This was something I had always promised. I remember it well, laying there in our shared bunk, contemplating the future. Jim always made me promise that when the time came, I would do him this one favor. It didn't matter when, it didn't matter how, but this one favor was to happen.
Who knew that it would be in such a time, such a place, while Jim was still alive, and yet not my Jim.
I looked out of the window of the mass Earth transport I was riding, my bag clutched tightly in my still nimble fingers. Even after all these years, they retained the shape that Jim had liked. He called them shapely, called them dexterous. I clenched my hands tighter, focusing on the scenery flying by.
Fields and occasional side roads. That's all there really was. But this was the place James Kirk had grown up. There has not in many years been a more beautiful sight to me. Not truly. Not unless you count the vision of a young Jim in that frozen tundra where my heart had nearly been destroyed. Had it not been for the sight of my bondmate, it may very well have been.
The young Kirk warned me before I took my leave that there may be someone residing at his old home. He did promise that it was not his step-father, although secretly I did hope to meet the human named Frank. However, as I learned upon my research into this universe, that human was currently serving a maximum sentence at a Starfleet facility after he unfortunately accosted Kirk upon his return home after being made captain.
Even now, after all my experience, I find humans irritatingly illogical.
There was only one human I longed to be around, and he was long ago lost to me. Part of my heart broke every time I thought about it. Putting one hand into my outer tunic, I pulled out the small hololocket I carried. It was a gift from Jim not long before he went on that fated journey that took him away from me. Its message long since memorized, the images fading with time, the words distorting as the internal power unit wore down. Many years old, yet still I carried it, no longer needing to open it, but comforted simply by its presence.
“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you…I know, I know, it’s illogical to celebrate something you had nothing to do with, but I haven’t had the chance to congratulate you on your appointment to the ambassadorship so I thought I’d seize the occasion. Bravo, Spock. They tell me your first mission may take you away for awhile, so I’ll be the first to wish you luck…and to say…I miss you, t'hy'la.”
My birthday according to the old Vulcan calender was only a day ago, Vulcan standard. Of course, given the time and knowledge that here everything went differently, I was still technically celebrating it. Not even that knowledge would cheer me as I thought of my Jim and his happiness as he handed me this gift. Something to remind me of him. As if I could ever forget.
“I suppose I’d always imagined us…outgrowing Starfleet together. Watching life swing us into our Emeritus years…I look around at the new cadets now and can’t help thinking…has it really been so long? Wasn’t it only yesterday we stepped onto the Enterprise as boys? That I had to prove to the crew I deserved command…and their respect?”
The similarities between the universes were inevitable. James Kirk would always need to prove himself to those around him. The bus slowed down as it reached the stop, and I threw the bag over my shoulder, resting it on my hip as I had once rested a tricorder there. There would be a bit of a walk in the brisk Iowa air and out of Riverside, to where James had grown up, but in all, it would be worth it.
“I know what you’d say - ‘It’s their turn now, Jim…’ And of course you’re right…but it got me thinking...Who’s to say we can’t go one more round? By the last tally, only twenty five percent of the galaxy’s been chartered…I’d call that negligent. Criminal even - an invitation. You once said being a starship captain was my first, best destiny…if that’s true, then yours is to be by my side. If there’s any true logic to the universe…we’ll end up on that bridge again someday.”
No matter what universe it was, James Kirk and Spock belonged side by side. Young Jim had young Spock. But I...have no one. Nothing but memories. The same comforts I have lived with for many years. I was certain that I could get by simply by memories alone. I was resigned to that idea. But no sooner has life thrown me another hardship than did James Kirk come into my life again.
I let my feet lead me to where I needed to go, infinitely relieved and not for the first time that simple tasks were automatic for me. The road I needed to take was not as well groomed as the one I first found myself on, however even that was a comfort. The dirt under my boots crunched in a soothing manner, the air cool but clear, unlike that in the city.
It surprised me slightly when I reached the house without realizing it. My body was already halfway down the drive when I looked up and saw the motion activated lights come on. That was unexpected, as I had not planned for it to be so late.
A squeak sounded as the front door opened and someone, my eyes being temporarily blinded by the brightness of the porch light, came out, letting the screen door slam shut.
“Hello?” came a feminine voice. “Who's there?”
I stepped forward into the light and held up a hand in the ta'al, giving her a nod. “Greetings,” I said in place of hello. “Is this the Kirk residence?”
“Depends on who's asking,” the woman replied, walking into the light as well. I saw and knew instantly who this woman was. Her blond hair, going gray in places, and still bright eyes gave her away.
“Mrs. Kirk, I am Elder Selek,” I replied. I chose to use the name I has once taken from my own family as a cover to myself. “I am here as a representative of Starfleet.”
Mrs. Kirk took a step forward and gave me a tentative smile. “I thought Vulcans didn't lie,” she said, her smile growing. “Jim already told me who you are and that you were on your way. You are very much welcome in my home, Ambassador.”
“Thank you,” I said, inclining my torso slightly in a bow. “I promise to not interfere or make a nuisance of myself. I am simply keeping a promise to an old friend.”
A hand came up in a very familiar gesture and landed on my shoulder. The shorter woman nodded, a sad sort of smile on her face. “Jim informed me of that promise. And although I admit I do not fully understand how you could promise my son in the future to visit his home and understand him better, I will try my best to help.”
I couldn't keep the small quirk of my lips to myself. There was much I had to learn of my bondmate, and maybe that would help me to come to peace with his passing.
It was good to have something to occupy myself with. Something to take me away from my present until I could join Jim's katra in eternity.
“Admit it, Spock. For people like us, the journey itself… is home.”