I apologize profusely for the angsty nature of this fic.
The usual: I own nothing. Watch out for spoilers. Read and review?
We have done this to each other.
We have both failed in ways so colossal, it cannot be measured. There is no going back and this cannot be fixed. There is nothing that either of us can do, in the present or in the future. The past is final; death is final and leaves nothing. Nothing is left. Nothing but anger. But such a pale word to describe this… this thing. It drives me, like it drives you.
You understand it and you let it fuel you. The rubble of London, and now San Francisco, is a testament of the unspeakable things you can do with it. Rubble. What I am. Whatever this is. I have seen it destroy entire planets, as you will use it to destroy Earth if you can. If I let you. But I am unconcerned with your plans. I am not here to stop you. I am here to kill you. Saving Earth is merely an ancillary result.
But that was the goal the captain died for… Is it not right that you die, too?
Right? I no longer know what is morally right. I can tell myself whatever I want. I reason that the good of the many requires the death of one. You. And I will gladly do that good for the many. But this has nothing to do with reason. This is vengeance. But it is justice. And it is right that you die.
And, if you are fortunate, you will only die once.
I have already died today.
I tried to end your life with my own hands when all other avenues were exhausted. First despair. Then grief. Next conviction. And now, I have no idea what grips me, this thing trying to kill you. What is happening to me? And why can I not kill you now that I see you right here in front of me? You are stronger by design, but I am stronger by a flaw.
This flaw that I cannot control.
And do you know what this is? Because I do. I know what this is. Wrath.
I make no attempt to control it anymore. Instead, it controls me. It feels no pain and no remorse. It is now. It is certain of what it must do, like you. It can kill and destroy with no second thoughts and no compunction. It is all I have, this and your death. And I almost did it. I could feel your life slipping away the way I watched from behind a thin glass as—I cannot think.
And so I don't. I only act and hope later I won't remember what I've done. And if I do, I hope I remember the good of the many required you die.
But one voice, one of only a few lights that can reach me when the world spirals into darkness, stops me, saves you. "He's our only chance to save Kirk!"
Our only chance? You? Still, my unparalleled desire to kill you remains. But I want this chance more than I want to kill you. If it is my only chance, then you are lucky. You would be dead without it. Do I believe in luck? I must. It may be all I have left. But if you have felt a fraction of this, even just a particle in the universe of pain, then I will settle for that. I won't kill you.
I lied to you. I could not end seventy-two sleeping beings lives, defenseless, no matter how dangerous they can be. I saved them, and I almost regret it. But you have a chance. We both have a chance. This chance I gave to you, to keep your family safe. This chance you gave to me, to bring my family back.
So I let you live. I let you live and, for a single moment of clarity, see what I almost did. The things we both did. You would destroy a planet. I would destroy myself. The things we did for family. You cannot possibly imagine the fear that grips me when I realize we are one and the same. I realize with awful lucidity: you are my San Francisco, my London. I want more than your death; I want your suffering. How illogical, the things we have done for family, you and I. We would both kill for it.
The fog clears and things crystalize in the transport between one place and another.
But perhaps we are different after all, for I will let you live for it.