AN: Wow, it's been a while! Hi to all my readers, new and old! This fic was written for the LJ comm ksrelativity, and my prompt was: New Vulcan, notebook, birthday, fireworks. As you can see inspiration hit me hard with this prompt and I got a little carried away, but I hope you enjoy it! This fic is not broken into chapters and is posted in its entirety here.

For my previous readers who may be wondering why As Far as the Universe Reaches hasn't been updated recently, I put a small note about it in my profile so please read that.

warnings: major character death and all the baggage that goes with it.

Jim had been gone for four months when remaining at their home in New Vulcan became more than Spock could bear. The house was all but a prison, with every corner filled with lingering memories of him, and try as he might Spock could not stop the tightness in his chest and the dull ache of the severed bond with each reminder. The bond was more than enough to keep him constantly aware of his bondmate's absence – he didn't need the physical reminders. He would never forget.

They had built their lives on New Vulcan when they had retired from Starfleet. But now – now, he was alone, and he did not know how to be alone on New Vulcan.

So, quietly, he packed up his possessions into four boxes, packed a few of Jim's things he couldn't bear to leave behind into another two boxes, and announced to the New Vulcan Science Academy that he was retiring and leaving New Vulcan. He expected to be met with opposition – but all that answered him were words of understanding, condolences, and glances full of pity. He did not know whether to be grateful or furious – so he was neither. Like that it was done, and he had his belongings sent ahead on a cargo ship before catching the next shuttle to Earth.

When he arrived in San Francisco after a long and uneventful shuttle trip, there was no one to greet him. He had secured a small apartment, courtesy of Starfleet's Veteran Department, before his departure, and his belongings were waiting for him there. He hailed a taxi and spoke for the first time since boarding the shuttle.

"Quiet Creek Apartments, please."

"Confirmed," the computer murmured back at him.

He arrived at his new apartment and for a long moment stood in the middle of the room that the door opened into. The six boxes were stacked neatly in a corner. The apartment had only the most basic of furnishings and the walls and the carpet were a stark white that made the room seem much brighter than it really was. Spock stood there for two minutes and eight seconds before moving towards the boxes. He pulled the ones labeled "Spock" to the center of the room. The ones labeled "Jim" he left where they were.

When all of his belongings were unpacked and put in their place, Spock sat down at the chair by the window, through which he could see tall buildings rising up against a sky turned pink and orange with the sunset. Jim's boxes remained untouched.

He was alone.

Of the original command crew of the Enterprise, only Nyota Uhura, Pavel Chekov, and himself were still alive. Spock knew he would outlive the human crew by far, but it still was not a pleasant thought that most of the few friends he had from his time in Starfleet were dead.

For two days he puttered about his apartment with little productive activities to partake in. It was late October on Earth and the weather was beginning to cool, the infamous San Francisco fog greeting him in the mornings and lingering for much of the day. For Spock, it was easier to stay indoors than bundle up and brave the cold outside. It had been a very long time since he had had to deal with weather cooler than that on New Vulcan. And, after all, what would he even do outdoors?

On the second day he received a call from Uhura herself, as if she had known somehow that he had been thinking of her.

"I've heard you're in San Francisco," she said, smiling at him from his computer screen. If he looked hard enough he could still see her soft, pretty features hidden behind wrinkled skin and gray hair.

"I am," he replied, his voice gravelly with disuse.

"I don't suppose you could make a trip out to Africa for me?" she teased, still smiling. "You do owe me a visit, after all."

"Certainly," he answered, and that was how he ended up packing to leave again after two days in his apartment. He packed most of his belongings back into the boxes labeled "Spock". He stood looking at the boxes labeled "Jim" for a long time, then finally decided to send them along as well. Only one box stayed at the apartment – five went with him, for he would be in Africa for at least a month.

He was grateful for the excuse and for the chance of company. He did not know how to be alone anymore.

When he told the landlord that he would be leaving for an indefinite amount of time, the Human looked very obviously surprised, but told him it was no problem, no problem at all, so long as he continued to pay rent. The landlord was fair of hair and skin and when he smiled his blue eyes crinkled in the corners, very much like Jim.

He boarded another shuttle, but this time the shuttle ride was just a few hours instead of two days. When he arrived in Africa, Nyota was there to meet him, looking small and fragile against the hustle and bustle of the shuttle bay, but she smiled brightly when she saw him. He walked up to her and she touched his arm.

"Oh, Spock," she said. "It's so good to see you."

"Likewise," he replied. "I am pleased to see you are well."

"Are you ready to go?" she asked, and he nodded once, then they set out. She walked much slower than he did, but he did not mind keeping pace with her, and thankfully they only had to walk out into the parking lot where Nyota's grandson was waiting for them in a hovercar.

"Mr. Spock," the man said simply in greeting, and Spock nodded at him. He was rather fond of Nyota's grandson, whose name was Ikinya, because his mannerisms were very Vulcanesque – he was quiet and serious and thoughtful, never speaking more than he needed to.

"We're so glad to have you. It's been years since anyone's used the guest room. We cleaned it all up for you, though, of course," Nyota said. "I think I'm most happy to see you, though. It gets tiring having to live with my children and their children and their children's children! The young all move so fast, and things are always so busy. It's hard to keep up. It'll be a nice change to have someone around going the same pace as me for once."

"I am gratified to be here," Spock said simply in reply, and she smiled at him.

When they arrived at Nyota's family's home, Ikinya opened the hovercar doors for Nyota and Spock and took Spock's suitcase out from the trunk, carrying it for him.

"Come, we'll show you to the guest room," Nyota said as she led him into the house, but it was very slow progress as the entire household had to stop and greet him as they went, from Nyota's eldest son to her small great-grandchildren who were running merrily about with their toys. Many of them recognized Spock by sight and even those who did not still knew who he was, and they were all pleased to see him and anxious to tell him so. He greeted each of them politely with Nyota smiling fondly at the exchange before they could move on another ten feet before being greeted by someone else. It was indeed a very busy household.

Finally they made it to the guest room, which was on the third floor of the house. Ikinya, who had barreled right through the house ahead of them, had set down Spock's suitcase in front of the door, and so he picked it up and carried it into the room, Nyota following him. He glanced about, first searching for the boxes he had sent ahead before absorbing any other details of the room. The boxes were stacked neatly in the corner and showed no signs of having been opened or disturbed, which was a relief. It was not that he was suspicious of Nyota's family, but the boxes were his most precious physical belongings.

"I'll leave you to settle in," Nyota said softly, touching his arm. "Dinner will be in an hour or so." Spock simply nodded, and quietly Nyota left the room.

She had said nothing of Jim but it was painfully obvious to Spock that she knew that the only reason he was here was because he could not yet be alone. Her soft words and looks and everything that she meant to comfort him with made him equal parts grateful and ashamed.

He did not know what to do first, so he simply sat down in the single chair in the room and studied his surroundings. The chair he sat in was upholstered in a green and brown patterned fabric and was in the corner furthest from the door, turned to face the window. The bed, which was in a matching print, was pushed up against the opposite wall, a small bedside table stood between his chair and the bed, and across from his chair there was a small desk, and across from the bed there was a holoscreen set up on the wall. The boxes with his belongings were stacked next to the holoscreen.

He sat and looked at the boxes for a little while before finally standing back up and unpacking them.

He placed his clothes in the closet, his toiletries in the bathroom, and left the other miscellaneous items in their boxes. The boxes at the bottom of the stack were labeled "Jim". For a moment he just looked at them, uncertain, then he reached for one and carefully opened it.

Inside this box there were several small cases containing the many medals and certificates Jim had earned throughout his time in Starfleet, plus the smaller awards he had been given after he had left Starfleet and had taught at the University of New Vulcan (because the New Vulcan Science Academy did not allow non-Vulcans to serve as faculty, even non-Vulcans who were Jim Kirk). Spock glanced over each of them, remembering each award ceremony where they had been bestowed. The Badge of Honor from when he had defeated the Narada and saved the Earth, the Award of Diplomatic Excellence which was given to him after he successfully negotiated a ceasefire treaty with the Romulans which was integral in ending the Two-Year War, the Purple Heart he received after nearly losing his leg in a battle against a Klingon armada (he never quite walked the same after that). Spock could name all of them. He looked over them, a soft sigh escaped his lungs, and then he closed that box, put it aside, and pulled up the other.

This one he hesitated over before opening, but finally he pulled it open. It was a rather large box, approximately four times the size of the box that had held Jim's various medals and awards. Inside of it was a stack of notebooks, in two rows with the faces up. They had been placed in the box according to size, so he could only see the smallest of them on the top row; the largest ones were at the bottom of the box, though they were all relatively small. Though he could not see them all, he knew that there were eighty-two notebooks in the box. Spock looked at them, and reminisced.

When he and Jim first began courting, Jim had showed him a small bookshelf he had in his quarters that housed seventeen such notebooks. He had begun keeping a journal at the age of eight, he explained, and had never stopped. When he had shown him the journals, Jim gave Spock one and only one rule about the journals: if he wished to, he could read only completed journals, not the one Jim was currently writing in, as long as he asked first. That was all.

Spock had never read them. He had never felt a need to – and after they were bonded, they could not have told him anything he did not already know.

"I don't know why I write in them," Jim had said, looking over at the bookshelf that housed them. "I just do. I don't think I could stop if I tried." Then he had looked over at Spock and laughed a bit. "I guess they'll make pretty decent historical artifacts in a hundred years or so, since I'm a hero now and all."

Spock looked at the eighty-two journals stacked neatly according to size in the box, and thought about how all that remained of his t'hy'la's life and legacy was sitting in front of him, simply ink that would fade on paper that would deteriorate – and thought how these fragile elements had outlasted the man himself.

The pleasant thing about Africa was that it was warm, and therefore much closer to the New Vulcan climate Spock was used to than San Francisco had been. Even in the morning hours, when it was relatively cool, Spock only needed to put a light robe on over his clothing to feel comfortable before stepping outside for a walk. He was not so old yet that he did not benefit from daily exercise.

He walked around the quiet suburban neighborhood where Nyota's family lived, thinking and remembering.

The last time Spock had been in Africa was twelve years ago when Jim had wanted to visit their friends on Earth. Their visit to Earth previous to that one had been for Dr. McCoy's funeral, so Jim declared he wanted a "happy" trip that time around. He had not yet been hoverchair-bound when they had made that visit, and on the first day of their trip they had gone to see Nyota and Scotty in Africa, where they stayed for a week, then to San Francisco to see Chekov and Sulu.

Their visit to Africa had been pleasant, though Jim complained often of the heat, and he had wanted to go on a "safari", which they did, and Jim had been quite impressed with the lions and giraffes and said he was sad there weren't any African elephants, which had gone extinct in his youth. Jim and Scotty were both old for Humans and so Spock often had to slow his pace to walk with them, or take breaks for them to catch their breath, or cut outings short because they were tired or aching, and he had tried very hard not to let it bother him but at one point towards the end of their Africa visit he had gotten rather frustrated with Jim because he had wanted to go for a walk but was having to stop to catch his breath approximately every four point three minutes.

"I do not understand why you wished to walk about when it is such a difficulty for you," Spock had finally snapped after they had stopped for the sixth time.

"I just wanted to be outdoors," Jim replied defensively. "I'm sorry I can't keep up with you. But you knew it would be like this."

"I wish it were not," Spock said, and Jim did not reply. His only response was a deep melancholy sinking through their bond, and immediately Spock regretted having said anything at all.

They had made their way slowly back to their hotel in silence. Jim settled quietly into a chair in front of the holoscreen and Spock went to the small kitchenette to replicate a small dinner and when he went back to the front room the holoscreen was still turned off and Jim was sitting there with tears leaking out of his eyes. Spock quickly forgot about the food and went to kneel in front of Jim, taking his gnarled wrinkled hands into his own.

"I am sorry," he had said fervently. "I am sorry for what I said, t'hy'la. You know I did not mean anything, you know I love you. I love you."

"It's not that," Jim said between sniffles, his voice hoarse and gravelly. "It's – It's just – Spock, I'm old and I'm dying and you – you've still got so much life to live and I don't and – I'm sorry, Spock. I'm sorry." His fingers had curled around Spock's as his voice broke and his sniffles turned into quiet sobs and Spock felt his heart clench and his eyes sting.

"Do not be sorry," he said. "Jim. T'hy'la. Do not ever be sorry. I would not trade you for anyone, I would not trade our lives together for anything. Do not be sorry for being my t'hy'la." He pulled Jim closer to him and the Human pressed his face into Spock's shoulder.

They stayed this way for a long time – Spock did not keep track of just how long. But even when his knees began to protest in pain he did not move and just held Jim close, saying nothing, projecting only a sense of calmness and love and devotion through the bond, and after a while Jim's tears turned into sniffles, then into hiccups, then he pulled away and managed a weary smile at Spock.

"Human emotionalism at its finest for you, there," he murmured wryly, and Spock gently squeezed his hand and kissed him before they both went back to the kitchen to replicate another meal, for the food Spock had replicated had long since gone cold.

"Spock!" Nyota called, breaking him from his reverie. He looked up and realized he had made his way through the neighborhood and back to Nyota's home, and he was now standing in the front yard and staring vacantly at the various plants in the yard. "There you are. You're back just in time. Breakfast is ready if you're interested."

"I will be inside shortly," Spock replied, a medium-sized flowering plant near him catching his eye.

"All right. I'll make sure a place at the table is set for you," Nyota said, but he hardly heard her. When he had last been in Africa, Jim had stood in front of this plant, gripping one of the flowers between two fingers as he studied it.

"It's lovely," he had said. "Look at the color, Spock. Nyota, can we get a few clippings of this? Do you think we could get it to grow in the yard, Spock?"

"Possibly," he had said, and they had brought a few buds of the plant back to New Vulcan with them but they had died.

He stared at the plant a moment longer, resisting the urge to reach out and touch it the way Jim had, before turning and walking up to Nyota who was still standing in the doorway watching him. She touched his arm softly when he reached her, and they walked into the house together.

For a normal Vulcan, meditation involved emptying the mind sufficiently enough that the subconscious could be sorted through and processed, similar to the way Humans processed their subconscious in their sleep, but with conscious control of how the contents of the subconscious were sorted. For the vast majority of Spock's life he had meditated in the same way as any other Vulcan – the thought of meditation was inseparable from the thought of mental silence and emptiness followed by careful sorting and consideration.

But since Jim had been gone, meditation had become less of Spock emptying his mind and more of him remembering. Instead of focusing on nothing he remembered as hard as he could, until the memory seemed almost real, until he could describe the feel of the clothes (or lack thereof) he was wearing on his skin, the scents in the air, the ambient sounds around them, just as accurately as if he were really there, as if the memory was really happening. It was the closest thing he had to Jim anymore.

The only thing keeping it from being completely and truly realistic was the bond that still cried out for its other half, wounded and alone.

As counter-intuitive as it seemed, meditation came a little easier when he was remembering. Most of what his subconscious was dredging up had to do with Jim anyway, which he suspected had something to do with it, but he could not explain why it was so. He found he did not wish to explain it.

He had been with Nyota for four days when he rose out of meditation with the memory of the day Jim had shown him his journals fresh in his mind. He could still almost hear the background hum of the Enterprise's engines in Jim's quarters.

Jim had grinned sheepishly as he had explained his journals to Spock. A slight embarrassed flush had risen in his face, casting his cheeks with a ruddy hue that gave Spock a strange but not unpleasant sensation in his abdomen.

Now, as he opened his eyes in the middle of Nyota's guest room, he looked over at the box with all eighty-two of Jim's journals and stared, pondering, at them for a long while.

He had never read the journals because he had never needed to. But now Jim was gone, and the journals were all he had left behind. He had never read them, but perhaps, he thought, perhaps now was the time to finally do so.

After only a moment more of uncertainty, Spock stood slowly and reached for the box, opening it carefully. The notebooks were still stacked inside just as untouched as they had been the last time he had looked at them. It took a moment before he could muster the courage to reach into the box and begin pulling them out.

