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Title: Time Does Not Change Us (It Just Unfolds Us)
Author: Jaylee
Fandom: ST:TOS
Word Count: 979
Summary: "When Spock came striding in, as graceful as he always had been, Jim felt his heart clench."
Notes: Written for the ever wonderful awarrington, happy (belated) birthday!
Warnings: None
Disclaimer: Do not own the characters, no money is being made here, etc.
Special Thanks: To kianspo and dracavia for their invaluable help, assistance, cheerleading and overwhelming awesomeness. They are both amazing beyond the telling of it, and I'm lucky to know them. And thank you corcalamus for prompting me. ;-)


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

Jim set the book down on his lap, and turned away, morose and hating himself a little for it.

Why did he do this to himself? There was nothing productive in dwelling on the past.

The memory of his last birthday was bittersweet; the book -- Spock’s gift to him -- a tangible reminder. Had he really spent that day mourning the passing of time? Had he really wasted that energy? Made those nearest and dearest to him -- both Spock, the cherished lover, and Bones, the closest friend -- wary of acknowledging the day? (Well, he supposed Bones hadn’t been wary -- more like staunchly determined. Bones never had shied from calling an apple an apple, or a fool a fool.)

If only he’d had an inkling of the events that would follow. If only he’d known how close he had been to nearly losing it all. Time held loss in its grasp, this was true. Loss of youth, loss of sorrow, loss of grief; but it also held within its passage Jim’s dearest treasures: love, life, happiness, the beauty of space from the Observation Lounge of the Enterprise, the feel of his ship at warp, the undeniable ecstasy of Spock’s body against his own, all hard muscle, smooth skin and remarkable, exhilarating strength.

Time gave him those memories -- each one sacred, as priceless to him as every historical artifact that adorned the walls of his home. He wouldn’t trade anything for them: not his ship, not his commission, not his reputation. He’d proven that.

It was wrong to resent it, wasn’t it? Wrong to blame time for its ability to take and give at whim.

Jim couldn’t imagine what it must have been like for Spock to lose those memories, to have them so cruelly torn from him in the wake of his sacrifice. Nor could he imagine what it had been like to have them restored sporadically, one by one, though without their emotional connotations. Jim equated it with looking at an old fashioned photograph in black and white, missing the color, the true vibrancy of life.

He would have spared Spock that if he could have.

He would have spared himself another birthday, if it was possible.

Maybe Bones had been right all those months ago. A birthday was a day for celebrating; if not for the ever increasing number of days he had been alive, then for the moments in which he’d truly lived.

That a good number of those moments included Spock in some way, shape, or form was not lost on Jim.

The door chime startled him out of his reverie and Jim flinched, jolting in his chair a little before saying ‘come in.’ He was curious who the visitor could be when he’d finally taken advantage of over two years worth of accumulated sick leave and called out sick that day.

He probably shouldn’t have been all that surprised by unexpected company, though. It was only a matter of time before Bones got off shift and came storming in, rolling his eyes, scowl fine-tuned, and poured them both something strong and wonderful and illegal on 49 Federation planets.

But that wasn’t for another couple of hours yet…

When Spock came striding in, as graceful as he always had been, Jim felt his heart clench, his pulse quicken, and his throat tighten -- all common reactions whenever Spock was near. Jim partway expected that the day he didn’t feel those things in response to Spock’s proximity, was the day he’d finally throw in the towel.

Which would never happen. There was no such thing as a no-win scenario, he believed that as fervently as he ever had. And there was something in Spock’s eyes just then...

Jim experienced a swell of hope -- hope had never fully been absent from him, not truly, no matter how much time had passed since their last embrace as lovers. And Jim’s hope became a near blinding thing as Spock came to stand before him, face illuminated by Jim’s old-fashioned reading lamp, and handed a small, wrapped package to him that Jim recognized by the size and shape as Ghirardelli Chocolates.

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate,” Spock quoted, voice otherwise smooth, but carrying a hitch within it, near untraceable to anyone who hadn’t made a habit of studying Spock’s mannerisms the way Jim had over the years.

But as Jim did make such a habit, he knew intimately what every arched eyebrow, every roll of Spock’s shoulders, every dexterous motion of his hands meant.

The hitch meant that Spock was frightened, and only two things frightened Spock: emotions in general, and the depth of his feelings for Jim in particular.

The latter hadn’t been an issue for a good long while, since the fal-tor-pan -- the day that granted Jim his greatest wish, but had also broken his heart.

Time gives, and time, she takeths away.

“Charles Dickens,” Jim breathed, his voice hoarse. “Spock, you’ve quoted Dickens. Do you --”

“Remember the significance of the day, Jim?” Spock eyes, dark eyes alight with gentle humor and undeniable affection. “It was the best of times... apropos of nothing. It is my fervent desire for some better times to come.”

And as Jim surged up and out of his chair and embraced Spock with all the strength he could muster, more grateful than he could remember being since the day they discovered Spock alive on the Genesis planet, he knew that he was experiencing one of those moments in which he felt truly alive. That it came on his birthday was an irony he’d genuinely appreciate... later.

He had time.

The End!


( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 22nd, 2011 11:55 am (UTC)
Jim equated it with looking at an old fashioned photograph in black and white, missing the color, the true vibrancy of life.

I really do love that line, it's such a poignant, and appropriate comparison.

