It was Jim Kirk’s 68th birthday. Once upon a time (like a few years ago), he had hated birthdays; he’d hated the feeling that time was trying to run him down like a lion chasing a gazelle. But for some reason, the least few birthdays had been easier. Jim chuckled to himself. I guess I’m finally growing up.
Washed, shaved, and dressed, Jim padded through the hallway of his San Francisco apartment, heading for the kitchen. As he had expected, his bond mate was there, scrambling eggs with his usual concentration, a freshly-squeezed pitcher of orange juice on the table, along with a plate of Jim’s favorite croissants from a local bakery. Jim felt his heart swell with thankfulness, not for the first time, as he entered the kitchen and his eyes met Spock’s.
“Good morning, t’hy’la,” Spock said softly. “Happy birthday.”
“It is now,” Jim replied, crossing the room to kiss his love.
“T’hy’la, please; not while your eggs are in danger of burning,” Spock teased him.
“Let them burn,” Jim replied, grabbing his mate in an enthusiastic hug. Fortunately, Vulcan agility enabled Spock to multi-task, and the burner got shut off before the eggs were a total loss.
They enjoyed a quiet day together, taking a walk in the park, lounging around the apartment while Spock read some of his favorite science journals and Jim caught up on paperwork and responded to some of the birthday greetings he received. Jim felt a moment’s pang as he remembered that this year, he wouldn’t be hearing from Bones. Spock must have caught the mental twinge, because he rose from his desk and curled up next to Jim on the sofa, placing a gentle arm around his mate’s shoulders.
“I grieve with thee, Jim,” he said quietly.
“I know.” Jim leaned his head against Spock for a moment. “I should be used to it; it’s been three months.”
“Death is never easy, ashaya.”
“No,” Jim agreed. He straightened and found a smile for Spock. “But I don’t need to focus on that today. I need to remember the good times with Bones, all the good times we had.”
“Yes,” Spock agreed. “I think he would want you to do that.”
That evening, Spock took Jim to his favorite restaurant for dinner. He didn’t even wince when Jim devoured a porterhouse steak, something he didn’t do too often. Jim knew how Spock felt about eating meat, but on his birthday, Jim was allowed to indulge himself.
When they got home, Spock ‘indulged’ him again. Lying in his mate’s arms after love-making, Jim marveled that even after 30 years, Spock’s touch was as wonderful as it had been that first night when he’d finally reached across the chessboard and laid his hand on Jim’s wrist.
“You are reminiscing,” Spock noted.
“Yeah, about us.” Jim turned in Spock’s arms and kissed him gently. “I’m still trying to figure out how I managed to get you.”
“I beg your pardon,” Spock said with all the dignity of which he was capable. “You did not ‘get’ me; I ‘got’ you.”
“Oh, is that how it was?” Jim asked with a chuckle. “If I remember, I got you naked first.”
“That was only because I refused to tear a perfectly good uniform off your body,” Spock responded serenely.
“You didn’t mind tearing it during pon farr,” Jim murmured, laughing again as Spock’s ears turned green. He hugged his mate. “We only have another year and a half until the next one, right?”
“True,” Spock sighed, resigned.
“Come on,” Jim whispered. “You know you love it.” There was a long pause.
“Yes, ashaya?” Spock had almost fallen asleep, but he quickly came alert.
“I’m 68 today.”
“I do know your birth date, t’hy’la.”
Jim lifted his head from Spock’s shoulder, looking up at his mate, his eyes serious.
“When something happens—I want you to find someone else.”
“Jim,” Spock said tenderly.
“No, I mean it. I know it won’t be easy, but I don’t want you to spend a hundred years alone,” Jim said firmly. “I wouldn’t be angry, t’hy’la; I promise. I’d be grateful to whoever made you happy.”
Spock hugged him close. “I know,” he whispered. “But it can never be, ashaya. You are irreplaceable to me.”
Jim settled into his embrace. “I know,” he sighed. “But I keep hoping that someday you’ll be sensible.”
“Never.” Spock kissed his brow.
“Oh, well,” Jim whispered. “I’ll just have to take extra care of myself. I want to be around for you for at least another 40 years.”
“Thank you, ashaya,” Spock murmured. “I will look forward to another 40 years.”
“I’d better get some sleep,” Jim yawned. “I’ve got to get up early. The Enterprise-B is launching tomorrow, and I’m going to be on her.” He relaxed in that strong, sure embrace.
“Good night, t’hy’la.”
“Good night, Spock.”