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Always Shall Be (2019)

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“Thank you, by the way, for having me here,” Jim said, smiling big at Ambassador Spock.

“Believe me, young Jim, the pleasure is mine. I have not had much outside company since I helped to establish the colony here.”

Spock stood in the tiny kitchen of the modest sized dwelling he had invited Jim to stay at with him on New Vulcan for a couple of weeks after Jim got out of the hospital. After his demise. Of course, that was something neither this Spock nor the young one wanted to talk about much. Younger Spock seemed more reluctant than this one.

Still, Jim had a weird feeling that if he could just get Ambassador Spock into a more relaxed setting, the old Vulcan might spill some secrets.

“Your coffee is ready.”

“Oh. Thanks. You really didn’t need to bother. I could have made it myself. I’m not here to be waited on.” But Jim took the coffee cup gratefully. “Where’s that box of stuff you wanted me to look at?”

Spock walked out of his kitchen and wandered over to a stack of boxes that rested next to his couch. He had mentioned when Jim first arrived that while most of the boxes contained things given to him after his arrival here in this timeline, he’d had a few personal effects with him in his ship that he arrived in, and he’d stuffed those items in one of the boxes. He had asked Jim if he’d care to see anything.

Spock paused over a box. “I am uncertain as to the wisdom of showing you these items.”

Jim frowned. “What? Why?”

“No doubt I have already shared too much from my own experiences.” He paused. “As you know I had vowed never to give information that could potentially alter your destiny.”

Jim gave him a look. “Tell that to the Vulcan.”

“I have,” the Ambassador said with some amusement.

He rolled his eyes and went over to the box that Spock stood next to. “Come on, let me see. What is it? Some old Vulcan lyre or something?”

“Hardly.”

Jim reached in and felt his hands touch something that felt sort of like a holopic. His throat closed suddenly. Was it of this Spock when he was younger? Would he look like his Spock? Well, not his Spock, but anyway…

“Jim,” the old Vulcan spoke sharply. “Not that.”

“What? Why not?” He pulled it out and turned it over. On the back had been written words. “This looks like…” The hair on the back of his neck prickled. He moistened his dry lips with his tongue as he looked up to meet Spock’s gaze. “This looks like my writing.”

Spock let out a long held breath. “Yes.”

Jim read the words, his heart thundering hard in his chest.

Spock,

Sorry we can’t be together this year, but this is my favorite holo of us—remember Bones taking it that day on Rigel IV: we sure look snazzy! Anyway, Happy Valentine’s Day.

Jim  

Jim’s first thought was that he would never use a word like ‘snazzy’, but he pushed that aside. He was about to look at a picture of himself. From this Spock’s timeline. And…

His fingers shaking, he turned it over.

They both wore formal Starfleet uniforms. Spock’s was a satiny blue and Jim’s a satiny green. They both had numerous commendations pinned on their shirts.

Spock sat on a chair, turned slightly at an angle. Jim sat on Spock, well, he was perched on the arm of the chair and partially in Spock’s lap. They were looking at each other. Only each other. Spock up at Jim and Jim down at Spock. It was as though no one else existed.

Jim had his arm around Spock’s shoulder. And his other hand, his fingers touched the top of Spock’s hand. For some reason, it seemed unbelievably intimate and romantic as hell.

And all Jim could feel was shame for being witness to something so pure, so intense, so loving. He didn’t deserve to see something like this. It was far more than he deserved. He thrust it at Spock, who took it without a word.

Jim turned and walked outside, trying to breathe through the pain in his chest. When the door opened behind him, he said, “Then it’s true. You were lovers.”

“Much more than that. He was my husband. As I was his.”

“Then the-the things I saw in the meld on Delta Vega, they were all true.”

“You saw—”

“Memories, I guess. The two of you.  I was confused. I thought…well, I couldn’t have seen what I thought I saw. Because, well,…”

“It’s nothing like you and your first officer.”

Jim laughed, blinking away tears. “That’s for sure.”

“If it helps, when we were your ages, we were not together.”

Jim wiped his eyes. “I’m not sure it does.” He turned and looked at the old Vulcan, so sad now, it seemed, so lonely. “You miss him.”

“Yes, every day.”

“Do I…am I anything like him?”

“Yes. And no. You are as complex and as compelling as him. You are different and you are the same.”

“He left that for you?”

“Sent it to me. I was on a diplomatic mission. Jim loved to celebrate any holiday for it was an excuse for him to give me something or for us to be together. That year, we weren’t together until about a month later.” Spock shook his head, smiling ever so slightly. “When I did return, he had a heart shaped box of chocolates waiting for me anyway.”

“Chocolates? But don’t they—”

“Indeed.” Spock held out his hand. “Come, Jim. Return with me indoors. I think that is enough remembering for both of us today.”

Jim put his hand in Spock’s and allowed himself to be led back inside. They didn’t look at any of the other items Spock had with him. By silent mutual agreement, they decided it made them both sad.

But later, after the Ambassador had died, Jim was presented with a small box on Yorktown left for him by two Vulcans. He opened it and found the holopic he’d seen at Spock’s house.

Jim,

Take a chance. You will not regret it.

I have been and always shall be yours,

Spock.