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Kuv buk kal-tor etek nash Ashaya

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Chapter 20

Rebuilding What We’ve Lost

 

Jamie’s shriek of terror is cut short by a big, sloppy kiss. Well, sort of. Jamie scrambles to her feet and away from the beast. “K’diwa, t’nash vey besu, Spock sarlahtor.” Beloved, my companion, come to Spock.

The young Vulcan’s head snaps up at this, the elder pets the animal affectionately. “What the hell is that thing?!” Jamie cries out.

“It is a Sehlat, she was a gift from you to me; she is a token to have of my Jamie while I was away.  You named her K’diwa, a Vulcan term of endearment. I beamed her here as soon as I emerged from the black hole, to save her life, as I knew I would not have much time to do so. She must recognize your scent; one of the many attributes that remains unchanged, an Interdimensional constant.” The bear-like creature bounds toward Kirk and licks her again. The Spocks both look at each other communicating silently and Jamie’s head spins. She falls to her knees, eyes clamped shut.

‘An older Kirk shifts back and forth, a young sehlat nudges her legs. Spock walks through the bedroom door holding a dish and a note. “Ashal-veh, I do not understand.”

“Well, that is a first!” Her laughter is well worn and sounds of wind chimes and rain in the distance, “While you were visiting your mother last month she smuggled something to me. A gift I’ve been meaning to give you. But you've been gone so much... and you just got back...” The sehlat then comes around and nuzzles into the Vulcan, who then picks her up.

The man smiles softly, a real, human smile, and the sehlat licks his face. “What shall we call you little beloved one?”

“Funny you should say ‘beloved’… K’diwa kind of stuck. It means ‘half of one’s heart and soul’ right? Well, I figured, she’ll be your connection to me whenever we’re apart. Is that… okay?” Kirk is nervous; she still knows so little about Vulcan culture.

“K’diwa is traditionally reserved for bondmates. However, I believe it is fitting. Also, you are not known for being exceptionally traditional. I thank you.” They smile lovingly at one another. “Jame… Jamie, you are aware that you have my heart, are you not? That my thoughts are with you, Always?”

“Of course Spock! Even if that weren’t the case… you know I love you, and nothing can change that.” She runs two fingers along Spock’s.’ Her eyes snap open, sweat is pouring down her face, and she’s panting as if she has just been held underwater.

“Jamie what’s wrong?” Bones has a tricorder up to her face and is doing scans, “I’ve never seen readings like these. Her hippocampi just lit up like a damn Christmas tree! Something is happening in her memory bank; Jame, what happened?”

“It’s nothing…” She stands slowly K’diwa nudging her back lovingly. “It’s happened before. I’m okay, really Bones. Let’s do our job, come on.”

“It’s happened before?! Jamie!” The doctor runs another quick scan to find she is completely back to normal. “Jame-”

“I’ll explain later. Come on K’diwa.” The sehlat nuzzles it’s head under her palm, so she scratches her favorite spot, behind her ears. “What are we looking at Ambassador Sarek?”

“Captain Kirk, are you quite alright?”

“Yes, I’m good, just tired…”

“You are not a very good liar, Captain. Though, my wife often expressed this to be an admirable trait amongst humans, so perhaps I shall accept your reply for now.” Sarek says as he leads her to the half-buried compartment. “It was meant for your father; it is password protected.”

Saleek speaks from behind her, “I presumed it would be a date of significance to your father- An anniversary or birthday. It is a seven-digit code. Your brother was born in the summer, correct?”

“Yes, but the code wouldn’t be so simple. He wouldn’t choose a date because that’s the most common code use… yet it would be important to him, and I assume my mother, so they wouldn’t forget it.” Jamie steps up to the key pad, “The 6 and the 2 are both well worn. The heaviest oil deposits are on the first key stroke…” She types in 6220514 and jumps back as a panel drops down.

It’s a retinal scanner, making quick work of her eyes the computer speaks as a door opens, “Welcome back Lieutenant Commander Kirk.”

“How is that possible?” Bones asks as Jamie walks into the compartment lights flicker on, “Jame, are you okay?” Just then a holovid shines in front of them. Winona Kirk smiles at them, a toddler pulling at her hair.

“Hey George, we miss you a lot, but we know why you can’t be here, right Sammy? Say Hi to daddy.” The young boy waves and returns his attention to his mom’s hair, “Well, when I was pregnant you played me music and I know you’ll be planet side for a while out there. Sounds like a pretty big discovery here on Earth; anyway, I just thought I’d return the favor by sending you the music too. We love you a lot, and I hope to be with you on the next big adventure. Come home soon! I love you!” The transmission ends with them waving goodbye.

Jamie pulls a sheet and underneath is a piano, sleek and black with a folder of unfinished sheet music on top.

“I’m okay… the password was 6220514… NCC-0514, the Kelvin.” She tinkers around the compartment and finds another data chip. “My mother always ranted about how much I looked like him- like my father. Retinal scanners have always proven to be predominently faulty, even at the best of times; it was a last resort to protect the instrument.

“Sam said we shared a love of old technology. I suppose I inherited much more of my father’s attributes than I should’ve. People assume that preferences, habits, likes and dislikes that we share with our parents are learned behaviors.” Jamie hesitates before switching the data tapes, “Like when a toddler refuses broccoli for no apparent reason; a psychological nuance. The child sees that one parent does NOT eat a certain substance so it also rejects it. But it would seem that some are more hereditary than one would originally think.”

“Jame, kid-” Bones starts, putting a hand to her shoulder; he recognizes the tone and speech pattern, she becomes matter-of-fact when she’s choking on her own emotions. She smiles at him and waves him off; then a switch is flipped and another holovid appeared.

Winona Kirk appears alone with a tender smile, “Hi again, I just want to take a minute without your son tugging on me. I know you know how much I love you and miss you when we’re on different assignments, different schedules; I know because I’m sure you miss us just as much. So! I found some things, videos and pictures, to… you know… help you compose, and help you through the time apart.”