He handled them gingerly as he took them out of the box and placed them on the floor, grouping them together by roughly how old they appeared to be. When they were all out of the box, all eighty-two of them, he looked upon the journals grouped in neat stacks around him and allowed himself only a moment to feel melancholy before going about sorting them by date, so that they went in perfect chronological order.

This was made relatively easy because Jim had dated almost every entry, and most journals had a starting date and an ending date written in the front page. He placed them in chronological order in the small bookshelf he had emptied (the bookshelf had, in his defense, contained very few actual books, all of which were easily relocated to other shelves or into the closet, and the other decorative paraphernalia on the bookshelf was also easy to place elsewhere), with the oldest journals starting in the upper left hand corner, ending with the most recent halfway through the third shelf.

When his handiwork was done, he straightened up and looked at the bookshelf for a long moment, then reached for the first journal and carefully, reverently opened it.

He did not start reading it right away, but instead leafed through a few pages, simply glancing at them and catching a few words as he carefully flipped through the pages, previewing it. From what he could see, almost every entry started with "Dear Journal". This was usually followed by something along the lines of "Hi, it's Jimmy again."

Spock had glanced through approximately half of the journal before turning back to the beginning and reading the first entry.

"Dear Journal," the journal began. "Mom sent me this notebook because she thinks I talk too much. She told me to start writting my thoughts down insted of saying them out loud. I think it bugs her. I think she is a little bit crazy but I will do it anyway. Anyways so my name is Jimmy and I am 8 yrs old and I am the smartest kid in my class. I have a mom and a brother but not a dad and there is Frank who mom is gonna marry but hes not my dad. I also have some friends at school their names are Jake, Citlali, Brenton and Hanna. I have blond hair and blue eyes and I am not the shortest kid in my class but Iam not tallest either. Anyways that is all for now. Bye Journal. Sinceerly, Jimmy".

Spock sighed softly and turned the page.

"Dear Journal, hi, it's Jimmy. Today was a Thursday so I had to go to school. School is ok. Its kind of boring most of the time because I already know half the stuff we learn. My teacher Miss Cruz yells at me alot because I dont pay attention very much. But I am still the smartest kid in the class. Today when I got home I did my homework real fast so that I could play shooting games with Sam before he went to soccer practice. Mom is off planet so Frank had to look after me when Sam left. I dont like Frank very much and I dont think he likes me either. But hes not my dad so I dont care. He made spagetty for dinner but I am allergic to tomatos so I had to eat mine without any sauce because Frank forgot I am allergic. If I hadnt reminded him he woulda made me eat it and then I would have an allergic reaction and have to go to the hospital and probably die. I think Frank is stupider than half the kids in my class which is saying a lot because Taylor is in my class and he is the stupidest kid I have ever met. Anyway Im gonna go to bed now. Bye Journal. Sinceerly, Jimmy".

The childlike accounts of a young Jim's daily life were more amusing than comforting, as Jim had been a rather precocious child, to put it lightly, and for Spock, reading about Jim's life long before he had entered it was surreal at best. But even so, he could still recognize Jim's sharp wit and often scathing sense of humor even in the early entries written in the messy scrawl of an eight-year-old boy. A tiny smile brought a slight crinkle to the corners of Spock's eyes and he looked fondly at the journal entries before moving on to the next page.

Spock and Jim had decided, even before they were bonded, that they would never have children.

At the time it had been the logical choice – and throughout their lives it had remained the most logical choice to make, for a myriad of reasons. A starship was no place to raise a child. Neither wanted to sacrifice their careers to start a family. And because they were both men incapable of carrying children, as well as Spock's infertility caused by his own mixed heritage, any child they had through a surrogate would be Jim and someone else's child, not Jim and Spock's. They considered adopting a Vulcan child for a brief period of time, as many Vulcan children still remained orphans years after the Narada Massacre, but they decided against it in the end.

They had been happy in their child-free lives together. They enjoyed watching their friends' children grow up, but at the end of the day it was a relief to come home to quiet quarters, or, later in life, a quiet house, have a relaxed evening meal together, make love if they wanted to or sit together reading in bed if they didn't. There was enough stress in their careers – they did not need any more from a family.

"Besides," Jim had said wearily, once, "I've never had a strong father figure, I don't know what it's like to have a dad. I wouldn't know the first thing about being a parent. I'd be a horrible father."

"I am sure you would not," Spock had protested, the confession causing him to feel uncomfortable, but he could not convince Jim otherwise and after that one time they rarely spoke of the matter again.

But they were happy without children. They had never been struck with the desire to have any and were content with their family of two. Spock had never second-guessed their decision or wondered if they had made the right one.

Well, he hadn't until now, at least.

Nyota had a large family, the complete opposite of he and Jim. She and Scotty had had two children together before they were married and three more after, and each of those children had had children, and several of those children now had children of their own, and even one of those children had recently had a child as well – and as was normal in that region of Earth, families lived together in the same house, or at least in very close vicinity to each other. As such, they had a very large house to hold in a very, very large family.

While the hustle and bustle and sheer noise of a full house was completely foreign to Spock, after he had spent two weeks with Nyota, it had become comfortable – comforting, even. After having been alone and isolated for months, even Spock was glad to be surrounded by people who, even if they did not interact with him all the time, still cared about him on some level and made sure he knew it.

Between the sense of comfort it brought him, watching Nyota interact with the members of her family, and reading the journal of an eight-year-old Jim, Spock was suddenly struck with the thought of what his life might be like now if he and Jim had decided to have children after all.

Once the thought hit him it was difficult to push it away. He wondered what their child would have been like, had it existed. He wondered if he would have a family as extensive as Nyota's now if he and Jim had even just had one child. He wondered whether the child would have taken after him or Jim or neither of them, if it would have been male or female or neither, what it would have done with its life, if it would have joined Starfleet to follow in its fathers' footsteps or chosen a different path entirely. He wondered if the child would have been an artist or a doctor or a musician or a scientist or a businessperson, if it would have turned out to live a good life or a bad one.

Spock was not normally one for what-ifs, but he found that he could not stop wondering how things could be different now. If they had had a child it would be taking care of him now. He would not have been alone when Jim passed away, would not have had to grieve alone. They might even have grandchildren or great-grandchildren.

But they did not. For all his wishing and wondering, the fact remained that they had decided not to have children and had never changed that decision. He did not have children or grandchildren or great-grandchildren. He did not have a family to be looking after him – he was alone. The thought had never bothered him before, but now it filled him with a deep despair – it seemed as though all of a sudden he was second-guessing all the things he had been comfortable with and certain of in his life.

He did not know what to do, so he spent most of his time sitting out in the sun watching the children play, or in his room reading Jim's journals, and wondering.

Spock had been at Nyota's home for three weeks and three days when he realized that it was Thanksgiving. As it was not a holiday in the United States of Africa, no one had said anything of it – but it was a holiday where Jim had grown up and they had celebrated it every year.

The fact that Spock was vegetarian and Jim was not had been the subject of many heated arguments throughout their lives, but especially so around Thanksgiving.

"You have to have a turkey for Thanksgiving, Spock," Jim insisted, the first year they planned to celebrate it together. "Or at least a ham! It's tradition! It's what the holiday is known for!"

"I am sure that vegetarian humans have come up with an adequate replacement," Spock replied.

"We are not having tofu turkey for Thanksgiving."

"We will not, but I will. Jim, Vulcans do not eat meat and we make very few exceptions to that rule. This holiday is not one of them." Jim had huffed and grumbled and finally muttered,

"Well, you had better look up how to make tofu turkey for yourself, then, because I'm not going to make it."

That had been their first Thanksgiving. At their last, and for many Thanksgivings before it, they had not had a real turkey but imitation. It was curious, the way things changed over time, and how one didn't even notice the change until they took the time to look back.

Spock leaned back in the chair he was sitting in, out in the yard, and thought that he no longer had a reason to celebrate the North American holiday of Thanksgiving. It was not a particularly happy thought.

When he went back inside forty-three minutes later, he went up to his room and pulled out the journal he was reading. He had finished the first and the second, and was making his way through the third now, but instead of opening it up to the page he had read last, he flipped through the pages until he found the entries dated in November, then looked through them to see if there had been an entry on Thanksgiving that year.

Finally he found an entry about Thanksgiving, and Spock settled into his reading chair.

"Dear Journal,

Today is Thanksgiving which is a very old holiday that is about being thankful for things in your life. This year Mom was on Earth for Thanksgiving but only Papa could come for dinner and not my other grampa who is Grampa Tiberius, and I am named after both of them. So it was me, Mom, Sam, Papa and Frank. Before dinner we talked about things we are thankful for. Here is my list of things I am thankful for.

My family which is Mom and Sam and Papa and Grampa Tiberius and my aunts and uncles and cousins except I've only ever met a few of them. I am not thankful for Frank because he is not my family

My friends at school who are Jake, Brenton, Citlali, and Hanna.

video games


Thanksgiving dinner was yummy because Mom made most of it from scratch which means she didn't use the replicator but she used food from the store. But the rest of the day was boring."

Spock read the entry a few more times with a faint smile on his face. Reading from a now nine-year-old Jim's point of view had become an often heartwarming experience, as the childlike honesty combined with Jim's own recognizable personality permeated every page. Spock liked to think that if they had ever had a son, he would be very much like Jim.

He read over the small list of things Jim was thankful for, and found himself wondering how that list had changed over the years. He supposed he would find out soon enough as long as he continued reading the journals, which he planned on doing.

Finally he closed the journal and placed it carefully back on the bedside table where it had been before. He no longer had a reason to celebrate Thanksgiving, but he did not stop himself from making a mental list of things he was thankful for, the same way Jim had listed off what he was thankful for every year before starting on their Thanksgiving dinner.

More than anything, Spock was thankful for Jim. He did not know that he would be the same person he was now had Jim not been in his life.

Second, he was thankful for the friends he had made and kept throughout his life. Nyota especially, for being kind to him now and opening her home to him even as he mourned still. He was thankful for all his friends from the Enterprise – who had all taught him there was no shame in the word friend, a word he had been loathe to use before his time in Starfleet. But they were his friends, and he had no shame in it now. Of those friends, only he, Nyota, and Pavel Chekov remained. All the rest had succumbed to old age, a feat in and of itself for Starfleet officers who had served in times of both peace and war. He was thankful that they had all lived long, happy lives.

He paused suddenly, thinking. He had not spoken to Pavel Chekov in a long while. Perhaps, he thought – perhaps, when he left Nyota's, he could visit Pavel in Russia.

Pavel was very similar to Spock in that he was now alone. Hikaru Sulu had died approximately one year before Jim, and they, like Jim and Spock, had never had children. Pavel had lived through what Spock's life was now.

Spock decided that he would contact him, then opened the journal back up again and began reading where he had left off the day before. If he read enough tonight, he thought, he could start on the next journal tomorrow.

"Spock," Nyota said the next day. "I think I'm going to take a walk around the neighborhood. Care to join me?"

Spock looked up from the journal he was reading to look at her, small and smiling in the doorway, and considered for a moment before answering,

"Certainly." He got to his feet from where he was sitting and together they walked out of the house.

They walked slowly and quietly for a little while, until Nyota said softly,

"Do you remember the last time you were here, and Jim baked that wonderful lemon meringue pie?"

"Yes," Spock replied. "Though if I recall correctly, you put in just as much effort as Jim." He remembered that Jim had wanted some fresh fruit, had gone to the store to find that lemons were on sale, bought more than he probably needed with no idea what to do with them, took them to Nyota asking if she wanted them, then they ended up baking a pie together. It had been quite palatable, and although Spock had been miffed at the time because Jim had bought them on a whim and in excess, it ended up being a happy moment in their trip.

Nyota laughed. "Yes, well. If it hadn't been for Jim, we wouldn't have had the pie at all." She paused and sighed, a faint smile on her face. "I'm glad you two visited when you did. It's nice, that I can remember Jim from then, happy and healthy."

"Indeed," Spock agreed, his voice fainter this time.

"I know it's hard," Nyota said, and she put a hand on Spock's arm. "I know it is. But things are going to get easier. They will."

"I do not doubt you," Spock replied, and he looked away.

"I remember, the first time I met Jim," Nyota said. "I was convinced he was a stupid, arrogant idiot. Who would have known he would have ended up being a lifelong friend? It's funny, how things turn out, isn't it?"

"It is."

They walked for a little while longer, then Spock said,

"I am planning on contacting Pavel and, if he is amenable to the idea, spending time with him in the same manner that I have spent time with you."

"Well, that sounds lovely," Nyota replied with a soft smile. "I'm sure he'd appreciate the company, too. He's been living alone in Saint Petersburg for over a year now. I do wish I could visit him, but when you get to be as old as I am, traveling is just too much of a difficulty." She sighed, and for a long moment was silent.

"Oh, Spock," she said finally. "I'm sorry you have to be the one to watch all of us die. More than likely I'll be next, you know."

Spock did not have an answer to that.

"Mr. Spock?"

Pavel Chekov's tone was one of surprise as he answered the comm, eyes wide and mouth quirked into an almost-smile. Spock bowed his head slightly in greeting.

"Hello, Mr. Chekov," he said, and Pavel's features stretched into a smile.

"Hello, Mr. Spock, it's good to see you," he said brightly. His accent had never quite gone away, and when he had begun living in Russia again, had returned full-force. "To what do I owe the honor?"

"I am currently visiting Nyota in Kenya," Spock explained, wasting no time with frivolities. "While here I wondered if perhaps you might be amenable to a visit from me, as well."

"Oh," Pavel said, his expression of surprise morphing into one of delight. "That sounds wonderful, Mr. Spock, I would certainly love to have you here! It has been many years since I have seen you last!"

"Indeed it has," Spock agreed softly. "If it is acceptable to you, I was planning on departing from Kenya in the first week of December."

"Oh, yes, yes, that is fine," Pavel assured him, his words coming quickly in his excitement. More years had passed than Spock would care to admit, but Pavel seemed to be the same happy and excitable young man he remembered from their early days on the Enterprise. "But it's getting very cold in Saint Petersburg, very cold this time of year – I don't know if you would appreciate that, Mr. Spock, we will definitely have to get you good winter clothes! You are welcome to stay as long as you wish, of course, my home – well, my home is open to you. Oh, I'll have to clean the guest room first. How long do you anticipate staying, Mr. Spock?"

"I do not know," Spock said. "Likely past the Christmas holiday."

"Splendid, splendid," he continued on. "I'll have a room prepared for you, and good warm clothing, just let me know when you will be arriving. This is quite exciting!"

"I am gratified you think so," Spock answered, suppressing a smile. "I will be in contact with you again when I finalize the dates."

"I'll be waiting."

"Until then, goodbye, Mr. Chekov."

"Goodbye, Mr. Spock!"

Spock turned the commlink off and settled back into his chair with a sigh. For all the energy Pavel had, it was certainly exhausting speaking to him.

So he would be going to Russia after all. It would be cold and it would be very different from Africa, but Spock was looking forward to the trip.

When Spock came to a blank page in the middle of thirteen-year-old Jim's journal, he paused and wondered if he should read any further.

In the last entry, Jim had written that his mother and Frank had decided to send him to the colony on Tarsus IV to spend the summer with an aunt and uncle. Spock knew what was coming, and he did not know how he felt about it.

Tarsus had always been a subject of little discussion between them. Jim had never had any desire to specifically keep it a secret, but neither was it something he advertised. He kept quiet about it but if he was approached about it, he would discuss it with little hesitation. When Spock found out about it – five months and eighteen days into their courtship – he had been angry that Jim had not told him about it beforehand. He was no longer ashamed to admit it, but at the time he had continually insisted he certainly was not angry, which, in hindsight, only made the matter worse. The confrontation had been unpleasant. Spock had found out through another crewmember and did not enjoy the feeling of having information being kept from him, and feared the possibility that there was more, much more, that Jim could be hiding from him.

