Disclaimer:  Star Trek is the property of Paramount/Viacom.  This story is the property of SterJulie and is copyright (c) 2005 by SterJulie.  Rated PG.



Ster Julie


Spock stayed on the transporter pad as the rest of the crew descended from the platform.  Doctor McCoy was fussing over the bruised and bloodied James T. Kirk, captain and once again single-handed, bare fisted savior of the Enterprise.


Spock's eyes glazed over as he mentally scanned himself.  He was dizzy, nauseous, and weak.  He had a pain in his side that made it difficult to breathe, let alone speak.  If he lifted his foot to descend the stairs, he may end up not on his feet but instead on his seat.  He moved his eyes toward Dr. McCoy and instantly regretted doing so.  The contents of his stomach were threatening to not stay put, and now the room grew suddenly chilly.


It was the quiet, unsure voice that drew McCoy's attention.


"I am in need of assistance to Sickbay."


Before Spock had finished speaking, McCoy was at his side, bellowing for a blanket and a gurney.  He took in the look of the Vulcan's pale, clammy face glowing with a sheen of sweat as he wrapped him in the blanket.


"It's alright, Spock," McCoy soothed, "you're going to be alright.  You are going into shock.  Can you stand, or do you want to sit here on the step?  It shouldn't be much longer."  The doctor glared at the Transporter Room's doors, willing them to open to the medical team, gurney in tow.  Kirk drew near.


"I could carry him," Kirk offered.


"NO!" came the simultaneous response from Spock and McCoy.


"He has a broken rib, Jim," the doctor responded.  "Any jostling can push it right into his lung."


"I can walk," came the weak reply from Spock.  He extended his hand to McCoy, who took it while the doctor's other hand secured the back of Spock's waistband as a kind of handle.  If Spock started to fall, the doctor could at least help him land gently.


Spock stepped carefully down the stairs and shuffled his way to sickbay.  The gurney met him at the door, but Spock continued his slow walk to an examination table.  After McCoy uprighted the table for him, Spock climbed aboard gingerly and held on as the doctor lowered it back into position.


McCoy passed a scanner over Spock and examined the readings.


"Yup, fractured rib," he reported.  "It's pressing on the lung, but no puncture."


"Did I do that?" Kirk asked quietly from another exam table.


"Put it this way, Jim," McCoy replied as he continued to work on Spock.  "It was a choice of either a First Officer with a broken rib, or a dead First officer.  I say it was a good tradeoff."


Spock kept quiet, concentrating on controlling the pain.  There was no denying it, he felt like crap; worse, he felt like crap warmed over.  He did not bother to respond to anyone.  Each breath was already excruciating enough.


Spock shot McCoy a dark look as a hypo hissed against his neck.


"Pain killer," McCoy explained briefly as Spock's eyes began to close.  "I have to reduce the fracture and it's going hurt like hell."


Kirk nearly jumped off the table when Spock screamed.


"Captain," Nurse Chapel pleaded, "please hold still."


"I've never heard Spock scream like that before," Kirk said as he stretched himself back on the bed but kept his head turned toward Spock.


"Neither have I," Chapel agreed.  "Reducing a broken rib is painful."  Kirk glanced at the nurse.


"Didn't Bones give Spock something for the pain?" he asked.


"I'm sure he did, Captain," Chapel replied.  "Now for the last time, please hold still."


* * *


The first thing Spock noticed when he awakened (or did he come to?) was that it was easier to take a deep breath.  Oh, his ribcage still felt like he had been kicked by the proverbial mule, but Spock decided that it was much better than earlier.  He gingerly ran his hand over the abused area and deduced that the good doctor had used a "bone knitter" while he was unconscious.  A healing trance would not be necessary.


Spock began to contemplate the events of the past day.  He remembered working on the portable bio-computer, trying to get a signal out to the ship.  The next thing he remembered was being face down in his cell, weak, dizzy and with a fierce pain in his side.  And cold.  He remembered being very cold.  McCoy had said he was going into shock.