Just then a thread of home videos and pictures lit up the room. Sam and George playing together, the family laughing together, first Christmas, first birthday; all memories Jamie Kirk never experienced herself. When it was through, she collected the data chip and looked around the compartment for anything else.

Finding nothing she stepped up to the piano, heaved a sigh, and put a single finger on the piano. The moment the D filled the room, her eyes fell shut. An old basic song comes to Jamie’s mind, but she dare not play it. So instead, she moved over the keys in a simple scale… perfectly tuned.

“How’s that possible?” Bones asked from right behind her, “It’s been sitting here for at least-”

“Over a quarter century, Bones. The cabin was pressurized, a vacuum to preserve the instrument- protect it from the elements. Not only that but, we had one like this when I was younger- Frank lit it on fire in a drunken rage. My father refurbished old things as a hobby, and he made it so a baby grand piano, like this one, would tune itself every 5-6 months. He knew he’d be away, often enough to do real damage to vintage equipment. It looks like this one prints what you play…" Jamie trails off as she takes another good look at it. “Sam told me that it cost him practically nothing. He pulled things from the junk yard, he’d bet his friends he could fix it, and then he would. I guess this was one of his projects.”

“Do you play Captain-?” “I guess we should get this out of your way-” Spock and Kirk speak at the same time. It’s clear from the way they look at each other that they both heard the other, but Jamie makes no move to answer.

The silence drags on longer than one might perceive, and the moment McCoy opens his mouth to rattle out a snarky retort, “Spock, we must return to the citadel; the weather on this planet can be quite formidable to Vulcans.” The first officer’s gaze is drawn to his father as soon as the Ambassador speaks. “Let us make haste; we will transport the instrument to the Ambassador’s lodgings where you three shall reside for the duration of your stay.”

The three Vulcans lifted the instrument with relative ease and secured it to the cargo hover craft. The trip back to the growing city was quiet, Jamie whispering words of affection to the Sehlat cuddled up beside her; Clouds rolled in rapidly as a horn blared throughout the construction zones and on the streets.

McCoy asks what’s going on, not to anyone in particular but Saleek responds, “Rain storms crop up once or twice weekly; they are swift moving and short lived. The sound system warns all of the oncoming inclement weather.”

“Can you not continue work in such circumstances?” Spock inquires.

“The rain is quite glacial, particularly to Vulcans. The first week of colonization left a multitude of Vulcans too ill to leave the Medical ward. However, all have made full recoveries.” Kirks feet swing back and forth as she catches a glimpse of the approaching storm. The clouds are a deep purple, trailing a gray shadow she knew to be the impending precipitation.

Buildings rise up around them and Sarek navigates the 'streets' with ease. They pull up to the edge of the embassy unloaded the piano through two sets of hidden double doors. They push the piano into a service lift and they rise up directly into a grand dining hall, the lift doors practically disappear behind them. The room is filled with Vulcans, some other species scattered here and there; The Andorians and Orions sticking out by their skin color and the Boglodite’s dreadlock hair style setting them apart.

They maneuver the piano into the nearest corner and Jamie calls up to the Enterprise with instructions to send down Uhura and a communications team, for translation purposes, Scotty with a large group of engineers, and at least thirty security personnel to help with the rebuild tomorrow 0730. She also instructed them to beam down equipment, including, but not limited to, enough Pup Tents for Enterprise temporary staff housing, Welding instruments, as well as a few repair kits meant for emergencies.

When she’s finished her communication, Spock and Bones are already seated at one of the tables. Saleek and Sarek stop mid conversation and turn to her.

“Captain Kirk, would you be opposed to speaking privately with me for a moment?” Ambassador Sarek says lightly.

Jamie’s shock is surely written across her features, “Oh um, yeah. I mean No! That is, I’m not opposed to…” she clears her throat awkwardly, Saleek’s eyes sparkle softly in amusement before moving to sit in the space between her CMO and First Officer.

Both men look on, clearly confused- having been saving that spot for her, as per usual. She and the ambassador pass right by their table and Spock, briefly, looks terrified. So Jamie, also briefly, smiles at him- thoroughly aware that she is still dressed like a Vulcan. Sarek leads her out into an empty hall.

Jamie watches as the rain pounds against the window; there’s a long pause where the human watches the rain and the Vulcan watches the young Captain.

“It has been brought to my attention, Captain,” Sarek starts quietly, understanding the importance of this moment. “That you grieve my wife and my planet. My son is unsure the extent of your-” he pauses, the discussion of emotions an unfamiliarity, “regret?”

There’s a long pause between them where Jamie moves to the window and watches the storm. Rain pattering on the window, lightning flashes, thunder rumbles in. She’s thinking of how to answer. There is no awkwardness to the silence, no sadness, though one might think there should be, just remembrance.

“I don’t regret saving your life, Ambassador. But... I suppose I should start from the beginning and I apologize in advance for the amount of personal information I’m about to impart on you. I’m sure you know what happened to the Kelvin and therefore my father, so logic would dictate that I simply grew up without a father. But that’s not the case here. My mother couldn’t bear to see me, to be reminded, every day, of what happened… Who was to blame… She left me and my brother on the family farm, with our Uncle... who abused us, among other far worse things...

“The other variable to the equation is that,” She finally turns with a sigh and looks at Sarek, “I care for your son. Very much. I know Vulcans don’t think on an emotional level, but I know you feel them. That day? Stardate 2258.42, had already been a whirlpool of feeling; then the adrenaline of the moment, I had MAYBE one second to see the ledge crumble and choose who to save. It happened so fast, it wasn't really a conscious decision.” There’s another long pause as they remember that day. “Doctors McCoy and Jones both believe my past determined your, and Spock’s, current reality. I will never regret choosing to save you... even having lost Lady Grayson; I simply wish I could have saved you both; I blame myself for losing her. Illogical, I know, as it was a physical incapability.