"I don't see how wanting to keep this from the public eye makes me the bad guy," Jim had snapped as their argument progressed. "If you had ever brought it up of course I would have told you, but you didn't. Excuse me for not just going up to you and telling you, 'oh by the fucking way, I'm a survivor of the Tarsus clusterfuck'!"

"The fact that I had to discover this information through a third party is unacceptable," Spock had countered, stubbornly standing his ground. "If we are to build trust – if our relationship is to go anywhere – there must be no secrets and certainly no lies."

"I never lied to you!" Jim exclaimed. "You think I'd want to talk about this shit with just anyone?"

"I do not believe I am 'just anyone', not to you."

"I don't offer it to everyone I meet for the same reason you don't talk about Vulcan and the Narada incident and your mother."

At that Spock's blood had run cold, then his face flushed with heated anger and he barely heard Jim's next words.

"It's not – It really sucks, having to talk about it, okay?" he had said, his voice pained and his gaze fluttering around the room and avoiding Spock. "You just – You have no idea. You don't know what it's like, because if you did you wouldn't be acting like this, you would – "

"No," Spock had interrupted, hands clenching behind his back. "No, it is you who has no idea." He had turned and left the room abruptly, his heart hammering furiously in his side.

Spock remembered he had been so enraged at the comment Jim had made about Vulcan and his mother that they had not spoken outside of the bridge for one day, thirteen hours, and forty-seven minutes. But they did speak again, and they did work through the problem, and though their interactions were still tense for several days after the incident, things did get better.

But Tarsus remained something they did not discuss if they did not have to. Every few years Jim would get a request to attend some social gathering of other Tarsus survivors, or he would be asked to give an interview for a documentary or to speak for some awareness-raising group, and he would do so but always with a tired and almost exasperated acceptance. Spock did not understand it, until the first request for an interview for a documentary on the destruction of Vulcan came to him.

He had been furious. When it happened he and Jim had been bonded for just over six months, and when Jim had come home to their quarters that day Spock had ranted about it for over half an hour while Jim just sat there, listening. When Spock finally ran out of angry and outraged words, Jim reached out and touched his fingers and said softly,

"It'll be like this at the beginning. Even when you know you should do this kind of thing it'll still make you angry, but I promise it'll get easier."

And all at once it had hit Spock – that Jim had not been so far off to compare Tarsus to his own experience. He had been so angry that these people seemed to think his own experience – the struggle to understand and accept what had happened and all the pain and anguish that came along with it, the grief and suffering and anger and desperate longing to change what could not be changed – Jim understood it all and the whole time Spock had simply disregarded it, attributed it to some human over-emotionalism, had never thought of Tarsus as the painful and life-shattering event that it was – and shame flooded him all at once.

"I am sorry," he had said hoarsely, unable to find any other words. "I – I am sorry." Jim had just given a little almost-smile and held Spock's hand a little tighter.

"I forgive you," he had murmured simply. "It's alright. I forgive you."

Spock looked at the blank page in the journal with pain in his heart. For an event that had so sharply defined his Jim, he had long ignored it, and he regretted that – so he would ignore it no more, and he would read the journal all the way through. He turned the page.

There were three blank pages before the entries began again. The first was dated six months and four days after the last.

"I almost died this summer," the entry begins, with no prelude, no exposition. "I almost wish I had. Tarsus was hell. I don't like talking about it but my psychologist says I should at least try, and writing about it is the first step." Spock felt his hand tremble and he paused a moment before reading on.

"While I was there, a fungus attacked the crops and there wasnt enough food to go around. People were dying of starvation, but that wasnt the worst of it, not by a long shot. The governer of Tarsus decided that to save the "best" people, he would kill half of the population so there would be enough food to feed the other half. I was supposed to die. When the soldiers starting coming around to take people away, Uncle Anthony saw them coming and gave me his phaser rifle and told me and Aunt Dana to run. We went out through the back door and ran to the woods. We just ran and ran and ran and when I finally looked back when I couldnt run anymore I couldnt see Aunt Dana and I didnt know what to do so I just kept running. I dont know if shes alive, probably not but I dont know. I dont know about Uncle Anthony either, that was the last time I saw either of them but there names havent been on the lists of the confirmed dead either so who knows.

I dont know how long I ran but it must have been a long time because when I finally stopped I was so tired I just collapsed and fell asleep. When I woke up it was almost light so I must not have slept very long. I hadnt been caught yet so I thought it must be a good sign so I decided to go to the city to try and see what was going on. I didnt know where I was but since the farm was about two and a half miles west from the city and I could see where the sun was rising in the west, because it rises in the west on Tarsus, and just started walking away from it and hoped it was the right direction. I walked until the sun was in the middle of the sky and then I saw smoke, it was the city and the smoke was from where they were burning the bodies of all the people they had killed but I didnt know it then I was just glad I had gone in the right direction after all.

I knew I couldnt actually go into the city so I just kinda snuck around the outsides to try and see what I could to figure out what was happening. The governer Kodos had given his whole announcment thing a lot in the past couple days so I sort of knew what was going on but not really. When I was looking around I found a boy about my age with a littler girl sneaking around the outsides of the city too so I got their attention and found out they had run away just like me so we decided to stick together, and that was how our group of kids started.

I dont really remember how so many of them found us but by the time we were rescued there were nine of us together living in a cave. There would have been eleven but two died and then one died after we were rescued. I had my phaser rifle and two other kids had phasers that their parents had given them and we stole a few more from guard people who found us that we had to kill.

I killed two people on Tarsus, I know they were bad people and it was self-defense and I didn't have any other choice but I still keep thinking I killed two people and Im thirteen years old, the only thirteen year olds who have killed people are kids who are fucked up in their brains. I hate it. I just wish I had died.

Starfleet finally showed up almost three months after everything happened. We were rescued by a ship called the Farragut. When they took us to their medical bay and weighed us I weighed seventy-nine pounds. They told me that I would have died before much longer.

I dont know what happened after we were rescued and I dont really want to know. I wish I could just forget everything that happened. When the Farragut went back to Earth Mom was there and she just cried all the time for days and days and she keeps saying shes so sorry, shell never send me off somewhere again and I just wish she would stop. The doctor from the Farragut said I needed psychological counseling and stuff right away and Frank said he didn't want to pay for it if the insurance wouldnt. Mom says theyre getting a divorce.

Everyone keeps saying I must be a genius to stay alive and help keep so many other kids alive for so long and I'm lucky to be here but all I can think about is how much I wish I had just died on Tarsus."

The entry ended abruptly there, and Spock closed the journal and let out a long, heavy sigh.

He remembered how, at the very beginning, Jim had told him he could read any of the journals he wanted. Jim had offered to Spock the chance to not only learn that he had been on Tarsus but to read the raw and intimate thoughts Jim had had about it so shortly after it had happened. For so long he had thought Jim had been keeping it from him – but he had given him the chance to know from the very beginning and he hadn't taken that opportunity. He had never wanted to hide it and Spock hadn't believed him when he claimed so.

Spock pressed a hand to his eyes. He did not cry often but suddenly the only thing he felt like doing was weeping.

After that entry, reading the journals took on a sense of urgency that had not been there before. Spock could not entirely explain to himself why this was so – all he knew was that every time he looked at the journals, the only thing he could think about was that he needed to hurry and read them soon, that he had to finish them before –

Before what?

He was not certain. But he needed to finish them.

He began to pick up the pace in his reading and by the time he was packing to travel to Russia, he had just reached the point where Jim had joined Starfleet.

"I really hate that Pike guy," he wrote, his handwriting messy and scribbled in apparent irritation. "It's none of his business what I do with my life. But something he said stuck with me and I think that's what pisses me off the most. I'm not doing this for him. I'm doing this for me, and I really hate that guy because fuck him, I'm not 'meant for something better' – but I am going to make my life better. Because I want to."

Spock's eyes crinkled in a slight smile as he closed the journal and packed it carefully into his carry-on bag, where three other journals were kept just as carefully tucked away. He had not known Jim when he was rebellious and angry at the world, but it was not difficult to imagine, and somehow it was an endearing thought.

All of his things had been packed away back into their respective boxes, except for the things Spock had placed into a carry-on to take onto the transport shuttle with him. The shuttle ride from Kenya to St. Petersburg would be seven hours long and he did not wish to go into it empty-handed. It would be a good opportunity to get through several of Jim's journals. The quicker he got through them, the better.

It was still early in the day when one of Nyota's great-grandsons carried Spock's boxes down and out to the front yard, where they would be loaded onto a hovercar and taken to the shuttle port to be sent ahead. Spock watched almost nervously as Jim's box was carried. The young man seemed to notice Spock's unease and carried that box a little more gingerly than he had the others.

When all of the boxes had been sent away, Spock sat in the middle of the room that was now devoid of any traces that he had lived in it for the past month and looked out the window. It had been nice to spend time with Nyota, but he was glad to be moving on. After all the hustle and bustle of living in a household full to the brim with people, staying with Pavel who lived alone would be a welcome change, and Spock hoped the peace and quiet would help him settle his thoughts, that being away from a family would help him stop wishing he had his own. Maybe he would be able to meditate easier, too.

Nyota came into his room and sat down quietly next to him. For a moment neither of them spoke, just sat by each other in silence.

"I'm glad you visited," Nyota said finally, breaking the silence. "I really appreciate it, you know."

"I am glad I came," Spock replied. And he truly was glad, even though he was also glad to be leaving. Had he been alone in an apartment in San Francisco for the past month – or, worse, still on New Vulcan – Spock was sure he would have gone mad by now. But he had kept his sanity, or at least some remnants of it, and it was thanks to Nyota.

"I'll miss you when you go," Nyota sighed, patting his arm. "But I know Pavel will be happy to see you so I can't feel too sad." Spock did not reply. After another quiet moment had passed, Nyota added softly, "I think you'll be happy to spend some time with him, too. I hope he can show you that things do get easier." She patted his arm again and stood up. "Well, it's about time for you to head to the shuttle port. We had better get going. Ikinya's going to drive us again."

Spock stood up, considering her words. They made their way downstairs where Ikinya was waiting for them, along with a good chunk of the rest of the family.

"Goodbye, Mr. Spock!" The room erupted into noise all at once, people expressing how glad they were he visited and how they'll miss having him around, children babbling that it was fun while it lasted and will he please come visit them again someday, almost all the sentiments indistinct because everyone was trying to talk over each other, and Spock suppressed a smile. He really was glad he had visited.

It took him a while to finish saying his goodbyes, but finally he, Nyota, and Ikinya made their way out of the house and into the hovercar. It was all very quiet compared to the roar of people they had just escaped, and for a moment the only noise was that of the engine humming as they lifted into the air and drove away.

The drive to the shuttle port was a quiet one. Halfway there, Nyota put a hand on Spock's arm, the way she often did, but still said nothing. A sort of melancholy had permeated the hovercar's atmosphere. No one spoke; Spock did not know what to say, and it seemed Nyota did not either.

When they arrived and Ikinya turned the engine off, the three of them sat there uncertainly for a brief moment before Ikinya got out and opened the door for Nyota and Spock. They shuffled out and stood as Ikinya got Spock's carry-on from the back of the hovercar. They looked first out at the shuttle port, then at each other.

"Thank you for having me here," Spock said finally, breaking the long silence. Nyota smiled, lips trembling as if she might cry.

"Thank you for coming," she replied, and Spock gave a slight smile that only made hers wider. "You'll always be welcome here, Spock."

"Indeed," Ikinya said from where he was standing behind the hovercar, his voice a low rumble compared to Nyota's airy and tremulous tone.

They began to walk towards the shuttle port, cool air blasting them as they stepped through the automatic doors. Spock went to the front desk and they printed his ticket, then went back to where Nyota and Ikinya were standing. This would be where he left them, as only ticket-holders were allowed past the front desk.

"I appreciate your kindness," Spock said, and this time when Nyota put a hand on his arm he reached out and did the same, his hand resting lightly on her forearm for a brief moment before he took his suitcase from Ikinya.

"Goodbye, Nyota," he said quietly.

"Goodbye, Spock," she replied, her voice just as faint, and Spock turned and walked through the small gate separating the front area from the rest of the port, and looked back only after he had gone a good distance. When he did, Nyota and Ikinya were gone. He gazed at where they had been for only a moment longer before moving forward once more.

The shuttle trip to Saint Petersburg was an uneventful one. There were only nine other individuals on the small shuttle and so Spock had a three-seat row to himself. He certainly did not need so much space, but he was thankful he did not have to be in close proximity to others. He settled into his seat, placed his bag on the seat next to him, pulled out the journal he was working through, and began to read.

"Registering at Starfleet has been pretty annoying. There's so much paperwork. Enlisting as a cadet, registering at the academy, signing up for classes, billions of health forms and shit... Why did I think this was a good idea?"

The seat belt light went on before the shuttle began to lift off. Spock did not even bother to look up.

"The guy I sat next to on the shuttle, McCoy, ended up being my roommate since he was in line to register right in front of me and since we're new recruits we don't get to pick our roommates. Not sure if this will be great or horrible, he seemed like a good guy but he's got a lot of baggage with him. Most of what he talked about on the shuttle was about his divorce which was pretty messy, of course he was definitely buzzed so who knows how much he was exaggerating. Either way he seems a little crazy but I dunno if it's the good crazy or bad crazy yet. Guess I don't have much room to talk though."

"Can I get you anything, sir?" the flight attendant asked him, her voice soft and just audible over the hum of the shuttle's engine.

"No, thank you," he replied simply, glancing up briefly. She nodded and smiled and moved on to the next passenger, and he looked back to the journal.

"Anyway, I'm done with most of the registration stuff. Classes start in two weeks. I was planning on going in undeclared but it looks like Pike's chosen for me. I'm on the command track. Fucker. Someday I'm going to get him back for all the shit he's pulling."

Spock smiled to himself. Jim had been very fond of Admiral Pike – when they had had their wedding ceremony on Earth, after they were bonded, Pike had been there, sitting in the front row in the place Jim's father would have been sitting. When Pike had died in combat towards the end of the Two-Year War, Jim had taken it very, very hard. It was fascinating to see the way that things changed over time.

The entry ended there, and Spock turned the page and read on.

When the shuttle landed in Saint Petersburg, Spock had read through Jim's time at Starfleet Academy and had begun reading the entry that gave an account of the Narada Massacre, but had stopped. He knew it would be an emotionally trying entry and he did not want to read it in public, and the trip was nearly over. He sat quietly at his seat for twenty-eight minutes and three seconds before the shuttle descended into Saint Petersburg.

"Please be aware that temperatures are currently quite low," the flight attendant was saying into the intercom. "It is advised that you wear a coat or another warm, heavy article of clothing before exiting the shuttle craft. Thank you for flying with United Earth today..."

Spock pulled his heavy cloak from his bag and pulled it on, tugging the collar up to keep his neck warm. The older he got, the more tiring it was to control his body temperature to adjust to ambient temperatures. It was easier to just wear warm clothing now.

There was a short wait before the passengers were allowed to slowly make their way off the shuttle and into the shuttle port. At the exit gate Spock could see Pavel Chekov waiting for him from a short distance.

Pavel spotted him quickly and waved to ensure his attention with a wide smile – Spock met his gaze and gave a slight nod to acknowledge him as he shuffled through the crowd that had congregated at the exit gate, holding his carry-on bag protectively close to him.

"Mr. Spock," Pavel said, sounding almost breathless with excitement when Spock finally reached him. "It is so good to see you."

"I am pleased to be in your presence as well," Spock said.

"Do you have everything?"

"Yes. I trust my other belongings made it safely to you."

"Yes, sir, five boxes. I did not open them, of course, sir."

"Please, there is no need to refer to me as 'sir'."

"Ah – you are right, of course. My apologies."

"Shall we go?"

"Yes, yes."

With that, Pavel turned and led Spock out of the shuttle port, out into the cold Russian afternoon. It was not snowing, but it was cold enough to. Spock pulled his collar up closer around his neck.

Pavel led him out to where his hovercar was parked, helped him load his bag into the trunk, then they shuffled into the car and lifted off.

"I am very glad to see you, Mr. Spock," Pavel said as he drove.

"You have repeated yourself several times. I can assure you I take your word to be true." Pavel chuckled at that, his eyes crinkling into a wide, merry smile. Spock wondered if he would ever be able to feel happy, the way Pavel seemingly did now. In the past months he had felt some slight semblances of contentment, maybe gladness – but happiness, real joy, seemed a distant memory, one he doubted he could find again. Pavel had always been a cheerful person. Such emotions did not come so naturally to Spock.

"My apologies," Pavel said. "I am just not certain what else to say, sir – Spock, Spock, I'm sorry."

"Do you enjoy living in Russia?" Spock asked, and from the way Pavel's gaze flickered from him back to the air in front of them, he knew the question was a loaded one.

"It has its good parts," Pavel replied slowly, softly. "Its good parts, and its bad ones." He left it at that, and Spock knew he would say no more on the matter, not now.

For the remainder of the drive they were both silent, the hum of the engine making the only noise in the hovercar. When they arrived at Pavel's home and landed down on the driveway and stepped out into the cold air, Pavel opened the trunk of the hovercar and pulled Spock's bag out from it. He handed it to Spock and shut the trunk, then paused, his hands resting on the metal. He looked down at his hands pensively for a moment, then over at Spock.

"All I can say, sir," he said slowly, "is that while Russia is my homeland, and I am always grateful to be here, if I had to choose – I would choose San Francisco, sir, in the same way I know you would choose New Vulcan."

Spock looked at him, and Pavel smiled sheepishly, and Spock thought that maybe they were not so very different after all.

When he was settled in, his boxes unpacked and his belongings set out in the guest room of Pavel's home, Spock looked around the room and sighed. It was not as large as his room at Nyota's home had been, not so bright and sunny and colorful. He did not know if he liked it better or worse – then thought it did not matter if he liked it. He was Vulcan, and it was a room just as good as any. The only benefit was that the window was slightly larger, and had a good view of the Saint Petersburg skyline, though one of the neighbors had a large trailer attached to their hovercar that obstructed the view somewhat.

But there was a large comfy chair for him to sit in, and he settled into it, pulled from his bag the journal he had been reading, and looked at it for a moment.

He knew the next entry would be the one containing Jim's account of the destruction of Spock's home planet – of the man's first impressions of him. He was sure they would not be good ones, and he was sure the entry would not be a pleasant one to read. He looked at the journal, then up through the window, then back at the journal again.

He flipped to the last page he had read, and continued.

"Everything has changed," the entry began, and Spock lingered on the opening for a moment.

"Everything has changed. It's been four days since I last wrote, and in those four days the whole world is completely and irrevocably different from the way it was before.

It started when I took the Kobayashi Maru, for the third time, and used the hack I made to win. The Academy board called a counsel because I had been "cheating" and this Vulcan bastard Spock was behind it. That guy, I don't know what to say about him. I'll talk about him later.

The hearing was interrupted by a distress call from Vulcan. The graduating cadets were given an emergency promotion and put on their assigned ships and sent out. I wasn't supposed to go, because I'm technically on academic probation because of the hearing. But Bones smuggled me on, and definitely not in a pleasant way.

Basically he drugged me and when I woke up I was on the Enterprise and we were in space. An ensign, Chekov, had just read off the mission summary and right away I knew that we were going into a trap. It was described as a lightning storm in space, the same phenomenon that happened when the Kelvin was destroyed by an unknown, very advanced ship about 25 yrs ago. I knew it was that ship and I was right.

I guess if it hadn't been for me, every ship would have been destroyed, instead of all of them but the Enterprise. Or, if it hadn't been for me and the fact that the pilot, Sulu, managed to fuck up the launch and delay us by about a minute. I don't want to think about that.

We got there, it was the ship, which ended up being a ship of angry future Romulans. They demanded Captain Pike go to their ship. Before he left he promoted Spock to captain, and me to first officer. Fucking crazy bastard.

They ended up destroying Vulcan. I'm still not completely certain on the specifics, but I guess in the future they can make black holes with red goopy shit. But it's gone – a whole planet, a whole world, just gone. There are maybe 10,000 survivors between Vulcans that managed to evacuate in time and Vulcans who were off-planet at the time. Everything Vulcan ever did, created, contributed to the Federation – gone. As if the economy isn't already shitty enough, and that's the least of everyone's worries.

I really don't like writing about this. But it's history and it needs to be said so I'll keep writing. I want to make sure everything is written down before we reach Earth and the media twists the story up into something it's not.

After that, I wanted to chase after the Narada which was heading for Earth, but Spock wanted to regroup with the fleet in the Laurentian system. We ended up fighting about it and Spock called security on me. I ended up being ejected from the ship in an escape pod and I landed on Delta Vega, Vulcan's sister planet.

This is where things start to get trippy and I'm not sure if it's safe to talk about what happened. For now all I will say is that due to extremely improbable and very lucky circumstances, I was able to beam back aboard the Enterprise before much time had passed. This time Spock was pissed and we had another fight.

I hated having to do this but I said that Spock must have never loved his mother, to get him to get angry enough at me to attack me, hopefully without seriously hurting me, so that he would give up command because he was emotionally compromised. My plan worked but to say I felt shitty about it is an understatement. But I had command of the ship, and I knew what I needed to do.

I had learned how to beam from one rapidly moving object to another, so using that formula Spock and I ended up beaming aboard the Narada while the Enterprise hid in the magnetic distortion of Saturn's rings. We needed to get Captain Pike back, and disarm the Narada.

For two guys who had been at each other's throats constantly in the past day or two, we worked really, really well as a team. We were able to accomplish both goals. Earth is saved. But Vulcan is still gone, and I feel like I'm going to end up being shoved into being a hero like my father all of a sudden just because I did what needed to be done. I'm not a hero. I don't feel like a hero, at least. All I know is that the Enterprise was just following orders the entire time. I'm just glad they were willing to follow orders from me of all people, and we were able to save those who could still be saved.

Unfortunately our warp drive was destroyed and so now we're puttering back to Earth. It's expected to be another twelve hours but we're almost there. I've been awake and on my feet almost nonstop for the past four days but I couldn't go to sleep without writing this down. Now that I'm done I've got about an hour to sleep before I need to be up again. I'm temporarily captain of this ship, and with so many Vulcan survivors on board there's a metric shit ton of things that need to be done. I'll just be glad when this is over.

I wish there was more I could have done to help, to stop this from happening. I did everything I could and I know none of this is my fault but I still wish I could have done more. The Vulcans have lost everything. I said the worst possible shit to Spock right when he had lost everything. I don't know what's going to happen after this but I don't think I will ever stop feeling guilty about this whole thing. The Narada was what took my dad away, and I couldn't stop it in time to keep it from taking away billions of other people too – other fathers, mothers, children, siblings, friends and families. A whole planet is gone. People are going to call me a hero but I'm not, a real hero would have been able to save Vulcan and I couldn't."

Spock expelled a heavy breath and looked up through the window, lowering the journal into his lap. The destruction of Vulcan was, a century later, still a topic he did not enjoy speaking of or hearing about. Reading Jim's recounting of the subject, written so shortly after it occurred, brought up memories of the event as fresh and painful as they had been in the days after the catastrophe.

But Jim had not walked away unscathed either. Over the years, Jim apologized for the hurtful words he had spoken that day many, many times over. Spock had long ago forgiven him, but if there was anything that Jim had never quite forgiven himself for, it was that. The circumstances of their first meeting were circumstances that led to an initial relationship of animosity and distrust.

It had taken Spock a long time to see Jim as anything other than a brash and arrogant Human who had become Captain through luck and circumstance. It had taken Jim a long time to see Spock as anything other than a self-righteous and inconsiderate Vulcan who he only begrudgingly acknowledged as the best candidate for First Officer. When their feelings had finally changed, things improved between them in leaps and bounds – but Spock remembered their first year working together, and that first year was easily the most difficult in their entire Starfleet careers.

He thought of the other Spock, the him from the alternate universe that had helped Jim, who Jim had not directly mentioned in the entry. He wondered if that Spock had an easier beginning with his Jim than they had. They probably did – it seemed like it would not be difficult to get off to a start better than what Jim and Spock had. He had never asked for any details of the other Spock's life, but he did know that he did not seem at all surprised when Jim, to whom he maintained a close relationship, announced that they would be bonded.

Jealousy was illogical, but Spock was jealous of the other him, from the other universe. That Spock probably started with a perfectly amicable relationship with his captain. That Spock probably bonded with his Jim in a matter of months instead of years. More than anything Spock wished that he had those years, the year he had spent barely tolerating Jim and the year he had spent fighting his own feelings – how he wished to have those years back, to use them to love Jim instead of hating him. He could have had two years more with Jim than what he had had – but he did not, and he was irrationally jealous of the other Spock who, he had convinced himself, had more time to spend with his Jim than Spock had with his. Envy bubbled in his chest and he could feel the first stirrings of anger –

Spock put the journal away. That was more than enough for the day. He needed to meditate.

It was strange, waking up in a near-silent house after having spent the past month in a house filled to the brim with people. Spock sat up slowly in bed and spent a moment appreciating the quiet morning, then stood up and pulled a heavy robe on, for it was very cold.

When he made his way down the stairs and into the living room he found Pavel setting a dish of milk onto the floor, which was being watched intently by a black cat that began lapping up the milk as soon as it was on the floor.

"Good morning!" Pavel said brightly. "Oh – this is Kuro. He is a friendly cat, did I mention him before? But he is a nice cat, he won't bother you at all."

"Good morning," Spock replied, eying the cat. It appeared to be several years old, at a normal size and with a healthy-looking coat. The cat was evidently well-cared for, and spared a glance at Spock for a brief moment before deciding its milk took precedence over new people.

Spock was fond of cats. All of the feline-like creatures that had been native to Vulcan were very large, and so these small cats had been something of a novelty to him when he first moved to Earth. But he had grown fond of them, and he and Jim had owned two cats in their lives together.

"I do not mind," Spock added. "I am fond of cats." Pavel smiled a bit and looked down at the cat, who had finished its milk and was now looking up at Spock. It seemed to consider the new person for a moment, then trotted away nonchalantly to sit in front of a window. Pavel laughed.

"Well, maybe he is not so friendly to strangers," he admitted. "He is a good cat, though."

"I do not doubt it," Spock said.

"Would you like some breakfast, Mr. Spock?" Pavel asked, changing the subject.

"Is your replicator capable of making plomeek soup?" Spock asked.

"As a matter of fact, it is," Pavel answered, grinning. "I will make you some. Please, come sit down."

The thing about staying with Pavel was that he understood Spock better than Nyota had. Nyota had a family – and an extensive one at that – to grieve with her, to support her, to keep her company. Pavel had no one, and neither did Spock. Nyota's husband had passed away several years ago – Pavel's had only been gone about a year and a half.

Pavel understood being alone. He knew what it was like to be where Spock was now, and he knew that more often than not Spock wanted to be alone, and he did not try and press him. Nyota had not either, but it had been difficult to be alone in a house full of people.

It was strange, how Spock had come to Earth to escape being alone, and yet now desired to be alone more often than not. But there was a difference – on New Vulcan Spock had had no choice but to be alone. On Earth he could choose to be alone when he wished or spend time with friends if he wished. He had acquaintances and colleagues on New Vulcan, but no one he could think of as a friend. Vulcans did not particularly buy into the concept of friendship.

So Pavel understood him somewhat better than Nyota had. He respected Spock's need to be alone, and the time they did spend together was quiet. They spoke often of menial things. Pavel did not bring up Jim unless Spock did first, so they spoke of him only a few times.

Pavel understood being alone – what he did not understand was the loneliness of a broken bond that would continue to reach desperately, fruitlessly, for its other half for the rest of Spock's life. It would yearn for his t'hy'la until another bond was formed, and Spock had no intention of forming another bond. No one could take the place of his Jim. So Pavel understood loneliness, but he could never understand a broken bond. Spock had always thought that his ability to form a psychic bond with his t'hy'la was much better than the tenuous relationships Humans maintained, but now he was not sure.

In any case, he was thankful for Pavel's hospitality. He did not think he was ready to go back to his San Francisco apartment yet, but he was getting there. He was adjusting. The transition from staying with Nyota's family to staying with just Pavel and the cat was preparing him for his transition to living alone.

Pavel generally left Spock to himself, so Spock spent most of his time going through Jim's journals. The sense of urgency he had begun to feel toward them had only increased over the weeks and he knew now what his deadline was – he was desperate to finish all eighty-two of them before Jim's birthday in January. He did not know why, but somehow the idea that it was important to finish reading them before Jim's birthday had taken hold of him and hadn't let go. It was approaching the middle of December, and Jim's birthday was January 4. He had a little less than four weeks to go and more journals than there were days until that date. He was a fast reader, but there was much to get through. He began to spend most of the hours in the day and many hours in the night going through them.

Spock read quickly through the first year on the Enterprise. Many of the entries in this year were Jim being worried, stressed, angry or upset, often expressing irritation and animosity towards Spock. It was not a part of Jim he wanted to remember in much detail.

But when he began reaching the entries that chronicled Jim's transition from hating Spock to loving him, he began reading a little more carefully. It was interesting to see how the Human's feelings changed, to compare them to the timeline of his own change of heart.

"Spock's finally decided I'm worth his time, I guess. He saw me playing chess in the rec room with Chekov and asked me, all incredulous, if I played. I told him hell yes I play chess regularly and I'm pretty damn good at it too. He watched me whoop Chekov's ass, then asked for a game sometime. I guess the only way to a Vulcan's heart is through logic and board games?"

"So I guess Spock is pretty good at chess himself. We played three games and he won twice. I guess that's what I get for not taking him seriously."

"This last away mission didn't go so well. There was a misunderstanding and the natives ended up attacking us in fear – a few people were hurt, but Spock got the worst of it. Stupid bastard thought that because he's a high and mighty Vulcan he could take a beating better than us lowly Humans, so he ended up protecting a group of people and breaking half his ribs in the process. Fucking asshole. Bones told me he busted up one of his hands pretty bad too which is supposed to be a pretty serious injury for Vulcans. I went and told Spock he had better get well fucking soon so I can beat the shit out of him in chess because I've been practicing and like hell I'm going to let that go to waste."

"Spock and I have been talking over our chess games. I guess he's a pretty decent guy when he's not being a Vulcan with a stick up his ass. He and Uhura broke up recently. I didn't know that until he mentioned it but he seemed really unbothered by it, so... Yeah. Maybe he's just being Vulcan or maybe he really doesn't care that much. I dunno. But the fact that he's single now seemed almost like a relief, I guess, hell if I know why. Yeah, okay, he's hot, but it's Spock. I think I just really need to get laid."

"I swear if that Vulcan asshole beats me at chess one more time I am going to put him in the brig. Does this count as insubordination? I think it does."

"I had the weirdest damn dream in the history of weird dreams the other night and I can't stop thinking about it. I really don't want to talk about it but basically it involved Spock. Not cool. It's seriously been way too fucking long since I've had sex and it really, really sucks."

"I had this really long conversation with Spock today. We were going to play chess but we started talking about stuff and just never stopped, I guess. Our conversation was kind of all over the place but we talked about some touchy stuff too. It's getting close to two years since the Narada Massacre and Spock mentioned that now that the New Vulcan colony has gotten on its feet, his dad is thinking of taking a new wife and that led to me talking about my stepdad and how shitty he was and I apologized about the shit I said to him about his mom when everything happened. He was quiet for a second then he said that he knew I didn't mean it, and didn't need to apologize. I totally call bullshit on that but it was a relief to know that at least it's not something he holds against me. I don't want Spock to hate me anymore."