Also, I almost hate to mention it, but "calling an apple and apple" somehow still made it through into the final draft. >_
Nov. 23rd, 2011 02:18 am (UTC)
Oy! I remember changing that, too! Is it too early to claim dementia? XD

Thank you so much for everything, darling, you're an absolute treasure *hugs you*.
Nov. 22nd, 2011 02:48 pm (UTC)
<3 This is beautiful.
Nov. 23rd, 2011 02:19 am (UTC)
Thank you, sweetie, I'm so tickled you enjoyed it. :-)
Nov. 22nd, 2011 07:58 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry I didn't see this until now - and it's beautiful. I'm sitting here with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Thank you so much!

I'm in awe that you managed to convey so much in so few words - the overall existentialist thinking and Jim pondering the human condition, the notion of carpe diem. Poor Jim - so much angst, yet recognizing he has a lot to be grateful for, too.

And Ghirardelli chocolates! I love them, and love visiting their store in SF whenever down at Fisherman's Wharf. I'm so glad that Spock bought them for Jim (though Bones would no doubt not approve!). :)

This story is beautiful and bittersweet - thank you so much for writing it for me. I'm incredibly touched by your kindness. ♥
Nov. 23rd, 2011 02:33 am (UTC)
*glomps awarrington* I couldn't be more happy, thrilled, excited and moved that you enjoyed your gift. You are exceptional and wonderful and writing this felt like the least I could do in honor of your special day.

Ghirardelli chocolates are fabulous, aren't they? I could live off of the chocolate caramel ones, 'course I'd probably end up quite a few pounds heavier and in possession of a cavity or two, lol, but oh, what a way to get there.

Thank you so much for your kind words, I'm truly, truly honored. :-)
Nov. 22nd, 2011 08:01 pm (UTC)
Oh gosh this is so beautiful and, up until the happy ending, rather bittersweet. It made me tear up, and then smile :)
Nov. 23rd, 2011 02:35 am (UTC)
Thanks so much, sweetheart, I'm so happy you enjoyed it. You have me smiling hugely *snuggles*.
Nov. 23rd, 2011 02:17 am (UTC)
Sooo lovely. *sigh*
Nov. 23rd, 2011 02:36 am (UTC)
Thank you so much, darling, I'm so thrilled you liked it. :-)
Nov. 23rd, 2011 05:00 am (UTC)
I'm reminded of a quote -- the author escapes me though. "I stand alone without beliefs; the only truth I know is you."

I can't think of words to describe this beyond perfectly beautiful.
Nov. 23rd, 2011 05:48 am (UTC)
Awww, thank you, darling, what a beautiful quote. You just made my whole night. I'm so touched you enjoyed this. :-)
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 23rd, 2011 11:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm entirely honored and completely thrilled that you enjoyed it.

Also, icon envy! That's an awesome icon. :-)
Nov. 23rd, 2011 06:58 am (UTC)
Jim experienced a swell of hope -- hope had never fully been absent from him, not truly, no matter how much time had passed since their last embrace as lovers.

What an impeccable turn of phrase! Absolutely delightful read---brilliant certainly, but more than that it TOUCHED...

Where I'm located at the moment it's pouring...and this charming and wonderfully eloquent fic is just what was needed to put a lovely end to a chilly, somewhat lonely evening!

Superb, thank you so much for posting it! :)
Nov. 23rd, 2011 11:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Flawless
Wow! What amazing feedback! You've absolutely made my day. Thank you so much for your kind words. It means a great deal. You have me grinning from ear to ear. :-)
Nov. 23rd, 2011 11:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Flawless
Grinning is GOOD---you deserve to grin, you should be quite pleased and proud with what you've done here! :D
Nov. 24th, 2011 12:02 am (UTC)
Re: Flawless
Awww, you're such a sweetheart. Thank you, again, for the wonderful encouragement. It is greatly appreciated! :-)
Nov. 23rd, 2011 02:20 pm (UTC)
That was beautiful, just beautiful. The ending got me teared up with a lump the size of the Rockies. You really captured it.
Nov. 23rd, 2011 11:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! That's so sweet of you to say. I'm absolutely thrilled that you enjoyed it. :-)
Nov. 23rd, 2011 02:22 pm (UTC)
Beautifully written.
Nov. 23rd, 2011 11:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm honored you enjoyed it. :-)
Nov. 23rd, 2011 07:59 pm (UTC)
I love this fic. It is so emotional. I don't think it's irony that his brithday and the rebirth of Spock is a Coincidence. I think it is Kismet. It is a great look at why we all love the Fandom
Nov. 23rd, 2011 11:56 pm (UTC)
Yes, most definitely Kismet.

Thank you so much for the wonderful feedback, darling. I'm so excited that you enjoyed the story. :-)
Nov. 27th, 2011 05:20 am (UTC)
OMG this was beautiful!!

i really love it, poor jim having Spock so near and so far away.
But now he is trying to be here with him!!

as my heart is a little shattered today, you make my day a little better
Nov. 29th, 2011 06:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, darling. I'm so touched and thrilled that you liked it.

I had to go to your journal to see what you were referring to by your sadness and read your post... I'm so, so sorry, darling. As one older sister to another, I can only imagine your pain. If anything happened to my younger sister I would be out for blood. What a terrible, senseless tragedy *big, huge hugs*
Dec. 10th, 2011 03:46 am (UTC)
Beautiful! Absolutely perfect.
Dec. 10th, 2011 09:27 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm so thrilled that you enjoyed it. :)
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )