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Originally published in T'hy'la #30.  I hated how ST: Generations ended -- this is my attempt to rectify the situation.

“Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.”

……….Isaac Asimov………

 

“I have become comfortably numb.”

………..Pink Floyd………

 

 

He blinked his eyes and the rustic kitchen came into focus.  He blinked again to dispel the momentary dizziness and leaned lightly on the counter in front of him.  The sense of disorientation faded as quickly as it had come.  He was holding a spatula in his right hand and a salt shaker in his left.  The smell of cooking eggs perfumed the air and he heard the insistent beep of the food replicator, the scent of freshly toasted bread swirling into his consciousness. 

 

This was not a new scenario for him.  It was one that had been played out a dozen /…hundred, thousand.../ times.  He had no way of knowing because each time seemed new and yet familiar at the same time.

 

 The kitchen was identical to one in the mountain cabin that he had once owned on Earth, down to the pattern of dishes in the cabinets.  He remembered purchasing them in a small antique store in San Francisco about ten years ago. /…no, much longer…/

 

He turned towards the stove knowing that the eggs were on the verge of scorching.  He plied his spatula, flipping them easily without breaking the yolks.  He set toast, jam, and a small pot of tea with two cups on a waiting tray, and swirled the eggs in the pan before easing them onto a plate.  He broke a flower from an arrangement in a vase on the windowsill and added it to the tray, pleased with the effect.

 

Breakfast in bed.  But for whom?

 

Starting up the narrow wooden stairs to the sleeping loft, the fifth step creaked softly as it always did. 

 

“Come on Jim, I’m starving.  How long are you going to be rattling around in that kitchen?”

 

A woman’s voice.

 

Her name was…Antonia.

 

And she said the same thing each time. 

 

He had no memory of her, at least no memory of a real person named Antonia.  As far as he knew, she was a character in a book that he had read.  Sometimes he remembered this fact; other times her name and origin escaped his memory, only to nag at the edge of his perception.

 

He paused on the step, head just below the level of the loft floor. 

 

Chris Chapel had been reading one in her never ending series of romance novels in the rec room.  He had been gently teasing her about her choice of literature when she tossed the padd across the table and snorted, “How do you know, if you’ve never read one, sir?”

 

He had snatched it up, laughing.  The gauntlet had been thrown down and never let it be said that Captain James Kirk of the Enterprise ever backed away from a challenge, no matter how small.

 

The story was neither better nor worse than he had anticipated.  He had endured Spock’s raised eyebrow when he saw the title of the padd on the Captain’s desk because  he secretly enjoyed the idea of reading “junk” -- his term, not Spock’s and certainly not Chris’.  He had returned the novel to her with a heartfelt “thanks but no thanks” when offered another in the series.

 

The book had been a reprint of a series that had been popular some three hundred years earlier. He could no longer remember the exact title of the romance, but Antonia had been the name of the heroine, a flame haired beauty who had been seduced by a dark lord who inexplicably reminded him of his Vulcan First Officer.

 

He had never seen the Antonia in his loft.  He imagined that she was sprawled naked in the double bed, comforter tucked securely over large firm breasts, titian hair fanned over the pillow, moist inviting lips parted, awaiting his kiss.  He had often been tempted to climb those last six steps and join her on the big fluffy bed, but he stopped on the fifth step each time to contemplate her source. 

 

He didn’t know why his mind had seized upon this snippet of romance novel triviality, but it did so with seeming regularity.

 

He blinked and the cabin was gone.

 

He was holding the bridle of a large chestnut mare, leading her out of a stall.  This was familiar as well.  The stable once belonged to his uncle and was located not far from the Kirk farm in Iowa.  The mare’s name was Star of India, Star for short.  She arched her neck, snorted delicately and followed him into the saddling enclosure, allowing him to drape the western type saddle over her back and tighten the girth under her belly. 

 

He swung up into the saddle, noticing for the first time that he wore the pants, shirt and vest of his last Starfleet uniform.  Although there was frost on the grass, he felt warmed by the early morning sun.  Touching his heels lightly into her sides, and using his knees to guide her, he trotted easily out of the farmyard and down the dirt road. 

 

For the hundredth /…thousandth, millionth…/  time he thought about heaven, hell and this unending purgatory that comprised his current state of existence. 

 

From what he could remember, his last moment of conscious thought before becoming part of this…astral plane (an adequate description for the lack of any other)…was of the Enterprise-B.  Not his Enterprise, but another’s.  He was an outsider, a visitor, a dignitary for God’s sake.  He remembered his contempt for the pencil pushing desk jockeys that Starfleet trotted out for special occasions and had often joked with Bones to “shoot me if I ever get like that”.

 

Some cosmic joker had taken him at his word.  He hadn’t been shot but slung ignobly into space, the entire bulkhead evaporating before his eyes, with no time to take a last deep breath before hurtling through the breech into the icy silence of space.  Then he had blinked and the world swirled and coalesced into soft tones of gold and green and blue.  A cornfield.  A comfortable memory of idyllic childhood days in Iowa.

 

His existence became a slideshow entitled “The Life and Times of Jim Kirk:  Small Town Boy Makes Good as a Galactic Hero”.  Each scene contained a fragment of memory, a wisp of a wish, with himself as a somewhat disinterested and ambiguously curious observer.  He felt no desire to linger in any of the landscapes that unfolded with the blink of an eye, nor was he anxious to move on to the next prospect.  It was what it was.  Kaiidth, as Spock would have said.

 

He slowed the horse to a gentle walk, swaying in rhythm as she picked her way gracefully down the road.  The panorama was heavenly, even if the reality was not.  He had intended to make this property his home base the week after the dedication ceremony aboard the “B”. 

 

Of course, circumstances had changed and he vaguely wondered what had happened to his possessions after his disappearance /…death?.../.  He had left provisions in his Last Will and Testament for the bulk of his estate to go to his nephew Peter and all of his personal belongings to Spock for disposition as he saw fit.  Would Spock have been sentimental enough to keep his things or had they been tossed as useless pieces of rubbish with no purpose to anyone but their late owner.  Perhaps his library of antique books would have been of interest to his friend.  And his personal logs, although the staid Vulcan would have blushed to the tips of his exquisitely pointed ears to hear some of the entries that had been made about him.

 

He pulled the horse to a stop, not wanting to continue his journey or his current train of thought.