/Spock cha Sarek of the house and lineage of Surak nearly died today,/ he thought.  /Unfair! I have only now begun speaking to my father again./ Spock then realized that he had several bits of unfinished business and he vowed to take steps to remedy the situations.


His first order of business was to search for Leila.


When they had made their final farewells after the events of Omicron Ceti III, Spock had told Leila that he was promised to another but if he had been free to choose, he would have chosen her instead.


"Well, Spock, if your situation ever changes, let me know," Leila had said with a forlorn smile.  Spock shook his head.


"I do not think my situation will ever change," Spock had replied with a hint of sadness.  "Leila, please, get on with your life.  You will find someone more worthy than myself that will give you true happiness."


But had she? Spock wondered.  He carefully made his way off the bed and over to a computer.  He began a search of her name and found the myriad of botany articles she had published over the years, her assignment to the Omicron Ceti III colony and to various other research projects.  But then the trail ran cold.  Spock input the name Elias Sandoval next and found his last known whereabouts.  Spock typed a message to him, asking for Leila's whereabouts and sent it before he was caught out of bed.


* * *


"Mr. Spock," came an insistent voice, "if you want to get out of bed you must call for assistance!"


Spock looked sheepishly at Nurse Chapel.


"How did you know I was out of bed?" he asked.  Chapel looked down, remembering the beautiful young scientist who had frolicked with Spock on Omicron Ceti III.


"You didn't clear the computer screen," she informed him.  Spock examined the pained look on the gentle nurse's face.  /How rejected she must feel, yet again,/ Spock thought.


"Dr. Kalomi and I have a history, Nurse Chapel," he replied gently, "all the way back to our Academy days.  Had I not been promised to T'Pring, I would have married Leila."  Chapel raised her eyes to Spock and stared at him, her face unreadable.


"I've had some success at finding long, lost loves, Mr. Spock," she said after a pause.  "I can show you some shortcuts."


Was Spock hearing correctly?


"Why would you do this?" he queried.


"Because all I ever wanted was your happiness," she answered, her eyes misting over.


"Happiness?" Spock echoed.


"Yes," Chapel answered.  "I wouldn't stand in your way of finding happiness," she said aloud, continuing in her head, /even if it wasn't with me./  "How petty do you think I am, anyway?"


Spock covered the nurse's hand with his own, sending her soothing thoughts in the shallowest of melds.


"Your offer is far beyond gracious," Spock said quietly.  Chapel ducked her head shyly.


"I just know how it feels to lose track of a loved one," she said, wiping her eyes.  "Let's start looking, shall we?"


* * *


At 4.657 years into the Enterprise's five-year mission, Spock finally received the response to his inquiries.


"Spock here."


"Spock," came the dear melodious voice.  "It's Leila."


Spock sat behind his desk and put his hands on either side of the comm unit.


"Leila, why can't I see you?" he begged.


"You wouldn't want to see me, Spock," she replied sadly.  "I've been ill."


"I know, Leila," he answered.  "It doesn't matter to me."


"Well, it does to me," she replied hotly.  "I'm not even a woman anymore.  This damn disease has taken every feminine thing away from me."  Leila paused to regain control of herself.  "I'm sorry," she continued.  "I don't want anyone to see me like this."


"How you look on the outside is not important to me," Spock contended.  "I was first drawn to your kind soul and gentle spirit.  I know that hasn't changed."


"You can tell that from just listening to me?" Leila teased.  A sad smile crossed Spock's lips.


"Of course."


They paused, lost in memories.


"How did you know to contact me now, Spock?" Leila asked quietly. Spock sighed.


"Actually," he began, "I have been searching for you for two years."


"Why?" she breathed.


"When we parted," Spock replied, "I told you that I was promised to another.  You asked me to inform you if my 'status' ever changed."


"And has it changed?" she asked.




"But I thought you said the bond couldn't be changed or broken," Leila retorted.


"I was imprecise," Spock answered.  "I should have said it was indecent to try to change or sever the bond."


"And did she do something so indecent?" Leila asked gently.  Spock gulped some air, making a sound like a muffled sob.


"Most assuredly."


"Oh, Spock!" she cried.


"The good news is, Lelia," he continued, "I am free to choose."


