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

by Djinn



Part 8: How We Were Torn Apart


Spock watches Saavik as she moves around the beach house, carefully laying out place settings even though she is the guest of honor for this small brunch—and even though Valeris should be doing it but she is taking an extremely long time getting ready.


She and Saavik have long had a relationship of competition rather than regard. But it is not solely Valeris's doing; Saavik has never warmed to her. Even if she is not unkind.


Saavik keeps looking at him and then over at Christine as she unpacks the food they have ordered from Saavik's favorite restaurant.


He moves closer. "Daughter, you seem nervous for someone who has just graduated from a prestigious program at Stanford." And been accepted to the command track accelerated program for Starfleet. As a Vulcan, it is illogical to feel pride in her accomplishments but he does.


He knows Christine does as well.


"La'an is coming." She looks up as Christine walks over. "La'an is coming and I am concerned she will be uncomfortable."


"Why would she be uncomfortable, Saavikaam?" He looks over at Christine to see if she knows why Saavik is concerned, but she does the almost imperceptible shrug of "I have no knowledge of this issue" they have perfected over the years.


"She took me out last night to celebrate her being back from that mission and me graduating. I...I kissed her."


Neither he nor Christine speak.


"I know we consider her family, but she is not blood. I realize there is an age difference, but she is somewhere between humans and Vulcans when it comes to aging—both in youthfulness and how long she will live."


Christine nods. "Yes, a byproduct of all that bioengineering back in the day."


"But not an augmentation. Just who she is—just as Vulcans and Romulans and many other species live longer." She seems almost frantic to convince them.


Christine touches her cheek. "Was your kiss unwelcome? Is that why you are concerned?"


"No, she liked it—I could tell that. This is not my first woman. And I am a touch telepath, if not as skilled as a full Vulcan."


Spock lets his eyebrow rise; this is news to him that Saavik prefers women. Actually it is news to him that Saavik has been with anyone. She has become far more guarded—perhaps because she has deep feelings for a family friend? "You care for her?"


"I love her. I think she cares for me. But she's afraid of what you'll both think." She looks at them both. "Please, when she comes, take her aside. Tell her it's okay. I wish to pursue her."


Saavik so rarely asks for anything that Spock feels a pang. He also remembers what it was like when he realized what he felt for Christine—and how it made the regard he'd had for T'Pring seem like childish infatuation in comparison.


He looks at Christine, his eyebrow rising in "What do you think?" shorthand.


"Who are we to stand in the way of true love," she says softly, and he nods. "I'll talk to La'an."


He is relieved. This is not the kind of conversation in which he excels.


Saavik hugs her tightly. "Thank you."


"But, honey, La'an isn't really given to relationships. I can't promise that one kiss will equal her wanting anything more from you. She may just want to go back to being your unofficial aunt and forget the kiss ever happened."


As they once tried to forget their kiss never happened. As she—a woman who eschewed romantic relationships—fell in love with him quietly.


As he fell in love back.


He can envision the same happening for La'an and his daughter. Perhaps of the two of them, he is the more romantic?


The thought does not dismay him.


"I know," Saavik says softly. "But I just want to have the chance to find out. She's going to shut me down if she thinks she might lose us all over me."


"Christine will do what she can. The rest—the rest is up to La'an."


"What's up to La'an?" Valeris looks very pretty and he hopes that she has not taken all this time with her hair and makeup and garb because Jim is coming over. It is clear she has what Christine deems "a crush" on his friend.


"Nothing," Christine says. "Help your sister."


He hears her mutter, "Not my sister," at a level normally only those with Vulcan/Romulan hearing will be aware of.


But Christine surprises him, turning to look at her and saying, "This is your sister's day, Valeris. Say shit like that again and you'll be spending it in your room."


She is far too old to be sent to her room. But he can see Christine is not jesting. And he can also see Valeris knows it.


"Apologies. Jealousy is the hardest emotion to conquer." She looks at Saavik. "I am happy for you."


She too is graduating, but in a month. Her school runs later into the year than Stanford. Does she think they will not also celebrate her achievements—or her acceptance to Starfleet Academy—when it is time?


Saavik nods tersely. But her look says she does not believe Valeris.


There is a chime at the door and Spock looks over to see La'an being led in. "You two finish preparing the food."


"Do we not have servants for that?" Valeris smoothes down the dress she has picked. "I'll get t'boreth sauce all over this."


Saavik pushes her into the kitchen, telling her to quit being so entitled because nobody is going to do for her at the Academy.


"You do not know that. You haven't started yet."


Saavik looked over at him. "Tell her. She's annoying me."


"She is right, Valeris." He expects Christine to head over to La'an alone, but she pulls him with her.


"I am not accomplished at these sorts of things."


"She'll want both our blessings."


He sighs softly and she squeezes his hand and says, "It's hell when our children become adults."


"It is the way of things." But silently he agrees with her. He would rather Saavik were not involved with anyone, that she remained theirs. But this is not to be and it is illogical to hope for such a thing.


"La'an, come with us," Christine says as she lets go of him and takes La'an's arm, leading her to the office they both use while they are at the beach.


"Shit. She told you. I'm sorry. One minute we were laughing and drinking perhaps a little too much—for me anyway—and then she was kissing me." She looks...broken hearted is the only term Spock can come up with, even if the term is scientifically ridiculous.


"So you don't want her to pursue you?" Christine urges her to sit down. "Because she has told us she plans to."


"This was not what I intended." She looks down.


"La'an, do you have feelings for Saavik or not?" He tips her chin up. "We are not angry at you."


"Shouldn't you be? I've been like her aunt. The fun one who takes her awesome places." She doesn't pull away from him, as if she wants him to read her—to ascertain she is telling the truth. "I swear I never looked at her as a potential... I went away on a special project for six months and she was a girl. I came back and she's graduating and she's suddenly not a girl at all. She's this beautiful woman who's kissing me in the middle of a bar."


"You care for her. I can feel it. And you are interested in her. There is dissonance."


"Of course there is. I fucking babysat her."


"That was a while ago, La'an." Christine is laughing. "You're being really dramatic. Look, give her a chance if you like her. If she gets too intense and it's not what you want, let me know and I'll put an end to this if you can't."


"I can put an end to my own relationships."


"You have relationships?" he asks in surprise and Christine elbows him.


"Yes, I have relationships. I have all kinds. I just don't talk about them." She studies them. "It's really all right with you?"


"Yeah. Just, go slow, okay? For both your sakes." Christine gets up as the chime sounds again. "That'll be Jim. I need to get to him before Valeris does."


"You trust me but not him with your kid?"


Spock answers for her because she is already heading for the door. "It is complicated." The fact that Valeris is actually sixteen when everyone thinks her eighteen making it more so. He trusts Jim implicitly, but Valeris is wily in a way no Vulcan he has known is—so much like Angel in that regard.


Once they are alone, La'an moves closer. "You're sure it's okay for me to date Saavik?"


"It is what she wants. I have learned to get out of the way when she is running toward something. To do otherwise is to risk being knocked over."


He leads her out and sees Saavik waiting. She comes over immediately and says, "Do you want to walk on the beach until the others get here?"


"Yeah. We have things to talk about." La'an smiles and Spock thinks it is a good one—full of regard but also care. She will be good to his girl.


And Saavik loves with her entire being. If La'an is who she has chosen, he does not believe anything will get in their way.




Spock follows Jim through the darkened halls of Starfleet Academy. Summer session is in season and the cadets are on rotation and the staff mostly gone home for the night.


They are here because in lieu of a graduation gift, Valeris asked him for a tour of all the secret places she might not know about otherwise.


She wishes to be prepared but also she still lives in a world where surprises are never good and knowledge is power. Her command of logic is exemplary, her ability to interact with others masterful, but she does not like to cede control once she grasps it.


Jim being head of the Academy can get them in whenever he pleases. Christine is off world or she would be here too.


He suspects Valeris is enjoying having the two of them to herself, without another woman there.


This is worrying. Although Jim seems oblivious and still treats her like she's fourteen, insisting on calling her "Kiddo," which she detests.


She takes Jim's arm and says, "I have dreamed of walking these halls."


She has walked these halls, with him, many times. Also, he is not sure she has enough non-Vulcan blood to dream.


What she is saying to Jim is that she has dreamed of walking these halls with him. Spock allows himself a sigh.


Jim points out a quick route to the parade ground. "You'll never be late for drill." Then he eases away from her grip.


"Why did you do that?" She stops and stares at him. "Saavik got a romantic partner on her graduation. Why should I not also?"


"Saavik is twenty-two, Valeris. You are not." Spock's look should tell her in no uncertain terms he has not forgotten the age on her papers has been artificially advanced.


"I'm mature for my age. You've said so yourself."


Jim smiles easily. "Well, kiddo, I'm the definition of mature. I turn fifty in four months. Fifty and eighteen is not a good look for either of us."


"But I like you."


"We all have first crushes. I did too. My teacher junior year. Ms. Patel. Physics."


"And if this is not a crush?"


"Then welcome to the pain of heartbreak." He ruffles her hair in a decidedly non-romantic way. "I'm sorry, kiddo. It's just not going to happen. But, if you stop trying to seduce me, I'll show you a secret."


"I thought that's what you were doing."


"Others know about all of this stuff I'm showing you. Just not usually till they've been here a few years. But this place is really a secret." He grins at her. "Deal?"


"Fine. But you will be sorry when I find another and you realize you have missed your chance."


"I really hope you're wrong." He shares an amused look with Spock. "Come on."


He leads them to a spot Spock has often seen but never bothered with. A corridor that seems perpetually to be used only for storing equipment and furniture that is not needed. Then to a door, that says only, "433A."


It is a regular door, not automatic, and Jim opens it, leading them in. The room, like the hallway, is filled with excess things. "Once the Academy is in session, once you have a roommate, you'll never have a moment alone. It can get...overwhelming. I have no idea why they don't restore this wing other than where else would they put all the excess shit, but this place is somewhere to go to get away from it all." He closes the door behind them. "You can't tell now but it's soundproofed. If you need to scream or cry or whatever, it's here for you."


"What if I need to do none of those things."


He smiles in a way Spock is not sure he understands. "Someone will. And you'll be able to give them this."


"Ah. And win favor."


"I was thinking more you could be kind to someone who really needs it but sure, winning favor too."


"I am not sure this was a good trade for possibly securing your regard."


"It's the best you're going to get. You're too young for me. Age wise and experience wise. I'm old, Valeris. Tired and, honestly, more than a little bitter. Find someone who still has joy."


"Perhaps I could bring you joy."


"Yeah, ask Christine or Antonia how well that turned out." He looks down, obviously still hurt that Antonia refused to come to the city when he returned to Starfleet.


"Perhaps they were fools."


"No, Valeris. No, they weren't."


They leave the room and Valeris roams ahead as they take in the rest of the Academy. She occasionally asks questions but primarily seems intent on taking in this place when there is no one else here—gaining an advantage.


"Sorry about that, Spock."


"It is not your doing. She is...precocious."


"And she wants what Saavik has. Maybe too much? How far is she willing to go to get what she wants?"


"Far. But we have found channeling her energy into beneficial activities has taken that impulse and turned it in a direction not so selfish. But you handled her well. She never goes back on a deal."


"Good. She's going to be a heartbreaker, I think—but then what Vulcan isn't?" He grins at him. "You included. Stealing my woman..."


"You stole her first." It was a burr between them, now it is a game. Spock is glad Jim reached out to them when Christine was injured, that he did not let the distance between them fester.


"Guilty. Ah well, you're blissfully happy, right?"


"I believe we are. Content, I mean. Blissfully is a human goal." He allows his lips to tick up as Valeris runs back in sight.


"I found something I do not understand. Explain it?" She waves Jim over rather than taking his hand. Progress, as Spock said. She does not let promises go.


She is just difficult at times to extract the promises from.


He lets them go on ahead and trails behind, hearing the easy way they are talking. Like it was before Valeris decided she too must have a paramour.


Spock lets himself relax into a quiet that so rarely exists in this building. He enjoys his students immensely but the constant interaction can be wearing especially now that he is working with cadets in their last two years. They have made it through two years and lack the caution—or at times foolhardiness—of their younger peers. And their questions are no longer generalized but highly specific. He has to tailor answers for each individual as they plan their future not for an entire class just learning how to navigate the Academy and Starfleet protocols.


He finds Jim and Valeris looking over the strange lists of unique "accomplishments." Jim is listed for his Kobayashi Maru test. Spock can tell he is trying his best not to say that he cheated.


He appreciates that. Valeris is the last person who needs to know that is possible. Although she has not said she wishes to follow command track. She loves to pilot the family flitter and he has indulged her and called in favors to let her fly bigger craft, all of which she has excelled in.


Helm is an excellent career choice. And often leads to command track by default, experience trumping the need for a test of how someone handles a no-win situation.


Saavik however will take the test. He looks forward to seeing her solution. And how she takes the inevitable defeat.




The beach house is quiet, the windows open, and the curtains billow in as Spock lies with Christine in the bedroom they prefer.


Valeris is on Vulcan with his parents. Saavik is with La'an. They have the house to themselves.


Christine shifts and cuddles against him, her naked skin cool on his. "I can't believe summer is over. You'll have both of them with you." She pulls him down to her and kisses him deeply. "I'll get so lonely."


"I am not staying at the Academy. Other than the normal periodic training cruises, I will be here with you." He pushes her to her back and begins to lightly draw random patterns on her skin, making her shiver. "We will have the apartment to ourselves."


She starts to laugh. "Don't say that. You'll jinx us and another foundling will show up." Her smile tells him she probably would not mind.


"You are an excellent mother."


"For someone who never wanted kids, you mean?"


"By any metric." He studies her. "You froze your eggs, correct?"


She nods. "And all the men in our project donated sperm. Roger was convinced that everyone would want our genes. The man who eventually decided genes were inferior to circuitry." She shakes her head. "Why? About the eggs?"


"Do you ever think about having one that is biologically ours?"


"Do you?" She is grinning in the mischievous way he loves. "Is your biological clock ticking?"


"Honestly, no. Is yours?"


"No. But...I was thinking of donating them. There are women who can't conceive. Viable eggs can be modified. I could end up helping people."


"You already do that. Is this what you want or what you think you should do?"


She considers—she has never stopped considering instead of giving a quick answer when the question is important. Her mind is such a wonder to him. "Part of me wants to keep them. But why? I don't want to have a baby—I've raised two girls with you and we're in great spots career wise."


He nods.


"Can I ask you something sort of morbid?"


He nods.


"Would you ever want them for when I'm gone. To make a child that would have been ours?"


"The thought has occurred to me. But it seems wrong for you to not be there to raise the child. And they are your eggs, not mine. Do as you see fit with them."


"Not going to get all territorial over potential babies?"


"I am not. Over you, however." He pulls her onto him.


She laughs and holds his hands over his head. "I'm going to be the one getting territorial at the moment." She moves so she is positioned just right and sinks onto him.


He groans.


"But then I can see you have no issues with that." She moves carefully, slowly, taking him the way she wants to.


She is still so beautiful. Still everything he wants. He is glad that after all the false starts, they have found this beautiful connection.


"Cat got your tongue, Spock?"


"I was considering happiness. And love."


"I factor in those considerations?"


"Most assuredly."


She lets him go so he can pull her down to him and kiss her. Then he lets go, taking her with him, the bond pulsating between them like a song that never becomes tiresome on replay.


"You are all I want, Christine."


"You're all I want too, Spock."




The klaxons have stopped, and he imagines the flashing lights—but he can no longer see them. He sinks to the floor inside the reactor chamber and reaches for Christine, but gently. He does not want his death to hit her the way hers hit him.


He detects her at the periphery of his senses and slowly lets her feel what he does, let's her know he is in pain—is dying.


And he feels her on the other side. Frantic for a moment, then calm. He can imagine her asking him, "What do you need? How can I help?"


He is leaving her too soon. He was supposed to outlive her. He feels this coming from her and from himself.