"I've been talking with Bones a lot and he keeps saying he "knows" I have a crush on Spock, which I don't. I really don't and it's kind of getting on my nerves that he keeps saying that. Spock is a cool guy and we are friends, but that's all. We get along well now, but shouldn't that be how it is for all Captains and their First Officers? Bones doesn't know what he's talking about. Spock is great but I wouldn't want to date him."

"Haven't written in a while. I got hurt pretty bad on an away mission the day after the last entry. I was unconscious for about fourteen hours according to Bones and I've spent the last two days in Sickbay getting all kinds of brain scans and shit because it was a head injury but Bones has finally said I'm ok now so now I'm back. Spock visited me a couple times when I was in Sickbay and that made me happy. It's nice to know he cares."

"Okay. So maybe I have a crush on Spock. Whatever. It's not like that means anything."

"Fucking Bones! The two of us plus Spock had dinner together tonight and he just... ugh that asshole makes me so mad. He kept teasing me about Spock right in front of him to embarrass me but vaguely enough that Spock had no idea what he was talking about and when he asked, Bones would just look at me and like hell I'm going to explain it so Spock got all frustrated and put out which made me feel like shit. Fucking Bones can really be the biggest dickface in the universe sometimes."

"Fuck my life. Fucking Bones convinced me to tell Spock I wanted to date him so I did and things didn't go down so well and now I wish I was dead. Ugh fucking Bones! Why do I even listen to him? I knew Spock didn't feel like that about me and Bones just kept saying shit to get my hopes up and now I don't even know if I can be friends with Spock anymore. Fucking Bones! Now I have to go up and spend eight hours on the bridge with Spock being embarrassed and shit because he knows I like him more than I should and just fuck this all sucks shit."

"Holy shit. Today was insane. It was fucking insane and I'm so fucking happy right now it's stupid. Today Spock practically busted into my quarters and told me that he wanted to be with me too, that he was just scared yesterday and he wasn't scared now. So we are. We're together. I could be like a high schooler and say he's my "boyfriend" but I'm going to try and sound like a mature adult here. I'm just so fucking happy I don't even know how to describe it. I'm not even excited about the sex – no that's a lie, I'm excited about the sex, yeah, but I'm way the hell more excited that I just get to be with him, I guess. Even if the rumors were true (and they're not) about Vulcans all being asexual I would still be thrilled out of my mind. I probably sound like a crazy ass teenager right now so I'll stop freaking out."

"It's crazy to think it's been a whole month now. I really think this is going to work out. We are so fucking awesome together. We are going to be the best power couple in the whole damn galaxy."

"So I guess we've been all secretive and shit for no reason because literally no one was surprised when we kissed at the Christmas party last night. At least the crew is cool with it though I think some of them are disappointed. Too bad!"

"I love Spock. This is terrifying and awesome and I don't know how to actually say this to his face but I'm so stupidly in love with him I don't even know, this is like shit out of a gushy teeny bop romcom so it's probably better that I keep this to myself."

"Let it be known that it was Spock who said I Love You first! And that I said it back about half a second later. Spock, if you ever read this, I fucking love you so fucking much right now, you don't even know. I love you!"

"So usually I don't write long mushy entries about Spock but considering that we're being bonded tomorrow morning on New Vulcan, I think that this gives me an excuse to wax poetic about him just this once. Spock is amazing. Spock is literally my other half and hell if I know what I'd do without him. We are each other's complements and we just fit together so great, it's unbelievable. You'd think a Vulcan would be cold but they're not, Spock's really not. He seems that way on the outside but on the inside he feels, and he feels so fucking much. He loves me just as much as I love him, we are the perfect team in every sense. He told me a Vulcan word once to describe what we are – t'hy'la, which means someone who is a friend, sibling, and lover, like a soulmate in every possible sense.

To be honest I thought something like this would never happen, not to me. I've always had this idea in my head that I'm just way too fucked up, have too much baggage that comes with me – that no one would ever want to be with me long-term, would want to be committed to me. But it has happened and it's the best thing that could have ever happened to me, because it's happening with me and Spock. I would always think that no one would ever love me – not my mom, not my brother, so certainly no one else could love me either. But now I can look at Spock and I know that love has a face. Spock is my everything. Tomorrow we are going to be bonded and after that we have the rest of our lives together. Spock, if you ever read this – you are the best thing that has ever happened to me, ever. I love you more than I know how to say and I hope you know that. I'm so fucking excited to spend the rest of my life with you. I love you. Don't ever forget that."

The severed bond cried out desperately in Spock's head. He knew Jim loved him, and the reminder of it was more than enough to make him acutely aware of the pain that had been left behind, that would never be fully eased. He would never forget.

"I know, t'hy'la," he found himself saying softly, gingerly touching the declaration on the page. "I know."

A few days later, Pavel knocked on Spock's door at five thirty-two in the evening. Spock was slightly surprised for a moment, then said, "Come in."

The smaller man opened the door. He was dressed in nicer clothes than those he wore on a day-to-day basis, and Spock could smell that he was wearing some kind of fragrance.

"I just wanted to let you know," Pavel said, looking a bit embarrassed, "I'll be out this evening."

"May I ask where it is that you are going?" Spock asked, curious. Pavel hesitated, a ruddy flush coming over his cheeks.

"I'm, ah, going on a date with someone, I suppose you could say," Pavel said, and Spock raised an eyebrow.

"...I see," he said.

"So I will be gone until later tonight. Obviously you are welcome to use the replicator and everything. I set out food and drink for Kuro so no need for you to worry about him." He hesitated, and when Spock did not answer, continued, "Well, I am going now. I will be back in a few hours." He retreated, closing Spock's door behind him.

Spock leaned back in his chair. That had certainly been an unexpected conversation. Pavel had not mentioned previously that he was seeing anyone, so it was likely this was a new development. Spock was not entirely sure how to react, but he supposed that whatever was going on in Pavel's personal life did not really concern him.

It seemed strange, almost, that Pavel was seeing other people. Spock knew that it had been over a year and a half since Hikaru Sulu had passed away, and he knew that Humans did not generally mate for life, and often would take another mate after a previous mate had died. He knew it, but he did not really understand it.

Spock could not imagine a life with anyone other than Jim – his life was made up of two parts, parts spent with Jim and parts spent without. There would be no one else. He would not form another bond with another person. It was simply – unthinkable. He wondered if he would ever get to the point where he might consider changing his mind and taking another mate – but he could not imagine it, not even for Pon Farr.

But apparently Pavel did not feel the same way. Spock thought about the remarkably Human ability to move on and wondered which of them, Pavel or himself, would be better off in the long run.

There was no mention of the "date" after that. Either it did not go spectacularly well or Pavel had realized that his actions had seemed to cause Spock some discomfort and so chose to not bring it up again.

Saint Petersburg had become blanketed in snow. It was now mid-December, with the winter solstice soon approaching. Even in the warm clothes Pavel had provided for him Spock still found himself often cold, so on a day that was relatively warm Pavel took him to go and buy a thick overcoat to wear over the sweaters and scarves he already had.

"I am sorry about the weather," Pavel said, several times.

"It is illogical to apologize about something you have no control over," Spock finally answered.

"Yes, well. I should have made sure to get you an overcoat as well. I am too used to living here, I did not think of what you would need," Pavel sighed.

"Then it is not the weather you are apologizing about."

"No, I suppose you are right. But still, I am sorry."

Spock ended up getting an imported black overcoat that fell to his knees made of Rigellian wool. Pavel tried to pay for it but Spock insisted on using his own credit chip, as it was a relatively expensive item and it would belong to him. Somehow Pavel seemed put out that Spock did not allow him to purchase it for him, which he did not understand. Spock had long ago resigned himself to the fact that there were complexities of Human interactions he would likely never understand.

They took a taxi back to Pavel's home, as snow had begun sprinkling down again. It was quiet as they drove back, but Spock did not feel calm. He only wanted to get back so he could get through another journal. He had only two weeks and four days left until Jim's birthday.

The taxi dropped them off and they made their way carefully up the front steps that had been cleared of ice that morning but were slick with new snow. They stepped through the doorway and Pavel paused as he closed the front door behind them.

"Mr. Spock," he said before Spock could get too far.

"Yes?" Spock replied, turning back to face him.

"I – Well, I hope you do not think I am being rude, sir, but I would like to ask you something," he said. "You spend so much time upstairs, what is it that you do up there?" There was an uncertain pause before he added nervously, "I just worry about you a bit, sir."

Spock studied him for a moment, considering. He had no reason to withhold the truth save for the fact that it made him uneasy to discuss it, and that was not a good reason.

"For most of Jim's life, he kept a journal," Spock said. "I have been reading them."

He had not spoken of them to anyone else before. Saying the words with his mouth seemed to give the journals some kind of place in reality they had not had before, as if speaking of them somehow solidified them into being – which was illogical because obviously they had been real before and would continue to be real, but it felt that way nevertheless.

Pavel looked at first surprised, then sheepish, then he gave Spock a small, sad smile.

"I see," he answered. "That is... That sounds – comforting." He hesitated, and looked away as he pulled his scarf off from around his neck and placed it on a hook near the door where a few other scarves and hats hung. "Hikaru didn't leave anything behind, not anything like that at least. Just our home in San Francisco – and the cat." He chuckled and shook his head, then looked back at Spock, who was just watching him, his expression blank.

"And you kept the cat," Spock said finally, and Pavel chuckled again.

"Yes," he agreed. "I kept the cat." He smiled wistfully. "I am sorry for asking, Mr. Spock. I just worry. I know how easy it is to lose the days doing nothing, but it is not so with you, I see. I apologize. I am just a nosy person, I suppose."

"It is of no consequence," Spock answered. "When I – when there is no longer someone to keep them, I believe I will give them to Starfleet. It is an extensive collection that I am sure the historians will appreciate. Many of his belongings have already gone to Starfleet's history department."

Pavel sighed and looked out the window. The snow had begun to fall harder, beginning to obscure the dirty slush from the day before.

"That will be us someday, I suppose," he said. "All our lives, condensed into textbook chapters and museum exhibits." Spock did not know what to say to that. The reality of the passage of time was never an easy thing to face, no matter how many times it had been faced before.

"...Indeed," he said simply, and that was all that could be said.

"Today is the last day of what will probably be our last five-year mission. Normally we would be getting a good six month's worth of leave at least, but since the war broke out with the Romulans last year, Starfleet can't afford to let the best and brightest sit out for more than a week or two. We're all needed in other places so in two weeks when Spock and I return to the Enterprise, no one else on the bridge will be the same. I know that it's unrealistic to think that I would be working with the same people throughout my entire Starfleet career, but having spent the last ten years with these people on this ship, it's become hard to separate the thought of the Enterprise from the thought of my command crew – Nyota Uhura, Hikaru Sulu, Pavel Chekov, Leonard McCoy, Montgomery Scott – and Spock. By law they have to put me and Spock on the same ship since we're bonded, but we will be the only ones of the command crew returning to the Enterprise to fight. Sulu was granted captaincy of his own ship that will be patrolling near the Enterprise so I'll probably get to talk with him on a bit of a regular basis, at least. Scotty and Chekov are heading back to Starfleet HQ to work with Intel. Uhura's being snagged by Intel too but she's doing more fieldwork type stuff. Where she'll be going is classified so I don't even know where they're sending her, probably some kind of spy stuff on Romulus, she has all the luck. Bones will be stationed as the head physician at the hospital on Starbase 34, where the most seriously injured people get sent since it's close to the Neutral Zone. So it will just be me and Spock on the Enterprise, patrolling sector four of the Neutral Zone, fighting Romulans and shit. I believe that the new crew will be just as competent as the crew I'm with now, but I know it's not going to be an easy transition for me. But I'll have Spock, so I guess I can't complain."

"First day on patrol with the new crew. It seems like all my officers will be pretty easy to work with but there was an incident with an ensign using a homophobic slur to Spock's face so he's going to be transferred to another ship first thing tomorrow morning. Not the smartest way to start off your Starfleet career, kids.

No sign of any Romulan activity in my sector yet but it's just the first day. It'll be here eventually."

"Klingons have announced they are aligning themselves with the Romulans against the Federation. I guess when it rains it fucking pours."

"No major battles yet but there have been a shit ton of skirmishes. Never sure what's going to happen next. Stressed as fuck."

"Pike died today. Stupid idiot old man shouldn't have even been on the front lines but he's always done this stupid shit and it's finally caught up with him and I just

Why? Wasn't it bad enough that my real father is dead? Why did the only father figure I've ever had have to go to? Can one person's life really be this shitty?"

"Writing for the first time in three weeks. My leg was hit by a Klingon disruptor in the last skirmish. Things weren't looking good for a while. But I'm doing better now. Physical therapy starts tomorrow. I will walk again. Pike didn't give up when he was injured. He wouldn't want me to give up. I will walk again. I will walk again."

"I walked down the Medbay hall today, by myself. Fuck yeah."

"Only have a minute to write but I think this cease-fire is going to work. Spock & I about to go to Romulan ship to discuss. I'm hoping.

UPDATE The Romulan commander seemed open to what we had to say, is taking our proposal back to Romulus to discuss w/ leaders. Could be a miracle in the making, everything is looking good so far but I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much."

"That's the thing about Romulans. Federation portrays them as this angry bloodthirsty race when in reality they are just scared, of us, of what might happen to their planet. The war is over now, just like that. We were all scared of each other. Except for the Klingons, they just wanted to get in on the fighting. Pretty sure they're gonna stir up trouble for a little while longer but the Romulans don't want to fight anymore and that's good.

It really hurts to think Pike died so close to the end. He could have made it. He would have been so fucking proud of me for that ceasefire. I wish he could be here now, I really really do."

"Spock and I will finally be getting our end-of-mission leave. We've got a year to ourselves before they ship us out into the black again, and this time we'll be on a science vessel on a three-year mission. I know Spock is really excited about it and I think I've had enough captaining to last a lifetime so I don't mind. But in the meantime we're buying a house on New Vulcan. Pretty domestic of us. I like it.

Still miss Pike a lot but each day is getting easier. I dunno if it's good or bad but I guess that's just the way time works."

When Spock realized that he had read through three entire journals in less than twelve hours, he decided it was definitely time to take a break.

He eased himself out of his chair, his joints stiff and aching in protest, and made his way downstairs where he could hear Pavel watching the holoscreen.

Pavel glanced up at him as he stepped into the room, a look of pleasant surprise crossing his features.

"May I sit here?" Spock asked, gesturing to the end of the couch Pavel was not occupying.

"Yes, yes, of course," he said, gesturing for Spock to sit down, so he settled himself into the seat. The news was on the screen, with a woman with her hair cropped short interviewing a heavyset younger male in a suit.

"So how are the political waters looking for President Le to run for another term in office?" the woman was asking.

They watched the two converse about politics for a while before Pavel turned to Spock and said,

"You know, Mr. Spock, Christmas is in three days."

"So it is," Spock replied.

"I know it is not a holiday you celebrate, and I know you are not religious, sir, but I am planning on attending Christmas Eve midnight mass. If you would like to come, sir, I think you would enjoy it." He paused, looking hopeful for a moment, then added hastily, "You do not need to make a decision right away, of course, but the invitation is there."

Then he looked back to the holoscreen as the man in the suit exclaimed,

"Exactly! That's exactly the problem. If you'll look at what President Le's opposition is really demanding, it's clear that no person who's given this any thought would want them in office..."

Spock stopped listening, instead considering Pavel's offer.

