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Another Life

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She sees herself sometimes, or rather she sees a Nyota who she might have been. Spock is careful, and his mental shields well ordered, but, mostly on rare nights when his control has worn thin, she catches flashes.

They're always through his eyes, but another him, and through Kirk's eyes too, her Kirk not the other one, and no one shall speak again of that meld, and then finally through her own Spock. The glimpses have been passed through so many minds that all that remains is a smudgy copy of a copy, but Nyota recognises herself nonetheless.

The uniform is a little different, and the other her wears her hair short and up, but she's still on the bridge of the Enterprise, and she's still the best damn communications officer in the fleet.

There's a certain comfort in watching herself grow old. For ever added bar of rank, more wrinkles spread out from her eyes and mouth, and her hair turns as white as their grandmother's. Nyota feels oddly pleased that the other her dances gracefully with age, rather than fighting it.

The other Spock loved the other her; the glow of it colours the memories. It's not the passion they have here, but a bond formed of years of mutual regard for one another. It never got the push, whatever that was, that started them off, but she senses no regret.

It takes a year, but she pieces together an entire life that she never had, never will have now. She thinks about writing it down, but words on a screen have the power to make something real, and she doesn't want to set that path for herself.

Nyota will not follow in the other's footsteps. This life is her own.