 

There was a large shade tree nearby; but of course there was always a large shade tree nearby when he required one.  The day had also grown warmer, more summer-like.  He slipped from the chestnut’s back, not bothering to tie her reins to a nearby branch.  She would be there when he wanted her.

 

Perhaps they would try to jump the ravine again.  He remembered jumping it once before in the company of another captain.  He sat with his back against the tree trunk, surveying the sun dappled fields surrounding him.  He missed the sounds of nature in this all too sterile version, and as if on cue, birds began to chirp in the branches above him and a breeze ruffled the lock of hair falling over his forehead.

 

Picard.  That was his name.  Captain of the Enterprise from the twenty-fourth century.  A man on a mission.  He couldn’t remember exactly what Picard had required from him, and sincerely hoped that he had been of some assistance.

 

The news of his death /…disappearance?.../ didn’t shock him.  That nearly eighty years had passed since the accident that took his life filled him with a fleeting moment of disquiet and anger over his premature demise.  By all rights he should have, at that point in time, be ending a very long and fruitful life spent in the company of friends and family.  /…Spock…/  His anger dissipated as quickly as it came.  Sustained emotion seemed as impossible as the impermanence of his surroundings.

 

Picard.  Not an easy man to like, with an aura of authority worn like a suit of armor – obvious to the eye and not easy to penetrate.  His usual charm had no effect and he felt that, in Picard’s opinion, the man ‘Kirk’ did not live up to the myth.  No matter.  His services had been required and he was vaguely pleased that he had not been forgotten with the passage of time.

 

As the present captain of the Enterprise had outlined his plans /...Soren.../, he had felt admiration for the cold logic of Picard’s tactics and strategy.  Very Vulcan-like and he had complemented Picard as such, earning what he was sure was a rare smile. 

 

“How ironic.  Spock compared me to you,” Picard had commented dryly, “but only after I had accused him of cowboy diplomacy.”

 

/…Spock…/

 

His interest /…excitement…/ must have been evident, as Picard was only too willing to tell him of Spock’s efforts to reunify the Vulcan and Romulan peoples.  Spock had returned to Romulus to oversee the opening of diplomatic relations between the two groups.  Picard had high regard for Spock’s political skills but was rather vague about the Vulcan Ambassador’s current personal life. 

 

He had no idea how much time had passed since Picard’s visit or if Spock was still alive.

 

He stretched out comfortably against the tree trunk, body cradled by the thick roots.  With the warm sun on his face, he closed his eyes and fell asleep.

 

“Captain.  It is your move.”

 

He started awake, a blink to recover his equilibrium.  The voice sounded far away, underwater. 

 

“Jim, are you all right?”  Clearer.  A blue streak appeared in his telescoped field of vision.  A warm weight rested on his forearm.

 

Another blink and the blue solidified into an arm clad in the Science tunic of his first command, the weight caused by long tapered fingers of the palest shade of green.   

 

“Jim?” Deep soft baritone voice.  Caressing.

 

/…Spock…ohSpock…no…/

 

He raised his head slowly, looking every where but at the face hovering at the periphery of his vision.  Spock’s cabin.  Red draperies.  Fire idol.  Heat.  A tri-di chess set with a game in progress.

 

He closed his eyes, willing the scene to change.

 

/…notSpock…please…no…/ 

 

Spock, but not Spock.  His Vulcan First Officer in image only.  That tenuous thread of a link that had defined their relationship was missing.  He could see Spock, converse with him, but couldn’t feel him.  This Spock was a poor substitute.

 

The link had never been part of his conscious mind, unnoticed until it was gone, snapped with the disappearance of the bulkhead on the “B”.  He and Spock had been masters of unspoken conversation and he had marveled over the years at their ability to commune with a glance, a touch, a raised eyebrow.  Words hadn’t seemed necessary and things left unsaid were tacitly understood by both. 

 

They had spent their entire adult lives together bound by assumptions.  He had taken his life with Spock for granted.  He understood now that the phrase ‘all the time in the world’ was the cruelest fantasy of them all.

 

There was a rustle of cloth and he felt heat from the Vulcan body near his thigh.

 

“Captain, are you ill?”

 

He sighed and opened his eyes, daring for the first time to look at the man kneeling next to his chair.

 

Spock.  How young he was.  Pure.  Uncorrupted by his first pon farr.  Unscarred by three years at Gol.  Before death and resurrection.  So seductively beautiful. 

 

This was only one of the many incarnations of Spock that appeared to him.  The “Virgin Vulcan”: so youthful and innocent, yet insecure and confused about his budding sexuality.  This Spock had driven the women /…Captain…/ of the Enterprise mad with desire.  So unattainable and aloof. 

 

So fuckable.

 

“Fine, Spock. I’m fine.”

 

But he wasn’t.  The sight of Spock shook him to the core as it always did. 

 

The Vulcan gracefully rose to his feet and returned to the opposite side of the desk.  Settling in his chair, Spock observed his captain over steepled fingers, waiting.

 

The object of the Vulcan’s attention felt vaguely disgusted with himself.  He would use this Spock as he had used all the others to satisfy his myriad and unrequited sexual fantasies.  On this plane, Spock was receptive to his advances and in some personifications had actually initiated sexual contact.

 

Nothing of that sort had ever happened before his death.   /…let’s call a spade a spade, James T…you’re DEAD…/  He and Spock had danced around their feelings in an unceasing waltz of denial, except the music had finally stopped when he was blown through a hole into the infinite vastness of space.

 

 He now danced alone in silence.

 

The Vulcan raised one eyebrow, questioningly.

 

He answered, “I’m a little stressed tonight.  Not focusing as well as I should on the game.  Guess it’s pretty obvious.”

 

There was no reason for courtship.  He could just as easily fuck the Vulcan without the words and motions associated with intimacy.  But it was Spock, if only in appearance, and deserved some consideration. 

 

“Perhaps a therapeutic massage would ease your muscular tension, if you would permit me?”  An elegant gesture towards the crimson draped bed.

 

Familiar territory.  He had been the recipient of Spock’s massages from the first months of his captaincy.  In reality, they had been nothing more than a thorough kneading of tired, aching muscles.  On this level of existence, a massage was a brief prelude to sexual intercourse.  He could feel his body begin to respond.

 

Too quick.  Too easy.  Too wrong.

 

He moved into the darkened sleeping area, removing his command gold shirt in the process.  He dropped it on the floor and knelt on the edge of the soft mattress, lowering his body face down onto the intricately woven spread. He closed his eyes.

 

Kafeh, you will attend me.”

 

Slave.  He rolled onto his back, vision blurred by momentary confusion and darkness, and blinked.

 

Spock stood next to the bed dressed in mud-spattered leather pants and jerkin.  A dark blue cloak was thrown carelessly over his shoulders, long, black hair falling in tangled waves to his waist.

 

This was “Master Spock” – born, he believed, of his unconscious desire for punishment.  The Master usually came swiftly on the heels of the Virgin, as if to protect the most innocent aspect of Spock from the Captain’s rampaging libido.

 

He quickly came to his feet, unwilling to test the temper of the tall Vulcan.  His uniform was gone, replaced with a thigh length white tunic.  The First Officer’s cabin was now a large canvas pavilion, with a small fire and a bed of furs.

 

And Spock…oh, what a Spock this was, glaring down at him with imperious hooded eyes.  Regal and untamed, a warrior king in all his Pre-Reform magnificence. The Vulcan tossed his thick mane of hair back, long lean muscles rippling under tight leather. 

 

Komihnsu, attend!”

 

Human slave, Vulcan master.  He knew his part, a role that had been played out before. The cloak was drawn from the broad shoulders and draped over a chair near the entrance.  He poured a goblet of something dark and pungent and sinking to his knees, offered it to Spock with downcast eyes and trembling hands.

 

The goblet was lifted to sensuous lips, the strong wine staining them dark red.  The Vulcan drank his fill, and then pressed the cup to the lips of the human kneeling before him.

 

 “Pi’kelek-aushfa.”  Little pet. 

 

He swallowed, choking on the stream of heady liquid that spilled down his chin, ran down his neck, and stained the white tunic.  Spock laughed and pulled the cup back.  A long finger lifted a stray drop from the human’s lips and lifted it to his own.  The goblet was cast aside and the slave’s arms were seized as he was lifted to his feet and pulled into a rough embrace.

 

Bloodlust.  In celebration of a good hunt, a good kill.  No love here.

 

A velvet tongue licked down the side of his throat, following the path of the spilled wine.  He knew not to struggle.  He stood, compliant, accepting of the warrior’s attentions.  Hot hands kneaded his bare buttocks, lifting the tunic above his waist.  A leather-clad knee wedged itself between his legs, warm thigh pressing against his penis. He slid up and down the muscular leg, rubbing his growing erection against the soft leather.

 

“Kroykah…”  A murmur next to his jaw and a sharp nip on his earlobe.  Spock stepped back causing his slave to stumble forward while grasping blindly for the warm body. 

 

Kroykah!”  A sharp command. His reaching hands were slapped away.

 

He stopped and stood still, cock arching out, all too aware of his exposure.  He looked up at his Master, lashes shielding his gaze from the black eyes assessing his body.  There was no love in the look that raked his form.  Indeed, there was no emotion at all, save lust.  It was better this way; perhaps life had always been better without emotional entanglements.  Nameless, faceless, anonymous sex with no repercussions or regrets.

 

Except for Spock.  Those regrets ran deep. 

 

The Vulcan circled him, predatory, a hand reaching out to tease his ass, stroke lightly up his penis, to trail a finger across his lips.

 

He heard himself groan, earning a sharp slap across his quivering buttocks.  He flinched, and the hot hand fell again.  He bit his lip to keep from crying out and steeled himself for another blow.

 

It never came.  The hand instead caressed him, soothing the sting.  A finger ran tantalizingly down the crack of his ass and then withdrew.  He waited, silent and still.  A solitary tear ran down his cheek, fell off his chin and onto the tunic bunched under his arms.  He could feel the heat from his Master’s body as it once again circled him.

 

A hand tilted his chin up and he opened his eyes.  The Vulcan was standing in front of him, unlacing the front of the leather pants.  He knelt in front of Spock, his hands brushing away those of the Vulcan.  He pulled the laces loose, caressing the flat stomach, feeling the coarse hair under his palm.  He followed the path of dark curls downward, fingers twining through the wiry black strands.

 

He paused, looking up into the face above him.  A curtain of raven hair had fallen forward, casting a shadow across the Vulcan’s eyes.  It made no difference; no matter what the expression, there would not have been any depth of feeling. 

 

Spock‘s hips jerked impatiently.  A strong hand gripped his hair, forcing his face into the hot groin, rubbing his cheek against scalding flesh as the Vulcan pulled the erect cock free of imprisoning leather.  Spock stood, like some dark, vengeful deity, towering over him with legs braced apart.

 

Spolau.”  Suck.

 

He leaned forward, touching the small slit at the tip with his tongue.  He drew the entire head into his mouth, feeling the double ridges flare against his palate.  He suckled it gently for a minute until the Vulcan, annoyed with tenderness, pushed forward, burying the column of jade deep into his throat.  He gagged, breathing raggedly through his nose. The Vulcan stilled until tense throat muscles relaxed enough to accommodate the rigid bulk.  Spock’s scent filled his senses:  musk, spice, sweat, just as he had always imagined.

 

As if sensing his acceptance, Spock began thrust slowly into his mouth, hands resting on the back of his head, caressing lightly.  He relaxed his jaw, grazing his teeth lightly along the length as it pulled back almost to his lips, allowing his tongue to stroke the prominent vein on the underside as it pushed forward into his throat.  The Vulcan combed strong hot fingers through his hair. 

 

Takov-kan-bu.”  Pretty baby.  Soft murmurs as the tempo of the lean muscular hips quickened. 

 

He wrapped one arm around the Vulcan’s powerful thighs, his hand cupping and squeezing the small tight buttocks that flexed under his touch.  He ran his thumb down the cleft between the two mounds, pushing the loosened leather into the crack.  He could feel the tense muscles jump beneath his fingers as his thumb reached the opening to the Vulcan’s body.  He massaged it gently, rubbing the soft animal skin against it.  The Vulcan groaned, head falling back, long midnight hair tangling with manipulating fingers.

 

The Vulcan’s hips bucked, driving the member deeper into his throat.  He moaned as he sought out his own throbbing erection.  He held his hand flat, rubbing the tip with his open palm in a circular motion, barely touching it, as if polishing his prick with the clear liquid seeping from the small slit.  He fitted his now lubricated fist around his shaft and pumped, rhythm matching the cock fucking his face.