"And now you choose me?" she asked, incredulous.


"Yes!" Spock answered with gusto.


Leila's voice grew hard.


"You don't want me!" she insisted.  "You want the dream world, you want a memory."  Suddenly, Spock's vid screen popped to life.  Leila's gray, swollen face appeared.  "You want this?" she said, gesturing to her misshapen face.  "I have no hair for you to run your fingers through now."  She pulled open the front of her shirt, displaying ugly scars where her breasts used to be.  "Or this?"  She put her hand to her bloated middle.  "You can't see where they pulled my reproductive organs.  Do you want that, too?  We're not on Omicron Ceti 3 now, Spock.  There are no spores to save me.  I'm dying."


Spock was never so glad to have been schooled in the Vulcan way.  He kept his gaze impassive as Leila displayed her disease-ravaged body.


"Answer me!" Leila demanded.


"I am free to choose, and I choose you," Spock declared.


"You can't want this," Leila retorted, motioning to her body.


"Leila, you were my first love, my only love," Spock stated.  "We couldn't be together those other times.  We can be together now."


"For how long, Spock?  Month?  A week?  A few days?  Go begin a new life with someone who will actually have a life."


"Even a few minutes with you would be worth it," Spock said tenderly.  "Tell me where I can find you."


* * *




TO: Captain James T. Kirk, commanding, USS Enterprise

FROM: Commander Spock cha Sarek, First Officer, Science Officer, USS Enterprise

RE: Resignation


Effective immediately, I am resigning my commission as a Starfleet officer.  I have recently become aware of a serious and very personal situation that warrants my immediate attention.


I have taken the past two days to complete all of my reports and other duties so that the transitions for the two officers that you will assign to replace me will be as effortless as possible.  I have concluded my pending experiments and research with the help of Nurse Chapel, who was helpful to me in the extreme.


I have brought the End of Mission report up to date.  Only the reports from the remaining weeks need to be added by my replacements.


I have contacted my parents to arrange transportation for me.  Sarek will be arriving on the long-range shuttle Surak at approximately 0130.  We will depart immediately.


I did not want to tell you of my plans in person.  I did not want to waste what little time I had in futile arguments trying to convince me to stay.  Instead I have handwritten you this memo.  I apologize for leaving like this, but the person who I seek will not live much longer, and I have already waited twenty years.


I realize that I have left you with more questions than answers.  I also realize that my actions will seem to betray our friendship.  That was never my intention.  This is something I must do.


Contrary to my recent actions, I value our friendship.  It has been an honor to serve with you on this tour of duty.  May your remaining voyage be free of incident.


Live Long and Prosper.


* * *


Spock sealed the letter, placed it on his empty desk in is empty room, tendered his resignation to Starfleet, and waited for arrival of the Surak.


Sarek pulled the long-range embassy shuttle alongside the Enterprise only long enough to retrieve his son and load his belongings before speeding Spock to his t'hyla's side.  As Spock sat in the shuttle, his head in his hands, he could hear Kirk's psychic cries as they jumped to warp.


* * *


Spock carried the fragile bundle that was Dr. Leila Kalomi through the halls of the mountain villa on his family's estate.  Amanda had offered the use of the guesthouse at the villa or the town house in the city for the duration, if Leila was so inclined to come to Vulcan.  Spock decided that he needed the support of his family, so he chose to take his wife directly to the main house.


Spock had convinced Leila to bond with him in her hospital room.  He had spent their wedding night learning how to care for her very special needs.  He sent Nurse Chapel a note of thanks for giving him an understanding of Leila's disease before he had left the Enterprise..  He entered into this relationship with Leila well-informed, with his eyes open, and with a dogged determination. Spock would not accept any resistance from Leila!


"Wait!" came the soft cry.


Spock paused before the great picture windows looking over Amanda's most amazing garden.  Leila pointed outside.


"Take me out there," she pleaded.


Spock hesitated.  It was not the coolest part of the day, and he worried that the heat would tax Leila too much.  But at the sight of the garden, Leila had become more animated than she had been in days.


