Title: The Letter
Author: Lady Charena
Series: post-ST II (TWOK)
Codes: K/S, PG
Feedback: I'd like feedback very much. Please mail me at LadyCharena@aol.com
Summary: After Spock' death, Jim Kirk finds a letter, promised a long time ago.
Note: Part of the KSOF, based on the challenge "Kirk finds a letter from Spock that was never sent. A love letter. Late in their lives. Post-TOS series." A change in time (memories) is marked * // * //.
Disclaimer: Paramount/Viacom owns Star Trek. I borrowed a small part from it, to have some fun with the Boys. The story is mine and only fanfiction - no moneymaking or offence of copyrights intended. Please be patient with any errors - English is not my native language. My thanks to my betas T'Len and T'Boy, who did again a great job, to correct my mistakes. If there are any left, blame me.
It was well into ship's night. The lights in the corridors were dimmed; he met no one as he stepped out of the lift.
~ THE LETTER ~
Standing in front of the sealed door, he hesitated. His fingertips travelled over the nameplate next to the door... absent-mindedly caressing the name, imprinted in cool metal. Cool, like the case of a torpedo.
Tracing the word 'Captain...'
Reveries of another night - years ago - came to his mind, tormenting him with their startling clearness. Another conversation, another place. Like another life. Standing there in the dull light, he remembered...
* // * // *
The wood in the fireplace burst into sparkles, sending a soothing warmth through the room. The Vulcan, sitting in front of the blaze, turned his body involuntarily nearer to the heat.
"Sometimes you're reminding me of a cat, you know?" The human smiled, as he set down next to his friend. "Always seeking warmth."
Spock turned his head, one of his eyebrows raised. "Jim, I can assure you that Vulcans are not of feline ancestry." Saying this with his usual calm and serious tenor didn't spoil the smile in his dark eyes.
Kirk burst into laughter. Suddenly he sobered. "I missed you these six months," he said.
Spock's eyes found and held his. "I also missed... our stimulating conversations, Jim." There was a strange tinge in the familiar voice.
Jim broke the slightly awkward silence after a few minutes, reaching for his drink. "So," he cleared his throat. "Admiral Nogura informed me, that your task at the VSA is finished. What now? Did he offer you a new posting?"
The Vulcan nodded. "Indeed he did. At the Starfleet Academy."
"Well, I've always thought you to be an excellent teacher," the human replied after a moment, gnawing at his lower lip.
"This will include a promotion and the posting to a school ship."
Kirk smiled. "Don't tell me... They promoted you to Captain at last? I heard rumours. And it's about time. To which ship did they assign you?"
Spock's eyes were on the flames, as he answered. "Yes, I am to be promoted to Captain. It will be the Enterprise, Jim."
"Oh." Another moment of silence. "Now, she deserves the best Captain."
Spock turned his head and found the human smiling. But the smile did not reach hazel eyes.
"She will always be your ship, Jim," he said gently. "No matter who commands her."
"Uh, Spock, that's very kind..." he stopped, his eyes on the glass in his hands. He lifted his head as a fleeting touch on his arm startled him from his silent musings.
"It is only the truth."
He gazed into dark eyes, filled with something, he dared not to call by name.
This was Spock! His best, most loyal, vulcan friend.
Slowly lifting his hand, he squeezed a thin shoulder. "Thanks, Spock. But I prefer to see her in your hands rather than in others." He smiled. "At least one of us will have the stars..."
"Jim," the Vulcan cut in, reaching for his hand. His voice intense and filled with something, Kirk couldn't quite identify. Fear? Excitement? Why?
"There is something I have to tell you. After all these years I found myself..."
The sound of the door-buzzer broke the moment. Spock jerked his hand back.
Jim got up with a sigh. "I wonder who this could be?" he muttered, as he turned to the door, swearing to himself. Spock had been so open tonight...
It was Deborah, his latest date, leaning in the doorframe, smiling at him. "SURPRISE! Hi, Jim. I felt like..." She spotted the Vulcan, standing by the fire and stopped. "Oh. Am I intruding?"
Spock forestalled Jim's answer by putting his jacket on. "Will you excuse me, Admiral? It is late."
Kirk regarded his friend carefully, but accepted the polite offer. "Of course. Spock, we can meet tomorrow for dinner and talk, okay?"
Spock nodded after a moment. "It is of no consequence."
The woman smiled at him, as he passed by. "Hey, pal. You can always send him a love-letter. Jim's quite a romantic." She laughed, as Spock turned to size her up.
The Vulcan's gaze travelled to Kirk, who seemed more than just slightly embarrassed.
"I will," he said.
As he entered the lift, he heard her question. "Who is *he*? Looked at you like a lovesick puppy..." The doors closed, cutting off her voice.
* // * // *
Taking a deep breath, he pushed the memories aside. This was not the right moment to dwell on the past. As much as he might now wish, he couldn't turn back time. But there was something he had to do. Now.
Straightening his shoulders, he entered the code and the door to Spock's quarters opened.
Hot, dry air greeted him. As the door closed again behind him, he stood in semi-darkness, the only light from the guardian's flame, the slightest smell of incense in the air - something he knew as long as he knew the Vulcan. Had known.
He felt like an intruder, a feeling he'd never had before in Spock's quarters.
Suppressing a shiver, he reached for the light - too many shadows lurked in the corners.
Now, where to start...
He decided to try the desk; this would be the safest. No emotional ballast there...
Sitting on the edge of the desk, he skipped through a neat pile of tapes, scanning their titles. Mostly the same which had covered his desk in the past, patiently waiting to be read. He wondered idly who would read them now, on a ship without a Captain... A ship, which would possibly never again have a Captain. He'd heard rumours about taking the Enterprise entirely out of service.