When he had celebrated Christmas with Jim, they had rarely gone to a religious service as part of the celebration. Christmas was generally celebrated with a small party and gift exchange on the Enterprise, though he knew that there were many religious services onboard the ship for the many religions that had holidays around the winter solstice. Though Jim had often expressed ambivalence in a belief in a higher power and religious ceremonies had never held much importance to him, Christmas was a holiday that he did choose to celebrate. The Christmases they did not spend on the Enterprise were spent in Iowa with Jim's family, which was their tradition for many years. Their last few Christmases together had just been quiet celebrations at their home at New Vulcan. They would get each other a gift and have a traditional Christmas dinner, but since it was not a Vulcan holiday, that would be the extent of their celebration. Once or twice when they celebrated it in Iowa, Jim would decide to give a church service a go that year, or Jim's mother would insist on taking them along as she always went to Christmas Eve church services, but it was not the norm.

Really, he had no reason to celebrate Christmas now. It was not a Vulcan holiday, nor did he have a religious obligation to observe it. He had not given it much thought before, but he was still used to celebrating it because Jim did.

But this would be the first Christmas Spock would face without Jim. The more he thought about it, the more he wondered, did he really want to let it go by without some kind of observance on his part? Did he really want to spend that holiday alone?

He thought about it and decided that no, he did not.

"I will go with you," he said simply, and Pavel looked back over at him, eyes wide with surprise, then he smiled.

"Sounds like a plan, then," he said, and Spock simply nodded in agreement.

If Jim were here, Spock liked to think he would approve of his choice. Jim would choose to accompany Pavel, he was sure – so Spock would do the same.

"So I guess we're Starfleet retirees now. It feels pretty nice. Spock and I are renting out our houses in San Francisco and in Iowa, so we can live full-time at our New Vulcan house. I would rather be living in San Francisco but Spock's family is here plus the NVSA offered him a position as a professor which is a pretty big deal for him. I'm looking for a job here too, not sure what I would do but the search isn't going so well right now anyway. So here we are. To make up for it Spock is letting me pick out a sehlat cub and I get to name it so I guess that turns out something close to even."

"Today was Spock's first day working at the NVSA. He's teaching advanced astrophysics and advanced theory of mathematics and it seemed to go pretty well today! I'm really really proud of him. Now I just need to find a job I can enjoy doing as much, haha. I heard that the delivery service is looking for a new shuttle pilot but something tells me Spock won't be too thrilled about a job that'll keep me out of the house for days on end. Darn. The search goes on, I guess. In the meantime I'm spending a lot of time at home with our sehlat cub, Jane. She's just the cutest thing but her fangs are already starting to come in so I'm having to teach her to play less roughly. Plus I have a lot of time to read everything I've been wanting to read and write in this so that's pretty nice. I guess I can't complain about not having a job too much after all."

"So the other day Spock said he would talk to the dean of the NVSA to see if there were any teaching positions available in the next semester or so that they might consider hiring me for, since I was teaching at Starfleet before we moved. Basically it didn't go so well. The dean told him basically that they had made a stretch just for him and that the NVSA did not, under any circumstances, hire a non-Vulcan for teaching positions. I guess that even with New Vulcan being as progressive as it is compared to the original Vulcan there are some things that just don't change, at least not quickly. Whatever. There are other schools on New Vulcan. It's their loss because fuck them, I'm an awesome professor. Spock was really pissed about it too. He was ranting about resigning because of their jackassery but I told him no, he didn't need to give up a job he really enjoys just because the dean is a racist prick and plus if he's a professor there he has the opportunity to make sure the students aren't just getting spoon fed that guy's bullshit but can hear what Spock has to say too. Spock has already given up a lot because of me. I don't want this to be another thing to add to that list."

"The NVSA can suck me because the University of New Vulcan just contacted me about a possible job opening next semester! Fuck yeah! I'm going in for an interview tomorrow."

"Got the job. I'll be teaching classes on the history of the Federation and a theory of military strategy class, basically the same as what I was teaching at Starfleet. I start in about two months. Spock hasn't gotten home yet so he doesn't know I've gotten the job, though he probably suspects it since he can feel how happy I've been today. Still, I can't wait to tell him!"

"First day at UNV today. It went pretty decently. My class today was pretty small in size but considering that it's a military class taught by a Human I guess it's not surprising that most of the students are not entirely sold. That's alright though, just means that the students who are there are the ones who really want to be there. They all seemed like great students but considering they're Vulcans I think that's the norm. Either way it went well, my next class is tomorrow and that's the history of the Federation class so it'll probably be a bit bigger.

Our anniversary is coming up in a few weeks. I keep getting the feeling from Spock that he's planning something but he's being really secretive about it. I guess that gives me a license to expect something amazing."

"Let it be known that Spock is a huge fucking romantic. For our 20th anniversary (also holy shit where did those twenty years even go? I can't believe it's been that long) we went out to some fancy restaurant which was pretty nice, then Spock told me that he rented us a private spacecraft for the week of the summer break in about a month, which is one of those ones that have an autopilot and preset path of travel so you don't have to actually pilot it yourself, you can just chill out in space and I'm so excited! He really did do something awesome this time around. It's going to be really hard for me to think of something to do for us next year, but for now I'm just super excited. We get to spend a week in space – which is probably going to turn into a week straight of pure uninterrupted sex which is awesome too.

Spock – you are the best bondmate ever. Just saying. You need to tone it down a little so that I don't look like a complete loser compared to you! Asshole! I love you!"

"Just got back from our trip and it was great. Exactly what we needed. Feeling super refreshed and totally ready to take on the next semester!"

On Christmas Eve, the day began uneventfully. Spock ate a small breakfast early in the morning, the cat watching him from where it sat on the counter. When he was done he gave the cat a brief scratch behind its ears, causing it to purr.

Pavel walked into the kitchen at that moment.

"Good morning," he said sleepily, glancing at Spock. "Have you eaten?"

"Yes," Spock replied, straightening up. The cat looked at him unhappily.

"Mmm. You can turn on the holoscreen if you want." Pavel yawned widely as he turned on the coffee maker, then continued, "Oh. Midnight mass starts at ten-thirty tonight. I was planning on leaving at ten."

"I will be ready. Is there a particular dress code?"

"No, no – wear your overcoat you just got. It will be fine."

The rest of the day passed in the same way as many of the days before it. Spock read for most of the morning and afternoon, getting through another journal. At the rate he was going it appeared that he would meet his self-imposed deadline.

Most of the entries now were just a recounting of Jim's daily life on New Vulcan, often gripes about his students at the University of New Vulcan or complaints of the various health problems that sprung up occasionally as he got older and older. His most common complaint was of problems with his leg, the one that had been damaged in a skirmish with a Klingon ship during the Two-Year War. Spock remembered that it was his left leg, and that it caused problems for him on and off for the rest of his life.

"Spock had his first freak out this morning," one entry began, and Spock knew immediately what it was going to be about. "My age is catching up to me and Spock is still just barely middle aged for a Vulcan. We've always known he would be the one to outlive me, unless he died in combat. But here we are – a Human starting to get up there in years and a middle-aged Vulcan, and it's really starting to sink in that I have fewer years ahead of me than in front. Spock panicked a little today when I stumbled a bit on the stairs. He nearly shouted at me, that I have to be more careful, that I could really hurt myself if I fell, then he kind of stopped all of a sudden and this awful look came over his face and this sinking feeling of dread coming from the bond and hell if I know what to do so I just went over and kissed him and told him I may be old but I'm only 71 so I've got another couple of decades before he needs to start really worrying. I think it made him feel a bit better, or at least he shielded the bond after that. I don't know.

I feel horrible for Spock but getting older is scary for me too. No one wants to get old. No one wants to die. Sometimes I think about how invincible I felt when I was younger and compare it to now and it's just depressing, I guess. Just gotta try and not think about it."

Spock sighed. He remembered that stage in their lives and remembered that it was an uneasy one, and the issues that stemmed from it continued to intrude on their lives until Jim died. It was not pleasant, always knowing that someday he would be the one who would be left behind.

"Mr. Spock!" Pavel called from downstairs. "I have made dinner. We should eat before mass. Don't want to get hungry!"

They ate a small meal, and soon it was time to leave.

"It's cold out today," Pavel said, checking his communicator for the weather. "Oh, it says it will be snowing in an hour... Make sure you bring a scarf and wear your boots. And gloves! Where did I leave my gloves..."

After Spock was adequately bundled up, they made their way to the hovercar parked outside, and then they were off.

When they arrived at the cathedral they were hard-pressed to find a parking space. The cathedral was already surrounded by people milling about and making their way into the building. A few children ran about and played but most of them clung to a parent, too sleepy to put forth the effort.

Pavel led Spock through the crowd that had accumulated and into the main part of the cathedral. Spock paused to study the interior of the building, all high ceilings and tinted glass windows depicting key figures of the Catholic faith. They sat down at the end of a nearly-empty row of pews towards the back of the aisles, where they had entered from.

"Lucky for us they did away with the tradition of no seats, having to stand," Pavel commented wryly, and Spock raised an eyebrow.

As they sat and waited and more people came in and filled the pews, Spock looked about the cathedral and wondered why it was that the belief in a higher power appeared to be an innate, basic instinct not only in Humans but in approximately eighty percent of all species and cultures. It was a fascinating thing to think about, really, because a characteristic common in such a high percentage of species that had often evolved and developed independently of one another was difficult to brush off as coincidence. Where had this need for a "god" come from? The idea of a god was often accompanied by the idea of an afterlife – maybe that was the idea that appealed to so many?

He wondered as everyone settled into their seats and the choir filed up near the altar. The service began as the choir started to sing.

Spock only half-listened to the hymn, still preoccupied with the thoughts that had seized him. Maybe it was that the idea of an afterlife that appealed more than the idea of a god, and it was only happenstance that gods and afterlives often went hand-in-hand. The majority of sentient beings either believed in a higher power or understood that there were those who did, and the majority of those beliefs included belief in an afterlife. The majority of sentient beings also expressed a fear of death. Perhaps, he thought, perhaps that explained the religion phenomenon.

Even logic-practicing Vulcans could have religion. There had been one major polytheistic religion on Vulcan for many centuries, and some Vulcans still practiced observance to the gods.

"Merry Christmas!" said the priest who had stepped up to the podium, grabbing Spock's attention. The priest was a tall woman with short auburn-red hair, and she smiled widely at the chorus of "Merry Christmas!" from the congregation that answered her.

"Welcome," she continued, "to both our regular church members, and to those of you who may be joining us for the first time today..."

Spock looked down at his gloved hands, clasped loosely in his lap. To be honest he had very little interest in what she had to say. She would give a few welcoming words and announcements before starting a sermon about the Christmas story, which Spock was familiar with.

So even Vulcans had religion, but Spock personally was skeptical at best. He did not know if there was a higher power or an afterlife and he knew there was really no way he would ever know until he died. There was not evidence for or against either idea – frankly there was no empirical, scientific evidence at all on the subject and it was likely that there never would be, so it was impossible to prove there was and impossible to prove there wasn't. Spock simply did not know.

But – if there were an afterlife, then would Jim still be alive in that afterlife? If there were an afterlife, was there then hope that Spock would see his t'hy'la again?

He tried to push the thought away. It would only cause him undue distress, he knew. He knew hope was illogical, knew that the idea of an afterlife was scientifically unsound at best – but as he had learned many times over in the course of his life, when it came to his Jim, logic had a way of escaping his grasp.

That was almost reason enough to cling desperately to a belief in a god and an afterlife. If there was any chance that what Spock knew to be a permanent separation was only an interlude before their next meeting – well, it was hard to say no to such an idea.

But Jim was dead and nothing could change that fact. Spock knew hope was illogical – but in that moment he allowed himself to hope, wildly and desperately, that someday he would see his t'hy'la again. In spite of himself he hoped that all his skepticism about an afterlife would be proven to be completely wrong. He looked about the cathedral, looked upon the artist renditions of the visages of the Virgin Mary and the Twelve Apostles and Jesus Christ himself, hanging upon a Roman cross – and he hoped vehemently that there was a grain of truth to this religion, to any religion, and that somehow, somewhere, his Jim's spirit lived on apart from the body that had died, hoped that Jim's end of the broken bond yearned just as desperately for Spock as Spock's did for Jim, hoped that when he died Jim would be the one to welcome him to an afterlife that he did not truly believe in.

The bond throbbed and his whole body ached.

"Amen," the congregation of people said suddenly, all their murmurs combining into a rumble that pulled Spock from his somber thoughts. People began to stand, many of them carrying dozing children. Pavel looked at Spock.

"Come," he said. "Most people will now be going to wait for it to be midnight, to welcome Christmas Day in with the bells. But it is late and I am too old and too tired for this. If it's alright with you, of course, I would like to go home."

"That is fine," Spock said, his voice coming out fainter than he intended, and Pavel smiled.

They went back to the hovercar and began driving back to Pavel's home. Spock looked out the window and thought to himself that he really was making a valiant effort to continue to live his life without Jim. He looked up at the night sky – what Humans often called the heavens – and hoped that, if there was an afterlife, that Jim was watching him now, had seen all Spock had done in the months since his departure. Spock hoped that Jim was proud, and hoped that when they met again he would tell him how proud he was.

On Christmas morning, Spock awoke to find that Pavel had placed a small gift outside his door. He bent down carefully to pick it up. It was a small box-shape wrapped in plain brown wrapping, with the words "To Spock" scrawled in black ink. He opened it to find that it was a paper copy of the novel Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Somehow he was not surprised that Pavel had chosen such a gift – if he recalled correctly he had been given two other copies of the same book plus a copy of The Brothers Karamazov from Pavel over the course of many years and many Christmases. Pavel had also gifted others with copies of such paper books as One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and Anna Karenina, all Russian literature. It appeared to be his go-to option for gifts, which Spock found amusing. He carefully placed the novel on the bookshelf and put the wrapping in the recycler before making his way downstairs.

"Merry Christmas," Pavel said from the kitchen as Spock entered the living room. The cat was sitting on the couch and stared at him, tail twitching. "Did you see my gift?"

"Merry Christmas," Spock replied. "Yes, I did see your gift. Thank you. I did not obtain a gift for you, however, and I apologize."

"Oh, it's fine. It's fine," Pavel said, and as Spock stepped into the kitchen he could see that Pavel was cooking.

"What are you doing?" Spock asked, honestly surprised. He had only ever seen Pavel use the replicator in the past.

"When I was a young one, my mother would always make a special breakfast on Christmas," Pavel confessed. "It is not in Russian tradition, but she would make, what do you call it, French toast. The replicator just doesn't make it the way she did. She left me all her special recipes when Hikaru and I moved in together and I've always made her French toast for breakfast since then. Is a silly story, but that is why."

"I see," Spock replied, watching as Pavel whisked a liquid mixture in a bowl.

"Do not worry, I made it vegetarian just for you," Pavel said brightly. "No eggs, and I used almond milk just in case, as well."

"Thank you."

Spock set out plates and silverware on the table while Pavel cooked, and when it was done they sat down and ate quietly, the cat watching them intently with its tail swishing back and forth.

The food was sweet and rich and filling, and Spock enjoyed it. Jim had made French toast a few times over the course of their lives together, but it had been so long that Spock could now barely remember the taste. But it was good.

After they had both finished eating, Spock set down his silverware carefully onto his plate, then looked over at Pavel who sat across from him, and said,

"I am very grateful for all you have done for me in the past month." Pavel blushed and chuckled nervously.

"Oh, sir, is nothing," he said.

"It is certainly not nothing. I am very much indebted to your hospitality. I would like this opportunity to say thank you."

"Well – you're welcome, Mr. Spock. You are very welcome."

Spock hesitated, then continued,

"I am telling you this because I believe I will be going back to San Francisco in the next few days."

At that Pavel's face changed from a flustered expression to a surprised one, his eyebrows darting up and his eyes going wide, lips pursing in a silent "oh."

"Are you sure, Mr. Spock?" Pavel said, his brows furrowing just as quickly as they had leaped up his forehead. "You do not want to stay for New Year's?"

"I do not think so. As I said I am grateful for your hospitality, but I feel I am ready to move on."

"But – you'll be alone for the holiday, sir."

