DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc and Viacom. The story contents are the creation and property of Djinn and are copyright (c) 2022 by Djinn. This story is Rated R.
It's in the Spaces Between That We Fall in Love
Part 12: How We Met Again for the Last Time
Spock sits on his porch on the new Vulcan home world, sipping tea and reading the report the alternate Jim has sent him of their latest mission. His messages always end the same: "This happen in your timeline?"
And his answer is always the same: "I must preserve the purity of this timeline." The only time he has made an exception was for Khan.
And almost for Christine—this world's Christine. Who he sees walking with T'Pring, the two of them in animated conversation about genetics and logic and who knows what else.
This reality's Spock was never betrothed to T'Pring. He never spent time with Christine when she first reported. The changes go even earlier than that—he never had a sister named Michael, never was held captive, never encountered the Red Angel.
So much different for reasons Spock has never fully understood. One small change so long ago leading to so many variations.
Sarek approaches the porch. "Do you prosper, Spock who is not Spock?" It is how his not-father addresses him when he wishes to speak informally, about things that Spock should not tell him and usually does not.
Sarek, though, is wilier than he is. He never realized how much more so than now, when he is dealing with this younger version of the man who held such sway in his life.
Sarek has determined that Spock watches Christine with a great deal of interest.
Sarek has determined that Spock also watches T'Pring with a great deal of confusion—the T'Pring of his time had no interest in science, and yet this one went to MIT, where she became friends with Christine, who left the Enterprise because of a disastrous encounter with Jim and found her way—with T'Pring's encouragement—to the new Vulcan home world, to put her genetics background to use in rebuilding the Vulcan race.
Christine works often with Sarek. She also seems to spend a great deal of private time with him as well.
"Please sit and talk with me, Sarek." It is so odd to address his father by his given name.
Sarek sits then hands him a packet, and Spock sees it is his favorite incense, which of course is his father's favorite too. He so wanted to emulate him when he was a boy—when did that change to defiance? And why didn't defiance include changing his incense? Or was that the only thing left he had of his father?
"Most kind." He has nothing to offer Sarek but then he is the elder here and does not need to. The dynamic throws him as ever.
"Which of them did you care for?" Sarek's eyes are relentless as he asks. He has never put the question so directly before.
"You know I will not tell you."
"So it was one of them. Or you would simply say neither."
"Perhaps it was both? And I still cannot tell you."
Sarek leans back, an almost smile on his face. "I find myself hoping it was not Christine."
"Oh? Why is that?" But he knows. He has seen the way this Sarek looks at her—a way his own father never did even if Spock once entertained suspicions he might have loved her as more than a daughter, suspicions that the meld with Picard put to rest.
But this Christine has never been this Sarek's daughter or daughter-in-law, and given this Spock's ongoing relationship with Nyota—as volatile as it appears to be—she never will be.
Sarek is free to desire her.
He is free to marry her. To have children with her. To make her this Spock's stepmother. To make this timeline's Saavik, if Spock ever finds her which seems increasingly unlikely, her granddaughter rather than daughter.
There is no Valeris in this timeline. This Sybok died trying to escape from Ankeshtan K'Til, his air tank running out as he attempted to use the water ducts for egress. He never met Angel as far as Spock knows. Never had a daughter who would grow up to betray everything she should have held dear—and then rescue him when he most needed it.
"You knew Christine, though? Can you tell me that, at least?"
"I did know her. She was and appears to be here also a woman of extremely fine character."
Sarek nods. "Do you think it is too soon after Amanda...?"
"I do not. Moth—Amanda would not want you to be alone."
"I think she would like Christine." He looks at Spock, as if for confirmation.
"If your Amanda was anything like my mother, then yes, yes she would."
"That is quite a lot to give me. If, as I suspect, she was once yours."
"This Christine was never mine. Nor was she ever your son's." Even though he could have changed that. One meld, the package of photos he still has, could have potentially shown this Spock what he was missing. Made him perhaps rethink his relationship with Nyota.
But Spock has learned over the decades that pushing people into doing what he wants is not right. He melded with this timeline's Jim because it was the necessary thing—the needs of the many to stop Nero. But he could not bring himself to do that to Spock, to do that to this Nyota when his Nyota was nothing but good to him.