“But, Sir… If I could, I would like to encourage you to stay in regular contact with your son. And I know it’s not really any of my business- but I also know you two have not communicated since parting. I understand that it’s difficult to express how you feel- but for Spock, you’re the only family he has left. Neither of you may want to talk specifically about sentimentalities, but I think Spock needs to know that you care for him. He needs to be able to talk to someone, to have someone there for him. He’s your son, he’s half human… and he needs some inclination that you do, despite being logic based, love him. And my fear… my fear is that I took the one person in the universe who would openly SAY THOSE WORDS, away.”

The awkward tension that was not present previously is very clearly here now, in this silence that seems to stretch on for an eon. “You say that Spock needs someone to care for him.” She nods hesitantly, “You have also said that You care for him.”

“As much as I wish I could fill this void, even IF Spock could reciprocate my feelings for him, which he doesn’t, I can’t. I’m not his mother, and any feelings I have for him would vary a great deal from that which Lady Amanda gave him, what you can give him. As a parent… Like I said, it’s not about heart-warming or tear-jerking conversations; it’s about him knowing he CAN talk to you if something is wrong- even if it’s an emotional or illogical situation.”

“I cannot guarantee to be successful.”

“I didn’t ask you to promise anything. I was simply answering the unspoken question of why I feel the 'regret' that I do. No child, no matter how old, should lose their parents to such tragedy. Not the way I did, and certainly not the way Spock did.” She gave a dry, humorless laugh, “Our parents are supposed to live long, healthy lives and pass peacefully in their sleep. Not be taken from us…”

Jamie returns to looking at the passing storm, a little misty-eyed but otherwise holding strong. The rain pitter patters and a distant melody comes to her mind. She knows there are other things, other questions, to come so she won’t leave until he gives a clear end to the discussion. She hears him move closer, barely; she can feel his presence to her right. She isn’t surprised when his voice breaks the quiet.

“If one were inclined to ask after another being’s emotional state without them inferring deficiency on their part, how would one discreetly inquire after them?”

A soft chuckle and a shrug, “Unfortunately, it's different with everyone... With us Humans being discreet isn’t necessary… just be direct, but if you feel it’s necessary, you could trick them into open honesty. You could start by sharing your thoughts with him, but it doesn’t much matter how… We’re nostalgic beings…” She huffs another humorless laugh at a memory. “For example, when I was a kid, a young boy moved into the farm adjacent to mine. I was very lonely at that age, I had no family, no friends, and life was looking pretty bleak. So, when this four-year-old started looking up to me, talking to me, with no knowledge or care for who I was, I grew attached to him.

“After I got out from Frank’s control, the trial was put on hold for some time; Frank made bail, so Amy thought it would be best to get me off planet for a while. Thomas Leighton was almost seven when he practically demanded to come with me. I promised, swore up and down, that I would take care of him... When nights ran cold, and the children were hungry I’d say to Tom, ‘Do you remember our bus stop?’ He would nod and I’d tell him, ‘well, before you moved there, before I started school, my brother was the only one in a 10 Kilo distance to ride that bus. I remember walking to and from that rickety old bench, fields of corn swaying in the breeze. I used to imagine being in a forest, or swimming in the green seas of another planet.’ Or something therein.

“It was comforting enough to convince the other kids share their own thoughts, feelings… memories… and it reminded the Children that it was okay to pretend that they weren’t where we were. For a time they could forget the famine… forget how one man ordered the slaughter of so many… we could pretend Tarsus didn't exist... Forgive me, I only mean to give an example of how to handle an emotional situation. If I divulged my own truth, they always followed. An unspoken Quid Pro Quo.

“But for two Vulcans to discuss tragic events, I can only advise that you be as direct as possible. Subtleties may be misinterpreted, just try asking him directly, ‘How are you feeling?’ I think Vulcans could benefit from simply acknowledging that emotions do exist. I know it's NOT the Vulcan way, but in light of recent events, recognize the agony within. Even if it is only to those closest to you. It’s only logical to accept all of one’s being, is it not? Doesn’t mean you have to act on them… and how can you purge an emotion, if you don’t first acknowledge it’s existence? Process the feeling, learn from it, then embrace a logical solution… I don’t know, I’m hardly an expert in this area… but accepting oneself is the first step to any success, right?”

“Indeed…”

When Sarek makes no other reply, Jamie looks to him. His countenance calm, his eyes slowly become easier to read. She says the only thing she deems appropriate for the look in his eyes, “Tushah nash-veh k'odu.” I grieve with thee. “Fam du sa’awek.” You are not alone.

He looks back to Jamie, his expression composed, “You speak Vulcan?”

“It isn’t something I speak of, but yes. One of my little secrets. I know some of my pronunciations aren’t quite right but-”

“Thank you Captain.” The storm is almost over; the planet’s star setting can just barely be seen in the distance below the clouds. “My son thinks very highly of you and I can see why, however he has also expressed that you are highly illogical and often confusing. I believe my wife would have found this quite amusing.”

Jamie Smiles at that, but worry speaks for her, “Sir, if I may be so bold, why did you truly ask for this private conversation? I would hope these admissions will stay between us, in complete confidence.”

“You are very perceptive.” He says while appraising her reaction, “Spock has asked me to converse with you, evaluate the discussion, and give my opinion of you.”

“How am I doing so far?”

“It is yet to be determined.” He says this with a glimmer of something, perhaps insight, in his eye. “However you show a great deal of intellect, leadership skills, and loyalty. As you now know the reason for my askance, I will keep, at your request, the more personal information to myself. Speaking Vulcan as an example, the least of your concerns I believe, but a valid example nonetheless.”

Jamie smiles softly, “I would greatly appreciate it.” And for a moment she thinks on what he’s told her. “Why would Spock ask your opinion of me? Shouldn’t he have the most accurate data on my character?”

“There are innumerable reasons one may ask for a third party opinion, perhaps he needs an unbiased assessment.” Another hint of something in his eyes, it seems he’s being almost playful. Her heart swells at this, even if she is projecting. “In his respect, and yours, I will keep personal conversations with myself, therefore, that is the only indication I will give.”

“I understand. Shall we return to the grand hall?”

“I do have one final query,” Jamie gestures for him to continue, “What happened amongst the dunes today?”

