he bay was as beautiful as it ever had been, the setting sun catching the water, turning it to liquid gold.
They sat on a bench just removed from the waterside. In another time, another bench in the same spot had been a favoured relaxing spot for two senior Starfleet officer/instructers after long days in the office. It was peaceful, removed from all the cares and stress of life, or at least it appeared so. That had always been enough.
“How?” Spock broke the silence that had outwardly existed between them, and arched his eyebrow at the responding chuckle
“I expected that question to be the first thing off your lips, instead it's taken” Jim shifted his arm so the old fashioned watch on his wrist became disable “Over an hour.”
“Not much of that time has been spent talking Jim.” The sound of the name being spoken in his voice was wonderful, but more wonderful was the answering t'hy'la which poured through the bond, full of warmth and life, like the first true spring day after a bitter winter. For the past hour they had walked through San Francisco, all around the bay, simply reveling in the restored connection. Questions, challenges to the emotions had been illogical. Now, as the glow of relief faded into a normality, he allowed his logic to come forwards.
“How are you here? You death is recorded as part of a Space accident on Enterprise-B's maiden voyage.”
Jim glanced at him “Death, Spock? Did you believe that?”
No, no he hadn't believed it. The bond hadn't severed properly, it had been more like it was suddenly wrenched at Jim's end, wrenched until it had to tear under the force. Even in the agony of the tearing, he remembered insisting to the healers that Jim was still alive, that if they just let him try, he could find his t'hy'la.
“Picard sent me a message...” He trailed off, keeping the rest of the sentance in his mind alone That you'd died on Veridian Three.
His katra had rejected the idea even then, insisting that Jim was still alive. He'd gradually got used to the nagging, or learned to ignore it, appearing to believe with everyone else that his t'hy'la was beyond recall.
He simply turned to Jim, repeating the question through the bond. Finally, his bond-mate took pity on him.
“I'll tell you all I know, but I warn you that it likely won't make much sense. The Enterprise-B ran into an entity of some kind, an energy field. In damaging the ship, it swept me up too. Then there was nothing, blackness. Like McCaffrey'sbetween but without the cold.”
Spock nodded, Amanda had read some of those books to him, had jokingly asked him to look out for the dragons on his surveys.
“I have no idea how long I was there, time has no meaning when there is nothing but blackness. Then there was a humming, and next thing I was in a transporter room...sharing the pad with a woman and a beagle,Goodness knows why.” Jim paused for a chuckle “anyway, the transporter station was unmanned, so I took the chance to slip out, followed my instincts, and found you.”
Spock watched as the jolliness of a story teller melted away into uneasiness
“Do you believe me?”
He gave a gentle nod, letting assurance, love, reassurance, never-leave-me, never-leave-you pour through their bond. Jim shifted closer on the bench until they were pressed together. Spock felt him rest his gray curled head on his shoulder, and tilted his own to snuggle over it, slipping his arm around his t'hy'la's shoulder and holding him close.