The young lieutenant, Giverson, arrived breathing hard and flushed red and immediately apologized the moment he reached Spock’s table. “I’m so sorry, Ambassador Spock. I didn’t mean to keep you waiting.”
Spock gestured to the seat across from him. “Please be seated.”
Giverson fumbled himself into a chair. “It’s just that I got caught up in the crowds in the street.” He leaned forward with no little eagerness. “Admiral Kirk is here, so you can imagine everyone wanting to see him.”
Giverson leaned back then, looking at Spock rather curiously. “You used to serve with him, didn’t you?”
“I was his first officer on board the Enterprise for a number of years.”
“Wow, to serve as the first officer of Kirk. Well. He’s a legend.”
“I guess you are too, sir.”
Spock waved this away and reached for the messenger bag Giverson had brought with him to deliver to Spock.
“You served with him…before, right?” Giverson had lowered his voice. “Before the memory loss?”
Spock tried not to flinch but it was a near thing. “Yes, Lieutenant.”
“So you knew him when he saved Earth all those times before.” Giverson shook his head. “That’s amazing.”
Admiral James Kirk, a captain at the time, had been abducted by an alien race that had violently tortured him for months. He had been declared dead by Starfleet. When he was finally rescued, he had lost a third of his body weight and had suffered permanent brain damage that had resulted in significant memory loss. He remembered none of his life before his rescue and had to be retrained in most things. The memory loss was irreversible and to the crew of the Enterprise, devastating to know their beloved captain remembered none of them. He had not even remembered his mother.
He’d been shown a lot of his life through video captures, recordings and documentation, but it was not the same. Admiral Kirk had gone on to command the Enterprise once more and had earned legendary status all over again.
But the loss for some of them was permanent.
Spock among them.
“Will you see the admiral while he’s here, Ambassador?”
“Yes,” Spock replied.
“I envy you, sir,” Giverson said. “He’s my hero.”
Hours later, Spock waited at a quiet vegetarian restaurant that he had chosen himself for their dinner. Jim was ten minutes late, but he did arrive, and sat across Spock with a readymade smile.
“Spock, hey, how are you?” His blue eyes sparkled, and there were crinkles by those eyes, and gray in his sandy colored hair, and perhaps he’d put on some weight, but to Spock he looked stunning.
“I am well, Jim.”
“It’s good to see you.” Jim smiled at the waitress who stopped at their table. “A glass of merlot, please.”
It was, of course, good to see Jim, as well. He rarely saw his former…captain anymore. His former captain. So much more. That life was no more. And Jim did not remember any of it.
Spock, however, did. And he yearned for it.
“I can’t believe all the fuss they’re making,” Jim was saying. “And anyway, I think I’m staying this time.”
“You intend to stay in San Francisco?” Spock asked, surprised.
“I’m not getting any younger. And it’s getting a little harder to pretend otherwise,” Jim said with an engaging grin. “Time I left the planet rescuing to the younger guys. What about you, Spock?”
“Are you staying here for a while or back to New Vulcan or elsewhere?”
“I shall be here for a little while.”
Jim’s smile widened. “Yeah? I’d love to catch up.”
Of course, Spock could never entirely catch Jim up on everything. Jim had been told they’d had a relationship, yes, but one that Jim had not recalled and therefore it was as though he had never participated in it. He did not remember falling in love with Spock or even meeting him that first time. And he did not remember Spock falling in love with him.
Jim’s smile faltered a little. “Are you okay?”
“Of course, Jim.”
Jim nodded. “Yeah? Cause I’d really like to talk further. Not here. There are so many nosey people around. Maybe after dinner? Could I come to your apartment?”
“That would be agreeable,” Spock replied, trying to keep his voice even. He felt eager and yet he did not know for what. Jim was his ex now. They had never been able to rekindle what was between them. And yet, for Spock, it had never died.
