It was Spock’s birthday, or rather, it was Selik’s birthday, his 189th, he thought, although time travel had a way of really confusing a person about how old he was.
Selik of New Vulcan, Spock of Vulcan in another time and place, rose on his birthday feeling every day of his 189 or so years. That wasn’t always true; he mostly enjoyed robust health (especially considering all he’d endured), and the challenges of the new colony were giving him a purpose that he thought he had lost long ago. But today, for some reason, everything was hitting him hard. It was not only his birthday, but far away on Earth, it was Valentine’s Day.
Selik remembered when Jim Kirk, his Jim, had discovered the date of his birth. Jim had been delighted that it coincided with Valentine’s Day, one of Jim’s favorite holidays. Of course Jim, with his love of life, enjoyed all holidays, and he spent years teaching Selik, Spock, to do the same.
“Jim,” he remembered telling his new lover, “Vulcans do not celebrate birthdays.”
“Well, humans do, and since you’re stuck with a human, we’re going to celebrate,” Jim had said with his usual cheerful determination. “And since you were born on a day dedicated to love, I’m going to spend the day showing you just how much I love you.”
He had, too. Selik paused in the act of putting water on for tea, remembering that Valentine’s/birthday and all the ones that followed. Every year Jim spoiled him with small, thoughtful gifts, tender lovemaking, a gourmet meal—and a chocolate cupcake with pink icing. Selik, Spock, would have died before admitting it to anyone, but that bite-sized cake with the overly-sweet icing became his favorite part of the holiday, so impractical yet so perfect, like his love for Jim. Every year, just before midnight, just before Valentine’s Day and his birthday were past, he and Jim had shared that cupcake and pledged themselves to each other for another year. It became more than a Terran holiday, more than the anniversary of Spock’s birth. It became their anniversary together, and it had remained so until that dreadful day when Jim disappeared and Spock found himself alone.
Selik sighed, pushing away his cup of now-cold tea. He was alone again, alone as he had been for so many years, alone for the rest of his life. He knew there was no logic in mourning that fact, but today, he could not help it. Today, logic was no comfort.
The door chime rang. Selik left the kitchen and walked down the hall to see who was there. One of the Council members was probably coming to check on him, to make sure he hadn’t died in the night and deprived them of his expertise.
Selik opened the door. Jim Kirk stood on the threshold, blue eyes sparkling.
“Jim?” For a moment, Selik wondered if his advanced age had finally caught up with him and he was hallucinating.
“Hey, old friend,” Jim said with that wonderful smile that both Jim Kirks possessed. “Can I come in?”
Jim, I….of course.” Selik quickly moved aside and Jim stepped into the hallway. The door had barely closed when Selik found himself the recipient of a bear hug.
“I’m so glad to see you,” Jim whispered.
Selik pulled back, his eyes drinking in the sight of Jim, not his Jim, but still a Jim who was dear to his heart. “I am pleased to see you as well.” They walked into Selik’s living room together and sat down on the couch. “What brings you here?”
Jim shrugged. “I was in the neighborhood, and I just thought I’d drop in.” In truth, it had been far more complicated than that. Jim had pulled several strings to get the Enterprise assigned to this supply run to the new Vulcan colony, but the pleasure in Selik’s eyes made all the hassle and ass-kissing worthwhile.
“Jim, I know enough about the galaxy to know you were not ‘just in the neighborhood,’ as you say,” Selik chided lovingly.
Jim shrugged again. “So sue me.” He looked at Selik.
“Selik—Spock,” he said quietly, “today is a holiday on Earth. It’s called…”
“Valentine’s Day,” Selik said promptly.
Jim looked relieved. “Oh, I’m glad you’ve heard of it. Saves me hours of explaining.” He looked more closely at his old friend. “Did you and Jim—your Jim—celebrate it?”
“Indeed.” Selik hesitated for a moment, but then decided there was no reason not to say it. “As it happens, this day is the anniversary of my birth as well.”
“Oh, Selik, I’m sorry.” Jim rose. “Here I am barging in and you’ve probably got a party or two parties…”
Selik caught the human’s hand and drew him back down to the sofa. “No,” he said simply. “Traditionally, Vulcans do not celebrate birthdays, and no one here in the colony knows that today is mine.”
“That’s…so sad,” Jim said gently. “Well, then I’m really glad I showed up.”
“As am I, but why did you show up, as you put it?” Selik asked.
Jim looked down at his hands for a moment. “You’ll probably think this is nuts, but…I just felt like you needed to see me, like you needed someone here today.”
Selik reached out and laid his hand against Jim’s cheek. “No,” he said tenderly. “I do not think you are nuts. Thank you, Jim. Thank you so much.” They sat silently together for a few minutes.
“So,” Jim said finally, “I have until 2200 hours. Why don’t you show me around, let me see what you guys have been up to?”
They had a wonderful day. Jim was impressed with how well the colony was doing, and he was fascinated by the new library, which Selik’s counterpart had helped design a few months before. Just before sundown, they returned to Selik’s house, and Jim made one of his ‘world-famous stir fries’ as he called it. Selik’s appetite was better than it had been in months.
After dinner, they sat together again on the sofa, talking about Jim’s life aboard the Enterprise. Selik was pleased to hear that the relationship between Jim and his counterpart was still going well.
“We fight often enough,” Jim confessed with his charming grin, “but the make-up part beats the arguments.”
Selik allowed himself a tiny smile. “My Jim and I found that to be true as well.”
Finally, Jim looked at his wrist unit. “I have to go pretty soon,” he said with regret. “I promised Spock we’d celebrate Valentine’s Day when I got back on board. He thinks all holidays are ‘illogical’ too, but I’ll train that out of him.”
Selik almost smiled once more. “I am sure of that,” he said fondly. “Thank you again, Jim.”
“Oh, we’re not done quite yet.” Jim got up and hurried into the hall, returning with a bag he had dropped on the hall table that morning. He opened it and pulled out—a cupcake with pink icing.
“Our cook makes these, and they beat any replicated cake on the market.” He looked at Selik, quickly moving to his side as he saw the shocked look on his friend’s face. “Hey, are you all right?”
“How did you know?” Selik whispered.
“I…I don’t think I did,” Jim replied slowly, gently pushing Selik back onto the sofa cushions and sinking down next to him. “Don’t tell me—your Jim…”
“Always gave me one of these on Valentine’s Day,” Selik confirmed.
Jim shook his head. “I’ll never get used to this temporal shit,” he confessed. He looked at the old Vulcan. “I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to bring back memories.”
“No,” Selik shook his head. “This is one memory I’m happy to re-live.” He reached out and Jim handed him the cupcake. Slowly, Selik broke it in half. Sitting in the quiet, dimly-lit room, Jim and Spock shared a Valentine’s cupcake for the first time in over a century. The icing was still overly-sweet. The cake was still impractical yet perfect.