Spock watched the tall man walk towards the podium, his face calm and clear of expression. This marked 8 years, though this was only the third official memorial. They'd had one every year but those had mainly just been the cadets at the academy getting together and lighting candles to mark each of the people who lost their lives that night. 8 years of mourning, 8 years since the Enterprise had disappeared, along with every member of the crew.
They'd searched for 5 years, scowering every inch of the galaxy until they finally realized that there was no way the Enterprise had survived. If any of the crew members had gotten away, they would have found a way to contact Starfleet by now.
They'd given up. Thrown in the towel because there was no reason they should be looking for a ship that had literally disappeared completely. There wasn't even any wreckage. They'd saved Earth and taken off after the enemy ship. That was the last anyone had seen or heard from that ship.
Both of Spock's Jims were gone. All of his old friends were gone. He'd been given a place on the high counsel at the academy once he'd explained what had happened. How Jim had taken control of the Enterprise and gone after Nero's ship. He'd explained why he was in their dimension and how Nero had been making the black holes. They knew everything except what had really gone down the day the Enterprise had disappeared.
Spock had known, despite hoping beyond all else that he was wrong, that Jim was gone. He'd known the moment it had happened. Spock had and always would be connected to James Kirk. When Jim had slipped from existence, it had been like something inside of Spock had been snuffed out. He'd experienced the exact same feeling when he'd lost his Jim back in his time line.
"We gather today to mourn the loss of the USS Enterprise and it's crew," the man began, addressing the hall. There was complete silence. "So many lives were lost after the distress signal from Vulcan was sent out. So many ships destroyed. It was a miracle that the Enterprise had managed to get through that much. It is thanks to those brave men and women that we all stand here today. The tragedy that was the collapse of Vulcan would have been repeated here on Earth if not for the Enterprise. Captain Pike and his crew will go down in history. We will not forget what they gave to protect us."
There was a murmur of agreement around the hall.
"I would like the invite Ambassador Spock to the stand for a few words."
Spock started to stand, as he always did at this part of the ceremony. He would go to the podium and thank some of the crew individually. People he knew had contributed greatly, even though he had not been present on the ship for any of the interaction. Pike, Sulu, Chekov, Uhura, Scotty, McCoy, the younger version of himself and of course, James T Kirk. He knew that most people wouldn't understand unless he went into great detail, but he wasn't willing to share all that information with so many people here. The same old speech, the same pain that echoed through his old bones.
And then it clicked.
Spock stopped mid straighten, holding the arm of his chair, and staring at the marble floor with wide eyes.
No. It couldn't be.
He searched back through his mind, bent over still, having frozen in his attempt to stand and not having moved an inch since he felt it. He searched and searched because he knew it was there. He could feel it.
Then he saw it. A big white door at the very back of his mind. He reached out, fingers gripping the gold handle, and pushed it open. The warm, familiar sensation washed over him and he took a sharp breath.
"Um... Ambassador Spock?"
Spock straightened completely so quickly that the man who was about to put his hand on Spock's shoulder jumped back in surprise. Spock turned on his heels and walked straight out of the hall the fastest he could without looking suspicious. Although he'd probably already grabbed the attention and the curiosity of every person in the hall.
He entered the first empty room he found, which turned out to be the first room he walked past, seeing as how everyone was in the hall for the ceremony. He closed and locked the door, resting his forehead against the cold metal and closed his eyes.
He searched back into his mind for that door, the door that until this very moment he'd though was lost to him forever. This was a link he'd missed, a link that had been his lifeline on more than one occasion. He pushed the door open again and walked through, stepping into the forefront of a consciousness that was not his own.
"Jim?" he whispered.