Spock packed up all his belongings for the day, shoving them into the large business briefcase bag he carried with him daily from home to the Academy. It had been a long, tedious day, full of uninspiring students who barely paid attention.

Perhaps teaching again had not been the wisest decision. He had no patience for it and the sniveling giggling students he had to deal with.

He made it out of the building and looked up at the darkening sky. A storm was coming. He hoped he made it home before it drenched him.

For a moment he felt eager to get home, eager to end this day, and find the comfort of the apartment, a fire in the hearth, a steaming pot of tea and—

His steps faltered.

There was no one to go home to. No one who waited there to greet him with welcoming arms. The apartment would be empty, quiet and cold. No one would start the fire in the fireplace unless it was him.

No longer eager to reach his apartment, Spock stopped at a vegetarian restaurant and had a small meal and a pot of tea.

The rain had started by the time he resumed his way home and becoming miserably wet seemed appropriate.

As he approached his apartment door, his steps faltered again. There was a flutter in his side just before a warm buzz in his brain.

Spock gasped and quickly put his hand up to the door sensor.

The door popped open and he was immediately hit with the scent of Pasta Primavera. A lump rose to his throat as he stumbled forward.

“J-Jim?”

Jim turned from his position in the kitchen next to the stove. He smiled bright and beautiful, his blue eyes sparkling.

“Oh, hey. There you are!”

“I…I…”

The bright smile slipped from Jim’s face. “Spock?”

He felt his eyes fill with tears. “I-I did not know and I have-I stopped at Laru’s for a meal and I-I have ruined—”

“What?” Jim turned off the fire on the stove. “No. Honey, no. It’ll keep. Baby.”

Jim came to him and embraced him, and Spock clung to him, like he was life. He supposed, for him, Jim always would be.   

“You were not supposed to return for six months.”

“I know. But, well, it was a surprise.” He cradled Spock’s face in his hands and kissed him.

Spock let out a sob and returned the kiss. “I am sorry I ruined it.”

“You didn’t, all right? Nothing is ruined.” He wiped Spock’s tears, Spock’s shame. “Hey, what’s going on?”

“I have missed you…terribly.”

Jim’s smile was sweet and gentle. “It’s going to take a while, Spock. To get your Vulcan side back. The human side is just out more right now. They said it might take up to a year.”

Spock nodded, holding Jim tight. “I do not like it.”

His husband laughed, but it was a warm and beautiful laugh. “I know, baby. I’m pretty okay with you as you normally are too.”

Spock looked at him doubtfully. “You will not be unhappy when my logical side takes over once more?”

“Are you kidding? I fell in love with Vulcan you.”

Spock frowned. “Then you do not love the human side of me?”

“The human side, the Vulcan side, Spock…I love my Spock.”

Spock pulled him close. “I would die for you.”

“Nobody’s dying, so cut that out.”

“How is it you are here? The Enterprise—”

“Is docked. There’s been some damage and she needs repairs. Long story. Which can definitely wait for later.” Jim took hold of Spock’s hands and squeezed them in his. “You’re cold and wet. I’ll start a fire, we’ll lie before it, and we can make love all night long.”

“You are truly here?” Spock swallowed. “This is not some illusion I have created?”

Jim looked into his eyes, his blue eyes bright as the sun. He took Spock’s hand and placed it over his beating heart. “Does that feel like an illusion?”

“No. But…I have fantasized us being together for so long that I…it is hard to trust this. Any of it.”

“It’s real, babe. I am.” Jim went to pull away and Spock clutched at him. “Spock—”

Spock shook his head. “If you disappear again, I’ll die.”

“I won’t, Spock. I’m here. With you. At least until the repairs are done. Longer if you want me to take a leave to stay with you until you’re better. Whatever you want, honey.”

Spock bowed his head. “I am ashamed. If my father could see me…even my mother would find me pathetic.”

“No. No. Your father knows. About all of it. And your mother? She would always be proud of you. You showed me her, remember?”

“Yes,” Spock whispered. “Just the same, I will go with you to start the fireplace.”

“Okay.”

He gripped Jim’s hand as tight as he could and though it prevented Jim from being quite as efficient as usual starting a fire in the apartment’s fireplace, Spock cared not.

And when they lay before it, Spock kept his gaze glued to his husband, and determined he would not fall asleep. If he did, he might wake up to find Jim gone. Again.