Of Sunlight and Blue Roses

by Farfalla

blueberrysnail @ yahoo.com
Note: This story disregards Generations and anything to do with Spock on TNG entirely.

He brought no flowers. Vulcans didn't waste the organic investment of water on symbolism and gesture, and despite his many years among the Humans with whom he shared half his DNA, he felt in his old age a strong memory of the heritage in which he'd been raised. Nor was his black cloak intentional; for a Human it would have represented the mourning in his heart, but on a Vulcan, it merely signified the civilian dress typical of any retired man of importance.

He stood at the far edge of the grave, squinting to make out the familiar letters etched into the headstone. The sunlight was so bright, and the small but stately monument so slick with marble, that had he not already had the design memorized, he would barely have been able to see -- "Captain James Tiberius Kirk, 2235-2294. Starfleet hero and beloved friend. On to new places."

He had to tear his gaze away from the epitaph momentarily; the glare was too strong and his eyes were beginning to pulse. He looked around at the rest of the memorial park to recalibrate his vision. Golden sunlight, dripping white, illuminated the trees and grass with a late afternoon glow. The heat of the rays drew to the dark cloth of his robe, burning his shoulders. But he leaned into the warmth, almost subconsciously revelling in it in his own, quiet, introverted way. It was not logical, but he felt Jim in the light. Jim's smile, Jim's warmth and golden personality. Jim's all-embracing nature.

Strangely, he felt the loss so much more now than when Jim Kirk had first died. There had been that last moment together, as he cradled Jim's heavy, familiar form in his arms and tried to use his mind to take away the pain of the phaserburn. Jim's labored breathing, his half-grin, the dissonance that the Human's hand was still strong enough to squeeze his own as tightly as ever even as his life ebbed away-- Jim was too old, they were both too old, to be running around the galaxy still trying to right wrongs. They couldn't right every wrong themselves, and evil caught up with them yet again that day. He'd held Jim close and said goodbye, and then finished the fight for him, won the battle, set justice back upon its course. Then he began his life alone.

Shock melted into deep meditation, and then the business of tying up political loose ends for his retirement kept him from himself. But gradually, the days since he'd known a living Jim Kirk grew into months, and the missing began. Missing was different from mourning. One mourned a death; but one missed the life that had been lost.

He missed Jim. He missed his conversation and his casual way of speaking. He missed his easy way with humanity, and his blessed open-mindedness. Jim had always accepted his differences, even as he tried to teach him to be the whole person he was supposed to be. He missed, trivially enough, their chess games, merely windows as they were into a deeper friendship unlike most others had ever known. He missed learning new things, Jim kinds of things, and going new places with such a perfect counterpart. And he missed--the sunset.

Once, he and Jim were sitting on a riverbank at sunset while on shore leave, resting from a hike in the woods. Jim had been skipping pebbles in the water, but his boyishness had lost steam and now he and the water were both placid. He and Jim stayed by the river for almost half an hour, not talking much, but just enjoying the beauty of the maples and cottonwoods and each other's presence. It was so beautiful to know one person to sit in the woods with. When he was with Jim, he didn't feel guilty relaxing.

He never really felt at home with anyone anymore. Dr. McCoy visited him sometimes, and so did some of the others, but their own careers kept them occupied. McCoy at least was someone who understood, and they could reminisce together. The words on the stone had been McCoy's choice, but he wrote them with another in mind. He knew he wouldn't be near the grave much, having not retired, and so he chose something simple and straight to the heart that would make the Vulcan comfortable in his communion with his sorrows.

Beloved friend.

His gaze fell gently across the grave. The grass was fine and thin and he could see patches of healthy, black soil between the glittering blades. And beneath--

A strange idea appeared in his mind, and waiting for logic to talk him out of it, he slowly got down to his knees on the grass, then bent down further still. His hands sank slightly into the damp earth and his wrists trembled as he maneuvered himself. He paused for breath. He now lay prostrate on the ground on top of Jim's grave, face down.

He relaxed his body completely, then moved each hand level with his head and uncurled his fingers. His flat palms caressed the grass, and he inhaled the rich, deep scent of healthy dirt. Then his fingers descended slightly, and he concentrated.

"My mind to your mind," he murmured very softly.

Was Jim there? He felt him, but no more so than before. It had been a foolish idea after all--why assume that whatever Humans called a katra--"soul"--would be there still with him, inside the box under the sod.

But he began to know... something.

He felt a consciousness so awesome that his own mind hung mute for a moment to absorb it. He felt atoms moving, and seas churning, and the wind making love to the aspens. He felt the pain of the mountains as they lost grains of their bodies to the pelting rain. He felt the memory of evolution, and even more distant, the memory of birth, and flowing heat, and cooling. The relief of the cooling, when the scorching, agonized lava had been put in its place, gently to rest, beneath the stately granite and basalt. He felt its shyness at the universe, its reverence for the sun, larger still and giving light.

He probed deeper. It gave him leave, and he felt its love.

Now he roamed in thoughts larger still. The echoes of a trillion minds at peace sang, and he strained to hear.

Jim must be among them. He knew Jim must be among them.

Yes. Stunned to uncharacteristic tears by the painful ecstasy of sensing Jim again this way, he closed his eyes and let himself float farther into the meld. His body relaxed even more.

Jim was here. Jim was here with him. The light lifted him up and he reached out, and Jim reached back.

They found Spock's body where it lay on top of Captain Kirk's grave the next morning, sleeping but gone, his features revealing contentment. Dr. McCoy gave the eulogy, his voice cracking as he tried to joke, "Well, he came back once, so you better not put down the expensive turf!" Uhura squeezed Chekov's hand as they silently said goodbye to another old friend.

They buried him right next to Jim's grave, and gave him an appropriate headstone. The sun visited often, and the rains came, and after a few weeks a plant came up out of the ground directly between the two plots. It was a rosebush, and the roses came up blue.

They looked their most radiant in the sunset.

Note: Blue roses are a botanical impossibility. The pigment responsible for blue coloration can't express itself through the waxy cuticle on a rose petal, due to pH differences.

Illustrated by Lovin' James T.