His heart clenched, and his throat closed up as he trembled with the force of his grief, the force of the sobs and tears which he was suppressing; letting them out would be a weakness.
Maybe surrounded by a million people, I still feel all alone. All around him were people who were mourning, but Jim knew that none of them would be able to understand what he's feeling, what he's going through. He finds no consolation in everyone there, because Spock meant something different to each of them, and yet, none of them were as broken as Jim was. I just wanna go home.
It wasn't just the Enterprise which Jim loved; it had been her crew, his friends. But what had made it complete was Spock. He had truly made the ship feel like home for Jim – a first, really – and Jim hadn't been too sure which of them he loved more. For years, he'd known that he was in love with Spock – and he still was, that only made the pain worse – but never had he said anything about it. He'd been too afraid.
Too many things could go wrong. But what Jim feared the most had been rejection, even though he'd known that deep down it was a stupid reason not to say what he felt. Spock had shown many times that he felt similarly, but neither of them had ever confronted the other.
And now Jim thinks of all the times that he could have said something, and the weight of all of it is nearly enough to crush him. His heart's aching and bleeding and there may never be a way to stitch it back up again because so much of it is just gone, and there isn't any way to replace those parts of it.
And I'm surrounded by a million people, I still feel all alone.
No matter what Bones said, or Scotty, no beautiful eloquent words could fix Jim; he was broken and so much of him was dead. He might say that he felt young again, but that was mostly because of that burning sting of heartache, of loss, something that he hadn't felt in years; not since his days at the Academy. But this time, there was no way to heal, no one to turn to.
Let me go home. Home hasn't been Iowa for a very long time, now, and neither has Earth. Home was wherever Spock was, and that's why Jim always leaped at inspections but at the same time hated them; it was a bittersweet thing for him. He was always so happy, so thrilled, by the warmth of getting to be with Spock, and be with him on the ship which had originally brought them together, but at the same time it was painful because that very same ship carried with it so many memories. It was a happier time in Jim's life, and he hates being taunted by what could have been.
He hates being reminded of all the memories that are still etched into his mind, but he cherishes them all the same because they're all he has left, and that lingering feeling of being home; that sense of belonging and happiness, is gone now. What he loved most about the Enterprise – more then just the ship herself, and her crew – had been Spock, had been how much the half-Vulcan made him feel, for the first time, like he belonged. He had a place with the crew, leading them. He had a place with Spock at his side. He missed that more then anything.
Maybe Spock was right, maybe he never should have accepted a promotion; he should have just stuck with the Enterprise and all of the memories which went along with her. And as long as he had Spock at his side, whether as a friend, a lover, or just his first officer, then it would always be home for him. That had always been important to him; it had been more important then anything; it was why he would always risk his life for Spock, because he loved him, because without him, the Enterprise didn't feel whole; it wasn't as welcoming.
Wherever Spock was, Jim felt at home. That was why he was content, despite all the heartache, to keep the Vulcan at his side, even if it wasn't in the way that he long for.
Another winter day has come and gone away, in even Paris and Rome, and I wanna go home. The rain in San Francisco had often reflected the melancholy that Jim felt echoed in his heart for all of those long years, but yet, the fleeting times that he got to spend with Spock were enough to stave off those feelings, for a little while at least.
But now he remembers that Spock's gone and that grieving is out of the question for him. His home is gone, now, and he's been thrown adrift..
He'd been told not to grieve, but Spock would have known that he would anyway; he just wouldn't let anyone see just how deep the hurt, the loss, went. He would keep living, only now there would be that burning knowledge deep inside of him that he had to live for the both of them, because giving up could never be an option for him. What he needed to do was live up to what Spock knew of him, expected of him, would want him to do. But that... he doesn't think that he'll ever be able to be the person he once was; he can hide all he likes, but he won't ever be the same.
The loss is too much for him, and even though he'll keep trudging on, things will never go back to how they were, and the hole in his chest would never fill itself back up. He won't let himself forget, he'll keep the pain fresh just to remind himself that he had a home once.