Spock would never forget the first time between them. It was right after their new ship had been finished on Yorktown and they’d continued onto finish their mission. While still on Yorktown, he and Nyota had made the final decision to remain friends only.
Spock had been somewhat injured on a mission and after being released from the medbay to his quarters, there had been someone at his door.
It was Jim.
“Spock! Are you all right? I can’t believe you got hurt again,” Jim had babbled. “You have to stop doing that. I can’t—”
“Jim, I am all right.”
Jim searched Spock’s gaze, looking very unhappy and his eyes looked almost wet. “Are you sure? Because if Bones released you too early, I’ll…” He took two steps closer to Spock until he was standing right in front of him, in fact so close Spock could feel his heat and his…desperation.
When Jim suddenly kissed him, Spock was not surprised. He had been about to kiss Jim.
They’d spent hours that first night getting to know each other intimately in every way and thereafter they’d spent every night together for the next year until Spock asked Jim to bond with him.
They’d gone to New Vulcan and formally bonded, with Starfleet’s permission, and then had gone through a human marriage ceremony as well.
It was the most content Spock had ever been.
Until Jim was abducted and presumed dead.
His world had changed in every way.
Before Spock knew that Jim had survived, his father had talked Spock into getting their bond formally dissolved because his time was coming and he would need to be bonded to someone else in order to make it through Pon Farr. He’d then been bonded to a Vulcan woman for the duration of his time.
It was after that, that Jim had been discovered by another passing ship alive and imprisoned with his irreversible brain damage.
Spock blamed himself. Leonard blamed himself. There weren’t a lot of crew members that didn’t blame themselves. And in the end, though they had their captain back, and his name was still James T. Kirk, he had very little in common with their beloved captain. At times Jim had stared right through them. He knew nothing of his friendship with the doctor, nothing of his love with Spock. He didn’t remember his childhood, or Tarsus, or anything, really.
He recalled being a prisoner and being tortured and that his name was James T. Kirk. Everything else he’d had to relearn.
Though Spock had informed him of their relationship, he had not told him they were married and bonded. It seemed pointless as all that was over now. Jim viewed him as a stranger.
Now Jim was asking to see him privately after their dinner. They had barely spoken or seen each other for the last few years and Spock did not know what to expect.
“You’re really deep in thought,” Jim said as he twirled his glass of merlot in his hand. “Are you sure you’re all right?”
“Of course, Jim.”
“And how’s your daughter, T’Mara? Have you seen her lately?”
“She is well and quite engaged in her studies,” Spock replied. “I saw her a month ago when I was able to be on New Vulcan for a time period.”
Jim shook his head. “I still can’t believe all that happened with Vulcan and Nero. And to think I was a part of that and can’t remember any of it.” He sighed. Grimaced.
“Do not strain yourself to recall something that cannot be recalled.”
“Yeah. It’s just, people stop me and ask me about all that and other stuff too and I just…” He stopped, licked his lips. “It’s frustrating not to know what they’re talking about. And I’m sure it is for them too.”
Spock certainly was well aware of that but he did not say so.
Still Jim gazed upon him in silence for a moment. “Sorry,” he murmured. “Sometimes I can be obtuse.”
“Yes.” He looked away. “I wish I could remember us the way you do.”
“That just seems like something to say when you don’t like something but can’t do anything about it.”
“Yes,” Spock agreed.
Jim pinched the bridge of his nose. “Some things I guess maybe I’m better off not remembering, I don’t know. My mother says so. She’s been working with me, helping me to get back some of it. At least to know what it is I’m not remembering.”
“And how is that going?”
“Good, I think. At least I’m getting a better picture of my life before I became aware again. But there are things she can’t really help with.” He bit his lip. “That’s, there’s some things, I want to talk to you about, if you’re willing.”
“I will assist you in any way I am able, Jim. Always.”
He smiled. “Great. Great. How’s your food?””
“It is good.”