"Take care of our daughters," he says in whispered words and in his mind, trying to send it to her across this vast distance between them. Their daughters. One of whom has performed in exemplary fashion on this voyage. A worthy legacy and he knows Valeris will be too.


That Christine will ensure it.


He senses her saying, "I love you, Spock."


"I love you too." It is the highest truth he knows at this point. That he loves her and he has since the first moment he saw her.


It is not logical to fall in love that fast but it is true he did.


And then he hears Jim's voice. He has one more thing to do. One final person to say goodbye to.


He can feel her with him, feel her love giving him strength, as he forces himself to his feet, pulls down his jacket, and goes to talk to his closest friend.


For the last time.




Spock works at the computer terminal, struggling to keep up with it as the three interfaces quiz him.


"Do not push it, my son."


He looks at his father and cocks his head the way his mother has told him he has since he was a child.


He was a child mere days ago. An infant and then a child and then a young man and then...this.


He has been told the integration will take time.


He has been told many things. He is unsure what any of the people telling him these things want from him.


He has learned to call his mother "Mother" and his father "Father" since it appears to mollify them. But he feels nothing for them, despite his mother telling him he does have feelings.


Must he have them? Is it not Vulcan to live as he is now, focusing on the how and why of problems that have nothing to do with emotions?


His father at least only ever inquires as to the state of his academic progression.


"I have reached level fifteen," he says, not meeting his father's eyes as he again tries to keep up with the computer. If he lags too long in answering, an alarm will sound. Then another if the other screens also are delayed by his hesitation.


It is most unsettling to have them announce to all within earshot that he is failing. So he tries harder.


Which is no doubt why the alarms are on the system in the first place. Logical: to avoid academic humiliation, the pupil will push past uncertainty.


Although a wrong answer elicits an even stronger alarm, so the pupil must push with caution.


"Most excellent, my son. I wanted to tell you Christine is on her way. Cartwright interceded on her behalf. As your mate, she must be allowed to see you."


He meets his father's eyes. "I have no mate."


"Not now, not with the bond broken, but it is an easy thing to reinstate. Once you are ready."


"And if I am not ready?"


He sees something on his father's face he cannot interpret—but most emotions are a mystery to him.


"Spock, she is a woman of extremely fine character who you had to wait for. A very long time. Trust me when I say you will want her back."


"And if I do not?"


"Then you will be a great fool. She is the mother of your daughters." Sarek's tone is harsh, bringing up memories Spock would prefer to push back down.


"I have checked the database. I have no blood children."


"Saavik is a member of our family by adoption. As true a daughter as blood."


Saavik is on Vulcan. She comes to see him but will not meet his eyes. Her scent—her scent is familiar in ways his parents' scents are not, but he does not know why.


"You said daughters plural."


His father hesitates. "Your cousin, Spock. Valeris, who you have taken in as your own. Do you not remember?"


He has seen a reference to a cousin named Valeris. Her parents were V'tosh Katur who had fled Vulcan; her entry into the Vulcan records late. How is she his daughter?


The terminal beeps the one warning he will get before the delay alarm sounds so he goes back to the test. There is so much he believes he should remember but cannot reach the answers.


Yet. He will master this. Will become who his parents have said he is.


"Spock, we must discuss Christine."


"Sarek, leave him alone." His mother's soft voice. She is human as apparently this woman his father says is his mate is as well.


There was no ceremony binding them. On Vulcan or on Earth. How important could she have been if he did not formalize their bond?


His father leaves, his steps coming down hard on the dirt floor.


"I think if I weren't around, he might challenge you for her." His mother's voice is light, full of the thing she calls humor. "Are you not intellectually curious about the woman you bonded with?"


He shakes his head without looking up from the terminal.


"Well maybe gin up some enthusiasm for getting to know her. She'll be here in two days, darling."


"Gin, a drink native to Earth. I do not understand your usage."


"Oh, Spock. You will."




He hears new footsteps but does not look up from the terminal.


"Hi," a soft voice, familiar, sounds from the door.


He looks up, expecting white blond hair but she is brunette like any Vulcan. Does he feel disappointment?


"I'm glad you're not dead."


"I should be. It was a series of fortuitous coincidences that brought me back to life."


"No. It was a madman setting off a device in a place it could not succeed and the unrelenting will of your best friend."


"As I said."


She moves toward him. "You shielded me from the shock of your dying. Took me with you slowly. Protected me."


"That was action well taken. Pain is not a desired state." He turns back to the terminal.


"Don't. Don't hide from me, Spock."


"I am not hiding. I am in plain sight. I am busy."


"Too busy to talk to me? Your...wife."


"We were never married. You were my mate. But tell me, how did we come to bond?"


She looks down. "You wanted one. I wouldn't. Until...until we had no choice."


"So you did not choose me, nor I you."


"You're oversimplifying."


"Perhaps." He finally puts the test on pause. "Would you want a man who does not want you?"


"No. But Sarek tells me you're a man in transition. What you remember today is not what you will remember a day from now, or two, or weeks. I truly believe the Spock I knew could not forget me. Any more than I could forget you."


He has images, the way memories come back. First faces or locations, then the context. Two men. One the man who stands at the base of the cliff and looks up at him with such longing—Jim. The other...?


He reaches for the name. "Korby. Jim." He sees her expression change. "You forgot me then. You did not want the bond. We never formalized our union. How mated were we, Commander Chapel?"




He stares at her.


