And here's the last bit to cap it off and have fun with! ;) I hope ya'll like it. Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!
Spock knew that Jim needed to return to his ship, but he also knew that the young captain would be uneasy doing so if he went before Spock's surgery had been completed and was successful. So he wasted no time, asking Jim to accompany him to the medical center the next morning.
There were fewer doctors now, of course, but also fewer patients. At times the balance ran low, but there were always young people being trained, and soon enough there would be a new generation.
It would be a generation that would never know Vulcan—never see their race's home planet—and though the Vulcan people were making a new home here it seemed such a sadness all the same. Spock could still take solace, at least, in the fact that the timeline he came from continued on unhindered.
Vulcan existed there. His mother had lived a full life there.
In any case, due to the no-nonsense nature of Vulcan society and medicine, it was easy enough to schedule the needed procedure. Doctor McCoy had sent along copies of the records he'd kept on his patient for the two days that Spock had been on the Enterprise, and that simplified matters as well. There was a cursory examination to confirm the recorded data, and he was given a time to report back to the center the next day.
"That's it?" Jim marveled as they left. "They know everything they need to know now and they can do this tomorrow?"
"They are Vulcan physicians, Jim. They do not waste time with posturing and double and triple-checking facts that they are already certain of, and Doctor McCoy keeps flawless records besides. Nor is emotion a factor for them, of course, which also expedites matters. They are certain of their skills, and logically so. They do not need any more time to prepare than is absolutely necessary."
"If you say so. I guess I don't care as long as they do it right."
"I will be fine, Jim," Spock assured him gently.
He slowed to a stop in the street a moment later as something else occurred to him at the scent of cooked food wafting from a nearby establishment. "Would you care to dine somewhere other than from the replicator in my apartment for the midday meal? We are out anyhow, and I suppose the occasion deserves some degree of celebration. Now would be the appropriate time; after the procedure my variety of food intake may be limited for some days."
"Yeah, sure. Good idea."
Jim was smiling in that way that told him he was doing something right. There was a pang in his chest that had nothing to do with the damage there as the expression reminded him of those first years serving under his own James T Kirk. While both Jim and the doctor teased him for his social ineptitude among humans, Jim had also taken pains to let Spock know when he'd done something correctly.
It did not help that this Jim was getting older. He would soon turn thirty, and his face was just beginning to fill out a bit. He looked more and more every day like the man Spock had met more than a century ago.
But he did not regret this decision. No, he was quite content with it. Indeed, the more he considered it the more he looked forward to being here in the coming years—to watching this Jim Kirk and the others under his command grow into the people they were meant to be.
They were already off to quite a good start.
Jim stayed long enough to see his old friend recovered well from surgery, though Spock had assured him only the second day after that he was quite all right.
"They just let you come home; you're insane if you think I'm leaving now."
"I did not think that you would, but I would have been remiss not to let you know that the option was there."
"Shut up and get back in bed," Jim smirked. "What can I replicate for you?"
Spock made some good-natured comment about how his Jim could cook.
"Hey, I made captain ten years before yours. When did I have time to learn? You could always teach me, you know."
"Vulcan dishes, certainly. I suppose I will have to. Anything else, however, and I am afraid I am just as lacking in skills."
Spock had been right; everything was just fine, and Jim had never felt more relieved or happy or at ease in his life. Almost even more than the day he'd taken command of the Enterprise, he couldn't wait for the years ahead.
But there was one more thing he couldn't leave without seeing to, and while they were at the table in the kitchen on one of his last mornings he started to try to. It ended up being quite a roundabout way of it, but anyhow…
"Hey, you're going to get back into, you know, the kind of stuff you were doing the first few years you were here, right? Back to being, you know, involved. Now I know you were lonely; cat's out of the bag, Spock. You need to do something. Maybe it's me being kind of selfish again to say this, but I'd feel better if you did. I don't want you to feel like that anymore—isolated. It doesn't have to be that way. You're not gonna damage any timeline."
His old friend nodded thoughtfully. "Yes. I suppose you are right." He paused. "The High Council has recently extended another invitation to me to be one of them. That is something that would not have happened at all in my own universe—many of them did not approve of my efforts towards Unification—and I would never have considered accepting if it had. However, it is different here. This Council…the events of this timeline have changed them. They are more open. Reasonable. Here, perhaps, I could do some good."
"Wait a second, wait—they asked you to join the High Council and this isn't the first time? When was the first time? Why the hell didn't you say yes then?"
"The first time was shortly after the settling of the colony, for my role in locating the planet and other efforts and also the simple fact that I am, besides they themselves, one of the oldest surviving Vulcans remaining."
"But you turned that down?" The old Vulcan just looked at him, and it didn't take long for Jim to remember the past few weeks, wince to himself, and understand the answer. "Right…" he let out a breath. "So anyway…you think you might agree to join them now?"
"I have been contemplating it, and I believe it likely that I will. I would be serving the Vulcan people, in a universe where I might actually be able to make the sort of difference I attempted to make in my own."
"All in ways that don't give away anything you know about the future, of course," Jim grinned.
Jim sat forward then, realizing that the direction Spock had brought them actually led straight to the subject he'd been struggling to bring up anyway. "Spock…Sarek is part of that council. If you joined it you'd see him, just about every day. You'd have to talk to him. No more hiding in the back of crowds."
Both of the Vulcan's eyebrows went up in what Jim could almost swear was the Spock equivalent of a 'duh' expression. "I am well aware of that."
"And? Won't that be difficult if you can't tell him who you are?"
Something flickered in Spock's expression—the pain Jim knew was there anyway. "Yes. It would be much more difficult if I did not tell him," he said more quietly.
Jim blinked in surprise. "You're going to tell him?" He'd been expecting to have to argue his old friend into it. Because he wasn't going to give up. He wanted Spock to be happy here. Or the Vulcan equivalent. Whatever.
"I am not entirely certain as of yet, however…in recent days I have thought about what you said to me six months ago, on your last visit here."
"That both you and Sarek could use all the family you can get right now? Yeah, I don't know about you but I think I'm right."
"I believe you may be."
Fourteen Months Later
It was a routine patrol. Starfleet, wisely, wanted to keep an eye on the parts of space where the Narada had originally come through from the future, where it had then been destroyed, and of course the place where Vulcan died. The singularities still remained—invisible and dangerous if safety was not heeded, but harmless if distance was kept. Either way, it made sense to keep watch. There always was, after all, the chance that something or someone else could come through.
In more than five years, nothing had happened at any of the three sites. Reasonably, Jim expected their run by the first site to be an uneventful break from the normal rush.
Then something came through.
It was like déjà vu, even though none of them had been there when the elder Spock's small ship had come through more than five years before. But Jim had seen the ship later, many of them had, and there was no mistake that the even smaller ship that emerged from the singularity like a bullet now was of a similar design.
"What the hell…" Jim breathed. He was already out of his chair, and Spock was at his side now. "What do you think?"
"It is not Romulan," his first officer observed. "If experience serves, it will be a Vulcan or at the very least a Federation pilot."
"Right…Lt. Uhura, open a channel."
"We're already being hailed, Captain."
"On screen then."
It took Jim a moment, to realize he recognized the face that appeared on the screen. An older Vulcan woman…where had he…?
"I am Saavik, daughter of Vulcan. I apologize if I have startled you; I come peacefully. I search…for…" She trailed off, and was staring rather unabashedly at Kirk's first officer.
Jim quickly quashed the shock—a skill a Starfleet captain had to perfect quickly—and grinned. "I think I know who you're looking for, ma'am."
The Vulcan woman's gaze shifted back to him. "You are James T. Kirk. Your ship is the Enterprise," she said, and she sounded slightly…awed, perhaps, for lack of a better word.
"Not the ones you remember," he told her. "It's a long story."
"The Narada. It altered your timeline. This is the past, but it is not the same."
Jim nodded. He should have expected her to deduce at least some of the truth right away; she was a Vulcan, after all. "That's the gist of it, yes."
"The…? Ah. A human expression. I am correct, then. I understand."
Jim almost laughed; she reminded him so much of both Spocks. He could see why they would get along.
"Yes, you're correct. We welcome you to our…universe, for lack of a better word. If you'll bring your ship into our shuttle bay and come aboard we can arrange to get you where you need to go."
"Thank you. I would appreciate your assistance. However, I request that I be beamed aboard instead."
"Certainly, but why? Your ship—"
"Must be destroyed, Captain. I do not wish to do more damage to your timeline than may have already been done. Even my presence is less than…ideal, however..."
"It's all right. And yes, we'll beam you aboard as soon as you're ready."
"Thank you, Captain Kirk." And then Saavik—this woman that he had heard so much about, but never expected to meet—gave him a look that was very much like the almost-smile he was so used to from his two Vulcan friends. "And may I say, that it is pleasing to see you well." Her gaze roamed the bridge warmly. Jim wondered if it was coincidence that even Bones and Scotty were there, behind him somewhere, because they'd both given reports just before the singularity opened. "All of you."
But her eyes settled, finally, on Spock again, and Jim knew why, and he really wished he could stop grinning like an idiot.
This was going to be good.
Spock didn't know who would be chiming at his apartment door at this odd hour of the afternoon, but he certainly wasn't expecting to find Jim Kirk on his threshold. The Enterprise was not due to release its crew for shore leave again for nearly another two months.
"Jim. I had not expected to see you again so soon, but it is a pleasant surprise. What brings you here?" He stepped aside to allow his young friend inside, but Jim didn't move.
He was, however, smiling broadly. "Not much. We had a passenger to deliver here; last-minute thing. I didn't have time to get you a message I'd be by. I can't really stay right now, anyway."
"Ah, I understand. You are 'saying hi.'"
From what Spock had been told he sometimes made a strange expression when imitating human sayings, and he must have done so now because Jim chuckled.
"Yeah, pretty much. That, and I thought you'd want to see what we found patrolling the first singularity site last week."
He said it casually, gesturing behind him at the same moment. Spock didn't understand what the movement could possibly have to do with what his young friends was saying until it prompted the individual who had apparently been just out of site to step into the doorway with him.
At that point Spock was very gratified, indeed that he had agreed to the surgery to repair his heart fourteen months before.
If he had not he might very well have suffered cardiac arrest on the spot.
"Greetings, my husband."
"Saavik…" He could not have disguised the emotion in his voice if had wanted to. He risked a quick glance to Jim, wondering if when he looked back she would be gone. She wasn't. "I-I do not understand."
"It took time, to calculate where the singularity lead, to prepare to open a safe passageway through which a ship could travel, and then to receive proper authorization. Engineer LaForge was gracious enough to gift me with a small ship similar to the one he provided the Vulcan Science Academy to outfit for your mission to destroy the supernova." She paused. "I am told that it has been five years and three months since you arrived in this universe. For me it has been one month less than nine."
Jim leaned in the door then. "She came after you, Spock. What more explanation do you need?" His smile lit his eyes, and in them too was more than a small amount of I-told-you-so.
Spock lifted a hand, two fingers outstretched, and Saavik met them with her own. The burst of telepathic contact that accompanied the physical—the presence in his mind that he had missed—nearly brought tears to his eyes. His wife gazed up at him, and he knew she felt the same.
He looked up once more, at Jim, at the young man to whom he was friend and mentor and father, and he knew his life had been full here until now. It had been these past fourteen months, anyhow since he accepted it as it was and once more found his purpose. But he also knew that now it would be richer than even before, and he knew whom he had to thank for that.
He didn't have to voice the words, and he wouldn't have. Not with Saavik standing there with them as she was. Oh, she would know the truth; the struggle he had gone through—he could keep nothing from her, as his wife, and he would not—but now was not the time. "Thank you," then, was all he said, though he wanted to say so much more.
There would be the chance for that another time. For now Jim nodded in answer, and Spock knew he understood.
"Anyway, we'll be going," the young captain said. Spock realized now that his younger self was there as well, hanging back so as not to interrupt. "Take care of yourselves," Jim told them.
"Thank you, Captain." Saavik said. She looked at him for a moment to also nod her thanks, and Spock nodded a brief acknowledgement to his younger counterpart, but by now neither she nor Spock could be bothered to tear their eyes any longer from the other. Jim took the single suitcase that his first officer held and set it inside the apartment door, and then the two of them were gone.
Spock stepped back into the apartment and Saavik followed. The door slid closed behind them, and for quite a while they merely stood with their fingers meeting.
"It was illogical for you to come here, my wife," Spock said quietly, when he could speak. "You could not know for certain whether or not I was even alive."
"Many of the most worthy acts I have been witness to were quite illogical. It is a lesson that James T. Kirk taught us both. If it were not for one of those illogical acts you would not have lived to become my husband. I could do no less than he."
Spock could not help but nearly smile at that. "Indeed. We both have much to thank him for."
Though he was still who he was, and he was Vulcan, and it did not show outwardly, despite his years Spock felt much like the giddy boy he never was. Saavik was now nearly four years closer to his own age, and they were both very old, but it did not matter. The years remaining them unfolded before him, and here they had the chance for the life as husband and wife that they had never lived in their own universe.
Here, they had the chance to correct mistakes; to do it right, as Jim would say.
"My father will be pleased to meet you. He has heard much of you." Once he had revealed himself to Sarek it had become a point over which they understood each other well; both of them had lost a spouse. But Sarek would not begrudge him the return of his own. They were Vulcan, after all, and Sarek called him son.
They were close, now, much more so than Spock had ever been to the Sarek of his own universe. It pained him, but he was grateful for the relationship he had with Sarek here. Jim had been more than right; they both needed it, and it was more than keeping each other company while their respective charges were offworld.
It was family, which he now had more of again.
"It will be good to see Sarek alive and well," Saavik answered.
"It has been, for me." He swallowed. "And I am more than gratified that you are here."
Saavik looked at him softly, almost a small smile on her face. "I have…missed you, as well."
By those admissions, and by what he sensed from her through their healing bond as their fingers remained joined, Spock knew then that he was free to do what he wanted to do.
He took his wife's face in his hands, and he kissed her.
Thank you, Jim. And he was thanking them both, and yet it was really only thanking one man. For in any universe that was good Jim Kirk would be the man Spock knew him to be, and in any universe like that the two of them would be drawn to each other—would mean something to each other. It had already been proven at least twice, after all.