But again he pushed these thoughts aside.
Skimming more tapes, he found scientific titles... and smiled. Spock had been foremost a scientist, he should have expected this. Putting them once more in a neat pile, he left them on the desk. A Yeoman could care for them.
Slowly he got up, gazing over the tidy desk. The stack of tapes in the midst of the table seemed to be out of place. *He* surely felt this way...
He turned, leaving the office behind. Normally this was a task of the Captain's Yeoman, but he couldn't stand the thought of a stranger searching Spock's personal things. And it was more... it was his way of finally saying goodbye to his friend.
He avoided the niche Spock used for meditation, pushing away the memory of their last talk before things messed up.
Spock's bedroom. His lips were two thin, white lines in his face, as he opened one of the closets. It seemed as if only hours had passed by since he had been sitting on the edge of this bed, watching Spock clear his things away. That had been a few hours after they left Earth. Another life.
Now he pulled out one of the suitcases and started to pack. It wasn't that much work. Some clothes, a box with tapes marked as private, a book...
He stopped; brushing the cover with reverent fingers, thinking of the one Spock gave him for his birthday. Slowly, without really seeing the words, he leafed through the pages. Between the last page and the back-cover was a piece of paper, folded in its middle. His fingers trembled slightly, as he took it out.
It had his name across it, written in Spock's familiar neat writing.
For a long moment he only stared at the sheet. Afraid to open it. Afraid not to do so.
At last he opened it...
* * *
He sat heavily on the edge of the bed, the book and paper sliding out of his suddenly nerveless hands. For a moment the room seemed to sway like a drunk.
For the second time tonight he heard Deborah saying: "You can always send him a love-letter." And Spock's reply. "I will." He had thought it had been a humorous answer, but of course his ever-literal Vulcan...
... *had* written a love-letter.
* * *
His mind reeled, trying to make sense of the few words, written years ago.
It was dated - on the same day, they had talked about Spock's promotion. The day Spock wanted to tell him something.
Of course there had been no 'later' to talk. As they met the next day for dinner, they talked about the ship, about the courses...
Why didn't Spock send the letter?
Maybe for the same cause he'd never spoken of his feelings... each believing the other unattainable or not interested...
So much wasted. So much more lost, he thought. He closed his eyes.
* * *
At last he slept, thrashing around in the bed, caught in frightening nightmares. He saw the Vulcan behind the glass-wall, bleeding, dying.
Desperately he tried to reach him, to touch him... to say, what had remained too long unsaid. Suddenly he felt like falling, the ground beneath his feet giving away. Heard his own scream...
He woke in silent darkness. He remembered being in Spock's quarters. But even the flicker of the guardian was vanished. He lay in darkness, listening, calming his ragged breath. After some time he thought he heard a soft sound. A rustle. Next to him. But there could be no one. He was alone.
Slowly he turned to get up... but he impacted with something, lying next to him on the bed. He reached for the switch to turn on the lights. The soft glow revealed Spock's features.
Jim closed his eyes, opened them again. He must be dreaming... this or he had lost his senses.
But still the silent figure remained.
"Spock?" he whispered and the Vulcan opened his eyes. Hesitant he touched a gaunt cheek. Somewhere in his mind there was a voice, telling him to wake up from this insanity... but he ignored it.
"I've found your letter," he said quietly. "You should have sent it to me. I've waited." He tried to blink away the tears in his eyes. "We've waited too long. I had to watch you die... and I couldn't tell you, that I love you."
But as he bent his head to capture the thin lips... the figure in his arms vanished. Leaving him cold and bereft.
* * *
Somebody shook him and he woke. Gazing in McCoy's concerned eyes, he knew.
It had been a dream. Just another nightmare...
He closed his eyes, biting hard down on his lower lip to stop the tears.
"Jim? Is everything all right with you? What in heavens name are you doing here?"
Kirk got up, averting his eyes, feeling suddenly very foolish. "I wanted to pack Spock's things."
"You wanted..." McCoy touched his shoulder. "Jim, how are you? If you need someone to talk to..."
"I know, Bones," Kirk cut in. "But I'm fine. Just tired. By the way, what are *you* doing here?"
"I sought you and I had a idea, where I could find you, if not in your quarters. What happened? For a moment it seemed I couldn't wake you at all."
He tried a soothing smile. "Just bad dreams, Bones. Nothing to worry about."
His friend seemed not to be *that* convinced by his statement, but he nodded.
McCoy's gaze felt on a piece of paper, lying on the floor. He bent to pick it up, but before he could have a glimpse of its content, Jim snatched it out of his hands.
He tried to cover the embarrassed silence with a smile. And failed. He lifted his head and met the eyes of his friend.
"Jim." Suddenly it didn't sound like McCoy at all. For a moment he heard Spock saying his name. He shook his head to get rid of the hallucination.
"Jim?" Now it was McCoy's concerned voice again. "Is everything *really* all right with you? To be honest, you look terrible."
"I'm fine," he assured the physician. "I think, it's better we postpone talking to another time. It's too late."
He watched McCoy leave Spock's quarters. Tired he rubbed both hands over his face, trying to soothe the beginning headache.
* * // * * // * * // * * // * *
Tired he threw himself on the sand. The waiting had begun.
And no one asked about the small piece of paper, he clutched through the long night.
With the morning he startled from a uneasy slumber. Lifting his head, he got to his feet, spotting at once a white-clad figure.
Their eyes met. And held.
Spock crooked his head to one side. "Jim," he said quietly.