"I brought you these. Copies of our favorites." She hands him a watertight package with photographs in them. "They may help you. Or they may just annoy you. But they'll spark something."


"Is it logical to try when there is nothing between us?"


She surprises him. She smiles very widely, her eyes sparkling. "I once told you there was nothing between us. It was a big fat lie." She moves closer but not uncomfortably so. "I believe you will remember me. Do you know why?"


He shakes his head.


"Because I am very charming, and you are completely missing it." Her smile changes. "I'll be here a few weeks. If you remember that reference, come see me." She turns on her heel and leaves him.


The remnants of her perfume linger. He is moved by the scent though he cannot say why.




He is making progress. Each day sees him going faster, getting less and less alarms for delays and wrong answers.


He is finishing his latest test when he hears footsteps.


"Family fucking meeting, Spock," Commander Chapel says as she walks in with Saavik and pushes against the other side of the computer console.


"We are not family."


"Not interested in your opinions right now." She reaches back and Saavik takes her hand, still not meeting his eyes. "So our girl has told me some things that happened on the Genesis planet."


They are not supposed to mention Genesis. This has been drilled into him by his father. Before he can correct her, she continues.


"On the planet, you went into Pon Farr. Way, way younger by the way then you did when you were first in that body."


He fails to see the significance of that. The planet accelerated his growth, why not his biological drives?


"You would have died." She puts her arm around Saavik's shoulder. "If our daughter had not saved you."


She looks up finally, her expression unreadable. This is why her scent is so familiar—he was with her.


"Our daughter who likes women. Our daughter who is half Romulan and throws off the normal contraceptives." She takes a deep breath. "Our daughter who is now pregnant."


He is silent for a moment, then says, "With my child."


Saavik finally speaks, "With your body's child. You were not there."


"A technicality. Genetically the child is mine." He studies Saavik's belly. She is not showing. From what he has learned of Vulcan physiology, she is very early in term. "We will bond."


"Fucking A, Spock. This is not why we're telling you this. Act like a goddamned father, not an idiot." Chapel walks around to him and he backs up. "What are we going to do about this?"


"We? This is not your child. Not in any way. We will do nothing. This is between Saavik and me."


"No, it's not. She's brought me in and I'm part of it."


"I will speak to my parents. We will set the bonding date."


"They already know," Saavik says, her tone more like Christine's than a Vulcan's. "They already know and understand why it happened. They will not support a bonding."


"Why it happened is irrelevant. That it did happen is not."


She steps forward, but stops behind Christine. Is she afraid of him? "Do you think I liked doing that? With you, of all people? I love you so much. But not like that. But you were dying so I did it. But I am not bonding with you."


He ignores her. "I will set the date."


"Christine. Make him listen."


"Spock, I want you to hear me. Your katra was in McCoy's mind—and nice to see you've learned and grown. He could have gone insane if Jim and Sarek hadn't figured out what was wrong with him. Your body was somewhere else. You were not in it. This is not your child."


"I disagree."


"And you plan to push a marriage?" She moves closer. "Or maybe just bond with her against her will?"


He does not answer. The logic is clear: this woman who is unrelated to him by blood carries his child. He has no children to carry his name and legacy. Now he will.


"Okay, I can see you're going to need some convincing. I didn't want to take it this far but I will."


"Take what how far?"


"You'll see. I just have to do some legwork." She leans in. "Gathering a team to handle a crisis is, after all, my specialty."


And then she turns, pushing Saavik in front of her so he has no chance to get to her, and leaves.


He debates if he should feel unsettled by her threat. He does not see why.


He can still smell their scents. Saavik's moves him more than Chapel's but neither evokes a truly emotional response. Only logic prevails in this case: he is in the right.


He hits the button that will begin the next test.




Spock hears Saavik's footsteps in the corridor and then Chapel's.


She moves toward them, again getting between him and Saavik. "We're going to talk."


"You have no place in this."


"You know, when I first met you, which is still locked up in there somewhere"—she actually dares to reach up and knock gently on his head; he immediately pats his hair down—"the thing I loved about you, other than your honesty, was that you immediately took me seriously. I never had to prove to you that I was smart or capable."


She takes a step closer and he backs up, then she does it again and again until he is pressed against the testing unit. "I want you to try to take it on faith that you were right."


He does not reply, but he also does not try to get past her.


"Good boy. Talking about this is clearly out so we're taking the nuclear option. We're just going to wait a few minutes here. We have guests joining us."


"I am busy."


"Go back to your test then. We'll just hang out here while you do your thing."


"I will wait."


"Performance anxiety?"


"Commander Chapel, it is not wise to provoke me." He takes a step toward her, then freezes because she has pulled out a phaser.


"Admittedly, that comment was low. But put yourself in my shoes."


'Why would I wish to?"


"Figure of speech, dork." She backs up and he realizes he could have knocked the phaser out of her hand.


There are more footsteps on the other side of the door. He sees his mother, looking resolute. The priestess who performed the fal-tor-pan.


And T'Pring?


"There's an old earth saying, Spock. The enemy of my enemy is my ally. And until you regain all of you and realize there's no way you want to bond with your daughter—"


"She is not blood related."


"I don't care. And I'm holding the weapon so let me finish."


He takes a deep, restorative breath.


"Until you snap out of it, you're my enemy. Since I'll do anything to protect our kids—a fact I do believe you will thank me for eventually—I needed witnesses to this."


"Not T'Pring."


"Absolutely T'Pring. She's the only one here all the time."


