This is it! The Epilogue! I hope that I fulfilled most of what the challenge asked for, but I will admit that this story got away from me. It was only meant to be 20,000 words at the MOST.
Thank you to T'Arrah for being my beta. You have kept me going.
Before anyone asks, there will be no sequel to this. There just doesn't seem to be anything left in this universe to write, especially after this chapter. But I am glad so many readers enjoyed it.
Star Trek isn't mine.
Jim can't believe he let Spock talk him into this. He has been bonded to the Vulcan for 40 years (to the actual day) and still he hasn't figured out a way to say no to Spock. Because Jim is a busy Admiral, and Spock, the head of the VSA, they rarely get vacation time together and he was expecting them to spend that time relaxing in a luxury hotel on a recently restored Earth (thanks to the Genesis Project). Instead, Spock shoves him into a hover car and blindfolds him, simply telling him that he wishes to keep their destination a surprise.
They had been driving for a few hours now, passing the time by listening to music, playing imaginary chess or just talking. Just when Jim thinks he can't take this any longer and is about to pull his blindfold off, the car slows down and comes to a stop. He can feel Spock's fingers working loose the knot of his blindfold and within seconds it falls away to reveal a place he wasn't expecting. He jumps out of the vehicle and takes in his surroundings, before turning back to Spock, who has also gotten out of the car.
"Uh... Spock. Why are we at McCoy's house? I thought I told you that he and his wife were going to be off-world during our vacation. Something about visiting Joanna on Vulcan. I still think it is hilarious that she married a Vulcan. Maybe it has to do with her teenage crush on you or..." Jim trails off when he realizes Spock is staring at him with open amusement. He tries to fight down a blush and instead places his hands on his hips and taps his foot impatiently, waiting for Spock to take the hint. Spock rolls his eyes and his hand disappears into his jacket, only to reappear with a small electronic device held in it.
"We are here so that I can give you your anniversary present. For the last 40 years I have been working on it and now it is finally ready to use." He hands the device to Jim as he says this.
Jim flips the small black unit in his hand and then gazes up at Spock in question.
"Not that I am not thankful for this wonderful gift... but what exactly does it do?"
Instead of answering, Spock takes Jim's empty hand and begins leading him up the pathway to the front door. Once they reach it, Spock tells Jim to press the green button on the device. The moment he does, a strange sensation overcomes Jim. He feels as though he is being beamed using a transporter, but the only difference is that their surroundings don't change at all.
The feeling passes soon enough and he turns to Spock. 'Is that it,love?Because if it is,it was kind of disappointing.'
Spock just smirks. "Knock on the door, ashayam."
Jim decides that reminding Spock (yet again) that nobody is home would be a waste of time and decides to just humor his bond-mate. He knocks twice and they wait. He is just about to rub Spock's nose in the fact that he was correct when the door whips open and he comes face to face with McCoy.
Jim blinks a few times before he notices something about his friend. This is not the McCoy that he has been friends with for the past 40 years. He is close to that McCoy, but he would never look at him like the old doctor in front of him is doing right now. Like he is about to cry from happiness. It is hisMcCoy. It's Bones.
"Jim, my god! It's you. You're here." And then McCoy is pulling him into a bone crushing hug. Jim is too shocked to do anything for a moment, but then he is hugging back just as fiercely. Tears prick his eyes and he lets them fall, not at all ashamed. They are tears of joy.
The embrace lasts for a few more beats and then Bones is pulling away to stare in wonder at Jim.
"How did you do it? How did you get back?"
Jim wipes the tears from his face and then shrugs. He really has no idea, and then he suddenly remembers that Spock is with them. He can't believe that he forgot about his bond-mate, especially when he was the one who made this happen. His guilt is washed away by Spock's pleasure at seeing Jim happy.
'It is understandable that you have other things on your mind besides me. You did just reunite with your best friend after 40 years apart, but if it makes you feel better, I forgive you.'
Jim smiles and before McCoy can ask him what the smile is for, he pulls the doctor toward Spock.
"I didn't do anything, Bones. When I knocked I didn't know you would be answering. This was all Spock. Actually, I am also curious as to how he did this. I had always assumed that we didn't have any secrets." Both Jim and McCoy turn to Spock with identical raised eyebrows. Spock just lifts his own eyebrow before he responds.