 

It wouldn’t take long.  It never did. /…Spock…ohgodSpock…/  He could feel the pressure building in his balls, the heat of the length in his mouth.  He tightened his lips around it, and exploded, a deep cry reverberating through his mind and body.  He spurted over his hand, spattering the Vulcan’s boots with his cum.  

 

Spock growled and gave one, then two strong thrusts, driving the searing column deep into his throat, the wiry pubic hairs prickling his nose.  The Vulcan shuddered, back arching, with a howl of triumph.  He felt the scalding liquid fill his mouth and swallowed, savoring the salty spiciness.

 

They froze in a tableau of sated lust.  The Vulcan’s head had dropped forward, his hair forming a dark privacy curtain around them.  He looked up into the now peaceful face /…my Spock…/  as the softened organ slipped from his lips.  He tugged the Vulcan down to his level and they sank to the floor in a boneless embrace.  He was asleep before his head touched the carpet.

 

Something nudged his back. /…Spock?.../ He rolled over and blinked until two soft brown eyes came into focus.  The horse nudged him again and he propped himself up on one rather unsteady elbow.  Had it been a dream or just another bit of what passed for reality on this plane?  He shifted slightly, trying for a more comfortable position between the tree roots where he had sprawled, and took physical inventory.

 

The muscles of his jaw ached slightly and his penis was somewhat tender where it rubbed against his black uniform pants.  The distinct feeling of post-coital lassitude was just beginning to dissipate.  He wanted a hot shower and something to eat, in that order.  All primary symptoms of a sexually satisfied James Kirk.

 

The horse had wandered off again.  He stood and stretched, hearing several satisfying cracks as his back realigned itself, brushed bits of grass and leaves from the shoulders of his red jacket and gave a loud whistle. The horse reappeared through the brush, just as he knew it would.  The sun was low in the sky, cloaking his world with a golden haze.  He swung into the saddle and they started off in a slow walk back down the road to the stable.

 

And, not for the first time, he wondered about his sexual obsession with his former First Officer.

 

He had been well aware of Spock’s devotion.  From the first days of their service together their compatibility had been apparent, mistakenly accepted on his part as the Vulcan’s loyalty to his commanding officer.  But after Spock’s first pon farr and the fiasco on that red desert planet, his awareness had changed with his recognition of his first officer’s sexuality.

 

Standing on that hot crimson sand, looking into those mad eyes, he had felt waves of sexual heat pouring off his friend.  And damned if he hadn’t gotten a hard on. Not the first time that his primal urges almost got him killed, though previous experiences usually had to do with jealous husbands.

 

His Starfleet mandated psychosexual testing had always been inconclusive.  He was neither hetero- or homo- or anything in between, apparently.  Terms such as omni-sexual and pansexual had been bandied about in the reports.  He didn’t much care which label was assigned – he liked the sexual act and had enjoyed intercourse with a wide variety of consenting beings.

 

Throughout the years, his first preference had been for humanoid females.  Most of his most intense relationships had been with human women:  Ruth, Janice, Areel, Edith. He even ended up briefly married to one, though he privately wondered if Lori had actually been human or just an android with bad wiring.

 

That’s not to say that he was adverse to male on male action upon occasion.  Most of his sexual encounters with men had been brief, conducted with discreet and impersonal professionalism by call-boys on any number of pleasure planets. 

 

His only intimate relationship with a man had happened years before, when he had had a brief and emotionally uncomfortable relationship with Gary Mitchell back at the Academy, both flirting with disaster and expulsion if discovered.  He had ended it after a few months, tired of taking too many risks for what amounted to back alley blowjobs.

 

Perhaps it was this fear of getting caught that influenced his relationship with Spock.  Both had worked too long and hard to achieve their positions to jeopardize it all by sleeping together.  Spock was his subordinate and Starfleet had been his life as well.  They had been separated time and time again: first by Gol, then by the aftermath of Khan’s terrorism, and then finally separate postings on Earth and Vulcan.  Those circumstances had subtlety changed their relationship; instead of the enforced distance pulling them apart, their link had drawn them closer together.

 

Only, he had not realized exactly why.

 

He had planned for his retirement from ‘Fleet to be a new start for them both.  He and Spock would work as consultants to the Federation with home bases on both of their home worlds.  Their specialty would be galactic troubleshooting – the sort of ‘cowboy diplomacy’ that Picard had deplored.

 

Of course, his one way trip to limbo had derailed all that.  Not that he and Spock ever had an opportunity to discuss his plans.  He had always assumed that Spock would be amenable with whatever he decided, including the possible sexual nature of their future relationship.

 

Why not?  They loved each other.  He knew it and Spock knew it, they had just never bothered to say it to each other.

 

The horse turned into the yard and he slipped from her back.  He unsaddled her, gave her a brief rubdown and brushing, and returned her to her stall.  He walked to the far end of the stable, opened the door, and blinked.

 

It was twilight over the San Francisco Bay.  The setting sun reflected off the water, red streaks coloring the walls of his apartment.  Taking off his raincoat, he hung it on the antique coat rack in the foyer.  He slipped out of his shoes and padded over to the well-stocked bar to pour a brandy.  He sipped appreciatively, the cut crystal tumbler cool and heavy in his hand. 

 

A shower, then dinner.

 

Leaving the drapes open to catch the last rays of another perfect sunset, he stripped off his suit, tossing the heap of clothes into the recycler, and headed to the bathroom, drink in hand.  He paused in front of the mirror.  Not too bad for a sixty year old man:  graying hair still abundant and curly, stomach showing some signs of softness, lines bracketing his mouth and fanning out from the corners of his eyes.  He looked his age, but still…not too bad.

 

The hot water felt wonderful beating down on his shoulders and he stood there a little longer than usual. After toweling himself dry, he slipped into the short silky black robe hanging on the back of the bathroom door, enjoying the sensuous slide of fabric across his bare skin.

 

He walked barefoot into the living room to finish his drink.  Spock was sitting on the couch, facing the panoramic view.

 

This was a different Spock than had ever appeared before, older, heavier, and greyer; the Spock with whom he had hoped to spend the rest of his life.  /…ask and ye shall receive…/

 

“Hey, sorry I’m late.  I’m starved.  I’ll put dinner on in a few minutes.”

 

The Vulcan spun in his seat, expressions of shock, concern, and joy flickering in his eyes as he tried and failed to rise to his feet. 

