Photo by Kate Stollery on

Spock was knocked onto a giant pile of leaves that, fortunately, broke his fall. And normally he would be offended by the action, but since it was Jim who had done it…no, he was still offended. Even as his beautiful, laughing boyfriend lay atop him in the pile of moist, dead leaves of reds, browns, and oranges.

“Gotcha!” Jim exclaimed, gleefully.

“You already had me, Jim,” Spock replied, dryly. “There was no reason for an attack.”

“It’s not an attack, sweetheart.”

“You made a running jump upon my person and knocked me to the ground. How is that not an attack?”

Suddenly Spock felt something wiggle right under his shoulder and he jumped ten feet.

“There is an insect—”

Jim laughed like a maniac. “Spock, sorry, sorry. That was me.”

“What?” Spock’s heart was hammering in his side.

“I wanted to see your reaction.” Jim grinned and leaned down to kiss Spock, who moved his mouth out of range. “Ah, now I made you mad.”

“I am not angry. I just find your behavior childish.” Though perhaps Spock was very vaguely amused. Jim was appealing like this.

“Sorry, sweetheart. I forgot you don’t like to be teased.”

“I am not opposed to being teased as a means of flirtation, however—”

“I know.” Jim kissed his lips, Spock allowed it this time. “I didn’t know you’d jump. You’re so calm, cool and collected most of the time.” Jim moved off Spock and he missed the weight of Jim’s body immediately as Jim turned onto his back to lie beside Spock in the leaves, staring up at the sky. “October was always one of my favorites, you know?”

Spock turned his head to look at Jim. “Why is that?”

“The leaves. They start changing in September, but really, in October they go crazy. And they fall like this and you pile them up. November too. I don’t know. It was different. And it was also light a little bit later than it is in November. It got dark really fast then. But October? I loved lazy days lying around in leaf piles.”

“A strange custom.”

Jim laughed and shook his head. “Not a custom, mostly. Just…I don’t know. Fun. Before Sam left he’d lie here with me in the leaves, like you are. And in the late afternoon we’d watch the clouds float by and decide what they were shaped as.” He sighed. “I loved it.”

“You are sad, Ashayam.”

“Only a little. Memories do that sometimes, I guess. There weren’t a lot of good memories from my childhood, but that was one of them.” Jim sat up. “Ready to go back inside?”

Spock reached for Jim’s hand and drew him back down to him, to lie along Spock’s chest. “Not quite yet. Let’s stay a moment.”

“Yeah?” Jim smiled.

Spock pointed. “That cloud there? It looks like a cat.”

Jim chuckled. “It does. The one behind it? Might be a dog chasing it.”

“Perhaps. But it resembles a duck more to me.”

“A duck? You need glasses!” He snuggled closer to Spock. Spock’s lips twitched. “I love you. And thank you.”

“I love you as well. And it is a duck.”