Letting anyone replace Spock, though, was completely out of the question. Oh, I miss you, you know. That empty hole in his chest wouldn't ever fill in because the one person who could fill it was gone and never coming back. Jim would let himself grieve, it was natural to do so, and then he would seal away his heart and all of the pain and try to live as best as he could; even though doing so meant cutting away a part of himself and playing a part.
And I feel just like I'm living someone else's life; it's like I just stepped outside when everything was going right.
But maybe he'd been playing the part from the start and Spock had been right; maybe he should never have accepted promotion... at the time, it had just seemed the right thing to do. Going from captain to admiral seemed like the logical path his life was supposed to follow. After all, that was how things worked in Starfleet, wasn't it?
Jim hadn't thought too much of it at the time.
He'd thought about it, telling Spock now after holding it in for over a decade. Carol Marcus and Jim had a history, that couldn't be erased or changed, but Jim had wanted Spock to know that there was nothing there anymore; that he was the only one who laid claim to his heart. And as cheesy as that sounded, it was true and Jim knew it. But he hadn't said the words, and yet, Spock had already seemed to know. Was he really so transparent?
How much about him did Spock already know? The Vulcan had known him better then anyone else – even McCoy couldn't lay claim to the same level of intimacy – and that had allowed them to work together with such ease. Spock had always offered up a cooly logical point of view, where McCoy was pure emotion, but Spock also knew Jim so well that the advice he gave was always true. Leaving behind all he'd known, all he'd loved, was a big mistake on Jim's part, and now he'll never get the chance to admit to Spock that he was wrong, and that he'd like a second chance.
Maybe in the end, he would have told him that he loved him.
Admitting that was a big step for Jim, but he'd always believed that it was a good thing; and he had known that what he felt for Spock was different then what he'd felt for anyone else in his entire life. It was important, and it meant that he couldn't rush things; he needed to take them slow. He and Spock had built a friendship, a relationship, to be envious of, and that had become the thing that Jim had treasured most. As time passed, he realized that it wasn't so much the romantic intimacy he wanted as it was that he just wanted to be close to Spock. If the Vulcan were to want that, then Jim would have been ecstatic.
He just wanted to be close to Spock, and that was most important to him. He would take whatever it was he could get, and ask for nothing more.
Spock had accepted promotion too, stayed close to Jim, but he'd given up on the space-faring adventures just the same as Jim had. Spock wasn't the type to wildly seek out danger and adrenaline fuelled missions; he was content with learning, he had a thirst for knowledge that couldn't be quenched. And at the same time, he enjoyed passing along what knowledge he had to younger generations.
And I know just why you could not come along with me. But Spock had recognized his place; he wasn't suited to command the way Jim was. Spock wouldn't leave the Enterprise, ever, because he seemed to recognized that he wasn't meant to leave it. He would live and die on that ship.
Something about that doesn't seem right to Jim; he thinks that it should have been him to live and die out in space, on the Enterprise, not Spock. Spock was a scientist, not an explorer, nor a captain. He might have held the rank, but it hadn't been accepted by him. Starfleet had insisted, and Spock had gracefully acquiesced because it would have been rude to do anything else given the situation.
Jim hates himself for being so blind. He hates how he couldn't recognize just how wrong he was, just how much he was betraying himself by giving up command and taking up some pencil-pushing job with no action. He's a man of action through and through, and nothing would change that.
He'd always liked the adventure, the thrill of discovering a new world, and the taste of adrenaline as he figured out a way to outsmart whatever space-faring villain or problem that they came across.
"Commanding a starship is your first, best destiny."
He should have recognized that, but he hadn't. It would make him angry, if he had enough emotions left over to feel it. At the moment, he feels like an empty shell of himself, like everything that made him who he is has been drained out and there's nothing left.
The one person who meant more to him then anything, is gone, and he's been cast adrift because there's no place left for him to go home. Let me go home, I've had my run. Jim wants to collapse and just curl up into a ball and hope that eventually everything will just stop and he can go to wherever Spock is. He just wants to go home.