Jamie heaved a sigh of hesitance, “I’m not entirely sure of the cause,” she glances out to said dunes, “but for some reason I’ve been experiencing… memories that are not my own. It’s only happened twice, I believe- maybe three times… but they are very vivid and strong. I don’t mind them; they’re what I would expect of myself- if that makes sense.” She looks at Sarek, “there is… something else… something constant, tugging at the back of my mind, comforting and warm, safe. It costs nothing of me-”

“Nothing, except your ability to remain standing.”

Embarrassment floods Jamie, “That hasn’t happened before… and-” a hesitation, “and I-” ‘Dammit, WORDS’ “I…” She looks at Spock’s father, brow raised in concern- or confusion or something else, she couldn’t tell- “Honestly? I’m afraid Bones will find a way to… fix it.

“If you are receiving memories, then it may be that the being intruding your mind may be invading your most private thoughts. Therefore, ‘fixing it’ as you say, may be for the best.”

“But they’re not, I know they’re not. Don’t ask me how, I just know.” She has started gentle pacing, with a gripping of her hands, “There’s no malicious intent, sometimes sadness, irritation, or confusion, but never malice. It’s the only-” She stops, physically, mentally, vocally. Once her thoughts come back online, a mere moment, she thinks back on every moment in her life. Her voice continues, softer, “It’s the only time I’ve ever felt even close to being whole. The only time in my life that my entire being is at peace; I don’t want to lose that. To lose a connection like this… would be devastating.”

“I am merely asking after your wellbeing, Miss Kirk. Perhaps a Vulcan healer can simply assess whether or not this, presence, is a threat?”

Jamie knows it’s not a request, “So long as it’s just an assessment, no unnecessary actions without my approval-”

“I believe you know that such actions would be a violation of Vulcan Law. The penalty for which is very high for any and all who attempt to alter or steal another’s thoughts or memories.”

“Yes, sir, I understand. Perhaps after my team has their orders and are settled?” She feels every bit as outranked as she is on this subject.

But Sarek understands the trepidation, “I shall make arrangements for a healer to meet with us both the night after next.”

“Thank you… You’ll be there? The whole time?” There’s a warmth blooming in her heart.

“Yes. Despite the unfortunate circumstances of our meeting, I sense that my Amanda would have very much liked you. She would have accepted you and treated you as if you were her own child. So I shall attempt likewise.”

“That means a great deal to me, sir. More than you know.” Then a moment passes between the two, Jamie could never have hoped for this- to be accepted so easily, so fully, for no other reason than his Wife would have wanted it. Sarek appraises the young woman in front of him once more- perhaps the sudden loss of so many of his people has made him susceptible to his emotions- however, he approves of her, in all of the facets that he has yet seen of her. “Should we return? I’m sure Spock wants to hear from you.”

With a gentle bowing of the head Sarek allows Jamie to lead them back. By the time they both retrieve sustenance the hall has mostly cleared. Jamie sits across from Saleek and next to Sarek, eating quietly. She removes the scarf from her head- 'no point in a disguise now, right?' Then they spoke with relative ease about work margins, open projects, the extent of voluntary aide- which should be considered astonishing given that Vulcans have been, and continue to be, extremely private; and most federation planets were, at one time or other, weary of them. Once finished she returns her dinnerware and heads for the piano in the corner; as she is passing, she hears her first ask his father’s opinion.

He responds simply, “Ma kotik ish-veh t’nash vey messaya, sa-fu.” She has my approval, son. Spock seems to tense but accept this answer with a sharp nod; Jamie analyzes the new data.

Kirk sits down in front of the sleek, black instrument, ignoring the looks from the other beings in the room. Allowing the overwhelming emotions of the day to flow through her, She straightens her posture and taps the D key with her right index. The sound rings out and the room falls to near silence, she breathes deeply. She plays it a few times, almost like a heartbeat, before flowing into heartbreaking chords. After a few measures, she quietly begins to sing.

Say something I’m giving up on you. Bummm bummm bumm bum bummm. I’ll be the one if you want me to.”

She feels, more than hears, the Vulcan come up behind her, presumably just standing by. Her eyes close as she continues singing, with more confidence.

Anywhere, I would have followed you. Say something, I’m giving up on you…” The ambassador sat next to Jamie and readied his hands on the keys.

And I-” more chords come in, in a different pattern, “Never thought that I- had anymore to give. You’re pushing me so far- Here I am without you. Drink to all that we have lost- Mistakes we have made. Everything will change, but love remains the same.

A few measures of chords, the tempo increases, “I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you. So much more to say. So much more to be done. Don’t you trick me out- We shall overcome… Say something I’m giving up on you.

It’s in this moment she realizes the tears on her cheeks, as her voice breaks, the volume and tempo drop dramatically, “And I will swallow my pride… You’re the one that I love… and I’m saying goodbye.” Her voice quiets to barely a whisper.

A Thousand times I’ve seen you standing, Gravity like a lunar landing, makes me want to run ‘till I find you.” A measure, “Anywhere, I would have followed you.” Another quiet moment, “Half the time the world is ending; everything we know, fades to black.

She sweeps up the Piano, coming back in at a full forte, “Truth is I am done pretending! I- never thought that I- could feel this small. It was over my head- I know nothing at all. And I- will stumble and fall, I’m still learning to love, Just starting to crawl.

Her eyes open, tears on the keys, slows the tempo again, “I- Oh, I- ‘m sorry that I couldn’t get to you. Say something I’m giving up…” Full stop, complete silence, a breath, “Say something…

                Have you ever actually experienced the So-quiet-you-could-hear-a-pin-drop silence? That is the atmosphere in the dining hall. Spock Prime takes the quiet to ask, “When did you write that piece, Miss Kirk?”

                She takes a second to try and compose herself, “It just… came to me, I guess… In light of recent events- all we have lost… the two songs; It just, fell into place.” The piano sliding out a copy of what was just played. Saleek flips a switch once it stops spitting out paper.

