to feel the sun from both sides

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by templemarker

Notes: For potatofiend in the first round of the trek_exchange. I, em, borrowed the name for the new Vulcan settlement from laurajv’s wonderful The Word for World Is–, which is very much my own personal canon.


There are times when Spock stares out at the dusty, unfamiliar landscape of this new world they have seeded, and wishes to be somewhere entirely else.

Spock has been satisfied with the course of his life for more than half of it. He is one hundred and fifty-five years old, a well-seasoned age for his race, and has lived and loved and lost twice over in the space of that time. Now, as he looks upon this universe that is young still–at least by his own reckoning–he feels an odd sense of peace, even in the face of all he has seen. Even in the face of all the death and destruction he has witnessed.

His younger self, so full of anger and wroth, is off in search of that fragile peace Spock has thankfully wrought inside himself. To do it alongside Jim Kirk seems to be a destiny inescapable of any Spock in any universe, and Spock is grateful for that. Though he has lost his own Jim, his own guidestar, there is comfort in knowing something of paths already tread. Indeed, as he finds himself with no anchor in this newly directed reality, that is perhaps the only comfort he has.

There is a dust-storm on the horizon, a great massive thing not unlike those of the great plain of Gol. It has a orange tint caused by the interaction of ultraviolet light against the particular molecules of this planet–pretty, in a savage way. Spock had known of this planet from his visit once before, tucked serenely in the Federation Betelgeuse system. He and Jim had visited it once, routine viewing of an uninhabited class-M planet, catalogued for some purpose later to be defined. They had not taken notice of it then, taking their readings and half-heartedly entering their figures.

Jim had said he wanted to see a sunset; that he had spent too much time with his beloved ship beneath his feet and needed to feel the pull of spatial gravity. Spock had not understood at the time what he meant; artificial gravity was, in sum, the same as that of a planetoid’s gravity, save for variations in pull and pressure. But he had gone along with Jim, as he so often did then, and watched the disappearing sun catch his hair, light his face; at Jim’s smile, he understood something of what Jim sought that day.

Now he stands on the other side of that planet, the planet they have named Vik. Jim would have liked the name, the way it sounded when his tongue hit his upper palate, the way it was framed with hope in the deep inner place of Spock’s mind. Jim would have stood with him, the inches between them no barrier to the joining of their minds, and heard every undercurrent of peace and uncertainty that Spock would profess to no-one but him. Spock would have kissed his mouth, tasting the phoneme on his tongue, tasting the very recesses of his thoughts.

Spock has been without his James Kirk for over sixty years. Yet every day he finds some new memory of him has come to the forefront of his own mind, and allows himself the minor, unshakeable vice of living through the memory once more.

The storm comes closer, obscuring the night sky from his vision, and he enters his house; small and spare, few pictures on the walls and fewer objects positioned throughout the room. He does not need much. As the winds come nearer to the force field barrier that will act as a shield against potential damage from the storm, he pursues a file on his computer. He always carried some precious things on his person, a data crystal filled with important information, important files, which hung from his neck looking nothing but decorative. As his younger self sent the Jellyfish to destruction, this is the only computer record that survived the transfer between realities. He has told no one of it; there is much that would advance the Federation, but it has never been a government that needed power to accomplish its goals.

There are pictures, video clips, holo programs. He does not allow himself to look at most of them; though he has had many years to work through his grief, the knowledge that such a record exists is enough to ease his loss, much of the time.

Tonight he looks for one particular file, a video sequence taken by his tricorder some number of years ago. When he finds it, he sits back and watches the system he had to build by hand load the sequence.

It is this planet, some hundred years ago, some twenty years from now, and the folly of his fondness for Jim Kirk is writ in every image it recorded. Jim is laughing, having told some rather unamusing joke about Tellarite females and warm climes, a joke Spock only found barely tolerable at the time. Jim was more amused by Spock’s reticence than he was by his own cleverness, and had tipped back his head to laugh. It was an hour or more before the sun would set, the crew of Enterprise tolerating their captain’s selfish desires, so few and far between.

The sun of this world is a yellow-green behind him, and the tricorder’s recording device flares with the sudden onset of illumination. Jim is a well-formed shadow against it, and Spock’s eyes run over every limned part of his body.

Here, now, on this same world, Spock’s hands are folded in his lap; he watches the recording with remembered pleasure and current loss. So many years has he been without this human man, and yet.

Somewhere in this reality, a younger self is wrestling with emotions he did not believe he possessed; somewhere in this reality, there is a Jim Kirk unaware of what pleasure and happiness might await him. Spock has refused to intervene in their lives, at least no more than was necessary to insure a most positive outcome; the rest is up to them. But as he sits on this New Vulcan, watching the looped video of the love he has lost to time, he wonders if perhaps this is his chance to insure that he himself will not be sitting in a small house on a small planet, alone and thinking of the past.

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