Spock paused. He knew the holiday Pavel was referring to was not New Year's Day, but Federation Day – January fourth – Jim's birthday. January fourth had first been a day of mourning on Earth, a day of remembrance for the USS Kelvin and George Kirk's sacrifice to save its crew. But then, a few years after the Narada Massacre, it was declared Federation Day in honor of James Kirk, whose birthday was January fourth, and his heroic rescue of the Earth. While it was not celebrated as vehemently as New Year's Day (Spock had been to enough New Year's parties to know), because of it being very close in date, it was generally celebrated with fireworks, like New Year's. Most major cities would have a fireworks show or two, and residents of smaller cities would often shoot off their own fireworks in celebration.

Spock knew Pavel was talking about Federation Day, but he also knew that if there was any day he wanted to be utterly and completely alone, it would be Jim's birthday.

"I understand that," Spock replied finally. "I would prefer it that way."

Pavel studied him for a long moment, his expression one Spock had no name for.

"...All right," he murmured finally. "I suppose I cannot argue with you."

"Thank you," Spock said, and he meant it.

"Well, I suppose this means you'll need to buy a shuttle ticket," Pavel continued. "I will look into it for you. Trust me, I know what are the good shuttle companies and what are the bad ones! Just leave it to me."

"I trust your judgment," Spock replied wryly, then they gathered up the dishes and put them in the dishwasher, and Spock went back up to his room while Pavel set to cleaning up the kitchen.

"Today was our 60th anniversary. It's hard to believe so much time has passed but I'm glad too because that means I spent all that time with Spock. To celebrate we went out for dinner and saw an opera. The opera was great and dinner was wonderful."

"The administrators are telling me I need to start thinking about retiring sometime in the next few years. I dont really want to retire but I guess I'm starting to get too old to keep up with all these young brilliant Vulcan minds. I've been making too many spelling mistakes in my old age for their comfort. But I guess retiring around 90 isn't bad and if I get too antsy sitting at home doing nothing I can always get a part time job or something. It's strange to think that here I am starting to plan retirement in a few years yet Spock will probably be working for another 50-60 yrs before he has to start even thinking of it.

I have to remember to call Bones this week. Don't forget!"

"Today Spock & I went to that furniture store to get a new rug for the living room and when we were there I saw one of the students I had in the very first class I taught at UNV over 40 yrs ago. Crazy! She was there with a man who looked like he was her bondmate & two boys who were probably around 15 yrs old. I wasn't gonna talk to her but then she recognized me so we chatted while Spock looked at rugs. She told me that because of me being her professor she decided to go into intergalactic relations instead of xenobiology, spent 5 yrs living on Earth where she got a PhD in IR from a prestigious school I forget which one she said but I think it was Harvard or Yale or something like that. She's working at Federation HQ but is on vacation on Vulcan to visit her family right now. She told me "you were the one who showed me how important it is that species communicate with each other, understand each other, and work together". Her bondmate just sort of grinned at that. He was a Human! So her two kids are half-Vulcans, like Spock. Cute kids too. But it was really nice to hear that I impacted someone in a positive way like that. Really nice."

"Happy New Year! Actually Vulcans don't celebrate the new year and I think it's like midsummer on Earth right now. The way interplanetary timezones work has just gotten more confusing over the years I suppose. Might just be me. Either way today is the first day of the new year here on New Vulcan and even though Vulcans don't celebrate it I had a little of our imported champagne last night the way they do on Earth. I do that almost every year but Spock always thinks its funny."

When the day came for Spock to return to San Francisco, he was ready to go. Again all his belongings had been packed into the boxes they had come in, plus an extra box he had needed to buy to pack up the winter clothing he had purchased while in Russia. He packed three journals plus the one he was currently reading into his carry-on bag. It would be a trip of nearly ten hours.

Pavel drove him to the shuttle port, chatting the whole way even though Spock gave few responses.

When they arrived at the shuttle port, Pavel walked him into the building, then they paused before the gate. Pavel reached over and gave Spock's shoulder a few firm pats, smiling.

"I have very much enjoyed having you visit. You must come visit again sometime," he said.

"I will certainly attempt to," Spock said. "Thank you for your hospitality."

"It was my pleasure, definitely," Pavel replied. "Like I said, I will be glad to have you visit again."

Spock did not reply to that, and they stood silently for a moment before Pavel said, a little softer,

"Well, I suppose this is goodbye."

"It would seem so."

"Well, then, goodbye, Spock. I wish you happiness in the future."

"Goodbye, Pavel."

Pavel squeezed his shoulder one last time, then let his arm drop to his side. Spock turned to the gate, scanned his ticket, and stepped through. When he glanced back he could see Pavel stepping through the automatic doors and walking outside to where his hovercar was parked. Spock turned away and walked to his boarding gate.

"Its final now. This upcoming semester will be my last semester teaching at UNV and then I will be retiring. I'm happy and sad at the same time, it's bittersweet. I'm starting to look forward to retirement but at the same time I really enjoy what I do and being retired means I'm just that much closer to becoming a useless old person. I don't mind being old but I don't want to be useless and just sit around all day watching dramas on the holoscreen. Guess it's time to start looking into hobbies I could pick up. Who knows maybe I can still do something amazing and worthwhile in whatever time I have left. I told Spock today that once I'm retired I could volunteer to be the guinea pig when Starfleet has to test out new ships & stuff. He didn't think I was very funny."

"I guess I'm just planning too far in advance but I'm still thinking of hobbies and stuff I could start doing once I retire. I told Spock I was thinking of picking up tribble breeding, our house is definitely big enough after all. He didn't seem too keen on the idea so then I suggested breeding sehlats and he seemed even less keen on it. So then I said "well let's just do some breeding of our own" and I finally got him to laugh a bit. Whew! I was starting to think my sense of humor had become bland in my old age but I guess I was worried for nothing.

But some hobbies I'm looking at a little more seriously is model starships. I had some as a kid and it would be a fun way to keep up with everything Starfleet is doing nowadays (though how they can even function properly without me is beyond my comprehension ha ha ha!). It's cooler than other stuff old people collect like old coins and stuff, at least. I'm still a cool dude, right? Right?"

"I heard today that Nyota's a great-grandmother now! Wow! I can't get over how huge her family is. There's practically ten thousand of them! Her new great-grandbaby is a baby girl. I hope I get to see her before she's grown up! It's been awhile since Spock and I have visited our friends on Earth. I think once I retire we will have to plan an Earth trip! Especially to see Bones. We talk often but haven't seen each other in years."

"Well – that was it! Today was my last day at UNV. It wasn't anything like my last day teaching at Starfleet Academy – no party or anything, but it's almost all Vulcans so that makes sense. I gave my last final exam, put in the final grades, packed up the last of the stuff in my office, and off I went! It's crazy to think that now I'm unemployed and have nothing I need to do anymore after having been working practically nonstop since I was, what, 18? I think that's when I got my first job. Maybe 17. I don't quite remember. But either way, somewhere around the past 70 years I've been working! I spent about 30 or 35 yrs with Starfleet, between active duty and teaching at the Academy. Plus the 32 yrs with UNV... I guess if I couldn't spend my whole life out in the black, spending most of it teaching is a pretty great alternative.

Spock and I are celebrating the occasion by going out for dinner tonight. I got to choose where since I'm the one retiring so I'm thinking we might go to that Human cuisine place downtown. I guess I've been feeling a bit nostalgic!"

When Spock finally arrived at his apartment in San Francisco (that had been lived in for two days and empty for two months), the first thing he did was turn up the temperature control, because even though Russia had been far more cold than San Francisco, now that he was in his own home he was going to finally make the climate one he was comfortable in. The heating unit turned on with a rumble as he set the temperature for ninety degrees Fahrenheit. He found himself not caring how high his utilities bill would end up being.

The room warmed up quickly as he unpacked, and by the time he was done the room was good and comfortably hot, and the chill he had been feeling before was completely gone. He looked about the room, reacquainting himself with it. It had never had a chance to really become home to him, and so it was like he was visiting someone again instead of returning home. But this was a sentimental thought, and he discarded it immediately – it was an apartment just as good as any other. He lived here now, so it was his home.

It was now the twenty-eighth of December – exactly a week remained until Jim's birthday and he had ten more journals to read. That was manageable. He pulled the journal he had been reading through on the shuttle out from where he had set in on the bookshelf, and settled into the chair that he had positioned near the window.

"Got some bad news today. Bones has gotten sick & is in the hospital right now. Joanna called me freaking out about it. I guess it doesn't seem serious right now but Bones has rarely been sick and he's getting old enough that it could be bad, so she was panicking a bit. I talked to her for a little while and she seemed to calm down a bit but I know shes still worried. I don't blame her I'm worried too. I talked to Spock about how I wanted to make the trip to Earth to go see him because I was worried but he said that the docs said it wasn't serious so we should wait to see what happens before deciding to make the trip all the way to Earth. I know he's right but I still have a bad feeling about all of this. Definitely gonna need some of the Vulcan port that Spock brought home the other day with dinner tonight."

"Joanna's been keeping us updated on Bones and for the past week or so he's been alright but today she called saying that he's taken a turn for the worse and if we were gonna head to Earth we should do it now. Spock and I packed really fast & got a shuttle ticket for today and I'm writing this as we're waiting in the shuttle port. I'm really really worried and Spock keeps trying to get me to calm down but I think that I should be allowed to freak out a little when my best friend is in the hospital. Please let the shuttle get here soon. Please let everything work out ok. I know we're all getting old but god damn it Bones is only a few years older than I am, not old enough to die yet."

"Bones died at about 9am Earth time today. The shuttle touched down at the port in Georgia at 10am. We were too late to do anything. The funeral will be on Friday. I guess we're staying there until then.

I should have been there, if it was me I know Bones would have been there. But I wasn't and I hate myself for it and I should have insisted we go when Joanna first called us, but we didn't. I'm trying really hard to not blame Spock but I'm just so angry and upset right now I cant even be around him. As soon as we had everything in our hotel room I took my stuff and went for a walk. There's a park near our hotel and I'm sitting on a bench looking out across a field where some kids are playing soccer. It's a pretty nice day out. Bones should be here, damn it. I should have been there. I should have fucking been there."

"The funeral was today. It was a nice service. I'm going to miss him so much.

I know Spock feels horrible about everything and I know he knows I'm still not happy with him. But he hasn't said anything about it and I don't want to bring it up. Everything just hurts and I don't want to deal with it now.

We're going back to New Vulcan tomorrow afternoon."

Before long it was New Year's Eve, a rather important Earth holiday that Spock gave little heed to. He spent the night reading and reading as fireworks flashed outside his window. He got up only to close the curtains. At one point he took a break briefly to get a glass of water, and remembered how last New Year's, Jim had been alive and Spock had brought him a glass of champagne in the middle of the afternoon, approximately the time that people in California would have been celebrating the New Year. Jim had smiled, his hands trembling, and sipped the champagne as they relaxed out on their porch, in the shade but looking out at the small garden. It had been a pleasant day, and they had remained outside for approximately one hour before Spock gently guided Jim's hoverchair back inside.

There were only four journals left. It was beginning to become unpleasant to continue, as Jim's handwriting began to grow shakier and shakier, his spelling less precise, his sentences more flighty. But Spock had to finish – and so he kept reading.

"The school year has started up again for Spock and so now I'm at home by myself all the time. I get very bored so I've been sleeping a lot and watching a lot of shows on the holoscreen, which I told myself I wasn't going to do. But I don't have much to do so it's either holoscreen or games on the PADD. I'd like to start cooking again now that I've actually got the time for it but Im afraid if I do I will start eating too much again and I don't want to get into an unhealthy weight again but I guess if I try "healthy" cooking, whatever that means, it will be alright. I'll ask Spock about it.

Spock told me I ought to write a book about my life but I feel like that's what snobbish people do and I don't want to come of as a snob for the rest of all time, and anyway with these journals it feels like I've been writing a book about me for my entire life! Someday when I'm long gone maybe these journals will be published, like some famous authors, etc, and that will be my autobigraphy, but until then I'm fine letting other people do the writing about me."

"I've always written my journals by hand but it's become a bit difficult to hold a pen so I might have to start typing it or maybe dictating to one of those speech-to-text machines. But it makes me sad, because I've always written these by hand and I dont want to have to stop now because I want them all to match, I guess would be the word. But then I think it might just be a bit of arthritis in my hand and painkillers will do the trick or I could go see my doctor about it. If I have to start keeping a journal digitaly I will but I don't want to."

"Made a stir-fry with some veggies from the garden for dinner today. It was a bit hard to cut some of the vegetables because my hands have still been bugging me but I got it done and Spock liked it. Need to remember to use more seasoning for the sauce next time though.

Spock was telling me about some of the research proposals that have been brought up this week and I really and honestly only completely understood about half of them. Guess this means I need to start reading more often. I didn't tell him that though he worries enough already."

"Spock and I are going to take a trip to Earth, to visit Scotty&Uhura and Chekov&Sulu. Itll be great I'm sure. First were going to San Francisco then to Kenya. We might make a stop in Georgia to visit Bones' grave too. Really looking forward to it, so is Spock."

"San francisco has been great. Really cold though! We spent a week w/ Chekov& Sulu doing touristy things, had a look around the Starfleet campus. Things have really changed.

Off to georgia for a day, then Kenya."

"Georgia was nice, we only spent a day there catching up with Joanna then visiting Bones' grave, it was really nice and I'm glad we went.

Kenya is really hot, esp. compared to san francisco! Spock likes it better though of course. It was nice to meet all of Nyota & Scotty's family again though I can't remember the names of any of the grandkids and great-grandkids now. Theres just so many of them.

Waiting for the shuttle back home."

"Home now. Hotter than even Kenya. I'll get used to it again fast though. Some of the plants in the yard died while we were away."

"Since Spock's out of the house for most of the day and doing housekeeping type stuff is starting to become too difficult for me, we hired a housekeeper who will come in every other day. Itll be awkward because I'll be in the house when they are working but maybe if they come in the morning I can just sleep while theyre there but then Spock would get mad about our sheets never getting changed because I'd be sleeping when the housekeeper is there... I dont know I've never had a housekeeper before in my life I think because yeomen don't really count when you're on a starship it's not really the same. So I'm a little nervous about that even though Spock tells me I'm just being illogical which I know it is but I told him well it's a little harder to control your emotions when you're a Human. He told me "believe me t'hy'la I know this very well" and it made me laugh a bit."

"Haven't written in a few days... I tripped and fell a few days ago. Just my luck it was a day the housekeeper wasn't coming but Spock felt it through the bond and came rushing home in a panic, he beat the ambulance by about a minute, haha. But it was definitely not fun, when we got to the hospital the doctor said I had busted my kneecap, on my bad leg too, so I needed osteo-regeneration to fix it which takes a day or two to do then another few days to set and make sure it's fixed right so here I am still in the hospital four days later but I should be going home tomorrow. Spock has been here every day and he brought my journal the day after it happened but I hadnt really wanted to write until now.

I really don't like getting old but then again who does."

"Home now. Limping a bit but otherwise I'm fine. Spock is constantly worrying and worrying no matter what I try to do or say. I think that bothers me more than my leg does."

"Today Spock told me he wants to quit at the NVSA so that he can stay at home with me. I told him that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard him say. I don't want him to quit his job that he likes but I don't know how to change his mind.

I hate this."

"Doctor appointment today. Checking on my leg, should be fine tho."

"Going to another doctor appt today. 3rd time this month but not about my leg this time. getting old is scary."

"For a minute today I couldn't remember what Bones' actual name was and it was the scariest worst thing imaginable I nearly started to cry. He's been gone for about 20yrs now but he was my best friend I should never forget his name, if I can forget his then what if I forget Spock's? I dont want to forget."

"Ive been taking my pain meds like usual but my leg has been aching a lot lately. Dunno whats wrong but I guess this means another doctor appt sometime soon.

Spock worrys so much I wish there was something I could do but I worry too so its hard."