                So, Jamie plays a few simple tunes, just puttering around the keys, still trying and failing to pull herself together. Saleek’s hands follow hers as they had a thousand times before; hearing a few keys, adding his own. When the young Captain stops, sniffles, and takes a shaky breath, the wise ambassador places a hand on her back, rubbing slowly. “Come, I will show you where you will be staying.” He says softly.

                “Embarrassed that I’m sobbing like a child, Ambassador?” She gives a half-hearted chuckle.

“Not in the slightest."

Jamie swipes at her cheeks, "Ugh, I don't know what's gotten into me, I was fine twenty minutes ago."

                "Tears are expected during distressing times, the difficult trials that life inevitably brings forth.” The two stand at once and he hands her a handkerchief which she uses daintily under her eyes before returning.

                “Thank you. Have you ever cried Mister Saleek?” She asks while picking up the fresh new sheet music and locking it away in the bench, noting the PADD jack for further investigation.

                “Indeed, I have. Some believe that it is weak- where in fact, it relieves exceptional levels of stress, it is also…. Natural, to cry.” Jamie looked at him incredulously, “I understand that this defies all that is known of the Vulcan culture- however, as Vulcans feel on a much deeper level than humans, I find it no longer bothers me to openly admit- I shed tears on the Last Day of Vulcan. It is liberating to acknowledge this pain and to be able to overcome it.”

                “Well said.” By this point conversations had long since resumed around the room, Spock, Bones, and Sarek made their way over, and Jamie realized how exhausted she truly is. “So, you mentioned a place to stay,” she yawns and chuckles, “With a bed I hope?”

                The small group leaves the dining hall heading for the lifts “Yes, as not many buildings have been finished, rooms are scarce; therefore, you shall stay in my quarters while Your Commander and Doctor McCoy share a separate room.”

                “Is this quite logical-?” The youngest Vulcan starts before his captain cuts him off.

                “If you don’t want to share with Bones I don’t mind staying with him.”

                “Negative.” Spock says quickly, “I only mean… to inquire after Ambassador Saleek. The Captain has been having trouble sleeping-”

                “Spock!”

                “-and It may disturb your meditation.” Spock is looking blankly forward, fully aware he just lied, as they climb into the lift. “It would not, however, faze me, should she-” Spock is cut off again, but this time by his older self.

                “I will not mind,” There’s a not-smirk on the elders face, who is also looking straight ahead, “In fact, I rather enjoy the Captain’s company. Moreover, your personal effects have been sent down and have already been put in the corresponding rooms.”

                A moment of silence before Sarek leans over to Jamie and says quietly, but loud enough everyone hears, “I apologize on behalf of my sons, it appears they are both quite intrigued by you. So much so they have completely. Forgotten. to ask YOUR opinion. If you are uncomfortable in any way Captain, you may stay in my rooms.” The lift opened on their floor, and they all filed out, “You are welcome at any hour; my room is marked with my Family name and will be down this hall.” He indicates to the right.

                “My thanks to you, Ambassador; for tonight, at least, I believe I will stay with Saleek. After all, all my things are there.”

                The Ambassador lowers his head in a form of a bow, “A logical conclusion, for now then, I shall bid you good evening.” He looks up and gives a meaningful look to both forms of his son, who both have enough grace to look down and away. Bones is snickering softly.

                “Goodnight Ambassador.” Jamie says as the Vulcan takes his leave. “So, where to?”

                “Forgive me, Miss Kirk,” Jamie waves the Elder off, gesturing for him to lead the way. “Our rooms are down this hall,” Gesturing to the left hall.

**

                There is a calm silence for a time as they walk down the corridor. Jamie has so many questions that one finally bubbles out, “How did you know that was where I was going with the piece? How did you know what I was going to play before I played it?

                “Jamie, I believe this is one of those moments where you should not know what I have to say.” Saleek responds. She glances at him solemnly, from the corner of her eye, effectively taking on the look of a kicked puppy. As soon as He looks at her, he starts “My Jame…” He clears his throat softly, “For a time, was pregnant. We had only known for little more than a month when…”

                Jamie stopped in her tracks with a horrified gasp, “No…”

                Saleek couldn’t look her in the eye, “Nothing could console her. She would spend hours staring at nothing. Until the day we sat down at the Piano… I placed my hand on the piece’s initial D. Her grief, our heartbreak, spilled out into notes, into words, before either of us really knew what had happened.”

                Jamie came to rest with her left hand gripping the fingers of her right, as it lay over her abdomen. She bites the inside of her cheek- Bones is a half second from wrapping an arm around her shoulders when she whispers, “That’s awful…”

                Saleek gripped her shoulders to get her to look him in the eyes, “This is why I must stop telling you my past. Jamie, just because this misfortune happened to us, does not mean it will happen to you.” He notices the doubt in her eyes, “Jame and I had many misadventures, and in another universe, we met a young man. A young man, who claimed that he was the son of 'The Prestigious Captain Kirk'. In some ways, My history cannot and will not define your Future as it will vary greatly from that of my past.”

                Jamie gives a half-hearted smile and moves to continue down the hall, “You sure do get around…”

                Saleek did not move, “It is strange… the way you recoil. Have you thought of… having children?”

                Jamie stops and turns to the wall of windows on the right. Spock and McCoy barely breathe, afraid to call attention to themselves and break the moment. “I have… but only seriously, maybe, twice? Each time I thought I might make a good mother, but then I would think of my own mother, my past, just me in general… I guess you don’t really know how much you want something until you think you’ll never have it. Not that I’d ever get pregnant; who, in this universe, would marry me?”

                Saleek smiles softly, a human smile, “You and I both know that being unmarried is not a reliable birth control.”

                Jamie smiles sadly back at him, “True, I suppose fate is fickle.”

**

                “You once theorized that fate, destiny, was more of a road map. Certain stops unavoidable and ‘meant to happen’, but there are hundreds of roads, paths, that can be taken to get there. Some of those have complications- mountains, swamps, and storms that lay in wait, but all lead to the same predetermined destinations. It seems to me, that Kirk shall always become Captain- a doctor and young half Vulcan at your side, Kirk will never truly be alone, and Kirk will always find trouble.” A single laugh bursts out of her at this, “How Kirk may get there, in what form, is uncertain, but those three things I know to be a destined truth.”

