He was tired.
He did nothing all day, and it exhausted him.
Deep in the darkness, the chill seeped into his bones, and even sitting in the baking sun could not remove it.
His brain felt raw, abraded by teachings, lessons, exercises, and an invasiveness he was told he must learn to ignore.
Nothing had value, and he wondered if anything ever did.
There were memories he could not quite incorporate. “Wait,” they said. “In time.” But the things he was taught were meaningless, because he had no center, no balance, no point of reference.
When he would look inside himself to find that center, there was only an empty core. Dark and bottomless, and cold.
Save for the spark.
Each day, he accepted the teachings, the lessons, the empty words, the meaningless thoughts; he processed them and set them aside.
And at night, he looked for the spark.
Once, he dared to reach, trying to touch it. Invisible spiderweb filaments stretched from the spark towards him, and he was desperate to catch them, even one, just on his fingertip. He willed himself to lengthen his arm, his body, his hand, his fingers, to stack every single molecule of himself to extend as far as he could, towards the spark.
The fragile contact separated.
He could still feel the spark, but he could no longer touch it.
Even so, the chill in his bones lessened, just a tiny, tiny bit.
# # #
He cleaned up, cut his hair, and requisitioned a new, smaller uniform. Bones had begun regeneration of his gullet, reconstructed his teeth, and wired him for biofeedback to ease the TMJ syndrome.
Nothing helped the emptiness in his soul, or penetrated the lead-lined sepulcher that surrounded his ability to feel anything but anger.
The anger had replaced the despair.
What else was a person supposed to feel, when his life had been flushed down a sewer?
Bitter? No, no way was James T Kirk bitter.
The icing on his cake, the absolute cherry on top of the sundae had been the assignment to the outpost at bumfuck, and then told to watch a massacre while sitting on his thumb and rotating.
His attitude didn’t change once he unsealed his new orders from Starfleet aboard the USS Constellation.
“Unknown entity assumed hostile to all lifeforms approaching Earth. Report to Starfleet HQ, San Francisco, and assume command of retrofitted and rehabbed USS Enterprise. Investigate. Return and report, if possible.”
The secure comm unit in his quarters aboard the Constellation had been pulverized by the fists of Kirk.
He stretched out on his bunk, dimmed the room lights, and willed himself not to dream.
Instead, he focused on a spark that was located at least an infinity away from him. He focused everything he had, everything he ever hoped to have, and anything he could possibly ever have, and pushed it towards the spark.
“Oh, please, Spock.”
He stretched and gave and yearned until there was nothing left in him.
“I love you, Spock.”
“Cherish thee, Jim.”
The connection faded, but the spark was still there.
With the anger in himself pushed to the side, Kirk wept.