Saying Goodbye to my Fall Guys, it’s been a great three months.

Jim got up early, letting Spock continue to sleep, as he left the bedroom and went downstairs. He didn’t bother to shower. Not yet. He just pulled on the clothes he’d worn the day before and then took his hiking boots and socks with him to put on before going outside.

The air was brisk and the ground crunchy from frost, but the sky was clear, even as the sun had begun to arrive.

His breath swirled in front of him as he took his walk away from the farmhouse and Spock.

Soon opportunities like this would be gone. He sometimes went for long walks on the Enterprise, but they were seldom, if ever, solitary, as there were always crew members around at any given time and it wasn’t as though as captain, he went unnoticed. Ever.

Alone time on the Enterprise was not something Jim ever got to enjoy. And mostly, Jim was okay with that. He’d spent a lot of his early years alone, so he was okay with not being alone now. In fact, he generally preferred to be surrounded by others, especially loved ones, as he now seemed to think of his closest crew members.

But being with Spock these past three months had been Jim’s idea of heaven. However, he knew it was coming to an end.

In just a couple of days they were due back in San Francisco. Jim would be cleared by medical and then the Enterprise would be able to continue her mission.  Jim had no idea when he would be coming back here. It might be years or…dare he think it…never.

Jim was glad to be going back. He missed the beautiful lady. And he missed Bones and all the crew, their friends.

But he could admit, here, to himself, and to Spock, that this…this was nice.

He walked for miles, not even paying any great attention to his destination, but finally ending up in Riverside proper, the city, and over to a little diner he hadn’t been to since he’d left Riverside years ago for the Academy.

He seated himself at a booth and ordered a coffee, texting Spock with his whereabouts, and asking him to join him.

Jim was not at all surprised when Spock made it there in record time. He figured Spock had likely awakened and had been preparing to go in search of Jim.

Spock slid into the booth across from him and gave him a look that figured was not supposed to be reproachful, but it totally was.

“I woke and…”

“I know,” Jim interrupted softly. “I ended up going for a longer walk than I had originally planned or I’d have left a note. Sorry to make you worry.”

Spock nodded, accepted the offer of a beverage from the waitress, and then said to Jim after she left them to make their food choices, “You have been here before?”

He smiled. “Oh, sure. Many times. Mom once dated the guy who owned it.”

“Frank?”

“God, no. This was after Frank. Nice guy, but it didn’t work out. Anyway, he used to give me free food back then. Whatever I wanted. And after…”

“Tarsus.”

“Yeah. Like I said, nice guy.”

“You will miss this place.”

And Jim knew he didn’t mean the diner only but all of Riverside and Iowa itself, if came to that. And he would.

Yeah.

“Funny. I once couldn’t wait to get away from here. Never in a million years thought I would miss it. There’s an old phrase that says something about you can’t go home again. It’s supposed to mean that it’s never really the same, not the way you remembered, you can never get time back or the way it used to be back, that kind of thing, but in a lot of ways it’s more precious to me than it ever was back then.”

Spock reached for Jim’s hand who gladly gave it to him. “We have made pleasant memories here.”

“Yeah, we have. And I’m happier than I’ve ever been.”

“It is the same for me.”

Jim smiled. “But I am, very much, looking forward to the New Year, the new us, the future, wherever it takes us.”

“To marriage and to bonding, is my desire.”

His smile widened and his heart was full. “Mine too.” He picked up his coffee mug and gestured for Spock to pick up his cup of tea. “To tomorrow and beyond.”

They clinked cups and took drinks and then they glanced toward the windows of the diner and watched the fresh falling snow.