“You were not honest with me regarding your physical state.”

Jim shrugged. “You had enough to deal with.”

“Nevertheless, I should have been informed.”

He looked away from Spock, because just then he felt almost stupidly shy. Which probably was a little crazy. “Why is that?”

Spock took a long time to reply to that. Not especially long for others, but long for Spock. He seldom struggled for words, generally speaking his mind.

“We are engaged in a relationship,” was his quiet reply.

Jim’s gaze flitted back to Spock. “Are-are we? Still?”


“Well.” Jim ran his hand down his chest over his heart. He noted that Spock followed his every move. “I guessed perhaps given the way things went down between us on the Enterprise—”

“You speak of my marooning you on Delta Vega.”

“No.” Jim shook his head. “I know I was insubordinate. Although you wouldn’t listen at all.”

“I was angry.”

Yeah, I know. But even though, sure, I almost got eaten by two monsters down there—” Jim paused, admittedly happy to see Spock wince—“but I met the other you who helped the situation quite a bit, so no, I wasn’t talking about that.”

“My emotional compromise.”

“Mm.” Jim fell silent.

“I do not blame you for your reticence. I did physically assault you.”

“Because I deliberately antagonized you.”

“Still, I am certain you did not expect the level of my violence.”

Jim couldn’t deny that, not really, so he didn’t. He looked away again. “When I was a little boy, my stepfather used to hurt me. My mom got rid of him, when she knew, but it wasn’t always easy.”

“Jim, I—”

“I know you’re nothing like Frank. I know that, Spock. But up until that moment, you had never ever hurt me, and I guess when I set out to emotionally compromise you, it hadn’t occurred to me that-that you could get that way…with me. I expected you to flip out a little, sure, that was the point. But if your dad hadn’t yelled, you might have actually…”

“Killed you.”

“Maybe. Yeah. And I’m still a little uneasy with that.”

Spock nodded. It was his turn to look away. “You wish to end our relationship.”

“No. But don’t you?”


“Spock, look at me. It’s okay.”

Spock did then, though there was a tremendous amount of sorrow there.

“I know under ordinary circumstances you are not an abuser. I know that. And nothing about any of that was ordinary. But I also know that you and your whole family want to help with finding a colony for Vulcan, and considering all that, if you’re leaving, it makes sense that our relationship ends. Doesn’t it?”

He didn’t give a verbal reply, but he did nod.

Jim rubbed his chest again. His whole soul ached right now really. But his chest was a place he could concentrate right now, over his heart.

“Who am I to interfere? I’m going to be on the Enterprise.  And you’re going to be where you need to be. Sometimes life just doesn’t work out the way we expected. That’s the way it goes. The time we’ve had together has been the best ever. It has. And I’m pretty sure I’m going to love you for a long time. But you’re needed elsewhere.”

Spock pursed his lips, but said nothing. He leaned over, though, and placed a chaste kiss on Jim’s forehead. “I-I have to…”

Jim nodded. “I know.”

The Vulcan turned then and left the hospital room without another word. Jim stared at the now empty doorway. It would have been nice to get even a slight argument from Spock, that Jim was wrong, they’d stay together through anything, or even a declaration of undying love from Spock, but Jim should have known better. Those kinds of things happened to other people.

A few minutes later, Bones came in bearing a tray of food. None of it looked like hospital food, Jim noted. There was a hamburger and fries, carrot cake, and a chocolate shake.

He frowned. “Where did this all come from?”

“Went out and got it.”

“Oh.” Jim nodded. “Thanks. Thanks, Bones.”

“Listen, Jim. Are you all right?”

He smiled. “Of course I am. Why wouldn’t I be?”

Bones made a face and sat down on the edge of the bed. “I saw Spock leave. Things didn’t look good.”

“Oh. That. It’s, um, it’s over.” He shrugged.

“I’m sorry, Jim.”

“Sorry?” Jim laughed. “I thought you’d be happy or at least say I told you so.”

“I don’t ever want you to be hurt.”

“I know.” His smile fell away. “But I knew it would never last, right? I mean what would a Vulcan see in someone like me? I’m as illogical as they come, Bones. We both know that.”

“There’s nothing wrong with you at all, Jim.”

He looked at the food. “This looks great, Bones. Thank you. I’m sure this is against some kind of regulation.”

Bones smiled, squeezed Jim’s arm. “Probably. Eat. And I’ll come back and check on you in a bit.”

Jim took a big bite to show Bones he was eating. Then he put it back on the plate when Bones was gone. Closed his eyes. “Bye, Spock.”