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Even before he spoke, Jim knew who had found him outside on a raised deck that overlooked the sea and the Golden Gate Bridge. Jim supposed it could have been Bones, but no. Bones seemed to know instinctively when it was best to leave his friend alone.

Whereas…

“Hi, Spock.”

“You have left your own celebration.”

It sounded vaguely accusatory though Jim doubted Spock meant it that way.

“Needed some air.” Jim smiled faintly. “It’s a beautiful night and you can see a lot of stars.”

Spock watched Jim instead of the stars. Or at least Jim felt Spock’s gaze on his face.

“You are unhappy with the outcome.”

“Well.” Jim shrugged.

“Most Starfleet officers would be eager for promotion.”

“I’m not most. You know that by now.”

Spock didn’t say anything to that, but he did move his gaze to the stars. “It coincides with your birthday.”

“Yep and that’s another punch in the gut,” Jim said with a laugh.

“I recall another birthday I was there for the celebration.”

Jim nodded. “Back on Yorktown. Yeah. A lot has changed since then.”

Spock and Uhura were no longer together. Chekov had died. Jaylah was the Enterprise’s navigator now, and her captain…well, it wasn’t Jim anymore. Not now.

Everything had changed and nothing had changed.

“See that star? The really bright one?”

“Indeed.”

“I was thinking of making a wish.”

“A wish, Admiral?”

Jim winced at that. “Don’t call me that, Spock. It’s Jim.”

“Very well, Jim.”

“There’s an ancient Earth song.” Jim sang, “When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are, anything your heart desires, will come to you.”

“You have an unexpectedly pleasant voice.”

Jim laughed. “Okay, I’ll take that as a compliment.”

“Do you wish often on stars, Jim?”

“I haven’t in years. But I once did.”

“What did you wish for?”

Jim sighed and stayed quiet for a moment. He didn’t really know how it had happened but somehow the two of them had positioned themselves as they spoke so that they stood almost impossibly close. He ought to move, he guessed, but he didn’t.

“When I was a small boy, I wished that my dad would be alive. After that, when I was a bit older, I wished my mom would come home. Then I wished Frank would disappear. I wished I wasn’t hun…a bunch of things. But I stopped when I was a teenager because nothing I ever wished for came true. It’s been years since I even bothered.”

He felt Spock’s gaze again, unwavering.

“Why now then?”

“Desperation?” He laughed, but it was self-mocking. “Wanting something so much and knowing you’ll never ever have it no matter what the song says.”

“And what are you wishing for tonight, Jim?”

Jim met Spock’s unreadable gaze. “I don’t think I’m supposed to tell you.”

“Why not?”

The corner of Jim’s mouth tugged upward against his will. “Wishing etiquette?”

Spock arched a brow. “If your wishes do not come true what harm is there in telling me?”

“What harm indeed.”

“Jim?”

He sighed then, put his hand on Spock’s jaw and saw the widening of Spock’s dark eyes. The recognition there.

“Anyone ever tell you that you ask too many questions, Spock?”

Jim kissed him. There was a moment where he felt Spock’s surprise through the touch of their lips. And just when Jim wondered if Spock would pull away, Spock put a hand on Jim’s waist.

Fate is kind.

She brings to those who love

The sweet fulfillment of their secret longing.