"We do share many things, but just like you are able to keep sensitive Starfleet information away from me, I am able to keep my work away from you. As I told you before, I have been working on this for the last 40 years, first in my spare time on-board the Enterpriseand then when I joined the staff of the Vulcan Science Academy. I tried to recreate the circumstances of our original crossover, but with the added bonus of being able to cross between universes whenever you wish. It took me longer then I had originally estimated."
Spock glance away in shame as he says the last part. Jim sees it and quickly wraps his arms around Spock's neck and pulls him into a kiss. 'No one has ever done anything like this for me. You knew I wanted to come back here and you spent 40 fucking years trying to make that happen ...and you did it, Spock. I didn't think it was possible to love you more, but you some how managed that, too.'
They reluctantly pull apart when they hear McCoy clear his throat. "If you love-birds are done, why don't we head into the living room and catch up. I'm not getting any younger." He glances over at Jim and Spock, and smirks. "And neither are you."
Once they are seated Jim tells Bones about everything that he has done since leaving. He talks about captaining the Enterprise,about how he negotiated peace with the Klingons during his second tour, about how he became the youngest Admiral in Starfleet history, and how he did everything he could, including risking his career, to make sure that the Genesis Project happened. Spock goes into further detail, explaining that because of Genesis, which the leaders of the Federation deemed too risky, Earth is nearly fully restored to its former glory. After some probing by McCoy, Spock discusses what he had been doing for the last four decades, besides finding a way to travel between universes safely.
Soon it is Bones' turn for show and tell, and what he has to say is definitely enlightening for both Kirk and Spock.
Bones ended up leaving the Enterprise8 months after Jim left, realizing that he had nothing left keeping him there. He became the head of Starfleet Medical and ended up getting full custody of Joanna after his ex-wife died in a car accident. He has been in a serious relationship with Christine Chapel (who is currently spending quality girl time with Joanna) for the last 32 years.
When Spock asks why he hasn't married her, McCoy simply says "Marriage and me don't mix, Spock".
He goes on to talk about the others that he managed to keep in contact with over the years. Evidently, Uhura did end up divorcing Spock, and not long after Jim had left either. Just as Jim starts to feel guilty though, McCoy informs him that she has been happily married to Scotty for the last 30 years. Kirk smiles at that. He also learns that Sulu got his own ship and married Chekov pretty much right after his promotion. After this McCoy goes silent. It's an expectant silence. Jim knows what his friend is waiting for him to ask and he doesn't disappoint.
"What about Spock?"
Bones sighs and first tells him about Selik. The old Vulcan travelled to the Enterprisehoping to lend his support to his younger counter-part after losing his t'hy'la. He was rebuffed. He returned to New Vulcan and continued to help with the colonisation. He died peacefully in his sleep 20 years after Jim had left.
The younger Spock became Captain of the Enterprise,but only kept that title for 18 months before he resigned his commission and disappeared to New Vulcan. McCoy had heard rumors that Spock had successfully completed Kolinahr and had retreated to the sacred mountains of New Vulcan to become a mind healer.
Jim was thankful for the fact that Spock had managed to find away around losing his soul-mate (his Spock had told him all about Kolinahr), because even though he had grown to dislike the other Spock, he would never want him to be in pain.
They continued to chat for hours, but finally they all agreed that it was time for Jim and Spock to go. So, with the promise of returning during Christmas so that they could catch up with everyone else, McCoy walks them to the door. Spock exits first, and just as Jim was about to follow him, Bones pulls him back. Jim looks at him in puzzlement.
"Have you been happy, Jim? That is the main reason you left, after all."
This sudden inquiry makes Jim grin, because even after 40 years apart, McCoy still can't help being a mother hen. He reaches for his friends shoulder and pats it. "Yeah, I have, Bones. More than I ever thought I could be."
McCoy nods at this, and Jim takes that to mean that the answer was satisfactory. He turns away from his friend and walks out the door toward Spock. He takes the Vulcan's hand.
"I love you, Spock."
Spock squeezes his hand. "I love you, as well. Forever." Then Spock presses the button on the device and they are gone, together.
Now for some bad news. I will not be writing any fanfiction for a little while because my studies are taking up most of my time and I am planning an international move, which is beyond stressful.
I do plan to write a sequel to 'You never stop learning' but I won't be starting it until Feb, and I won't be posting it until it is finished. I have come to the the realisation that WIPs stress me out too much and I stop enjoying the process.
With that said, I hope you enjoyed this story and I will be back.