I am sitting in my darkened quarters with the birthday gifts from my two dearest friends. Was that only yesterday?

I resented Bones' gift as much as I resented the day itself. I didn't want to look at life through the lens of the old, the impaired.

It's funny how many of my birthdays had seen a practical gift from my sentimental old doctor, while Spock, for all his aloofness and Vulcan cool, knew how to give a gift that could touch me all the way to the soul. Last year, a model replica of a sailing ship that was among the first to explore the oceans of Earth; the year before that, it was a glass figurine I'd treasured as a child, simply for being a gift from my infrequent father.

I had dropped it, or smashed it - I don't remember which. I only know that it broke when he died. My mother kept the pieces... every tiny fragment. Forty years later, Spock, sitting for hours with glue and inhuman patience, seemed to know that part of me had lain broken for as long as the figure had. I don't know if it's possible to mend the spirit of a child who no longer exists, but I felt somehow rejuvenated that day... even though my sight was beginning to fail me.

Could I have more clearly seen Khan's threat had I not had to watch through McCoy's prescription lenses? Have I become blind to my own frailties for the sake of my ego?

The sheer enormity of the price paid prevents me from seeking the answers, lest I discover that I could have avoided paying at all.


I reach for Spock's gift, his last gift.

But if there is a message from my friend to be found in Dickens' words, I am denied seeing it. I throw the glasses on the table.

The lens is broken.


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