My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My captain does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;

All of the Enterprise crew were on leave. All of them save one. Spock stood in engineering, looking at the quietly throbbing warp core as though it were something offensive and watched it. It wasn't going anywhere, not doing anything except list aimlessly in space; but the Enterprise was in far better shape than only a few days ago. Seven days seemed to have gone by so quickly.

He wasn't sure why he'd approved the leave for everyone. Every last one. It was not as though they had the time to be frolicking around on Earth when there was so much work to be done everywhere. But it was also not as though these projects couldn't wait. They could. Recovery was a long an arduous process, and speeding it along at this juncture was pointless.

There was only one reason Spock could come up with for his sudden goodwill and generosity. The only reason he could conjure up to be alone. He wasn't sure why it was so important, but it was. Solitude was healing, in its own way. Calming and settling, as meditation hadn't been recently.

He put his hands together, steepled his fingers, and looked at them.

Not that he focused on them; he couldn't focus. Hadn't for weeks, wouldn't for more. It was the way of things. More Human than he would have liked to admit, would have wanted to be. Humans were such pathetically fragile creatures. It seemed that way. He was one of them. He guessed he would have hated that. He supposed he knew how to hate, now.

"Spock."

He didn't look at Uhura when she spoke. She wasn't supposed to be here, he thought. She was supposed to be on Earth with the others. Not on the Enterprise. He was supposed to be alone.

"What are you doing?"

She was certainly persistent. Persistent in tragedy. Did she not know by now that he needed this solitude? "I am… contemplating."

"Contemplating what?"

Before he knew it, before he realized, he was speaking. He hadn't even the time to think before the words were out and about and he realized they were all true. They had been bouncing about in this confusing brain, but he had only barely enough time to organize his thoughts to stand a few hours ago. He hadn't moved.

"Contemplating returning to New Vulcan," he said. "I realize now that it was likely a mistake I remain with Starfleet; there is little I can do here that will measure up to the good I can do there." He turned to look at her.

She looked confused and yet accepting. She often looked at him with those brown eyes and he wished he understood what was happening behind them… in a way. And as soon as he realized that he knew more of that than he wanted to admit, he made another realization.

"But perhaps I do not belong there."

"On New Vulcan?" she questioned, while he turned his back to her again.

"Yes," he answered. "I am unlike other Vulcans; I am… different."

"That's not a bad thing," she offered, running her hand up his shoulder. He only barely felt it.

"Is it not?" he asked.

He waited for her to answer, but she seemed to be thinking, so he thought, too. He thought he belonged on the Enterprise, where he could be useful, but now these gray walls only revolted him. Perhaps that feeling would pass with time, but he felt more a monster now than any other being that had been within these walls in the past few weeks.

And that was saying a lot.

"You belong," she said.

"And where," Spock prodded, "would you estimate I belong, Nyota?"

She paused for a long time. And here they stood on the edge, Spock between one decision and another, one moment and the next, of forever. If only she would tell him where he belonged, he might be able to believe it and move forward. When she finally answered, it was as if two voices, past and present, spoke together. As if he'd believed it once. He would believe it again.

"At his side, as if you've always been there and always will."

Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.