He looks at her, this woman he once was mated to, and she looks at him with something almost like pity. Then she goes over with his mother to stand with Saavik.


"Here's how this works, Spock. The child in our daughter's belly is not yours. Genetically, sure. But really? No."


"There is no logic in your words."


"That's because I haven't gotten to the part where it makes sense yet. You see, the boy who was on the Genesis Planet wasn't an empty shell."


He looks at Saavik. "You said—in the reports."


"I lied. To get the old you back." She looks down.


Christine takes a deep breath. "What was in your body was you but not you. The you that would have arisen naturally from your restoration. There would have been a Spock. Just not the Spock you are. Or were—and hopefully will be again."


This is news to him; he feels...thrown.


"Your mother and T'Pring are present as witnesses because what we have here is a case of mutually assured destruction."


"Between you and me?"


"No, between you and T'Lania. A priestess who knowingly overwrote a living sentient consciousness in order to restore Vulcan's favorite son. Without giving your father or mother the choice to simply put your katra where it would have gone normally—and let the new Spock develop. Your mother now knows but your father does not. We women here are willing to keep the secret, provided you recall your claim on Saavik and her baby."


"And if I do not? If I let T'Lania be exposed?"


T'Pring answers, "You will be declared an aberration—a result of her crimes. Your mind will be wiped and the old consciousness reinstated if possible. Or you may just be a body without a consciousness. Either way you will find yourself finally at Ankeshtan K'Til, which of course is under my control."


He looks at T'Lania and she nods. "I will be removed from my position."


"You will be under my control too if you are exposed. Anyone who could do that to an innocent is clearly in need of rehabilitation. I told you that you would live to regret the punishment you convinced T'Pau to impose on me after I challenged. That moment has come." She looks at Chapel. "I am in your debt, Christine."


Chapel hands Saavik the phaser and approaches him. "We will work this out as a family. But you relinquish your claim or I will start this Rube Goldberg shitshow."


"I do not know that reference."


"Let me simplify it then: I will fucking end you."


He realizes she means it; she will expose this horrible truth and he will be gone.


And he does not want to be. It is selfish but he does not want to be.


Despite that, he turns to the priestess. "You held my mind in yours during the Fal-tor-pan."




"If you were to wipe me at my request and try to find the original consciousness...?"


He hears his mother gasp.


"He was burned away in the fire of the ritual. There will be nothing left if your katra is removed."


"I see." He meets her eyes. "I owe you my life. And I find I do not see the logic in giving this restored life up if the wounded party cannot be returned."


She nods.


"Saavik, I relinquish all claim to you or your child."


T'Pring holds up a recorder. "And I have that on record. Just in case things change." She meets his eyes, but he cannot tell what she wants him to know from her look—he does not understand the emotions driving these women.


"Things will not change."


Chapel nods to T'Pring, who leads Saavik and his mother out. The priestess looks at Chapel with so much hatred he would count it as an emotional break. Then she too leaves.


He realizes Saavik gave Christine the phaser at some point because she has it pointing at him. "Are you afraid of me?"


"A little bit. Yeah. The Spock I knew would never have needed this intervention." She moves closer. "But one of the last things you told me before you died was to take care of our daughters. And I'm doing that. If you ever come back to your senses, you'll know that."


"You sounded more certain I would the first time we talked."


She looks up at him and he sees her eyes are wet. She holds the phaser out to him. "Would you do it? Would you kill me for what I've just done?"


He takes the phaser and examines it, then puts it back in her hands. "No."


She sobs as she puts the phaser into her pocket.


"Your hair was blonde."




"I preferred it that way." Why is he saying such an irrelevant thing?


"Well, find your way back to me and it can be blonde again." She is staring at him in a way he cannot describe, as if she can infuse something into him by will alone. "If you don't find your way back to me; if I'm not what you want, then I wish you well." Water slips down her cheek.


He remembers another time it fell that way. In quarters bounded by durasteel and lit by flickering lamps. "It would be illogical to protest against our natures." He meets her eyes. "Christine."


He shakes his head. These types of remembrances are unnerving. The things he feels are too much.


But she is smiling and wipes her face. "I'll see you around, Spock. I have to go back to Earth. Honor your promise."


"I will." He has made it; he will keep it.




Two months go by. Months where memories keep flooding back. He is putting the pieces of himself back together even if it is difficult to meld the emotion he can sense he once felt with the people and events he remembers.


He goes to see Saavik, who is clearly avoiding him. She is not showing but her scent has changed subtly. And it changes even more when she sees him at her door, when alarm overcomes her.


"I am here"—he coughs to clear his throat; he has not spoken to anything but the computer in days—"to apologize." He moves closer. "Saavikaam."


She launches herself into his arms and he holds her awkwardly as she cries. He vaguely remembers stroking her hair when she was younger so he does that and she holds him more tightly.


"I owe you my life. I regret any pain you carry because of your actions. Any additional pain I have caused. Nuances were not...clear when I first awoke."


"I know. I know, Spock."


This is not his child: it is his grandchild. He must think of it that way.


A memory floods him; Christine saying another foundling might come to them. Was she right?


But there is no them. He is not with Christine—Chapel. Names are confusing. So much significance put on first names with humans.


Saavik slowly pulls away. "I got your robe wet."


"It is of no consequence."


"You used to say that when I was little." She swallows hard. "Valeris wanted to come but she's still in classes."


"I do not understand why a cousin would be of such importance to me? Especially one who was V'tosh Katur."