"Can you reach your respirator?" Spock asked his wife gently.  Leila slipped a hand inside her smock and pulled out the mask.


Spock toed open the door and led Leila out onto the balcony.  Terraced below them was an array of plants from various parts of the galaxy.  He sat down on a bench and settled Leila onto his lap.


"My mother has worked on this garden since before I was born," Spock explained.  "She has collected plants from all over the galaxy and coaxed them to grow in this environment.  It is hard work, but my mother is very tenacious."


"So you inherited your stubbornness from your mother," Leila observed playfully.  Spock gazed at her with a warm twinkle in his eye.


"Actually, I have a double dose of stubbornness," he responded.  "My father is as tenacious, if not more so, than Mother."  Leila laughed weakly.


"I consider myself warned!"


Leila snuggled closer to Spock.  She paused, gathering her thoughts carefully.






"Put me here after I'm gone," she asked quietly.  "I want to help the flowers grow."


Spock didn't answer at first.  He couldn't, not without weeping.  He was resolved to keep from crying while Leila lived.  Their time together was so short, he refused to waste one precious moment on useless emotionalism.


"I thought you might say that," he responded.


Leila drew the respirator up to her face for a few seconds.






"I want another wedding," she said with an inclination of her head, "there, under that arbor."


"I can refuse you nothing, my wife," he replied.


"I thought you might say that," she responded playfully.  "I'll have to keep that in mind."


"We'll make plans in the morning, Leila," Spock said as he rose from the bench with her and carried her to their suite, "after we search for the silver birds."


* * *


Two mornings later, Spock carried a radiant Leila to the garden arbor.  She was dressed in an ice-blue gown, a 400 year old length of antique lace covered her head and draped around her shoulders.  Amanda had pulled the family heirloom out from her great-granny's cedar chest and tearfully added Leila's name to the list of brides who had worn this special garment.


There was a simple wedding.  Only Sarek and Amanda witnessed the vows Spock and Leila made to each other.  Leila insisted on standing for the short ceremony.  Spock carefully placed her feet on the ground, but did not let go of her for one moment.


"For the rest of your life," Spock promised, "I will hold you, safe in the circle of my arms."


"For the rest of my life," Leila replied, "and forever, I will hold you in my heart."


At the end of the ceremony, Spock and Sarek heard the warbling of a flock of the rare silver birds of dawn.  Soon, a shower of silver teresh-ka feathers rained upon them all.  Leila laughed in delight as she caught the shiny treasures.


There was a proper wedding night, too.  Spock found that Leila could be just as tenacious as he, and she pulled her husband over her.  He rolled them both over and draped Leila's body over his own.  Spock ran his hands tenderly over Leila's body, ending at her temples.  He called forth the memories of their time of bliss on Omicron Ceti III.  Soon she was making soft cooing cries into his ear.  After they were spent, Spock settled Leila against his side and held her as she slept.


Spock decided then and there that -- if she was so inclined -- he would spennd the rest of Leila's short life just like this, in bed together, curled around each other, reliving happier times.


Five short months later, that is exactly how Leila died.  She had rallied at the end and pulled Spock over her.


"One more time, Spock," she begged in a breathy voice.  "Make love to me one last time."


"Leila," he replied in dismay, "I will hurt you.  You are too weak."


"You can't hurt me, Spock," she replied as she caressed his face.  "You could never hurt me."


Blinking back tears, Spock rolled them over and draped Leila's body over his.  He had to summon all of his control to fulfill Leila's last wish.


Soft lips that once held such sweetness now tasted of sickness and death.  Spock caressed her in all of her favorite places, being sure to hide his discomfort at the unnatural coolness of her skin, of the dimness of her eyes.  Leila was in her own place in her memories, making those soft, sweet cries as she rode the crest of her pleasure.


Spock kissed his wife one last time.


"I have kept you safe, Leila, my heart, safe in the circle of my arms."


Leila breathed her last with a radiant smile on her face.


* * *


Sarek felt Spock's dismay.  They had been expecting this moment for days now, but that did nothing to dampen Spock's anguished mental cries.


