This one is a little sad, but it’s thinking of all those who don’t get to be with their family every holiday season.

It was completely illogical. And ridiculous besides.

Spock acknowledged that. He could do little else. But he was feeling entirely melancholy ever since he’d received Jim’s message.

Oh, he had expected it.

His husband, bondmate, and T’hy’la had been away from home for six months already. And Spock knew Jim’s diplomatic undertakings on Starbase 56, a new base in a new sector, and therefore, so far, unnamed, were ongoing. In their weekly video calls Jim had advised that everything was going well, but wasn’t nearing completion any time soon.

They’d faced separations before, but never this long.

And not during Jim’s favorite time, the holiday season. Spock hadn’t ever cared about it. Jim had always rushed head first into any celebration they’d ever had. Jim’s family had celebrated Christmas during the good times, and even, he’d said, during some of the bad ones, but Spock’s family hadn’t celebrated anything. His mother’s background had been Jewish, but she never mentioned anything with regard to it to Spock, and Spock was certain that was by agreement with Sarek. Spock had been raised as though he were fully Vulcan, and perhaps stricter still than Spock’s siblings because of Sarek’s disappointment in them.

Spock had told Jim early on he had no interest in holidays only to be faced with the desolation Jim sometimes wore on his face and then, even worse, the resigned defeat, and so Spock quickly changed his mind and let Jim be in charge of all the celebrations he desired. And if Spock still found them somewhat absurd, they made his T’hy’la smile, and that was enough for him.

Until now, Spock hadn’t realized how used to it all he’d become. And as he surveyed their lonely San Francisco loft apartment, devoid of decorations, warmth, and Jim, he realized he had not only gotten used to Jim’s celebrations, he’d learned to like them.

Spock sat down heavily on the couch with his tea and PADD and once more read Jim’s message.

Hi Sweetheart

This message is particularly hard for me to write. I’m sorry I missed our video call. It’s just gotten so crazy busy with the talks lately. Plus there’s some instability in the sector. Nothing to worry about though, Spock. I see your frown. I’m safe.

But it means I’m not going to get away from even a week for the holidays. I don’t know, now they’re saying we might be here until spring. I hope not, but there it is. I can’t get away.

I know the holidays and all the decorations and celebrating is really my thing, but still I do them because I love doing them, and everything really, with you. We don’t get that this year and I’m feeling really sad about it.

I guess, next year, we’ll be together. I’m not going to take any more assignments like this, I can promise you. But until then, I guess we’ll have to muddle through, somehow.

Try not to be too sad without me. I know how you get. I love you. So much.

Yours always,

Jim.

Jim was right, Spock would get through it. But it would be the worst holiday he’d been through for many years.

Spock thought about putting up their tree and the menorah Jim had insisted they get years before, but it just was not the same, not without Jim. And so he did not.

The morning of Christmas, Jim did video call him. He looked very tired, but beautiful. And Spock ached for him.

“Hi sweetheart,” Jim said with a bright smile. “Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukah.”

Spock smiled slightly. “You are not sleeping. You appear to be exhausted.”

“Yeah,” Jim admitted. “This is my sleeping time but I…”

“Ashaya, please. I wish for you to sleep. We can talk another time.”

“But Spock…”

“The way that you can help me to be okay with our separation, this time, and any time, is to take care of you when you are able. Please. Knowing you are eating right and sleeping well is what I need now.”

Jim sighed. “Okay, Spock. I get it. I do. I feel the same about you. It’s just…I miss you.”

“And I miss you, my James. But we will be together again soon. And in the meantime, I will hold you in my heart and you will hold me in yours.”

Jim grinned. “Wow. You do miss me. That’s about the most romantic thing I’ve ever heard.”

“Jim.”

“I love you. And we’ll talk soon. Goodbye.”

“Goodbye.”

Spock walked away from his PADD and to the windows overlooking the park and the ice skaters at the temporary rink they’d set up. The prior year he and Jim had gone ice skating.

With a sigh, he turned and went to get his coat. He wouldn’t like it as much without his mate, but he would go. For both of them.