"You may not know the whole story. But soon. When grandfather thinks you're ready—if it doesn't come back to you naturally."


"Why did you not enlist his aid when I was pressing you?"


"Because you and he have a somewhat fraught relationship. We all thought it better to leave him out."


"Even T'Pring?"


She nods. "I really like her by the way. She's checked on me every day."


He remembers her threat, that he would come to her voluntarily or be called back by the Pon Farr. "She is not to be trusted." But is she not? She protected his daughter—from him.


"Are we all right, Spock?"


"If you forgive me, we are."


"And if you forgive me. We put you at risk."


"T'Lania is a political creature. She will not act against me. And T'Pring will not either when it punishes T'Lania. And I do not believe I need to concern myself with you or Chapel or my mother betraying me."


"Christine, Spock. Call her Christine."


"I am not sure I wish to. Our bond was not chosen by us but by circumstance."


"Who cares? You were happy. You loved her. You can again." She makes a face. "Your baby is not easy to carry." Then she runs for her bathroom. "Go, you don't want to listen to this."


He hears the sound of vomiting and takes her at her word, leaving quickly. He finds his mother and sees her smile as he walks into her private rooms.


"You look more like my boy."


He cocks an eyebrow.


"Even with that 'more logical than thou' look on your face."


He sits near her. "I realize what I wanted from Saavik was wrong."


"Good. I knew you would."


"Then why support Chapel in her 'nuclear option'?"


She takes his hand and he feels the warmth of her regard flowing into him. "Because you weren't yourself. And you've always been unilateral and impulsive when you think you are on the right path."


"I see." He pulls his hand away.


"It's not a condemnation, darling. Just the truth."




Spock is back at the terminal, progressing rapidly now. He never hears the alarms anymore, and the questions continue to increase in difficulty.


He feels satisfaction at his progress. And at how Saavik no longer avoids him. He is remembering how she came to be in his life.


And with those memories, come glimpses of Christine. Smiling, angry, hurt, laughing.


He has a hard time thinking of her as Commander Chapel any longer. Not when memories of their time together assail him.


He hears footsteps he does not recognize at first coming down the corridor. Then he realizes who it is—that martial step, so controlled.


La'an walks into the room without asking for entry. "So, your brains all back where they should be?"


"My brain was never in question. It is my mind—my essence—I strive to reintegrate."


She smiles. "Never say it the easy way when you can say it the hard way. Don't worry, I'm not going to hug you. I imagine people are."


"They are." He studies her. There is a glint in her eye. "Are you here to challenge me for Saavik?"


"Well, I would have been if you hadn't come to your senses. But no, I'm here for a different reason. The first is to see Saavik of course."


He nods understanding.


"The second is to ask you for her hand."


He is unsure what to say.


"If it makes you feel better about making this kind of decision, I've already asked Christine and she's said yes. So you saying yes is pretty much just a formality."


He remembers her on the floor of his apartment, Valeris huddled over her. Betrayal—but of whom. Ah...yes, Una. But forgiveness. For all of them.


"Would you ask me this if there were no child?"


"Funny—Christine asked me the same thing." Her look changes.


"She did not say yes, did she?"


La'an starts to pace. "Umm, well, she did but not for right away. Give it time. Move in together. See how raising a baby together goes." She meets his eyes. "You're more traditional."


"Also not myself."


She laughs. "I know. But still, in my family this is how we did things. I want to marry her. I want to take care of her. She's been through a lot."


"I will leave it to Christine. She..." He sees her in his memories with the girls. How good she was—how easily she made decisions about emotionally laden things. "She excels at this."


La'an is grinning in a way he does not think appropriate for the answer he has given. "Guess someone's getting his memory back. Falling back on the wife to do the heavy lifting on the messy stuff."


"She is not my wi—" But he can remember the bond, he can remember losing her. How that felt. Parted from him and never parted—until she was parted from him.


Until he was parted from her.


La'an is still grinning. "Saavik and I are just moving in together. I take back my request and I never asked Christine. I just wanted to see if you were still in there."


"Am I?"


"Well, I think so. And strangely enough so does she. She loves you, Spock. Don't hurt her or I will challenge you. And I'll win."


"I am stronger."


"I fight dirty."




She gestures toward the computer. "Can I see what you were doing? It sounded hard."


He leads her around. "It is a matter of focus."


"Show me."


He turns on the test and it resumes as if there had been no break. He begins to answer and a few minutes in, she says, "Turn it off."


He does as she says.


"Holy shit, Spock. This is what you've been doing?"


He nods.


"Color me impressed. But then how many people come back from the dead?" She walks back to the main part of the room and begins to pace. "I'm going to be co-raising your kid. It's going to be weird."


He wonders if she knows the secret—about the other Spock he overwrote. He will not tell her if Saavik has not. It is her experience to relate, not his.


"But we'll figure it out, right? Because we both love her."


"Love is an emotion."


"Yeah, one you experience—and you'll know that once you remember. Oh in case you've forgotten, Christine likes plumeria, not roses."


"Why would her preference in flowers matter?"


"When you remember that, you'll really be getting somewhere. Well, I need to get back to my girl." She heads for the door but at the last moment turns. "Someday, I really will ask you for her hand. I wasn't lying about that being how my people did things."


"You do not know if you will take to parenting." But he remembers a child, rescued from the Gorn. How La'an found the child's people when she could have handed her over to personnel who did that professionally.


She will be good to his son or daughter.