 

“Admiral…Jim…”  Voice trembling.

 

“Who else.  Sit there and let me fix us both a drink.”

 

He ignored the Vulcan’s silent openmouthed headshake and poured another brandy for himself and a small glass of kassa juice for his new companion.  He returned to the couch, hips swaying seductively. 

 

“Maybe an appetizer before dinner?”

 

He leaned over and kissed Spock softly on the lips before settling onto the stunned Vulcan’s lap.  He passed the glass of juice to Spock’s shaking hand, jumping a little as some of the cool liquid splashed on his thigh.  He laughed. 

 

“You can lick that up later.  Right now I just want to sit here with you and enjoy the view.”

 

He snaked one arm around the Vulcan’s neck, and sipped his brandy, watching the last sliver of sun disappear.  The sky faded from red to purple to navy before he realized that the Vulcan hadn’t moved or spoken. 

 

He shifted, aroused by the rough fabric of the Vulcan’s trousers against his bare buttocks.  He set his now empty glass on the arm of the couch and turned towards Spock. 

 

“So quiet.”

 

He ran a finger softly over the pointed tip of the ear closest to his face.

 

Spock turned away.

 

“Jim…no…”

 

He squirmed provocatively on the hard thighs, reaching to unclasp Spock’s travel cloak.

 

“Admiral…you MUST NOT.” 

 

Strong hands held his wrists, pushing him backwards as the Vulcan stood.  He flopped unceremoniously on the couch, robe falling open, exposing his erection. 

 

“Damn, Spock.  Don’t tease. Look what you do to me.”

 

He posed, arching his back, hands trailing down his rib cage, straying to tease a rose nipple to a sharp point.  One hand dipped lower, brushing across his quivering stomach muscles, following the thin line of copper hair to his groin.  He slid his fingers enticingly up to the tip of his nearly erect penis, then back down to cup and lift his balls.

 

The Vulcan turned away.

 

“Jim, do not do this…” Soft, hoarse whisper.

 

“And why the hell not? It’s not like we haven’t done this before.”

 

“We have not.” 

 

Words spoken so softly that he nearly missed them. An older version of his Virgin Vulcan?  So be it.

 

“Spock, look at me…”

 

He waited until the Vulcan had turned in his direction, eyes avoiding the display of flesh.

 

“Spock…”

 

Eyes slowly met his, troubled.  They dropped again almost immediately.

 

He sat forward and tugged at the hem of the Vulcan’s cloak, reeling him in like a prize catch, until the long legs stood between his sturdy thighs. He sat forward, running his hands up the outside of the linen trousers, arms circling into a strong embrace.  He buried his face in Spock’s abdomen, feeling the Vulcan’s hands settle on his shoulders, stroking him softly.  He took a deep breath, and then another, of Spock’s subtle spicy musk.

 

He rubbed his cheek against the soft cloth of the Vulcan’s tunic as warm fingers combed through his hair.  Spock sighed above his head.

 

“Admiral, we must…”

 

“Shhh…don’t…talk…”  Words muffled against the Vulcan’s stomach.

 

They froze into stillness, broken only by soft breathing.

 

It was a seduction that had played out in his mind over and over, the call and response of sexual antiphony.  He moved first, rising to his feet in one graceful motion, arms encircling the Vulcan’s neck.  Spock bent his head in answer, offering soft lips in return.

 

They kissed, hesitantly at first, lips closed.  He could feel the heat of the long body pressed against his and he opened his mouth to the tongue seeking entrance.  He could feel the pointed tip outline his upper lip, and then sweep delicately across the lower one before entering his mouth to touch his own tongue.  He sucked on it gently, feeling Spock’s arms tighten around his back.

 

Apart again, breathless, falling into the deep brown gaze.  Fire flickered behind Spock’s eyes as he was pulled forward into a hard, bruising kiss.  Their tongues touched and retreated, then twined.  He slid his fingers through the silk of Spock’s hair, the Vulcan’s hands sliding down his back to cup his buttocks, squeezing hard.

 

He pulled away from the insistent mouth and fumbled at the silver clasp that held Spock’s cloak.  Impatient, he pulled at it until the fabric ripped and the cloak puddled on the floor.  He slid his hands under the Vulcan’s tunic, palms skimming already erect nipples.  He yanked the shirt upwards, Spock raising his arms to aid its passage.  It joined the cloak at their feet.

 

Spock’s hands were already unfastening the clasp of the rough trousers.  The long fingers hooked into the waistband, and they joined the heap of clothes at their feet.  Soft boots and trousers were kicked away until the Vulcan stood naked except for a pair of black briefs, tight enough to delineate the straining erection contained within.  Turning his back and leaning over, Spock skinned down the wisp of cloth, presenting an opportunity for a quick caress before straightening and coming about face.

 

Spock’s body had changed since he had last seen it.  /...when?...the gym on the Enterprise?.../  Thicker and heavier, ribs and hip bones no longer apparent.  The always abundant chest hair was speckled with grey, as was the Vulcan’s pubic bush.  The strong arms and legs were no longer lean, but looked well muscled, as if Spock had done a great deal of physical labor.  The familiar face was more seamed, the hair worn slightly longer, framing the Vulcan’s visage with streaks of silver.  This Spock had finally caught up with him – they now looked of an age.

 

The Vulcan reached out one finger, drawing a line of fire down his chest, parting the silk robe.  His erection bobbed forth as if reaching for its twin jutting only inches away.  He closed the gap between them and groaned as a hotter than human hand snaked between them, holding the two organs together. Spock widened his stance to equalize their heights as a warm thumb teased the two cockheads, rubbing against the small slits and combining the clear liquid that leaked from each.

 

He clung to the Vulcan, hands dropping to the still small, tight ass, fingers tracing down the crack, teasing the pucker of flesh at the very bottom. 

 

Spock growled in his ear, fist moving around the two pricks.

 

“Do you want to take me?”

 

/…Spock…ohgodSpock…/

 

“Yesssss…”  Hissed from between clenched teeth, balls tightening in imminent release.

 

His cock was released from the searing velvet grip.  He swayed against the hard chest and was caught up in two muscular arms.  Spock carried him across the living room and through the open doorway into the bedroom.  Hot, hard lips found his own as he was lowered to the bed. The Vulcan stretched his body on top, fitting one penis against the other, bodies rubbing. 

 

/…ohgodohgodohgod…/

 

“Spock, I’m going to come.”  Voice breathless and shaking.

