It took a long time for Spock to find him.
First Spock had to realize there was a problem and he did not at first.
It was Wednesday and Jim tended to stay at the Academy longer on Wednesdays than Spock did. He had later classes. Spock left in early afternoon, took a leisurely stroll through the park’s nature trail, and then stopped at the local grocery mart for provisions.
This particular day he bought many special things. Cheesecake flavored ice cream, potatoes so that he could make mashed potatoes, ingredients to make the special gravy Jim liked, a special version of a book Jim liked, and balloons.
He had the balloons set up and the book wrapped.
And he was preparing to make dinner when he realized Jim was well past his time.
His attempts at locating Jim through the communication device failed. So instead he contacted Jim’s assistant.
“Oh. Yes. He left some time ago, sir. I think I saw him head into that martini bar on third.”
With a sigh, Spock pulled on his coat and left their apartment in search of his husband.
Sure enough, Jim was sitting at the bar, alone, nursing what looked like might have been his third martini, based on the empty glasses beside him.
When Spock approached, Jim gave him a tired smile. “Oh, hi, honey. I guess I’ve been here too long, huh?”
Spock took the stool next to him and waved away the bartender. “I am in the process of preparing your birthday celebration.”
Jim sighed. “Yeah. Nothing to celebrate. I mean, it’s sweet but…”
“I’m old, Spock.” Jim shook his head. “Seventy.”
“I know. It’s just, when I look in the mirror now, I see an old man.”
“All I see is my beautiful wonderful husband.”
“And I do love you for that. And I’m sorry I didn’t come straight home and spoiled everything, it’s just…this student today called me an old timer.”
Spock bristled. “What?”
“Not to my face. I overheard him. His exact words was, ‘when is that old timer gonna retire’?”
“I am sorry for his unkind words.”
“They were, sure, and for a bit they really hurt, but I was him at that age, you know? I would have said something like that. And anyway, they did get me thinking.”
“About what, T’hy’la?”
“Maybe it is time to consider retiring. I’m in pretty decent shape, the Khan blood helps, but honestly my heart isn’t really in teaching anymore. You’ve gotten a bit tired of it too.”
“What do you say, Spock? Should we retire, leave San Francisco and…”
“Where would we go?”
Spock put his hand over Jim’s. “Really? You would go there with me?”
Jim smiled. “I’d go anywhere with you.”
When they got home, making plans as they made the walk, Jim smiled when he saw all the balloons and the present.
“You didn’t have to go through all this, sweetheart.”
“I did. It is your birthday. And though you are special to me every day, I know that you like to have your favorite things. I have your ice cream, and mashed potatoes and…”
Jim kissed him. “Thank you. For everything. Agreeing to retire.”
“It will benefit me too.”
“Yeah. But I can’t wait to live the rest of our lives together, however long that is, with you on New Vulcan.”
“Happy birthday, Ashayam.”
And happy birthday, J! (who is NOT 70)