More Than Enough
It was cold in New York, and the frosty wind that blew through the streets chilled Jim Kirk down to the bone. But he knew that soon he would be at the 21st Street Mission, and so he pulled the thin cotton jacket tighter around his chest and walked along.
When had he begun to think of this time, this place, as his home? They had stepped through the Guardian of Forever two years ago in the hope to find Bones here and restore their own timeline, but until now he hadn't arrived - or they had missed him. The latter had a possibility of 96% now, as Spock had told him just yesterday.
After a while the waiting had changed into living - Spock and he had rented a small apartment, and had looked for better jobs. The Vulcan soon had found a niche for his skills and developed technical solutions for automatisation companies, earning all the money they needed to live a comparatively comfortable life.
Kirk 's skills, in contrast, were not asked for here - as long as he didn't join the army that was setting up and would enter the Second World War in a few years. He would make a formidable commander, he was sure, but this was not his timeline. Even if they would have to stay here forever, he didn't want to change more than absolutely necessary. So for now he was their housekeeper and managed their outwards contacts.
And then there was Edith...
He had reached the Mission and stood before it, cautiously gazing through the window. He didn't really want to go inside, despite the cold that crept up his legs and under his jacket. Clamping his hands under his arm pits he stood in front of the inviting light and watched his breath freeze against the glass.
She was working inside, distributing the food to the poorest of New York like every evening, even though it was New Year's eve tonight. The small decorated tree in the corner brought him back to that day before Christmas when they had had another date. They had been to the cinema, and then he had brought her home, hand in hand like on so many evenings. When she had stood in her open door, she had smiled at him.
"You have to kiss me," she said. "I'm standing under a mistletoe branch."
He stepped into the room and gazed up to the wall."Admit - you put it there on purpose," he said teasingly.
"Of course," she said and clung to his neck with her long delicate arms. "I'll hang them up everywhere, and then you have to kiss me under every single one of them..."
He closed his arms around her in a tight embrace and kissed her.
"Will you stay here tonight?" she asked.
"That's against the rules," he muttered and buried his face in her hair.
"Jim - the landlord won't make any trouble, I am sure... and besides, if you marry me - " she traveled with her fingers over the soft skin between his shirt's collar and his hairline, "- we could do all we want to do."
"Edith...," he sighed into her neck.
She withdrew and walked a few steps away from him, before she turned back again. Unusual sadness clouded her face. "Do you think I will wait forever, Jim Kirk? I am a woman, I want to marry and have children, a family. Can't you understand that?"
He stood in the hall and looked down on his hands, at a loss for words.
"On New Year's eve, Jim. On New Year's eve I want to know if you want me as much as I want you."
He met her gaze. He didn't have to ask how much that was for her. Enough for a lifetime. But he, he wasn't sure...
Coldness enfolded him neatly now, and he shivered in his thin clothes. The temperature fall had come unexpected, and so he had left his long warm coat at home for Spock who had been freezing even in their apartment. Tomorrow he would have to organize more coals, he thought. Or to find another way to keep the Vulcan warm...
She stood in the door and looked at him. "Why do you wait outside in the cold?" she asked.
"I had to think a bit," he said.
She stepped outside and to his side. "What did you think about?" she asked in a low voice.
"Us," he replied.
She turned to face him. "Is there truly an 'us', Jim?"
"Edith," he said and put his hands softly on her upper arms, searching her eyes as if he could find his answer there. "You know you mean much to me..."
She fixed her gaze on his chest. "Enough to marry me, Jim?"
"Isn't it usually the man's job to ask that in this century," he said in a faint attempt for humor.
"Do you love me?" she asked, and raised her head. "Do - you - love - me, Jim Kirk?"
He felt his fingers around her arms slowly freezing in the wind of this night, and dropped them. "Let's go inside. You'll fetch a cold if we talk here in this weather."
"There isn't much to talk about, Jim. My question was plain enough. Do you love me, Jim? Enough to marry me, to stay with me for a lifetime?" She looked at him, and he averted his gaze, unable to stand the pain he could see there.
"So this is good-bye," she said, and her voice was void of emotion. She blinked at him, some tears hidden behind her lids. "Can I get a last kiss?"
"Of course," he murmured and put his arms around her. Their lips met, and for a moment all seemed wrong to him - how could he let this wonderful woman step out of his life? - but then their lips parted and he looked at her and no, it just wasn't enough.
She made a step backwards, distancing herself from him.
"I wish you luck, Jim. May you find the one you truly love." She dropped her head and turned away from him, disappearing into her Mission and out of his life.
Numbly he walked back the long way towards his apartment through the snow that was now falling, avoiding all cheering crowds and groups of kids which happily tested fireworks on the streets. When he arrived home, his fingers were so stiff that he couldn't even open the buttons of his jacket.
"Let me help you," Spock said, and carefully freed Kirk from it. "I have purchased some coals from the neighbor, so we will not get cold tonight."
Kirk wearily walked to the small torrid coal stove and sat down on the chair that Spock had placed next to it for him. "The blood circulation in your hands has almost died," the Vulcan said with an accusing hint in his voice. "You have to take more care of yourself." He fetched the human's hands and enfolded them with his warmer ones, massaging the cold flesh.
"You're much better at that job than I am," Kirk said with a faint smile. He looked up and met the Vulcan's gaze. Had the dark eyes always had that shimmer in them, or did he only look at them in a new way? "What would my life be without you," he whispered.
The Vulcan's gaze didn't waver; instead, it seemed to get even more intense than before. "I am always there for you, Jim," Spock said finally quietly.
"I know," Kirk replied. "Somehow I think I always knew."
He closed his eyes and relaxed in the warmth of the fire and the caressing touch on his hands. More than enough for a lifetime...