Or to do that to this Christine, who is even now walking up toward his porch, a wide smile on her face.
The smile is not for him, however. She barely knows him.
It has taken all his strength to maintain that distance. He wants to talk with her, to hear her laugh, to watch as her eyes light up with emotion.
He wants to touch the woman he loved even if she is not that woman and he is too old to touch her the way he used to.
He wants to feel her love again.
But he will not.
His not-father will. "Christine. It is a beautiful day."
"It is. Would you like to walk?" She glances at Spock. "I'm sorry to steal him away."
"You are not, but I will excuse it." He keeps his tone light, as if he is some kind of indulgent grandfather instead of a man who wants to challenge his not-father for this alternate version of the love of his life.
Sarek rises. "Spock. We must play chess soon."
They have not played chess. They speak of it as if it will happen, but Spock knows it will not. This is the general length of time of their interactions. "Yes. Soon."
He watches her walk away with his father, standing too close the way she used to with him when she was giving him advice about T'Pring but also making him fall deeper in love with her.
As his not-father is no doubt also falling deeper in love with her.
He gets up and is overcome for a moment with a wave of dizziness, worse than before, and a sharp pain in his abdomen.
He does not have much time. Soon, he will be truly alone. And he has told no one he is dying. He does not want his katra housed in this timeline's hall of the ancestors. He wants only to be free of this place.
He will be nothing to this universe, but there is another Spock here whose katra will be retained, so it is fitting.
He makes his way to his bedroom, taking out the package of pictures he has had for so long. He takes the one out he wishes to send to Spock and puts it in an attractive case and then spreads the others out on the bed.
This is the last time he can look at them. They must never be found. Not by this world's Spock or his father or especially Christine.
She deserves to be happy. To know nothing of this alternate path she once lived.
He sorts through the photos, seeing La'an—who in this timeline died in the Gorn attack so that her brother might survive—with Saavik and Manua. He sees a lovely shot he captured when he was on the porch of the beach house with Christine and Saavik running toward him out of the fog. He sees Christine with his mother, both of them displaying mock horror at something—he cannot remember what it was. He sees Jim laughing as he teaches Valeris to surf.
But in most of them he sees Christine, alone and with him. The love in her eyes. The beauty of her. How young they look, how strong. So much potential.
He scoops the photos back into the container—making sure he gets all of them—and walks to the recycler, setting it to incinerate.
He feels a physical pain when they are destroyed, as if there is nothing left of her now. Even the photo he is sending to Spock does not have her.
She is free to make of her life what she will as is this Spock. He believes she will be happy with his father. He believes his father will be happy with her.
He mourns for this world's Spock, who will never know what it is to love her, other than possibly as a parent.
He hopes this Spock does not realize too late what he could have had. But perhaps he will find a similar if different love with Nyota, one that endures over time to the point where he will never understand wanting another.
A sudden pain in his abdomen bends him double, and he rips off the medical sensor his Vulcan doctors have asked him to wear so they can monitor his health.
"Your monitor has been removed," a soft female voice says.
"Yes, I am going to shower." He has made it a habit to forget to put the monitor back on for hours after a shower. They think he is senile, not that he has been preparing for his death.
If they do not know he is dying, they cannot save his katra.
Once he thought his katra so important he imposed it on a friend with no warning and no care for how it might affect him. Perhaps this is his penance for that?
"Please do not forget to reactivate the monitor."
"Of course not." He sounds offended, the way his father did at the end in the memories Picard shared. An old man who would never do such a thing.
He slides down the wall and watches as the monitor goes into sleep mode.
His breathing becomes more ragged, the pain in his abdomen increases and something is wrong with his vision for there is a black vortex in front of him, like the black hole he opened with the red matter. It steadily grows as the pain becomes intolerable.
Then the black is everything, cold with a whistling sound that should not exist in a vacuum, and he closes his eyes and waits for what will come as the pain becomes the only thing he can feel.
Suddenly, even through closed eyelids, he can tell he is in a bright space. He feels...solid. But different.
Strong. Young. With absolutely no pain.
He opens his eyes and sees he is sitting on a biobed in sickbay. La'an and Pike are there as is M'Benga. Christine is explaining her research.
He knows this moment: it is the first day they met.
It is the day he first knew true love.