“Mine too.” His gaze became distant again, as though he was focused on something else, somewhere else, and so Spock spent the remainder of dinner watching him. Even that was a comfort to him.
Spock opened his apartment door. Once it had been intended to be their apartment in San Francisco. When they’d both slowed down and spent most of their time there. Spock perhaps teaching again, Jim as admiral giving other captains orders.
It had been chosen with all that in mind. They’d contacted a broker from the ship and had the place picked out and even decorated for their future.
One that Spock never got to have.
It was only his apartment now and Jim only recognized it as such from the few times he’d been there. Very few.
Jim smiled as he stopped by the sliding doors that led out to a patio and garden. Spock remembered them looking at holopics together in their shared quarters.
“Oh, look. Look. I’d love to grow a garden,” Jim declared as he pointed out the space.
“You?” Spock asked doubtfully. “What do you know about gardening, adun?”
“Well.” Jim grinned. “Nothing. But I can learn. We’ll learn together.”
Spock was haunted by such conversations.
Now Jim merely smiled vaguely as he looked out at the patio, the still unused garden space.
“Oh,” Jim said into the awkward silence. “I saw Bones a week or so ago. He said to say hello if I saw you.”
“That is kind.”
When they had first got Jim back, he did not know about calling McCoy ‘Bones’ and therefore for a long time he would not do so. It was an odd nickname to him without context. It was always Leonard or McCoy even and Spock had watched the doctor’s spirts sag lower and lower.
The day Jim had finally called him Bones, the doctor had cried. Not in front of Jim, but later when he’d gone for a drink with Spock, Nyota and Scott.
“I really like this place, by the way,” Jim said, seemingly unaware of all the emotional turmoil he had caused. “You did a great job with decorating it.”
“Would you care for tea or coffee perhaps? I do have a small coffee maker available should you wish to forgo replicated.”
“I wouldn’t want to make you go to any trouble.”
“It is no trouble.” Spock went into his kitchen and the light automatically came on. Jim followed him into it.
“This looks like a cook’s kitchen.”
Indeed it had been chosen for that also since they’d both liked to cook when it was available.
“Do you cook a lot, Spock?” Jim shrugged. “Doesn’t seem like something you’d like to do.”
“I do not cook much these days,” Spock admitted. “In the past I…” He shook his head. “I do not spend much time here with my travels as an ambassador.”
In that he had not intended to follow in the footsteps of his counterpart so long ago. He’d wanted to return to teaching, not to diplomacy. But so much was different than what he’d wanted.
“I guess you don’t see your wife much. On New Vulcan when you saw your daughter?”
Spock stiffened. “It is not necessary for us to endure each other’s company under normal circumstances.”
Jim frowned a little as he watched Spock fuss with the coffee maker. “That’s a weird relationship.”
“Because it is not one. She was specifically chosen because she did not desire a committed bond with me. We have both given serious consideration to dissolving it altogether.”
“But that could affect you when your time comes again.”
Spock would not look at him. “Please. I do not wish to discuss such intimacies.”
“I understand. It’s just…”
Spock glanced at him. “What?”
“Well, what about Uhura?”
“What about her?”
“You two used to be together.” Jim crossed his arms in front of his chest. It was very defensive. “Before, you and me, right?”
“As Humans would say, Admiral, that ship has sailed.”
“Okay.” Jim nodded. “I guess what I’m saying is…”
“What are you saying?”
“When your time comes I don’t want you to die because you don’t have a bondmate.” Jim huffed.
Spock thrust a mug of coffee at Jim. “While I appreciate your concern, it really is not something you need to be worried about.”
“I’m not worried about it, Spock. Well, not really.”
Spock quickly made himself some tea. “Since you indicated you wanted to discuss something I suggest we adjoin to the living room.”
Spock left the kitchen with a pot of tea and a cup for himself which he set upon a side table next to his sofa.
When Jim was seated, Spock said, “What do you want to talk about?”