As Sarek and Amanda softly entered the bedroom, they saw Spock bathing Leila's body with the tears he had held back these past difficult months.  Sarek fetched a basin of water and soft towels.  Amanda helped to uncover Leila's wasted frame as Spock tenderly washed and dried her body.  Sarek returned with a simple linen shift and fragrant oils.  Spock poured some of the oil -- a mixture of lavender, orange and rosemary in a sweet almond base -- and anointed Leila with it.  He rubbed the remainder on his own neck and arms, as if to tell his body to remember his wife of oh so few days if his own mind should fail.


After dressing Leila in the linen shift, Spock wrapped her in a sheet and carried her out to the garden.  Leila had selected the place where she was to be buried when they had first arrived.  It was the shady area on the second terrace, close to the arbor where they had pledged themselves to each other.  The flowering bushes that were there had already been transferred to temporary containers, awaiting this very day.


Spock gingerly placed Leila on a ledge, rolled up his sleeves and began to dig.


Sarek let Spock dig alone, knowing the activity to be therapeutic.  He hauled up containers of dirt for his son as Spock got down to the required depth.  Sarek then assisted Spock in climbing out of the grave and in lowering Leila's body into the red soil.  Amanda tossed in armloads of flowers she had cut from her garden, making sure to put in representatives of as many planets as she could.  The symbolism was not lost on her son.


"A fitting tribute to such an intelligent botanist, Mother," Spock whispered.  "They are all so beautiful."


Amanda couldn't reply as she dabbed at her tear-stained face.


Spock stood at the foot of Leila's grace for a long time with shovel in hand.  He could not bear to place one scoop of dirt on his beloved.  It was Sarek who broke the spell.


"She is not there, my son," he said gently, placing a hand on Spock's side near his heart.  "She is here now, and will remain so until you are united again in the second life."  Spock looked with gratitude into his father's eyes drawing on the strength he saw there.  He scraped one shovel of dirt into the grave, then another and another until the pit was filled.  He would return in a day or so to replant the flowering bushes, giving the grave time to settle.


Dirty, hot and sweaty, Spock climbed the slight incline back into the house.  He indulged himself in a rare water shower, letting the pounding water wash away his grief.


/I have lost myself,/ he thought.  /Perhaps some time at Gol will be in order./


* * *


It had taken some doing, but Admiral James T. Kirk had finally pulled out of the former nurse, now med student, Christine Chapel where Spock had gone and why.  The vid news feeds had all reported the death of the famed botanist Doctor Leila Kalomi.  Swallowing his anger and his hurt, Kirk called the Vulcan embassy, looking for the whereabouts of Ambassador Sarek.  The switchboard operator transferred the call to the ambassador's home.


"This is Sarek."


"Greetings, Mr. Ambassador," Kirk said.


Sarek sniffed when he saw Kirk's face appear on the screen.  Could he know already?


"If you seek my son, Admiral," he began quietly, "he is not here."


Kirk was taken aback.  If Spock was not on Vulcan, where could he be?


"Where can I find him, sir?" Kirk asked.  "I wanted to offer my condolences."  Again Sarek sniffed.  Kirk looked carefully at the Vulcan's face.  There was definitely something wrong, moreso than just the recent death of Sarek's daughter-in-law.  "Has something happened?"


Sarek looked away.  He was still stunned by Spock's news.


"My son has gone to study at the monastery at Gol," Sarek replied.  "He goes to attain kohlinar."


"What?" Kirk breathed.


"Spock was so shaken by Leila's death," Sarek explained in an uncharacteristic rush.  "I suggested that he spend a few days in seclusion and meditation on the mountain.  The next thing I know, he takes his leave of his mother and me and tells us that he is dedicated the rest of his life to the pursuit of logic."


Kirk shook his head I confusion.


"Is this not a noble endeavor?"


"He has shut himself off from us, Kirk," Sarek exclaimed, "moreso than when he was in Starfleet.  Most likely, we will never see him again."  Sarek turned his face away from the screen.  "He always was impetuous," Sarek muttered, "brash.  First Starfleet, then Leila, now this."