 

The Vulcan rolled off and grasped his straining prick to squeeze the base.  His cock wilted partially, the urgency to ejaculate momentarily gone.

 

He moved away from the long body and scrabbled in the drawer of the nightstand next to the bed.  Yes, it was still there:  a tube of lubricant that he had always kept ‘just in case’.  Spock had turned onto his back with legs spread wide.  He knelt between the slightly drawn up knees, scratching fingernails lightly down the up-tilted thighs. Spock’s head tossed on the pillow, hips thrusting upward with another growl. /… not so virgin a Vulcan?.../

 

He squeezed a large dollop of the lube onto his palm and rubbed his hands together to warm the gel.  He took one slick finger and placed it against Spock’s opening and rotated it slightly, pushing it in as far as he could.  He moved it in and out, feeling the Vulcan’s hips undulate in response.  He repeated the process with two, then three fingers, the ring of muscles loosening to accommodate him. 

 

Spock reached for the lubricant, squeezing a small amount onto a hand that stroked both erections to complete, aching fullness.

 

He nearly came at the touch of those warm fingers.  He gathered Spock’s legs over his shoulders, pointed his cock to the small opening and pushed, the slickness easing his way inside the waiting furnace.  Spock was tight and hot, muscles squeezing his erection as he sheathed himself and paused just for a moment to allow each man to adjust to the other.

 

Spock looked glorious.  His hair mussed and fanned on the pillow under his head, lips kiss-swollen and slightly open, eyes glowing. It was the love in the Vulcan’s expression that prompted him to move.  He withdrew until only the head of his cock remained inside, and then slid forward until his balls brushed tense buttocks.  Spock squeezed him from within as he withdrew and then slammed home again and again.  They settled into an increasingly rapid rhythm as he leaned on one arm stroking the Vulcan’s erection with his free hand while Spock’s hands roamed, touching his most intimate places.

 

His body started to shake, overloaded with sensation.  He released Spock’s legs and lowered himself until he was propped on the Vulcan’s chest.  He stretched upward to kiss the smiling lips /…Spock…smiling?.../ and whispered, “I love you.”  He felt the Vulcan’s cock twitch against his stomach.

 

A hand brushed his face, sending a burst of love through his mind.  The flame was captured and continued to glow within him. The Vulcan rolled them both over, without disengaging, and straddled his hips, rising above him. A Vulcan god demanding worship.

 

“Ohhhhhjimjimjimjim….”

 

Spock pushed himself harder onto the invading column of flesh, grinding his hips downward in rhythm with his panting words.

 

His entrapped cock felt like it had been dipped into molten lava.  He gasped with the sheer pleasure of the sensations flowing through his mind and body.  His hands grasped Spock’s waist and they both began to move in urgency towards completion.

 

 Warm fingers brushed his face, tendrils of love and tenderness binding them together. In a flash of understanding, he recognized the reality of the man swaying above him.  /…mySpock…/  He reached up and captured that hand, bringing it to his lips as he drove his hips upwards once, twice, and exploded, feeling the Vulcan’s seed spill in a hot shower over his stomach a moment later.

 

Spock sagged forward and was gathered into his embrace.  They clung together as his penis softened and slipped from the Vulcan’s body.  Settling back on the bed, he pulled the edge of the bedspread up and over Spock’s back, suddenly aware of his partner’s shivering form.

 

He turned in his lover’s arms and looked wonderingly at him.

 

“You are Spock…my Spock…my friend.”

 

The Vulcan inclined his head in assent.

 

“Have you come to take me home?”

 

The Vulcan’s face stilled, only brown eyes showing the sadness within.

 

 “No, T’hy’la.  You can not leave this place.”

 

He turned his head away, unable to speak.  His eyes filled with tears, the hot liquid running down his cheeks, scalding the shoulder upon which his head was pillowed.

 

Spock touched him gently.

 

“Jim…”

 

The curly head turned, hazel eyes brimming.

 

“I had thought you were lost to me forever when the accident occurred on the Enterprise-B.  You can not imagine my joy when Captain Picard told me of your bravery and sacrifice on Veridian III.”

 

He couldn’t help but give a small wavering smile of recognition.

 

“Picard.  A most…unusual man.  Did we succeed?”

 

“Indeed, Admiral.  You were successful in saving the universe once again,” said with a poignant smile.  The Vulcan squeezed his hand and coughed to clear a suddenly constricted throat. “Most difficult to articulate…in the process…you lost your life.”

 

He turned away again.

 

“I don’t understand.”

 

Spock turned his face back, stroking his hair, smoothing sweaty curls from his forehead.

 

“In most simple terms, your physical body died on Veridian III.  You have appeared to me as an ‘echo’ of the James Kirk that I once knew.  A reflection of what you were.  You no longer exist outside of the Nexus, but a part of you lives on here.”

 

“Nexus?  This is the Nexus?  Are you talking about the energy ribbon that hit the ‘B’?”

 

“Affirmative.  You were swept into it when the wave disintegrated the bulkhead in the engineering section.  Once again, you were the savior, Jim.”

 

“A resonance burst from the main deflector dish to simulate a photon torpedo blast.  I remember.  The Enterprise made it?”

 

“With all hands.” 

 

He nodded, relief turning to anger with the Vulcan’s next words.

 

“My time here is very short.”

 

Bolting from bed, he stood shaking with fury.

 

“Then, what the fuck was this?  You came all the way across the galaxy just for a quick screw?  Do you know what it’s been like for me here?  Well, I didn’t know either until you showed up.”  He fell to the floor, arms wrapped around his body.  “Oh my god, I’ve been so lonely.”

 

Spock sank down on the carpet next to him and gathered the shaking body in his arms.  They rocked together in silence, broken only by an occasional sob.

 

T’hy’la, I was drawn here for a reason.  Please let me try to explain.  When you died, a part of me died also.  Throughout the years and because of our many melds, a light link between our minds had developed.  It was something that I had hoped to nurture, but the time never seemed suitable.  The link sustained me through our many separations; indeed, it was the reason that I was unable to achieve Kohlinar.”

 

The Vulcan continued to rock him like a child, stroking his back.  He caught his breath and leaned into a strong shoulder, looking up into Spock’s eyes. 

 

“I remember calling for you.  I didn’t think I could face being on the bridge of the Enterprise without you at my side.”  A painful admission.

