Living past the century mark meant there was little left to life that could really excite him.
Spock had traveled many galaxies, had been brought back from death, had found and lost love, and more recently, had watched his planet, albeit a Vulcan from a parallel universe, implode. After surviving all of that, it was no wonder that there were few things that could wholly capture his interest, or that could generate any real amusement. Yet there was one person he could count on to liven up his life in any universe, one person who captivated him without even trying. James Kirk possessed that ability and always would. Without delving into whimsicality on the subject, it was providence.
Spock was an old man; he figured the universe would forgive him for deriving pleasure in whatever way he could.
And if Jim were here--his Jim, with rosy, plump cheeks, graying curls atop his head, and a devilish gleam in his eyes that laughed at life's idiosyncrasies--he'd be joining in on the merriment.
His current guest, six months into a new captaincy, certainly breathed fresh life into a home that was ordinarily far too quiet. His mere presence was delightful enough, but the conversational topic his young friend had raised was truly priceless.
"You, the younger you, are driving me nuts. You don't even know the half of it."
Years of practice enabled Spock to prevent all but a glimmer of his piqued interest to disturb the studied impassivity of his expression, but only just. Inside he felt the urge to grin. Wryly.
A wise Earth philosopher had once stated that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it… Spock wondered whether anyone in history had as unique a perspective on this statement as he did, getting to watch a young Kirk and Spock find each other and fall in love, again. And make the same mistakes going about it: one trying desperately to hide behind logic, and the other doggedly refusing to accept that stance as a final answer...
Oh, Jim, you should see how we are at this age. We're really quite adorable. Each of us too preoccupied with our stubborn resolve to get the bigger picture. We're like school children vying for each other's attention through deviously thought-out irritation. 'Pigtail-pulling', as I believe you would term it.
Of course his young friend, here, wouldn't find the situation as humorous; he didn't know the final outcome. Wasn't as confident of the younger Spock's reciprocated affections as Spock knew, with the clarity of a man who had loved his captain with the wholeness of his heart and the entirety of his soul, that his younger self possessed.
Which certainly explained why the young captain's expression remained so morose during the course of his visit. If Spock were to perceive himself as a man of frivolity, which he certainly did not, he would have found the younger man's rather obvious pouting… cute.
"I don't think it's mean to be. You know, Spock, me, the whole destiny thing. Not this time." There was a sadness to the young Kirk's voice; one that carried a hint of defeat that Spock loathed. The tea Spock had made him sat cooling, neglected, at his side, while haunted blue eyes remained downcast, refusing to meet his own.
Okay, so that gave him slight pause.
Jim Kirk never accepted defeat. Ever. Regardless of which universe it was he inhabited. To do so went against his fundamental nature. He went through the universe as if he could shape it to his liking by his force of will alone. This is the trait that made him the best Captain Starfleet had ever had in its grasp.
There had been no other captain to match him, there never would be. Jim was not really defeated here, either. He was simply trying to convince himself he was as some type of self-defense mechanism.
Was Spock as much of a moron during the early days of their acquaintance as his younger counterpart seemed to be? Sure, he had hummed and hawed and hid his true feelings from Jim for years, but he had never led Jim to believe that Spock didn't like him. Not to the best of his recollection. And his memory was eidetic, he should know. But memories of his life prior to loving his own Jim Kirk seemed ever distant, locked in a hazy fog. It was Jim who brought the clarity, the focus, the brilliant, vivid color to his mind.
He had very much wished to grant his younger counterpart the same phenomenon. To find a t'hy'la; a soulmate. To know love.
Youth excused many things, but stupidity was not among them.
Jim, perhaps I owe you an apology or two for my youthful stubbornness. I believe that I was rather standoffish with you as well, just as my counterpart seems to be. Oh, perhaps apologizing would be a useless endeavor. You always did prefer a challenge.
He needed to convince this young Jim, this beautiful, troubled soul, not to give up, that that tenacious persistence of his would pay off. It always did. But before he could open his mouth to speak…
"You'll have to excuse me for being blunt, but I wish to hell you'd never shown me, never told me, what the two of you had. You made me want it. I was fine, you know. I was doing okay on my own. I'm 26 years old, meaningless fucks and shallow relationships are the order of the day. Love and marriage was supposed to come later, if ever."
Jim took a cleansing breath, then another, that sharp blue gaze coming up to pierce him. Spock didn't try to defend himself, didn't need to. Partly because he knew from long experience that nothing stopped Jim mid-rant, he was like a projectile, a torpedo. He zeroed in on a target and he held his course.
Another part of him was growing aroused just watching Jim's ire rise. Also excusable. Jim, his Jim, would certainly think so. Spock had spent a lifetime capitalizing on Jim Kirk's passion, the man certainly felt enough for both of them. It had always fascinated Spock the amount of energy Kirk expended just feeling… and Spock had long ago learned that Jim had an endless supply of passion to expend, be it towards arguing, loving or love-making. Moreover, like the Saurian brandy that Jim used to favor, he only got better, more potent, with age.
It was heady, and Spock had admitted that fact long ago, he had no qualms with doing it again now.
And his intoxication only rose with the clear signs of his young friend's escalating irritation.
