“What exactly is a…hayride?”

Jim smiled as he pulled on a heavy, quilted plaid shirt. The plaid was a sort of umber color and he wore khaki cargo pants and combat boots with it. Spock was dressed in black jeans and gray sweater that appeared to have metallic silver threads through it. It might have looked a little too dressy on anyone other than Spock, but somehow it suited the Vulcan.

“You never did one as a kid?”

Spock arched a brow. “On Vulcan?”

Jim laughed. “No, I guess not. But I thought, you know, on Earth, when you’d come with your mom or something.”

“Generally, when we visited, it was with Father for his diplomatic visits,” Spock explained as he wrapped a gray scarf around his neck. “Even if we saw Mother’s family, which was rare, they always came to us in the hotels and accommodations provided to us for Father’s diplomacy.”

Jim frowned. “So your mother never really got much time to visit where she was from?”

“She did not.”

“Well…that sucks.”

“She never expressed such a sentiment.”

“Maybe your dad never gave her much of a chance.” Jim shook his head. “I don’t know, Spock. I’m glad you aren’t like him and try to, I don’t know, logic away every ounce of my humanness to conform to expectations.”

Spock stepped close and tugged the collar of Jim’s shirt into place. “I suspect such methods would have little to no success where you are concerned.”

Jim grinned. “You’re right about that.”

“You did not answer my question.”

“Oh. Yeah. Sorry. You get into this wagon full of hay and you’re dragged behind a tractor or a truck while you ride in it.”

“For what purpose?”


Spock simply stared at him and so Jim’s grin widened.

“Come on, babe. Let’s go.” He went to move forward and swayed as he got lightheaded. Spock was right there grabbing onto him.


“I’m all right.”

“You are not. You are doing too much. You are supposed to rest and you have done nothing of the sort.”

“Spock, I am fine. I just…as my grandmother used to say…had a spell.”

“You are not your grandmother and you were recently severely injured.”

“Babe, it’s fine, I swear. Okay?” He leaned in and kissed Spock on the corner of the mouth. “Can we go?”

“Very well.”

But Jim noticed that Spock held onto Jim’s arm as they left the farmhouse and made their way, on foot, down the road to where the planned hayride was to be held.

When they arrived there were already several others, including families excitedly waiting for their turn, so they had a while to wait in line for it. Spock still held on to Jim, like he could keep him standing by sheer will. Jim supposed Spock could.

There was a crispness to the air that was normal for November here, and soon enough it would become crisper still. Something Spock was definitely not looking forward to.

Finally they made it to the front of the line.

“Our turn,” Jim said cheerfully to his grumpy Vulcan.

They piled into the wagon full of hay with a family that included four rambunctious children. One of which kicked Jim in the side, accidentally as they scrambled around the wagon.

Spock gave the child’s mother a death glare.

“Uh, sorry. Sorry,” she said hurriedly, pulling her little boy away from Spock. “Anthony, watch your feet. You kicked that man.”

Jim smiled. “It’s all right.”

Spock glanced at him, stonily.

“Behave,” Jim whispered.

Spock pursed his lips, but said nothing as the tractor started up and began to pull along the wagon.

“Sometimes they’d use horses,” Jim told him.

“They would be far less smelly.”

Jim laughed. “I don’t know about that. Horses have a tendency to go when they gotta go.”

They were pulled around the field at a rapid speed that made Spock hold onto the side of the wagon, his face looking even paler than normal. Jim thought it was exhilarating.

When they finally stopped, Spock was the first one out of the wagon, practically hauling Jim right off his feet to take him out of it.

Jim put his hands on Spock’s arms. “Fun, yeah?”

Spock actually rolled his eyes. “I will be picking hay out of parts of me for hours.”

He couldn’t help but laugh again as they headed back down the road toward the farmhouse, their hands locked together.

“Corn chowder for dinner?”

Spock nodded. “Yes.”

Jim knew their domestication wouldn’t last. Eventually they’d be back on the Enterprise, returning to missions and danger and all of that, and truly, he could not wait. But this was nice too.