                She hugs him, “Thank you.”

                “You are most Welcome my dear, but I must ask you to refrain yourself from asking questions of this nature. I was always too inclined to acquiesce to your requests. And I do not believe you knowing my past will change your fate, but I am under orders. Once I take my oath of silence, I must stop speaking of my world, of my time, except in the most dire and extreme of circumstances.”

                She pulls away with a slow, sad nod. Jamie then wipes her eyes, sniffles. ‘Ugh what is wrong with me, being a freaking crybaby today…’ She gestures for him to keep leading, “Okay, no questions of that nature… So…" She clears her throat and mind, "Why is this building completely finished and not the majority of others? It even has security systems.”

                “Yes. Logic dictated that we needed a place for everyone to stay. Naturally everyone worked together to rapidly create what will eventually be the I.A.E., forgive me, the Intergalactic Ambassador’s Embassy.”

                “Logic, Logic, Logic. I suppose it’s just a bad situation. It would take too long to create individual homes, so the alternative is to have every remaining survivor living on planet, in the same building. Quite the risk.”

                “But necessary." He turns his attention away from her, "Now, Doctor McCoy, young Mister Spock mentioned that the Captain is having trouble sleeping? I assume you prescribed the recently approved Starfleet medication for her particular…” he glanced at the young captain, “Affliction?”

                Bones checks with Jamie, she nods approval, “Uh yeah, she’ll need a dose tonight.”

                “How long have you been administering it?”

                “She’s almost halfway through. That is, it’s the fifth injection.” Bones responds. He queries, Saleek answers. The conversation progresses quietly.

                “I suddenly find myself to be, as you say, the ‘odd man out’. You know the medication she has been prescribed?” Spock tries to cut in, confused.

                Kirk shrugs, smiles and falls back to walk with her Commander. “You guessed I had a sleeping problem- but you don’t know ANY details. The other Jamie likely had the same issues. I’ll tell you all about it.” She pauses for effect, “Someday.” She chuckles and nudges his shoulder with hers. “You didn’t tell me you could play piano.”

                “That is because I cannot.” Spock stops, agitation flowing briefly through him. Jamie stops next to him, letting the other two move further ahead. “It would seem you have forgotten that I am not my counterpart. You seem quite comfortable with a being you have not known for very long. Perhaps you-” He refrained from finishing the humanly spiteful remark. ‘-would prefer his company? Perhaps you wish for him to be your first officer?’

                “Perhaps what Spock? I haven’t forgotten- I made an assumption…” She sighs glancing at her two friends who have stopped a few doors down. Bones actually chatting animatedly. “But you are right, that isn’t fair to you. There are a lot of differences between the two of you. Age obviously, but” She started walking, knowing he’d follow. “also personality. I mean he really would not talk so much about his past if he REALLY thought it would affect us that deeply. And I mean Sure you both play chess, but that doesn’t mean you like ALL of the same things. Music, history, art, mechanics…” she trailed off in a way that said she had just one more thing to say.

                They got to Bones who promptly, smarmily, stated, “Alright, PAL, this is our room. Just gotta get coded for it.” Spock and Bones both got scanned in and the door opened with a click and a swoosh. Bones waved goodnight and went into the room.

                Spock turns, appearing as though to speak, but Jamie starts first. “You’re right Mister Spock. You two are very different, with different likes, desires, passions… I will do my very best to remember that in the future.” She looks between them, “So very different… I mean” She looks directly at Saleek, “one of you actually ‘enjoys my company’ and the other,” Jamie turns to Spock, pain evident in her eyes, “I just seem to piss off. Have a good night, Commander.” Jamie gave a quick bow and then started walking back in the direction they came from.

                Saleek speaks quietly to Spock in Vulcan, “Du ki’tor suk lafosh; du ki’dash-tor kosu. Du ki’dash-tor tu Khart-lan.”

And Spock’s mind went back to what McCoy had said about hurting Jamie. Saleek’s words, ‘You have made a big mistake; you have hurt her. You have hurt your Captain.’  plays in his head accompanied by the Doctor having said something similar after Viridis.

“You must make amends,” Spock takes a step forward but Saleek puts a hand to his chest to stop him, “In the morning. You are still new to her emotions, she needs time, and you do not yet understand this hurt. Meditate on what transpired between you and apologize in the morning.” Saleek then makes his way toward Jamie who had stopped about five doors down and was looking out the vast windows.

                Spock enters the room he is sharing with the Doctor, which turns out to be more of an apartment, with the CMO in the Kitchenette making coffee. The Vulcan stops next to a counter and taps a finger three times before effectively scaring the hell out of McCoy. “Doctor-”

                “Jesus H. Christ, Man!” Bones jumps out of his skin, spilling some coffee in the process.

                “I apologize; I did not intend to startle you. I only wish to inquire after your meaning.”

                “Meaning of what?” Bones says, cleaning up the mess. “Your gonna have ta be more specific…”

                “You told me to be mindful- that I may… hurt the Captain…” Bones stiffens immediately. “At the time I had made the assumption that you meant the term in a Physical sense.” The doctor sighs and shakes his head slowly. “I find that I may have said something that has upset our Captain. Doctor?”

                At this point Bones moves to grab his bag, pulling out a bottle of very strong whiskey. Spock can only just make out the label- Bruichladdich X4. “Lemme ask ya somethin’ Spock-” His southern drawl is making itself known. He pours a generous amount of alcohol into the coffee before taking a swig. “-First though, I’m not surprised you’ve already fucked up. She’s…uh… never mind, Anyway, POINT is, you’re sending some pretty harsh mixed messages. My question- How d’ya feel about her?”

                “She is my Commanding Officer-”

                “No, Spock. Not duty. FEELINGS. How do you feel about her? Does she irritate you? Make yer heart flutter?” He stops, takes another long swig from his mug. The young Vulcan opens his mouth but McCoy shuts him down. “Stop, yer just gonna embarrass yerself. You do some pretty ridiculous things when it comes to her, illogical things. So you can’t admit to Emotions, talk about how she makes you act.”