"You were in my head! I let you in my head. And you showed me all of these things. You think I'd pass up the opportunity for love, real love, like the kind you had? Hell no, I wouldn't! And you knew that! Used it to plant ideas…"
"You would prefer ignorance?" Spock asked, hiding his smile behind his teacup. He already knew the answer. The man was mentally unable to take the easiest path. If there was knowledge to be found, Jim Kirk wanted it, and he wanted it yesterday.
Spock had teased Jim about that right up to the day he had disappeared from the Enterprise B.
"Maybe I would. Maybe I would like to be free to find love elsewhere, with, you know, someone who actually liked me back. Your younger self hates my guts. Deny the logic of Vulcans hating anything all you want. He does. It's always 'Captain this is against regulation' this, and 'the odds of us succeeding in this illogical endeavor are 56 billion to 1' that or some such shit. Do you have any idea how annoying you are?"
He did not let Jim see him reach down to pinch his own thigh, the sharp pain providing brief reprieve from the small gust of laughter that fought to escape his throat.
Annoying, yes. Passion between the two was already springing up at an alarming rate, faster than even his own experiences would attest. It wouldn't be long before that passion was channeled in another direction. Best to pretend he didn't know that, however, given that he'd meddled already a little too much.
"I apologize for interfering. Certainly you and your Spock are not bound to the path your counterpart and I shared. If you would like, I could remove these memories from your mind so they will no longer trouble you and you would be free to, as you stated, engage in meaningless fucks and shallow relationships until your heart is content."
Jim blinked at him, his anger seemingly defused, at least temporarily.
Spock felt a twinge in his heart at the look of contemplation on the young captain's face, Spock could practically see the wheels turning within the younger man's head.
Oh Jim, how I miss you. I would gladly give my life to hold you in my arms just one more time.
"No, I'll deal. I won't let you take my memories. If I have to deal with your tight-assed younger self on a daily basis, at least let me have the knowledge that one Spock, somewhere, managed to not be a total dick all of the time."
It was a supreme effort to keep any type of knowing expression off his face. If the masters of Gol were still around, Spock knew they would be, well, not proud, pride was an emotion, but perhaps, satisfied at his restraint.
The Enterprise would be orbiting New Vulcan for two standard days. Since Jim's impromptu visit earlier in the afternoon, Spock had predicted, with 92.8 % confidence, that his younger counterpart would soon follow with a visit of his own.
He worked especially hard to repress his enjoyment when this turned out to be so.
"Are you aware that Captain Kirk has a death wish? I find it exceedingly illogical that you allowed yourself to partner with a man whose life expectancy past the age of thirty is at 5.2 percent," his younger self announced by means of greeting.
"Hello, Spock, and how are you finding life aboard the Enterprise?" he asked dryly, handing him the cup of tea he had already prepared in anticipation of this visit.
"Adequate," his younger self answered curtly, taking the tea without question and walking past him to plant himself on the couch without further ado. "However, I find it most disturbing that my captain insists on risking his life at every turn, refusing to utilize any sort of logic in our encounters with hostile life forms, and manages, at every opportunity, to be utterly infuriating. He is fortuitous to have me, for, had he been assigned anyone other than a Vulcan as a first officer, said first officer would have given into their anger and used aggressive force to get the man to see a minimal degree of sense within a month."
Jim, if you were here, this would be the point where you would excuse yourself to go into the other room and give into your amusement outright. As it is, my own restraint is being severely tested. Were you aware that the two of us were really quite this obtuse in our youth? With our combined intelligence, there really is no excuse for it.
"And yet he lives still, and seems quite healthy and vibrant. I saw him earlier today."
The assessing, almost angry and territorial look that flitted over his younger counterpart's face was almost too much to bear.
"Captain Kirk came here to see you?"
Spock knew without a doubt that what his younger self had really meant to ask was 'my Captain Kirk came to see you?'
Really, with his childhood and considering who his father was, his younger self should have more control than this. Had he been that obvious?
Jim, stop laughing. If you do not stop I cannot be expected to hold in my own mirth. By the way, what did you not tell me?
"He did, and he proceeded to convince me that you, in fact, hate him, and then cursed me for convincing him to want something he could never have, in other words, your love. It was really quite dramatic, I shall have to meditate for hours this evening to even begin to categorize the excitement of this day."
From the almost ill look on his counterpart's face, Spock's sarcasm was lost on him. What was wrong with the youth of today?
Jim, wipe that grin off your face. Now.
"Jim believes I hate him?"
Ah, so that is what crestfallen looked like on his features. Jim had told him once that he had a 'crestfallen look', but Spock had never really believed him. Yet another apology owed.
Jim, I do believe I asked you kindly to stop laughing.
"Yes, I believe that he does."
Another sip of tea, another pinch to the thigh. At this rate his skin was going to be black and green all over.
"I apologize for leaving so abruptly, but I must go," his younger self announced, standing quickly and walking out of his house with purpose to his stride.
Dr. McCoy, I am sorry but you were wrong... good entertainment is not at all hard to find. And Jim? You may laugh now.
The next day Spock received a message from the young Kirk. Just a simple note containing one word: Thanks.
And Spock was happy to know that the young Spock and Jim had come together, at last. Things were as they should be, as they were meant to be. Jim Kirk and his First Officer Spock were two halves of but one soul; that fact was irrefutable and undeniable.
But he wouldn't be truthful if he claimed he did it entirely for their benefit.