Oh, let me go home.
At the funeral, it takes all that Jim has to hold himself together. He chokes up, but soldiers on as best he can; he knows that McCoy can see through him, but he's not going to let the doctor in. This is something that he must deal with on his own. It's his pain, his hurt, to horde to himself to keep the pain fresh and keep Spock with him because he won't be happy – truly happy – without him.
Jim isn't sure he can move on.
The beautiful, flowery things he says at the funeral? He hates how cold they sound to him; he just could never find the words to describe Spock. My words were cold and flat, and you deserve more than that. Spock is everything and anything to him, and he can't figure a way to express that in words. He thinks he understands how everyone else feels, trying to articulate what it was about the person they love that makes them feel the way they do. There are no words to describe it, and Jim knows he wouldn't be doing Spock justice if he attempted it.
"Of all the souls I've encountered, his was the most... human." It's the best he can do, and it's still not enough; Jim doesn't think he'll ever be able to articulate just what it is about Spock that makes him feel the way he does.
He just knows that something important – maybe his own essence – has died alongside Spock, alongside the one who he loved most, and it can't be recovered. He can't ever repay Spock for making him who he is, and he knows that he had a similar effect on the other.
He just wishes that he could have let those three, oh so important words pass his lips. Or at least, make Spock understand that he knew, that he knew what Spock had been trying to tell him for all of those years. But you always believed in me. He doesn't feel like he deserves the faith that Spock bestowed on him, the regard. He doesn't think that there's any way to repay Spock for all he's given him, and he won't get the chance now, but he lets the words slip out, silently and with no one looking, as they launch Spock's body out.
Jim's heart goes with the make-shift coffin.
Back on Earth, he thinks of Vulcan.
He's only been there once before, and he wonders if Spock ever saw it as home, or if he – like Jim – viewed the Enterprise as where he truly belonged. Jim hopes that the Vulcan found the ship more welcoming, more of a home, then he ever found his planet; he knows that Spock never had what could be considered a happy life on the planet.
Spock had mentioned people who looked down on him for his mixed heritage, for having a human mother. He never went into detail, but from what Jim does know, he believes that Spock felt the same way about the ship that Jim did – still does.
Understanding all of that now, that the Enterprise is his home, is coming a bit late now, Jim realizes. The ship had always been important, had always mattered to him, but it had been the feelings of camaraderie, of belonging and family, the bonds that had been formed on that ship, which mattered the most to him.
He wouldn't sacrifice himself for just the ship, but she was an icon for all of the people who served onboard of her, and he would sacrifice himself to keep them alive, to keep everything that that ship caused to bloom to keep on flourishing. The Enterprise is a symbol of everything that Jim holds dear; the friendships, home, love, happiness, everything. It had been his entire universe, and now... a part of it is missing, and he wishes that there was some way to get it back.
And he knows that by this point he's deluding himself if he believes that there's some way to get it back, but it's a nice thought, and it's all that's keep him from tumbling down the dark cliff that he's teetering on the edge of.
So when Sarek tells him that there's a way to rescue Spock, to bring him back, he leaps at the opportunity. He can repay Spock for all he's done for him, he may finally get the chance to tell him, You are the most important person to me ever; I love you. He wants that chance, wants it desperately, and he'll fight tooth and nail for it. He wants to get back that feeling of being at home, at peace with himself; he's been restless for too long.
I'll be home tonight, I'm coming back home.
Yes I wrote this as a songfic; the song fit with the theme, and it also meshed extremely well in my mind with the fic too. So I put it in. I didn't use the full song because only parts of the lyrics stood out to me and I only included those ones; I've also noticed that with songfics, most people just skip the lyrics if they're just shoved in as stanzas, which sort of negates the fact that it is a songfic.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy it, and leave a comment telling me what you thought and if I killed you with the angst and general unhappy theme of this, then you have my apologies and I hope you will accept the gift of cookies. *holds out a big plate of them*
As always, please give me input; this is sort of a new outing for me.