                There’s a pause, with scrunched eyebrows and a southern swallow, “I find myself exceptionally protective of her. A Logical response to such reckless behavior and-”

                “Spock- I don’t give a shit about your excuses, or mental justifications. Just give me facts.”

                “I am attempting, doctor, to explain my actions. I cannot think of any other reactions I have had to her that are abnormal.”

                “Oh really? Then I suppose you’ve forgotten the entirety of our academy days, The Vulcan secret thing; and that’s not even mentioning the throttling on the Bridge. She gets you all kinds of riled up, man. You GROWLED at me.” He takes a drag straight from the bottle. “Spock, do you see yourself in any form of a romantic or sexual relationship with Jame?”

                “Negative.” stated with zero hesitation.

                There’s a heavy sigh, “Look, whether that’s true or not, no one else can tell. One minute you’re shielding her with your own body, the next you’re practically snarling at her for something stupid and after THAT you ask her to play chess.” His accent is really making itself known, “I mean, yer practically PMS! THAT’S why, er how, yer gonna hurt her. Is she unpredictable? Absa-Damn-lutely. But you? Yer a Vulcan, supposed to have a lid on yer emotions? I ain’t drunk enough for this conversation…”

                “It would appear you are correct. I have reacted in a demonstrative manner…” Spock is recalling every moment with Jamie and he comes to the same conclusion. “I must meditate, regain my control; I will be in the living area should you need me Doctor.”

                “Damnit Spock, we’re sleepin’ in the same quarters. You had better get used to callin’ me by my name in private. Leonard, Len, McCoy, hell even Bones is more appropriate for this situation.”

                Spock quirked an eyebrow, “Have a pleasant evening... Leonard.” With that he moved to the meditation mat, sat down, and started looking inward.

                “Yeah, yeah, I’ll be back in five.”

 

 

                “Are you alright, Tal-Kam?”

Kirk smiles at the term of endearment, Dear, before reminding herself of Spock. She sighs heavily, “I will be… I just don’t know what I do that gets him so irate! I never intend to… Sos’eh kah-if-goh t’nash veh lafot. K’puu tu tishau t’nash veh khaf spol.” Spock stands ramrod straight and looks in her eyes. Maybe it is only my fault. At least you care for my Heart.

“Kwon-Sum.” 'Always.' He pauses. “Though your phrasing is-”

“I butchered it?”

“Not spectacularly, no. However, you need not say kah-if-goh simply kah-if; though it is NOT your fault. Similarly, the way you mean heart in comparison to the word you have used, have different meanings. I do care for your physical heart, if only because it is vital to your life. I may say, to convey affections, Taluhk nash-veh k’dular.”

“You say Always when I say that you care for me, and then you say I Cherish Thee. I thought those were like saying ‘I love you’?”

“Indeed.” Saleek looks out the window to the stars, taking a deep breath he continues, “I do love you Jamie; however I do not know YOU as I should. My counterpart is correct; You are not my Jame, much as Spock and I are separate beings. Yet you share the same genetic code, the same mind, and the same Katra; therefore I find myself incapable of not caring for you even though I have not known you long. It is a complex situation not easily understood.”

“But I think I do.” She smiles at him and chuckles, “It is kind of complicated. You know, the Ancient Greeks had SEVEN words for love.” She sighs, “Do me a favor? Don’t tell Spock I speak Vulcan… Please…? I've told two people about it today and no one's supposed to know.”

“He is not the one teaching you?”

They share a confused look, “No…”

“When did you learn?”

Jamie hesitates, “It was years ago… and I haven’t used it in a while, which is probably why so much of it gets mucked up. Vulcans have always intrigued me.”

“Who was your teacher?”

Jamie’s eyes well up with tears again, “A friend of a friend. Amy had friends on Vulcan… She came to visit for a couple months, her husband had rare business on earth; we kept up contact off and on for a few years.” She chokes a little trying to hold back the tears, “I only saw her son from a distance once; he wasn’t interested in humans back then, but she… She was an amazing woman.”

“She did not survive…” The young captain merely shakes her head. A door down the hall hisses open so Saleek guides her into his temporary home. He holds her close, “How certain are you of this? Many were off planet, during the incident…”

“Pretty Damn certain.” And for the first time, Jamie let herself truly grieve. She acknowledges her guilt for surviving that day when so many had not. Her tears roll down her cheeks and onto his robe. Sniffling she could feel the stress lifting from her shoulders. She thought nothing of it when she felt his hand cupping her cheek; She did however reach out to the warmth coming from the back of her mind. Enveloped in both embraces she lets herself succumb to the full powered emotions she has denied herself.

Grief, by definition, is keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss. Synonyms include Anguish, heartache, misery, woe, and melancholy. In short, Jamie, with such overwhelming sorrow, was unfit to command her crew. Even with emotions strong and deep enough to rival a Vulcan’s, she continued on, as if unbothered by it all, until this moment.

Assessing all of this in a breath of a moment, she breathes out a shaking, heavy sigh. Jamie can feel each and every muscle in her body loosening, relaxing, in a way they hadn’t in a long time. The young captain realizes the power within herself; she can heal now, it won’t happen overnight but she can take those steps; she can make that choice. Steps to forgive herself and to become the Leader she is destined to be.

Then, all of a sudden, there’s a knock on the door. Saleek pulls out of the embrace slowly; his thumb brushes her cheek to wipe away her tears. “Forgive me,” he whispers, “I will just be a moment. I believe it is Doctor McCoy.” He pauses, “Do you wish to speak with him on this matter?”

“No, please, I don’t want him worrying…” He nods once and turns toward the door. K’diwa presses her head against Jame; she turns to her new furry friend. “Hey you! I was wondering where you ran off to.” Jame sniffles and hugs the Sehlat around her neck. She hears Saleek talking to Bones but she just rubs her face into K’diwa’s fur.

“Jame, darlin’ I have to approve this with you. It’s your medication, your treatment. You know protocol; Are you giving Ambassador Saleek your permission to administer your injection this one time?”