To his grandson or granddaughter.


This will be confusing.




Gracie's words ring in Spock's ears as he walks down the halls of Starfleet Academy to Valeris's quarters. You are incomplete.


The cetacean had seen the truth of him.


He finds Valeris alone and she looks up and fails to hide her shock. But she does not get up, does not run to him, says only, "So you are back."


"I am. You are angry." He reaches for her but she gets up quickly and goes to the window, staring out of it.


"Do you know what it's like to have everyone abandon you?" She turns back and her face is hard. "You, Saavik, La'an, Jim, my grandparents—other than Sarek coming back at Christine's behest, certainly not for me. Did any of you even think of me?"


He is not sure how to answer that. His memories of her were slow to form. He had believed for a long time the story that she was his cousin, not his niece.


Which is a relief in some ways. It is a convincing fabrication to an outside observer.


"Fortunately Admiral Cartwright took me under his wing. We bonded over our shared hatred of Klingons." Her eyes are hard.


"Valeris, I regret you were excluded. But you were in class. Would you have wanted to leave something you are excelling at simply to watch me work at a terminal?"


"And be with Saavik—you think I don't know she's pregnant? Or why La'an is suddenly stationed on Vulcan in some completely irregular billet?"


He tries to hide a smile. Saavik achieved that, not La'an. She noted to Starfleet that she would be able to forget about Genesis much easier with La'an by her side.


"What is so funny about what I just said? I thought you loved me and you just...forgot about me. All of you did."


"That is not true. Christine has been here nearly the entire time."


"Do you know how much she's hurting? Do you think I would impose myself on that?" She blinks hard and he realizes she is crying. He has not seen her cry in years. "She's hurting and I could not make it better. I just wanted to take away her pain."


"No one can do that."


"Some can." She has a defiant look in her eyes. "Just because you do not know how does not mean it cannot be done."


"Who are you referring to?"


"No one that you'd care about. No one that will help me. So who cares?" She tries to push past him but he stops her, pulls her in for a hug and holds her as she fights him.


"I am sorry, Valeris. I am sorry how it unfolded. That you were left out. That I did not reach out—but I could not. I—I simply was not there yet. The part of me that could care for you again was gone until now."


"But you care now?"


"I do." He strokes her hair. "Would you like to see the new ship?"


"Yes. But are you not going to go to Christine first?"


"She is in meetings all afternoon."


"Oh." She pulls away, out of his arms. "So this was never about me. Just killing time until the person you really want to see is available."


"Valeris, please. It is not that way. I was coming to you too. Just perhaps not in this order. She was my mate. It would be beneficial for you too if I were to reconcile with her."


She lifts her head. "Maybe she'd be better off with Cartwright."


"I will not argue that one way or the other. But we both know she is not interested in him."


"Jim, then."


"Stop, Valeris. You are angry at me and at the rest of us. I understand."


"I am less angry than hurt. I have spent my whole life on the outside looking in. With my mothers and father. Now with all of you. Where is the place I belong?"


"It is here. With us. These were unusual circumstances. Put aside your emotions and see the logic of what I say."


She shakes her head. "Logic failed me on this so I'm just going to be upset for a while. No one else will know. And yes, I want to see your ship."


He pulls her in again. "Are you still number one in your class?"


"Of course."




He sees Christine coming down the corridor and rises. Her smile is wary.


"I have taken Valeris on a tour of the ship."


"Good. She's pissed at all of us."


"Yes. That was clear."


She seems to relax and motions him into her office. "You seem more yourself."


"I am. The mission to find the whales was very useful in reestablishing priorities."


"Interesting. Am I a priority now?"


"You are. Do you know why?"


She shakes her head.


"Because you are very charming, and I am completely missing it."


Her smile is breathtaking. He wants to pull her to him but she has her desk between them.


"It occurs to me, Spock, that you have never had to woo me. You won my heart while you were with another woman, and once she was out of the picture, we came together with no work on your part. Then again, after Jim and I split up, the bond led me back to you."


"There is no bond to do that."


"I miss the bond. I know I didn't want it, but now I do. However, if you want that too, you'll have to woo me." Someone yells, "Chapel, come on!" and she pulls him to her and kisses him.


He pulls her closer, relishing the feel of her against him. "Does this qualify as wooing?"


"It does not. But I wanted that out of the way because you're going out on your ship and I'm going out on a mission and neither of us is allowed to die. Got it?"


"Got it."


She rests her hand on his cheek and he feels her emotions pulsing into him: happiness, amusement, and love.


"How long must I woo you?"


"Until I say." She pulls away but he eases her back and kisses her more passionately.


"Chapel, God damn it, you have a mission to—oh." Cartwright stands outside the door.


Spock lets her go and turns to him. "I appreciate you looking out for my cousin. I know she felt abandoned."


"She did. But we found a lot of common interests. It was no hardship."


"We both appreciate it, Matt." She smiles at him but in a way that is not romantic—to Spock's relief. Valeris's words had begun to eat at him.


"I have to go. Good luck on the shakedown cruise." She grabs a carryall he did not notice when he first walked in and runs out.


"Good to have you back among the living, Spock. Fucking Klingons."


"It was Khan who killed me."


"It was the Klingons who almost ruined Jim's 'I have the biggest balls in Starfleet' rescue plan. And they haven't shut up since."


He was not there so he cannot argue. Or at least his mind was not there.


But someone else's was. That thought haunts him. Even if every day he buries it deeper.


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