Written from Spock Prime’s POV
When he sees this universe’s version of James T. Kirk stumble into the cave on Delta Vega, and feels the familiar mind, Spock is certain everything will right itself, that this universe can be returned to the same timeline as his own. As long as Jim Kirk is there, anything is possible.
Then Jim looks up at him in shock when the older Vulcan calls him “old friend” and he realizes it is far too late. This timeline has diverged too massively from his own to allow repairs back to his own life, his own past, the universe where his own love had existed.
The painfully young Jim who looks up at him has silver-blue eyes, not the deep honey brown Spock remembers. Eyes that glowed golden in certain slants of light or when filled with tears, or had flashes of leaf green when in shadows. The same eyes he had looked so deeply into when they were wrapped around each other as intimately as any two lovers could be. Human eyes, that had been so warm and alive even in their darkest moments together. Eyes he had long ago realized he would never see again.
Spock remembers the way those eyes looked in ecstasy, staring deep into his own as their bodies moved together and shuddered just with the memory. He had taken so much about those eyes for granted; the small knowing glances that had flashed his way, the intense, searching stare when they thought he was hiding something from his mate, the look of pride when he had done something his lover found particularly pleasing.
His greatest regret in coming to this timeline, other than arriving sooner and stopping every difference, every discrepancy, is that he has nothing but memories of his Jim. No holo or vid that lets him show this time’s Jim or Spock how different things truly are exists anywhere in the universe. He thinks of the vid his own Jim sent him the year of his death, wishing Spock a “Happy Birthday” with his brown eyes twinkling. He wishes he had brought something of his lost love with him; something more than memory.
This Jim is so much younger and wilder and more wounded than the Jim he remembers. There is none of the self-discipline he remembers, only the gifted flashes of intuition are similar. This young man is just as charming, if not more so, and yet it seems to Spock to be nothing but a mask.
He wonders how much of it is the young man’s nature to be different, like his cold colored eyes. What combination of his premature birth, drugs to speed his prenatal development and radiation from space caused the change? Or is he an entirely different person, not really “Jim” at all, but someone similar genetically to the man Spock remembers?
And yet despite its pain and barriers, the mind he had melded with had felt achingly familiar, until Spock was tempted to stay, to bond together, to finally feel whole again.
Only the thought that there was a Spock of this world who would need Jim to become the person he was meant to be stopped him. He would not take that from his younger self, even a different younger self.
He did what he could to repair the timeline. Even if the timeline of this universe didn’t follow his own, at least one thing could parallel it. He pushed Jim to return to The Enterprise and let them learn to work together.
It was both gratifying and frustrating to watch the younger men dance around each other in the years that followed. First this timeline’s Jim was obviously closer to Dr. McCoy then his own timeline’s Kirk had been. They shared the easy camaraderie of friends who happened to be lovers but argued constantly, or as the Leonard he remembered would have said “like an old, married couple.“ Yet they seemed to grow apart after Jim became captain of The Enterprise. They both had different lives and responsibilities then they had in previous years, and it was natural for their friendship to change outside the Academy. They moved awkwardly out of and back into the relationship they had once had, until they finally came to the agreement that their friendship was of precedence.
Even Spock was involved with Uhura, which he had to admit was odd yet logical. He had truly been attracted to the Uhura in his own time when he was instructor but had simply been too immature to recognize the feeling. Then even they were no longer together, and Spock, now known as Selek, made himself available to answer any queries this Kirk sent his way. There were questions about how to build their friendship, and about mind melds, and later about a strange reaction to an element that seemed to be killing Spock but actually triggered his first Pon Farr much earlier than his own. Spock gave him what forewarning he could, yet tried not to destroy the experiences that had shaped he and Jim’s relationships.
There were brief meetings with this time’s Spock as well, but they were always painful. He told his younger self stories he never knew about his lost mother, and things he needed to know about the Captain to assist him, and most importantly, advice to give into his emotions while still controlling them.
Spock was gratified four years later to be invited to the younger men’s bonding ceremony on New Vulcan and reflected on the fact that once again, this timeline had diverged from his own. To bond publicly with his own Jim would have been beyond imagining.
They had been lovers, and beloved friends, but there had been no public ceremony, no marriage to be attended by crew and family as was happening here.. He never could have pictured this Sarek having any approval for their bond, when his own father had never even acknowledged Jim as having any relationship with his son.
Yet, in this time, Sarek stood beside his son and looked less than displeased with the development. There were no fraternization laws of Starfleet being broken, and the Captain and his First officer were being allowed to serve on The Enterprise together. The Starfleet Spock remembered as a young man would have reacted to such a union with immediate discharge, and he had never been willing to make his Jim choose between the ship and the Vulcan he loved.
The universe had changed again. It left Spock feeling at odds, as though nothing would ever be “right” again..
Yet, he watched this younger Jim give his new bondmate a teasing look that even as an old man, caused a familiar tightening in his loins. He saw the possessive pride in the glance Spock gave Jim in return, and realized that to in this time, to this Spock, Jim’s eyes would never look odd. There would never be the incongruity of different eye colors, or height, or physique. To him Jim would always be bright and brilliant and beautiful in both body and mind. The same pains and pleasures the older Spock remembered might be his, but they would always involve eyes as blue as a Terraen sky after a storm. All their lives and love lay before these men, and maybe they would even be more content, without the many separations he has faced apart from his own Jim Kirk.
In all the timelines and all the universes, with all the changes that had happened, maybe it was time for him to focus on the similarities between these men and their love in both the past and the future. It’s what the Jim Kirk he remembered would have wanted.
Letting the smile he felt inside show in his eyes, Ambassador Selek, once known only as Spock, walked up to the “newlyweds” and gave his younger self a ritual phrase of well-wishing. He let Jim pull him into a brief hug, and as steel blue eyes pulled back to look up at his own, suddenly the formal words he had prepared lost all meaning and he spoke from his own emotions.
Ambassador Selek’s words to the couple would be sent and replayed in media feeds all over the universe for years to come.
“May you always protect one another’s minds and bodies. May you know true union of both your spiritual and physical forms. May you always find peace in each other’s presence, in both quiet moments and in the midst of conflict. May you always understand you have been given a gift beyond measure in each other, and be grateful for it, all the years of your life together. Cherish them, and remember that love is always…logical.”
The blue eyes that looked at him glowed silver then, and despite the fact that they were far from the golden eyes he longed for, Spock could feel only gratitude that he hadn’t lost everything, that any version of James T. Kirk still existed in the strange time and place he had ended up.
He would watch over the relationship between this alternate Kirk and Spock for the remainder of his life, knowing that for every change in this strange, new universe there were also gifts and blessings. Impossible losses in the beginning, but also the fulfillment of impossible dreams, that he had never dared give voice to.
The James Kirk in this universe would never have his own Jim’s eyes, but he had his Spock’s love. In all the ways that mattered, this alternate universe wasn’t really as different as the older Vulcan had first feared.