Kirk realized that his call was not easing anyone's pain.  In fact, it was only adding to Sarek's dismay.


"If you ever see Spock again, Mr. Ambassador," Kirk said gently, "tell him that I grieve with him, with all of you."


Sarek turned back to the screen, barely controlled anguish showing in his eyes.


"We grieve together."


* * *


Spock had finished speaking with Admiral Kirk as he tried to stand in Engineering.  He began to feel the burning from the radiation change to extreme cold.


/It won't be long now,/ he told himself as he slumped against the door of the chamber.  /Sleep now./


Delighted laughter filled his ears.  Spock felt pleasantly warm, parts of him more so than others.  He opened his eyes and was greeted by the sight of two most beautiful breasts.


"Leila!" he breathed.  More laughter.


"My face is up here!" she teased.  Spock looked up with a start.


There was Leila, beautiful as the sun after a long rain.  Her luminous blonde hair fanned prettily on the pillow beneath her.  He lips and cheeks were rosy, and her eyes were clear and full of love.


"Leila!" Spock shouted, launching himself at her passionately.  "Leila, my heart!"


"I believe we were in the middle of something when we were so rudely interrupted by my death," Leila said with mock seriousness, giving Spock a squeeze.


"Is this heaven?" he asked.


"Making love to you for all eternity?" Leila countered.  "I should say so!"  Spock began moving against her with abandon, relishing the feel of her restored body, young and beautiful and whole once more.


"Leila, Leila," he cried as he moved.


Suddenly, Spock felt himself pulled from Leila's arms.


"Leila!" he screamed.


"I'll be right here waiting for you, Spock." She called as she was pulled back into the light.




* * *




Spock found himself back in his body on Mount Seleya, T'Lar and Sarek bending over him.


"I want to go back! I want to go BACK!" he insists to Sarek.


"You have been given to us once again, Spock, my son," Sarek soothed.


"Leila," Spock whimpered.


"Leila will be waiting for you," Sarek replied.  "You will see her again, soon enough."


* * *


Spock is worn and tired.  He is curled on his side, hidden away in yet another cave.  /It seems that Romulus is little more than a grouping of caves,/ he thought.


No one could ever tell Spock with any degree of certainty how long his life span would be, or how many years were added to of subtracted from his life while on Genesis, but he had lived a respectable 200 years.  Spock ran through his memories as his body continued to fail him.  He acknowledged how much he had accomplished, but he recognized that he had had to make so many sacrifices.


The one sacrifice that caused him the most grief was Leila Kalomi. If he had not been promised to that evil woman T'Pring, he would have been free to marry Leila.  They would have had twenty years of bliss together, instead of those five months of torment during her final illness.  They could have had beautiful, blonde elfin children with amazing blue eyes and pointed ears.


Saavik had been good to him.  She had seen him through the Fires on many occasions, but it was Leila who had captured his heart.  Saavik was not an avid supporter of his Unification movement, not that he could fault her after what she had experienced at the hands of the Romulans.  When Spock had begun his service to the Sundered, Saavik had opted to stay behind with their two grown children.


This was the end of a long, lonely, yet eventful life.  Spock remembered the last time he died, how Leila, young healthy and beautiful, greeted him so lovingly.  Spock smiled and closed his eyes once more.


The Romulans watching by his side were puzzled by the smile Spock wore in death.


* * *


Delighted laughter filled his ears.  Spock felt pleasantly warm, parts of him more so than others.  He opened his eyes and was greeted by the sight of two most beautiful breasts.


"Leila!" he breathed.  More laughter.


"My face is up here!" she teased.  Spock looked up with a start.


There was Leila, beautiful as the sun after a long rain.  Her luminous blonde hair fanned prettily on the pillow beneath her.  He lips and cheeks were rosy, and her eyes were clear and full of love.


"I am too old now, Leila."


"No, you're not," she countered, "not any more!"  She turned his face toward a mirror.


Spock looked at himself and saw the dashing young cadet that once fell in love with a beautiful scientist.  With a smile as brilliant as the sun, he launched himself into Leila's arms.


An eternity loving Leila? He could definitely live with that!