A Collection of Variant and Precious Moments...
Jim held on to Spock. "I know we were joking about with you earlier, Bones and I, on the Bridge - but that's the way I have to be on the Bridge. I can't do this," he caressed Spock's arms as he held him, "there." Jim looked into Spock's eyes. "Thank Heaven you can see again. I couldn't take any more pain."
Spock gently brushed Jim's back, with touches that he hoped would soothe. Then, he took Jim into his embrace.
"A long-term friend of my brother's, and the man's wife, a friend of Aurellan, say they will take Peter to live with them, until my great Aunt & Uncle, on Dad's side of the family, can take Peter in; their children and their families, still live at the Ranch-House, too. Peter wants to go and visit his parents friends, and he likes the Ranch, so, he should be fine when he gets there... But..." Jim stumbled a little.
"You feel like you should not 'just' let him go..?" Spock ventured.
Jim nodded, and, again, tried to hold back tears.
"We could leave the Fleet, set up a home on Earth..." Spock mentioned aloud.
"I couldn't take you with me, take you away from your career." Jim replied gently.
"I would not resent you, Ashaya. We could both still have careers worth having. Diplomatic work, it seems, is in my blood - and you have often fielded job offers for other roles within Starfleet, and the Federation." Spock noted.
"Is it possible?" Jim asked, in the arms of the man he loved.
"Yes." Spock noted, holding Jim with even more gentility, ever closer.
There, they kissed.
...When Jim and Spock had 'visited' that other Universe, the one where Peter Kirk was being brought up on Earth, with his Uncle, Jim, and this Jim's partner, Spock... Well, the relationship there, between that Jim and Spock, the choices they'd made, the life they lived, never altogether left Jim's mind. They'd returned to their Universe, got on with their lives, and their relationship - Jim loved Spock- and Spock loved Jim - no matter the Universe - but their path versus that other Jim and Spock's path, somehow, often crossed Jim's mind. Had he let Peter down by letting him go? Had he, Jim, not made the most of his and Spock's love..? All of these thoughts coursed through Jim's soul right now.
"Why is it that when life gets smaller, narrower, even, your heart feels larger than ever, ready to burst with all the pain, or drown, from filling with too many tears?" Jim asked Bones. He looked to him. "I don't want my heart to shrivel like some twisted gourd either, like some cynical, hardened thing."
"Jim, perhaps, you should try meditation." McCoy said, calmly but compassionately.
Jim tried to raise his gaze from the floor. "That would just make me think of him all the more. Him, and the fact that it didn't need to happen. If we'd left the stars behind years ago, Khan might never have found us."
McCoy sat forward, reaching, and stroking Jim's hand with his fingers. "Jim, do not lose hope."
"I try not to, but, the truth is, this ceremony I didn't know about, this Katra thing that I denied Spock, it will probably be as 'simple' as letting him go all the more..." Jim tried, desperately, not to cry.
Not so long ago, Jim had received, so enormously gratefully, the miracle of getting Spock back.
Spock now stood, holding Jim, talking with him, trying to soothe him. Many years ago, he had once tried to help Jim forget a particular pain. He had not instructed Jim's mind to forget Rayna, but rather, the depth of his pain from the guilt of feeling responsible for her death... There had been many times since that one time, when Spock had been tempted to do the same again - Yet, he never had, because he'd not been sure it had been a particularly moral choice the first time. He'd told Jim since, of course, and Jim had forgiven him... Now, Spock was feeling, and seeing, every awful mile of Jim's pain, at the death of his son, David - and Spock, again, knowing all that he did, felt as though he, too, was caught between power, and powerlessness. "I am so sorry, T'hy'la. So sorry. I know that choices weigh heavily on you, now even more so - and I'm so sorry for the part I played in our choices, which are hurting you so much. Logical or not, right, wrong, or indifferent, I am sorry."
"I can't blame David's death on any of our choices. I can't," Jim lovingly touched Spock's face, "and I won't." Jim paused, to take a shaky breath. "Yes, I possibly introduced my boy to the world of Starships, and, yes, you're right, I've been thinking about that fact, and wondering if David would have taken a position on the Grissom, which led to the Mission that got him killed."
"He died to save myself and Saavik." Spock noted.
"Yes, but he was down there, on Genesis, before we knew that you definitely were. I know that you've told me that you, in McCoy's mind, had the possibility of reuniting your body and mind, your soul, in your thoughts, but you didn't know for sure. Don't blame yourself for not warning us. There is no blame there either. What could we have done? We didn't know Kruge would be there. You did nothing wrong by joining your mind to McCoy's. I know you think you did, but you didn't - and any thoughts, any hope you may have had, intrinsic in your mind, of being saved, in the midst of all that strain, you couldn't speak up enough. Anyhow, the truth is, we cannot know anything for sure. We did not know what we would actually find. Neither did the Grissom, or Kruge, or anyone... Before even then, if we had not rescued David and Carol from Genesis the first time, Khan may have succeeded in overtaking the planet, and them - it could have been him who killed my son, not Kruge. David, and Carol, might have died..." Jim stated. "I got you back... And, I cannot blame, or resent, or regret, or worry, all my life, about our choices - about our counterparts being braver, sooner, than us. This love," Jim held to Spock, "this love, exactly as it is, unfolded and unfurled, in our life, as it has, is not a poisonous thing, or a thing to be poisoned but a thing of true beauty, to be held, and cherished, and loved itself, my T'hy'la and Ashaya. My Spock." Jim promised.
"Spock leant to Jim's lips, and whispered the words "My T'hy'la and Ashaya, my Jim..." upon them, as there, they kissed.