She takes in a deep shuddering breath. “Yes, Doctor McCoy. I, Captain Kirk, give Ambassador Saleek my explicit permission to administer my medication via Hypospray.”

The heavy southern sigh floats into the room and Jame makes out his soft words, “Just this once. She’s not emotionally stable right now- she lost someone; I think bein’ ‘round here’s bringin’ up memories… Anyway, she might say things before fallin’ asleep-”

“Leonard, you have already forgotten that I have endured a similar situation with my own Captain. All will be well.”

“No- I know, just- keep me posted, okay? I don’t want her gettin’ any worse.”

“Of course, Good evening Doctor.” His voice calms her frayed nerves; she sniffles some more and wipes her cheeks; then the door swishes closed.

“So much for not worrying him…”

The older man moves quietly behind her, places a hand on her shoulder, “I believe you will find, soon enough, that Leonard is very intuitive. He always seems to know when you have managed to get into trouble, when you are about to ingest something potentially hazardous, and when you are… emotionally compromised.”

“It probably has something to do with the fact that I told him I lost someone… He is something though. I wouldn’t have made it through the Academy without him. Even being the giant pain in the neck that he is… literally.”

There’s a soft huff of a laugh from behind her, “I believe it is time you readied yourself for sleep.”

“Oh no no no.” She turns to him, wagging her finger, before crossing her arms over her chest, “We have to talk first.” Quickly wiping tears off her jawline, she attempts to appear commanding.

“I am open to any topic of conversation you choose, given that you attempt-”

“You’re not sleeping on the couch.” Paired with her tear stained cheeks and pink nose, her furrowed brow simply serves to make her look a bit like a grumpy pup.

“…Apologies, might I inquire as to how you arrived at this statement?”

“My stuff isn’t in the living room. This would strongly suggest that my things are in the bedroom; which denotes your wish of my residing in your bed during the nocturnal hours.” She pauses with a look of affectionate annoyance, “Am I being technical enough for your sesquipedalian tendencies?”

K’diwa nuzzles her head against Jamie, so she scratches behind her ears. Spock Prime opens his mouth to inhale, with the intentions of responding.

“Don’t even start up with the ‘Vulcans require less sleep crap’. Yes, LESS sleep but you still need it; and you can’t just meditate the entirety of our stay! And you will require adequate rest. So, you’re not sleeping on the couch. This was, of course, your initial intention. Because these may be temporary quarters for other people staying here but you are an Ambassador who, once everything has settled, will need a place to stay during diplomatic discussions. Therefore, this room will remain yours even after construction is finished- meaning there is only one bed, unlike most of the other rooms I presume. So, you have two options and ONLY two. One, I move into the living room and sleep on the couch-”

“Absolutely not.” He cuts in with an amused air.

“Then option Two. After you’ve finished meditating, you go to bed as you normally would, despite my ass likely being in the way. There's no reason we can't cohabitate.”

“Very well Miss Kirk.” There’s a pause where Kirk simply stares at Saleek. “Now may we please retire for the evening?”

K’diwa bounds into the bedroom and onto the bed. “That’s it? No convincing needed?”

“I have long since given up on arguing with you over the sense of propriety. You have stubbornly come to a conclusion and I will not deny the lack of decorum nor will I deny that your logic is sound. It is, as you would say, ‘a massive waste of time’.”

“Okay…” She goes to the bathroom to get ready for bed, and when she comes out in Starfleet sweats, Saleek is dressed in a soft, elegant, dark green robe with gold swirls in the Traditional Golic Vulcan script. She can only fully read two of them, but they all appear to be poems about the stars.

Stars shine through the Night,

Bold and constant as our love.

With you, my Heart is Light.

________

Jamie steps forward, “What’s this word here?” She brushes the back of her fore and middle fingers, over his heart.

“That is T’hy’la.”

“I made this?” She whispers in awe. She shakes her head, clearing it, “She did… your Jamie?”

“She never took well to being idle. Before sewing and embroidery she engaged in recreational sports, after sewing she took to art. She was fond of trying to capture life on the Enterprise. But no hobby ever held her attention for long, though she became very talented in many of these fields. She was rather terrible at crochet and pottery, though she never quite stopped attempting them…”

“Ugh, same. Crochet hooks are so hard to manipulate…” K’diwa huffs from the bed and Saleek scratches under her chin. Jame sits on the edge of the bed next to a small medical case, “I suppose it’s time you drugged me up, huh?” She says with a deep sigh.

He allows himself a small sigh as well, “A crude turn of phrase, but yes.” Saleek then moves to stand in front of her, removing the Hypo from the case. “Take a slow, deep breath in.” She does, “Now slowly out.” And as she breathes out, he injects the medication.

“Hey! …That worked, why did that work?” She sits with confusion all over her face.

“It is not a trick of breathing, simply of your mentality. You need not tense so much for an injection; it will not prevent the process. Now, into bed my dear.”

She sighs heavily and lays back against K’diwa; turning on her side, Jamie wraps her arms around one of K’diwa’s big paws. “You know, I’m sure you do… I really like Spock. He’s very… very…” She yawns. Saleek sits on the edge of the bed and sweeps her hair behind her ear; he feels a small swell of jealousy that fades immediately with her next sentence. “Why is it that he doesn’t like me?” It’s written on Jamie’s face that this hurts her, a lot.

“Give it time, he may yet surprise you.”

“He won’t surprise me, if he surprised me then he would surprise himself… and Spock doesn’t like parties…”

Saleek quirks his brow with mirth; he stands, turns off the lights, and climbs into bed turning his back to her. “He may not be fond of parties but he is fond of you. Of that, I am certain. You must simply wait.”

“I don’t wanna wait… I don’ wanna… waid…” Another yawn. “I just wan’ ‘im ta see into my heart an’ soul like you do. I want him to love me too. I don’ have much… he can do better but… I wan’ T’i’ler.”

“T’hy’la, Jame, T’hy’la. Just rest my dear, tomorrow is another day.”

“Mmm kay.”