"Doctor said it would be better for me and Spock if I started using a hoverchair to get around. She said it would take a lot of the pressure off my knee thats making it hurt so it should stop and even if it doesnt they can give me one of those numing braces so I wont feel it as much. I know its the smarter thing to do but I feel like this means im giving up. I hate this I hate this so much."

"Got the news today that Scotty died. Terrible. I dont think we can make it out to the funeral which just makes me feel worse."

"Talked to the doctor again, spock and I have decided to buy a hoverchar so I can get around easier. Spock talked to her for a while after we were done and had me wait in the lobby and kept the bond closed. Whatever he was talking about it made me more nervous to not know wat it was than if I did know. When we got home I just sat and cried for a while and spock held my hand for a long time but I still feel so horrible about everything. People always say you wont be young forever but i dont think I ever realized just how tru that is until now. I havent ben young for a long long time but I have never felt this old before and its just scarey."

"First day on the hoverchair today. Its not too bad i guess it really does make it easier to get around it even goes up stairs no prblem which is great. i said to spock it would be better if we could rig it up with some warp boosters wouldnt that get me around quick? He laughed a little bit and it seemd like the first time hes laughed in a relly really long time."

"just been feeling miserable about everything lately, its made Spock be in a bad mood a lot lately too so thats been hard. I dont want us to fight but then we end up just not talking and thats not good either. I guess im just scared about being old, scared about dying, and me being scared only makes Spock worry more. His last pon far was really rough and even if im alive for his next I know I wont be able to help him. I told him to find someone else to bond with after I die but he won't and that makes me angry but also a litle happy which I know is bad but even tho I know its necesary I dont like the thought of him being bonded to anyone else."

With the more recent journal entries came memories that were painfully fresh, and Spock found that he was needing to meditate more often than usual in order to maintain emotional balance. Reading about Jim's fear of the death he knew was soon, remembering his own terror knowing the same thing – it was all taking a toll on his mental well-being. But more meditation meant less time to read.

It was now the day before Jim's birthday, and Spock had two journals left. He sat down to his morning meal with the next journal in front of him, and read.

"Spock went back to work at the NVSA today so im home by myself again. but its not so bad this time I have my hoverchar so its easy to get around. Hes teaching less classes this year so he doesnt have to be away from home so much, im just glad he didnt resine. As for me I slept a little late today then i went out and sat in the shade and read a bit before it got too warm then when I went inside I watched some shows on the holoscreen like there was an intresting documntry about starfleet things then i took a nap and now ive woken up and Spock shuld be home soon. Boring day but I think most of the days will be like that when spock is gone"

"been really tired lately and sleeping a lot Spock worrys about it but I dont see what there is to worry about. Sleepy is better than sick."

"got the news today that sulu died yesterday, really sad poor chekov. I know were not gonna be able to travel to earth for the funeral so I tryed to type up a message to send to him but my hands were relly shaky so I couldnt and had to wait for Spock to come home to type it.

As strange as it sounds im not so scared of dying any more. Being dead cant be worse than being old and frail and not bing able to do anything yourself any more but then I think what is Spock going to do without me and I know I have to hold on for as long as I can."

There was an entry that Spock could not read. Jim's handwriting was shaky at best now, but it seemed as though he had not even been writing anything purposely on this page. The page contained only scribbles, as if he had been testing a pen, but the scribbles filled up the lines of the page from top to bottom. Spock studied it for a moment, unsure what it meant or if it meant anything at all.

In the journals most entries were just plainly written upon the page, though there were some that had deviated from the norm. Often in the older journals from when Jim was younger there would be small illustrations in the margins. Many entries had been accompanied by small things pasted onto the page that were relevant to topics discussed in the entry, for example, when Jim and Spock saw an Andorian musical while on shore leave during their second five-year mission on the Enterprise, Jim had glued the paper tickets onto the relevant entry. He had often drawn small diagrams when writing about skirmishes or battles they had fought or new strategies he was contemplating.

But Spock had never come across a page of scribbles before, and he was not sure what to make of it.

He searched the page line by line, wondering if he was missing something, but there was nothing. He looked at the date of the previous entry, trying to tie the mysterious scribbles to something that had happened around that time. But he could think of nothing – though, knowing Jim, it certainly could have been representative of an event that had taken place, but Spock had never been able to think as disjointedly as Jim could.

It was nearing the late afternoon. Spock could spare an hour to meditate before reading on – he was nearly done with the journal. So, carefully, he set the journal aside and pulled out his meditation mat and incense.

He was almost there.

"Spock finally dragged me to the doctor again becuse he's worryd about how much I have been sleeping. Doc said it was pretty normal but that if spock was conserned he could wake me if I slept over eight hours at a time but I havent really been sleeping a lot all at once it's more like hour naps a couple times during the day plus regular night time sleeping, and besides with the bond he would know if anything abnormal was going on even while I was sleeping so I dont know what hes so worryd about. Not very logical if you ask me but spock wasnt happy when I said that to him. But I guess its not a big deal if I try to sleep a little less after all if im going to die soon I want to spend as much time as I can with spock and not sleeping."

"its relly hard to write out entries still but im going to try to hand write for as long as poss. Even if it takes me an hour to write an entry its not like I have anything more exiting or important to do. I just hope that my hands dont shake so much that no one will ever be able to read this because I like the idea of all these journals being used by historans someday since if peple are going to remeber me as a hero then they shuld be able to read about the real me and not the super me starfleet likes to talk about."

"Spock had a suprise for me when he got home today he said he needed to stop at the post office after work but didnt tell me what for. And when he got home he had a box and when he opened it there were six apples inside all different kinds that he had ordered from earth just for me and made sure I didnt know so it was a suprise. I was so happy I nearly cryed but I didnt but then spock cut one up for me to eat, a red one, and it was so great and still cool from the temp. controls in the box and it had been years since I had eaten a real fresh apple which were always my favrites and then I did start to cry a little bit. I wish I could do little things for spock like this but its hard to do anything when your in a hoverchar and sleepy alot and your hands shake so much it takes hours to write in your journal. He said not to worry about doing anything for him because that he did this for me because he new that I missed earth and said he new it wasnt always fair to me that we lived on new vulcan for most of our lives but that he hoped he could make up for it even a little and it was so sweet and sad I didnt know what to do. I love spock so much and I hate that he has to be the one to be left behind. We put the rest of the apples in the food preserver so I can have another tomorow and until they run out I guess nothing last forever"

Before he knew it, Spock had finished that journal and there was now only one left. Slowly he set down the completed journal, checking the time. It was not yet late into the evening, and Jim's birthday was tomorrow.

He got up and put the journal away and began to reach for the final one, but paused. Maybe it would be better if he saved it for tomorrow. Yes, certainly, it would be more fitting to read it tomorrow. He could wait. It was an important journal that could wait for an important day. He stepped away from the bookshelf.

It was not yet late into the evening, but Spock prepared himself for sleep anyway. Tomorrow he would read the journal, but now it was time to rest.

The next morning Spock woke at his usual time, had his usual morning meal, meditated briefly, then reached for the final journal – and stopped.

Maybe he shouldn't read this one, he thought. Jim had told him that he could read any journals except the one he was writing in, and this was the journal that Jim had never finished. When he had died the journal had only been about halfway filled.

Spock hesitated, unsure of what to do. He had wanted to finish the journals today, Jim's birthday – but suddenly he was not so sure anymore. Finally he stepped away from the bookshelf. He would wait until later in the day. There was very little to be read.

The morning went by as Spock restlessly looked for things to do to keep him occupied in his apartment. He tidied his bedroom and cleaned the kitchen. He glanced over at the bookshelf with the journals, still feeling uneasy. He would wait a little longer.

As he sat down to meditate he could hear people walking down the hallway outside his door.

"Happy Federation Day!" he heard a male voice call out, answered by a female one; "Happy Federation Day! Did you remember to get...?" The voice faded as the people moved further down the hall.

It was Federation Day – it was Jim's birthday. It was Jim's birthday and he had one journal left and he could not bring himself to read it. Unsettled, he closed his eyes to meditate.

Why had he been so anxious to finish them today? What was he expecting? And why now could he not bring himself to finish? As he meditated he could not stop wondering.

When he came out of meditation he knew that the overwhelming sense of urgency and expectation that had driven him to read through eighty-two journals in two months was gone. He did not know what he had been anticipating, but the anticipation had left him, as though he had missed a deadline and now had no reason to want to finish what he had started.

He stood up and went to the kitchen to prepare a small midday meal, ignoring the sense of despair beginning to build in his chest.

As the day went on, minute by minute and hour by hour, Spock steadily began to feel more and more unhappy until, when the sky had grown dark, realization hit him full-force.

Part of him had known all along that nothing would happen if he finished the journals today, and the rest of him, the part that had been clinging to that foolish hope, had come to know it too. There would be no miracle, no sign, no more closure than that he had already been given. Spock knew that, had known it all along, but somehow the realization of it now was painful beyond measure.

In the end, no matter how much worth Spock put into them, Jim's journals were just notebooks filled with words. In the end, it doesn't matter how special or precious Jim's birthday was – it was just another day in a countless, constant string of days.

Outside Spock could hear fireworks beginning to burst in the sky, flashes of light illuminating the window. Furiously he went to the window and nearly tore the curtains as he pulled them closed. How dare they rejoice? How dare they celebrate on Jim's birthday, celebrate as Spock was alone and hurting? Didn't they care that Jim was gone, that Jim was dead?

Spock let out a heavy breath as if he'd been punched in the gut, sitting down hard in the chair that faced the window. That was it. Jim was gone. Jim was dead.

He looked at the bookshelf and, with shaking hands, reached for the journal he had not read. He held it in front of him and still he could not bring himself to open it.

What good would it do? His t'hy'la had been taken from him and nothing could make that any easier, journals or not. Their lives together were over and he would never see Jim again, would never feel anything but pain on the other end of the bond. Nothing could ever make that any better and he had been foolish to think otherwise.

He clutched the journal harder, pulling it close to his body, to his heart. He was hurt and confused and despairing and angry, so overwhelmingly angry – but there was no one, nothing to direct his anger at. Jim was dead, he would never see Jim again – but no one was at fault for it and that only made the anger burn worse.

Spock did not know what else he could do so he clutched the half-finished journal to his heart and squeezed his eyes shut against the flash of celebratory fireworks outside the window, out in a world that had gone on without Jim, and tried very hard to convince himself he was not crying.

The next morning was painfully anticlimactic. Spock rose at his usual time, used the sonic shower, and made a breakfast of light broth and tea. He looked out the window at the gray-blue San Francisco skyline as he ate.

But then he was at a loss. All of his free time in the past two months on Earth had been devoted to reading the journals, but now Jim's birthday had passed, there was one journal left and Spock didn't know if he wanted to read it. He looked over at where it was still laying on the reading chair by the window.

Spock cleaned up the breakfast dishes and sat down to meditate, lighting a stick of incense. After yesterday, meditation was what he desperately needed. With a near-herculean effort he cleared his mind and then rested in the blankness, the silence, until he could think straight again.

He was Vulcan. He was logical and strong and certainly had the strength to keep his all-too-Human emotions from affecting him. He was Vulcan, and Vulcans finished what they started.

Carefully Spock stood up, went to the reading chair, and picked up the journal. He looked at it, calm and collected, then sat down and opened the first page.

"This is my 82nd journal. I really dont know how I maneged to end up with so many but there it is. This is a pretty nice one too I had to order it off the nets since theres no local place to buy paper producs. The cover is fake lether spock freaked out when he frist saw it before I could tell him it wasnt real I think I only have one or two real lether ones anyway. I dont know if ill be around long enogh to fill up this journal but im hoping."

"been a little hard to breath latley plus being tired so Spocks worryd as usual. The doctor came over and said theres nothing that can be fixed really but she gave me some meds to make it easier to breath but I dont now if I will take them because im already taking alot of meds and I dont now if i want to take anymore of course spock might not give me a choise in the matter.

On the news today there was a spesial about how strfleet is begining work on building a new enterprise from scratch they say it will probly be space-redy in eight to ten yrs so it looks i wont be around to see it wich is a shame it seems like itll be a grate ship."

"it terrifys me to think that any of these entrys could be my last"

"dear Spock

it will probly take me all day to writ this but your at work late today so I want to writ this all now while I can

I dont know if youll evr read this or not but I hope you do someday I now you nevr had an intrest in reading any of my jrnals but I hope someday you do I want you to read this someday.

I want to tell you this even tho you can hear it from me every day from my mouth or my brain or both

I love you, I love you more than anything in the hole universe and evry alternat universe that exsists and I dont want you to ever forget that no matter how much time passes. Know that all my life ive loved you with everything I could.

And since I love you I want you to be happy even after im gone. I know im gonna die soon and I hate that youlll be left behind to deal with everything the sadness and lonliness and broken bond. But I hope somday you can remember me happily but be able to move on. I want you to live the long yrs of life I know you still have ahed of you. I now you have said no evry time I mention it but I rely do hope you dont let yourself die in your next pon farr in a couple years I now you have no intrest in forming another bond but someday please consider it, for me because I will be happyest knowing you lived a long long life like I have.

I am glad for the life I had with you spock I am just sorry that my human lifespan isnt anywhere near your vulcan one and I cant be there for your whole life. But I promise you that no mater what happens when I die, ill be waiting for you to catch up with me. I may have to leve you behind now but I promise ill be waiting if theres any fairness in the universe well be together again someday and we wont have to be seprated ever again.

I love you

your thyla,


Spock stared and stared at the entry addressed to him, tears welling in his eyes as everything he thought he knew yesterday disappeared.

Their lives together weren't over and he would – he would – see Jim again. Jim had promised him that, and if there was anything Spock believed in, it was Jim. With every fiber of his being he believed in Jim, as he always had and always would.

Spock pressed a hand to his eyes for a moment before looking up out the window again. If Jim was watching him now he hoped Jim knew he was crying because he was happy, and he hoped that Jim was happy too.

When he was calm and composed again, Spock looked back to the journal and turned the page. There were only a few entries left.

"Summer brake started for the NVSA so spock gets a few weeks to spend at home with me I think hes talked to the NVSA council about me because hes only been out to teach maybe 2 or 3 days a week so I think theyre purposly letting him have more time at home I dont know if I should be iritated or grateful so I guess ill be grateful hes just here with me alot. I havent seen the housekeeper in a week or two I wonder if Spock got rid of her or something. Spock made breakfast for me today it was delicious he made earth style waffles my favrite im so lucky to have him."

"hard to write but not much has been going on latly so I guess it dosnt matter. Today spock put in an audiobook and we lisened to it togethr all afternoon I dont remember exacly what it was about but it was set on betazed and it reminded me a little of romeo and juliet but with lots of political stuff going on I fell asleep for a bit toward the middl of it so I missed some important parts but wen I woke back up spock was still sitting there holding my hand and it was all just nice it was a good day."

"today Spock took me outside to sit on the porch for a little while its still early in summer so its not too hot yet it was warm and I was happy and I love spock more than anything I dont want to leave him. He showd me some of the new flowers he planted in the yard they look great so far. Then we sat in the sun for a little bit then we went back inside and spock made lunch.

Theres going to be a meteor shower a few nites from now so I have to remeber to ask Spock to help me stay up to watch it. Ive been falling asleep early lately but I rely want to watch it with him."

The pages after that were all blank. Spock remembered the events of the last entry and remembered Jim had died three days later.

They didn't get to watch the meteor shower together, and Jim's absence still lingered painfully and the bond still ached – but somehow Spock was at peace. He knew he would see Jim again someday.

But in the meantime he would live the life he had left, the way Jim wanted him to. He did not know how he would do it, what he would do – but he was going to try. Carefully he placed the journal back onto the bookshelf, then stood up and looked out the window. The weather looked relatively pleasant in spite of the time of year.

It had been days since he had been out of his apartment. He did not know what there was to do outside, but Jim would want him to find out.

Spock pulled on his coat and stepped out the door.