 

“I heard and I came.  I could never refuse you, my Captain.”  The corners of Spock’s mouth twitched, the lines on his face deepening in what could have been a small quick smile.  “I would cross galaxies and defy the space-time continuum to be at your side.  But once again, circumstances are against us.”

 

The Vulcan touched his lips with a long finger, silencing him.

 

“I have traveled through the vast expanses of space to tell you what is in my heart.  I have loved you, James Kirk, for what seems to have been my entire life.  I can not remember a time when I did not love you.  And what is more, I have felt your love for me through our link.  Time, distance and ultimately death have not changed any of that. 

 

“If it were possible, I would reestablish our link fully, however, I fear that it would be broken once again when I depart the Nexus.  That loss would kill me.  I offer this in return:  if Picard was correct, then a part of my self will remain behind with you.  He…I…will seek you out.”

 

He felt as if his heart had been torn from his chest.  To find Spock again only to lose him just as quickly…hurt.  He clutched the Vulcan’s arm. 

 

“Stay with me.  We could be happy here.  I love you and need you as much as you love and need me.  Don’t leave me with a pale imitation of the real thing. This,” he squeezed the arm that he had been holding, “is what I want.  No more phantom Spocks.  Flesh and blood.  Someone who feels…I want you.”

 

“And you shall have me.  I will be as real to you as you now are to me.  James Kirk died on Veridian III and yet you are here. Flesh and blood.  I have touched your mind and cherished your body.  You are him whom I have loved since the beginning.  This body will return to his duties in the corporeal world, but my heart and soul will live here with you forever.”

 

“Spock…” A frightened, pleading look.          

 

Spock shook his head.  “I have too much…as you would call it…unfinished business left on Romulus.  The road to the reunification of my people has not been an easy one to travel.  Treachery on both sides has derailed the process repeatedly.  We have finally reached a tenuous accord and we have begun negotiations to draft a treaty between the Vulcans and Romulans.  I must return and attempt to bring my people’s dream to fruition.”

 

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few…”  He shot a slanted glance at the Vulcan, recalling the last time that those words were spoken.

 

Spock softly kissed his forehead.  “…or the one.”

 

He sighed bitterly.  “Always so honorable.  Just once, Spock, I wish you’d throw caution to the wind and be a selfish bastard.  Let the universe solve its own problems and stay with me.  It’s not like you have anyone to go back to.”

 

With any other being, the slight intake of breath would have been unnoticeable.  But he knew Spock better than he knew himself, and that seemingly insignificant hitch spoke volumes.  Neither man moved.

 

There was a brittleness about him as he disengaged from Spock’s arms.  He cried out and the world shattered, his heart pierced with shards of despair. 

 

Spock was reaching for him, mouth moving, but he couldn’t hear what was said.  He turned away blindly, stumbling to the bed, wrapping himself in his misery.

 

“…not bonded…unable…love you…necessary…pon farr…love you…” 

 

Meaningless syllables pierced the fog.  He blinked, but the scene remained the same.  He closed his eyes, but the broken stream of language continued.

 

“…Romulus…student…alone… dead…lost…alone…love you…”

 

He pulled the pillow over his head, pressing his face into the mattress, too numb to cry as the words continued to pour over him. 

 

One word continually penetrated his stupor:  alone.  Spock had been alone.  He had not been there, as he had not been there for the Vulcan so many times before.  /…good job, Kirk… you’re the selfish bastard …/  The revelation made him sick.  He had always wanted the Vulcan’s love, but only on his terms, delineated by his boundaries. 

 

He had been there for the Vulcan’s first pon farr, a second had occurred during the time at Gol and a third on the Genesis planet.  But, who had Spock gone to during subsequent times?  He recalled absences to Vulcan explained away as visits home to attend to family business.  He had accepted those explanations without question or second thought.

 

Maybe that was his problem -- his only thought was for himself.  The physical satisfaction that he received from the women that flowed in and out of his life, pride over his rapid rise through Starfleet’s ranks, his conceit and arrogance, his smugness over the security of the Vulcan’s affections were all manifestations of his bloated ego.  He merited none of it.

 

How Spock must have ached to watch him fall in love repeatedly, with such ease.  Rayna, Edith, Miramanee, all the other infatuations that in the end meant nothing to him.  Here, where he could have had any of his many women, there had only been Spock. 

 

Of course Spock had a life separate from his own.  He had been missing /…yes, dead…/  for eighty years.  Did he actually expect Spock to remain in celibate mourning for that long?  Spock deserved the happiness of home and hearth.

 

It hurt like hell, though.

 

He took a deep breath and realized that the room had grown silent. 

 

And with it, came panic that Spock had gone.

 

He uncovered his head, to find the Vulcan sitting quietly next to the bed dressed in his traveling clothes, the torn cloak draped over bowed shoulders.

 

“Spock?”

 

Brown eyes full of misery met his.

 

“Jim, I had to come.  I could not bear to live knowing that you were alone.  I thought that if I could leave a portion of myself here to be with you…watch over you…love you…”

 

Spock cleared his throat.

 

“I apologize for causing you such pain.”

 

He huddled on the bed, suddenly ashamed of his nakedness.  Spock stood and covered him with a blanket.

 

“I must go.”

 

He caught Spock’s wrist in his hand, drawing him back to sit on the edge of the bed.

 

“Please stay…just for a moment.”

 

He sat up, blanket clutched around him.

 

“Spock, I have no right to lay claim to you. That was something that I should have done years ago.  I don’t know why I didn’t, but I will live with that regret forever.  You’ve been my friend, closer than any brother could ever be and I’ve treated you badly.”  He smiled bitterly and raised his hand to forestall what he knew was Spock’s denial.  “Let me finish.  During all those years together, we never took the time to find out what was important to the other.  We took the easy path, complaisant in our relationship, but unwilling to go any deeper.

 

“You are everything to me.  I should have said ‘Starfleet, be damned’ and gone full speed ahead with you at my side as my partner and lover.  But I didn’t.  You might have welcomed my love with open arms…I don’t know…I never gave either of us the chance to find out.  Blame it on my fear of rejection or inability to love. What ever the reason, it doesn’t matter now.  And for that I am truly and deeply sorry.  I do love you, Spock.  And here we are, about to separate forever and I still don’t know anything about your life.  Can you…do you have time…tell me…who…?”

 

He could hardly breathe for the lump in his throat.  Their fingers had become tangled together, and Spock looked down at the two hands with a thoughtful expression before speaking.