He fears this is just his mind, easing his way into the final moments of death. His version of the near-death experience so often reported. The tunnel was dark, not light, but here are the friends to lead him home.
Only she is speaking as he remembered, not giving him instructions for the afterlife. Holding up the hypospray, she says, "I modified it for you. But Vulcans are more complex and your half-human genome is unique. So... it might not last as long the first time."
He remembers the pain from her process—and her walking away to work on La'an.
But this time there is no pain. And she does not move away, smiling at him in a way he is sure she did not do that day, as she says, "I said it won't last as long the first time. Like how our bond lasted way longer the second time we did it. On Risa. With"—she leans in and whispers—"wigs and restraints and lace." She backs up and is smiling the exuberant smile he remembers from back then, before the loss and the pain. "Captain, do I have permission to make out with your science officer?"
"Sure, we don't really need to go on this mission anyway."
He is confused. Is this not his mind playing out the memory? "But Una?"
Chris grins. "Is in my quarters. Hopefully wearing very little."
"And..." What was the name of the woman on Talos IV? Ah, yes, "And Vina?"
"Is also in my quarters with hopefully very little on."
"They seem to get on really well," La'an says. "I'm more than a little jealous, sitting here waiting for my wife to finally show up." She hops off the biobed and walks over to him. "Overachieving landing in a brand-new universe, weren't you?"
"Yeah," Chris says. "That was a little over the top, Spock."
"I did not do it on purpose. I tried to minimize the damage."
"At ease, old friend. We're just jealous we didn't think of that. Let's give these lovebirds some privacy, La'an."
She gives him a very tight hug. "Nice to see you again, Dad." Then she begins to laugh. "I wanted to call you that so many times but chickened out. I think I may always call you that from here on out." She turns to go. "I'll be with my parents and brother. When you two get sick of each other, pop over. I'd love to introduce you to them, Spock."
Chris makes a face. "You don't need to pop over to my quarters any time soon because I'm a very, very busy man." His expression is so silly—and also happy—Spock cannot be embarrassed at his former captain's apparent sexual excesses. "But I'll let you know when the next Captain's Dinner is." He winks at him, then follows La'an out.
M'Benga begins to shimmer. "I need to go. Rukiya's giving me a tour of the universe. It is good to see you, Spock." And then he's gone.
"All alone in sickbay." Christine puts her hand on the meld points and the bond surges into life, and he feels almost overwhelmed with the sheer vitality of her and her love. "Whatever will we do in here?"
"Computer, lock sickbay doors."
"Oh, Spock." She fans herself as if about to faint. "Be still my heart."
"I will make love to you on every one of these beds."
"Pretty big talk for a dead guy."
"I am that? This is not my mind's attempt to create order out of the chaos of my body's death?"
"Nope, you're really dead. As a nurse, doctor, scientist and every other damn thing I've been, I'm qualified to say that."
He can feel her humor through the bond.
And her love.
"I've missed you so, Christine."
"I never left you. And kudos for letting the me of that other universe do her own thing."
"You often told me not to push."
"And you actually listened. Who knew?" She pushes him to his back and begins to pull off his pants. "Ready for paradise?"
"It will only be paradise if you are in it."
"Awww, you've been practicing those sweet nothings?"
"I have not. As you well know, I thought the afterlife would be being installed in a wall of other katras."
"True. Well, you're in luck because I'm not going anywhere and I'm way more interesting than a bunch of old katras." She begins to undo her jumpsuit.
"Please tell me there is lace under that."
"Now why would there be lace? Think I'd go and get all gussied up just because the love of my life decided to finally join us?"
"I believe the odds are in my favor, yes." He sits up, pulls her to him, and kisses her, a long and deeply passionate kiss. The bond surges as he touches her. It feels stronger here, more profound. "I love you. My life has been halved since you left me."
"I know." She strokes his hair gently. "I wanted you to find love again."
"It was not to be." He kisses her again, more lightly this time. "And now I have you again. So I do not need to." He lets her go. "Were you not doing something before I so rudely interrupted you?"
"Oh yeah." She slips her arms free and lets the jumpsuit slide to the floor.
Her lingerie is a color he is not sure he has ever seen before—or maybe he can now see farther on the electromagnetic spectrum? It is beautiful and delicate and covers very little of her.
And it is, most definitely, lace.