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“Oh, Jim, Jim,” McCoy groaned and clutched at his head. “I am going insane. All the voices, all the information. I can’t take it.” His voice lowered and sounded frighteningly familiar.

Spock.

Kirk swallowed and blinked away the tears. “You’re not going insane, Bones,” he said firmly, and pulled his friend into his arms.

They were almost there, almost on Vulcan. Kirk’s heart thumped hard, as though it were going to pound its way out of his chest.

Had Spock been himself, he would have been here too, to support McCoy, to help him through this ordeal, but Spock wasn’t himself. He had no memory of how much this man had once meant to him, no memory of how much either of them had meant to him. Kirk clutched McCoy closer, trying to find comfort in the arms of a friend who needed the solace just as much.

“Why did he do this to me?” McCoy cried and buried his face into Kirk’s neck. McCoy’s tears made Kirk’s neck all wet.

Yes, why? Why didn’t he give his katra to me? Kirk wondered. The thought had plagued him many times, but the answer was clear. Because there had been no time. McCoy had been closer.

“Because if he hadn’t, he would have been lost forever, Bones,” Kirk said softly, and McCoy’s sobs quieted slowly. “It’s my duty as a friend to carry his katra to the Fal-Tor-Pan,” McCoy whispered. “I know that. And I don’t mind. But it hurts, it hurts.”

Kirk was surprised that his friend remembered the name of the ancient, Vulcan ritual, but perhaps he shouldn’t be. McCoy, after all, carried the soul of their best friend inside him.

“But it’s also an honor,” McCoy continued. “I just hope the bastard bloody well appreciates it once he’s got his soul back.”

Kirk had to smile. Perhaps everything would be all right after all.

“Captain Kirk to the Bridge. T’Pau is on the comm.,” Uhura said.

Kirk rose to his feet. “Will you be all right, Bones?” he asked.

“I will, as soon as these blasted Vulcans do what they must and remove this thing from my mind,” McCoy replied and followed his captain to the bridge of the Klingon Bird of Prey. There, they found their Vulcan friend, watching the craft descend on his home planet. Spock’s face was bathed in the orange light from Vulcan’s sun Iridani, but his eyes were empty, devoid of recognition.

“It’ll be all right, Spock,” Kirk said and put his hand on the Vulcan’s shoulder. Spock turned his head and looked at him blankly.

“I have no doubt that it will, Captain Kirk,” he said.

And that made Kirk feel better. Somewhere in there, underneath that empty gaze, some part of his Spock was still alive.

END



Canonically incorrect:

Of course, Spock wasn't awake before the Fal Tor Pan and could not talk to Kirk.

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