 

“After your death, life had no meaning for me.  I resigned my Starfleet commission and returned to Vulcan.  I had thought to once again enter the monastery at Gol, if only to purge myself of the grief that dominated every second of my existence.  I returned to my father’s house in order to make the necessary arrangements.  During that period of time, I listened to the personal logs that you had bequeathed.  I was stunned by the depth of your feeling for me; it made my decision to attempt to achieve Kohlinar seem the logical thing to do.

 

“However, a chance meeting changed all that.  An old ambassadorial friend of my father’s, a senior attaché from Romulus named Pardek contacted me.  A new Proconsul had recently come to power that was more amenable to the resumption of diplomatic relations between our two worlds. 

 

“Pardek had heard that I was no longer attached to Starfleet and had a proposition.  I would be offered safe passage to Romulus and an off the record meeting with the Proconsul to discuss the political ramifications of developing an economic and social relationship with Vulcan.  In return, I would speak with a carefully selected group of young Romulans about Surakian philosophy.  His thought was that if change would be effected, it would come from future generations.  To educate the young insures success in times to come.”

 

The Vulcan’s voice faltered. 

 

Pon farr came upon me swiftly and return to Vulcan was impossible.  In the past, I had been able to return to Gol where I could mate with one of the acolytes available for that purpose.  Swift, impersonal, anonymous.  This time, I could not.  One of my students came and offered himself and in my madness, I took him.  I could not…would not…give him the bonding that he so wanted afterwards.  Over the years, however, D’Tan has become invaluable to me and his presence has eased my isolation, as I hope to have eased his…”

 

Spock’s voice had trailed away to a whisper.  “Jim, I must go.”

 

He felt the warm lips on his forehead and a hand smoothed his hair.  The side of the bed dipped and settled as Spock stood.  He watched the Vulcan walk unsteadily to the door, then wrapped the blanket around his shoulders and came to his feet.

 

“Wait.”

 

Spock turned.

 

“Perhaps…we’ll meet again?”

 

The corners of the Vulcan’s mouth quirked upward.  “There are always…possibilities.”

 

He crossed the floor in three steps and caught Spock up in his arms.  He clung to the Vulcan for a moment, kissed the thin, hard lips for one last time, and then pushed himself away.

 

“Go.  I love you.”

 

Spock opened the door and looked back at him.  “My T’hy’la…”  And was gone.

 

He stood staring at the closed door, blanket hanging loosely from his shoulders.  He felt as if all the air had been sucked from the room with Spock’s departure, making it difficult to breathe.  He turned within his silent vacuum, and blinked back his tears…

 

…and the rustic kitchen came into focus.  He blinked again to dispel the momentary dizziness and leaned lightly on the counter in front of him.  The sense of disorientation faded as quickly as it had come.  He was holding a spatula in his right hand and a salt shaker in his left.  The smell of cooking eggs perfumed the air and he heard the insistent beep of the food replicator, the scent of freshly toasted bread swirling into his consciousness. 

 

This was not a new scenario for him.  It was one that had been played out a dozen /…hundred, thousand.../ times.  He had no way of knowing because each time seemed new and yet familiar at the same time.

 

 The kitchen was identical to one in the mountain cabin that he had once owned on Earth, down to the pattern of dishes in the cabinets.  He remembered purchasing them in a small antique store in San Francisco about ten years ago. /…no, much longer…/

 

He turned towards the stove knowing that the eggs were on the verge of scorching.  He plied his spatula, flipping them easily without breaking the yolks.  He set toast, jam, and a small pot of tea with two cups on a waiting tray, and swirled the eggs in the pan before easing them onto a plate.  He broke a flower from an arrangement in a vase on the windowsill and added it to the tray, pleased with the effect.

 

Breakfast in bed.  But for whom?

 

Starting up the narrow wooden stairs to the sleeping loft, the fifth step creaked softly as it always did. 

 

He paused on the step, head just below the level of the loft floor, and waited, tray in hand.

 

Silence.

 

It was time.  He climbed the last six steps to the bedroom.  It was a cozy, sunny room, furnished with a chest of drawers that was once his mother’s and a large four poster bed.  The fluffy white down comforter completely masked the figure wrapped within.

 

“Good morning, sleepyhead.  Rise and shine.  I have breakfast.”

 

The mound of covers moved, as the bed’s inhabitant rolled to face him. 

 

“Good morning, T’hy’la.”  Spock sat up and stretched, his silver-streaked hair in splendid disarray. 

 

Kirk set the tray on the chest and dove for the bed.  “Move over.  It’s freezing out here.”

 

Spock shifted obligingly, holding the comforter back in invitation, wrapping the blanket and then his arms around the smaller man, flinching away slightly at the contact.

 

“Jim, your extremities are cold.”

 

Kirk grinned up at him. “Not all of my extremities are cold.”

 

Spock smiled and kissed the tip of his nose.  “Indeed.”

 

“That wasn’t the extremity that I was referring to.”

 

“Nor was I,” the Vulcan countered.

 

There was a moment of uneasy silence.

 

“Why did you come back?”

 

A black eyebrow canted upwards.  “Jim, I’ve never left.  I have been right here, waiting for you.

 

Kirk paused, and looked deeply into Spock’s eyes. The emotions that he saw there reassured him.   This was Spock, his Spock.  He accepted the truth of his existence for the first time.

 

Spock’s arms tightened around him.  “I am here, Jim.  I love you. You are no longer alone.”   

 

“We’ve both waited too long for our life together to begin.  There’s no going back now.  Are you ready for what’s ahead?”

 

“I have been prepared for this moment for one hundred seven years, three months, seventeen days…”

 

The accounting was momentarily silenced by a kiss.

 

“…and forty-three minutes.  Using Earth Standard Time, of course.”

 

“Of course.”

 

Spock stroked his hair pensively.  “Picard told me that your dying words were ‘It was fun.’  Was it?”

 

Kirk considered his words carefully.  “Yes, it was.  I had a wonderful life.  I had the Enterprise, the best crew a Captain could ask for, and more incredible adventures than any man had a right to have.  And I had you by my side through it all.”

 

“And now?”

 

“And now we will never travel alone.”

 

Spock gently touched the side of Kirk’s face, fingers positioning for the meld.

 

 “Then, let us begin our journey…”

 

 

finis

 

 

 

 

 

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