Three days after Jim Kirk's death, sitting on a splinter rimmed porch in northern Iowa, McCoy had asked Spock in a harsh, bitter, pain laced voice if he and Jim had ever worked out 'whatever the fuck you two were.'
Still too broken and numb to not want to lash out at the world for any words that could possibly taint 'whatever the fuck' they were, had been, no, too soon to change it, were… and too affected by the sting of deep grief in the other man's voice, Spock had stayed still, answered with nothing more than a soft 'Yes' rimmed with too much emotion.
It had been too much emotion for those three days. And that was another reason he couldn't lash out at McCoy for anything he had said. Simply trying to put into words 'whatever the fuck they were' seemed to defile it. Speaking of it seemed to both make it real and make it gritty. He wanted both, somehow. He couldn't have either. Couldn't have 'it' be gritty or rough, even though it had been, because nothing had ever been more pure and perfect and nothing ever would be again, never again.
He couldn't have it be real. He couldn't not have it be real. If it was real, then everything must be. Then he must have truly been unraveled at his very seems as far away, some small (and inconsequential, never inconsequential, the brightest light in the universe, the only light in the universe) life had blinked out and rocked him to the very core.
It hadn't hurt to have that thread broken. When they were both younger, and thinking about such things had seemed safe with years separating the thoughts and the actual event, Spock had always thought it would hurt when Jim died and this 'whatever the fuck' between them was broken. When that imaginary thread that tied his mind so utterly to Jim's was cut. At the time, these small thoughts had come into existence with a certain amount of raw fear, insuppressible as the love that got him into this ‘whatever the fuck’ in the first place, the terror at first realizing a small piece of him was walking around and living outside of him, that there was suddenly a way to kill him more completely than he had ever even considered, and that it had absolutely nothing to do with his own literal beating heart.
But in the end, it hadn't hurt at all. He would have welcomed the pain, though.
The first thought in the moment of parting had been 'Silence.'
Clear, crisp, perfect, as the light was sucked from the universe.
Something in him flayed open, something burned through him until there was nothing but empty space in the cage of his ribs, his ears ringing from the lack of sound as life seemed to leave every fraction of existence. Because he was alone, as he had always known he would be, but no, he was standing in his office, but no, kneeling, when had he gone to his knees, movement, movement around him, but no, no movement, alone, alone, crushing, dying, dying….
He breathed Jim's last breaths with him, and too many to count alone after that. Black had seemed to piece itself together before his eyes, emptiness in the too-much silence, and he found himself only aware of his breathing. Of his own breathing, and the fact that Jim's had stopped. His own racing heartbeat. Emptiness sucked on the edge of his life, of his self, each thought scattered, each part of him broken.
Brother, lover, friend. Whatever the fuck they 'were.’