“Daddy, is that an elf?”
Jim Kirk looked to where his four-year-old son, David, pointed. They had just entered the department store in San Francisco. David had been asking to see Santa Claus.
At the moment, Jim had the care for his son as the boy’s mother and Jim’s ex, Carol Marcus, was off planet on a science expedition. Jim had readily agreed since it meant having David with him for the holidays. And now that he was on winter break from Starfleet Academy he no longer had to rely on his friends and fellow cadets to babysit.
Jim’s gaze widened as he grabbed David’s arm to keep him from rushing at the “elf”. “Er, No. That’s a…that man’s a Vulcan.”
And Jim’s current crush, Commander Spock, who had programmed the Kobayashi Maru Jim had taken and failed.
“Oh. Okay,” David replied. He looked up at Jim. “Does he know Santa?”
“Well…” Jim was about to say he doubted it, but in fact Spock was standing next to and speaking with Uhura, who was wearing a red and white Santa’s helper uniform, and Santa. Or whoever wore the Santa costume for the store. “Yeah, I guess maybe he does.”
“Take me to him,” David pleaded. “I want to ask him for what I want this year.”
He blew out a breath. He sure hoped David wasn’t going to come up with something like “my parents back together’ or anything similar. He’d met Carol back in Riverside when she’d been there on a temporary assignment for Starfleet and before he had enlisted himself. Their relationship had been brief and wrought with more drama than either of them had wanted to deal with. They made far better friends and co-parents than lovers.
But kids sometimes just couldn’t understand adult issues and wanted for things that couldn’t be theirs.
Nevertheless, his responsibility as “daddy” was to make sure David got his chance. So, Jim took his son’s hand and walked over to where they stood talking. He didn’t fail to notice the sign in front of Santa’s House that declared “Santa’s On a Break.”
Jim knew he’d probably get the brush off from Uhura and Spock, but maybe Santa would be nicer. He had to at least try.
As they approached he heard the lyrics of the song playing overhead.
He’s making a list, He’s checking it twice, Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice
“Santa Claus is coming to town,” he sang softly. He smiled down at David, who grinned back. He turned to the three standing there. “Excuse me, but…”
Uhura looked at him. “Kirk, can’t you see we’re…”
“Yes, but my son…”
Her gaze went to David and brightened instantly. “You have a son?”
“Yes. This is David. David, this is Ms. Uhura.” He glanced at Spock, feeling his face heat. He cleared his throat. “And this is Spock.”
“Spock?” David repeated, scrunching up his face. “Isn’t that the one you like, Daddy?”
Jim laughed, wanting to crawl away as Spock raised a brow. “Uh, ha ha. Kids. They say the darndest things. Listen. I don’t want to take up your time, I just wanted to know when Santa was…Bones?” He stared at Santa.
Bones narrowed his eyes. “That’s Santa Claus to you, son.”
David frowned. “I don’t see Uncle Bones. Where is he?”
Uhura kicked Jim. “He’s not here. Your Daddy was mistaken.”
Jim’s jaw tightened. “Hang on one second, David. Daddy wants to have a word with Santa Claus.” He glanced at Uhura. “Can you watch him for a second?”
“Sure. Hey, David, do you want a candy cane?”
Jim grabbed Santa’s arm and pulled him out of earshot. “What the hell? Why didn’t you tell me you were going to be Santa at the store?”
“Because you would have made fun of me for it.”
“No, I wouldn’t…okay, yeah, I would. But still.”
“Listen, I just wanted some side income to send some stuff to my own kid. Plus have something to get David a gift. It’s no big deal. Just a few hours a week.”
Jim nodded. “Okay. Well, when you talk to David try to talk him into something easy, will you?”
“You want me to lead your son?”
“Well, you know. To like toys and stuff. Nothing like universal peace or mommy and daddy together again.” Jim grimaced.
“All right, all right. And what was that about Spock?”
He pushed Bones back to the others and saw that David not only had a candy cane but several foil wrapped chocolate balls.
Swell, he thought. A hyped up David would be just what he needed.
“Uh. Thanks. Anyway I was wondering when Santa’s break would be over as my son wants to give him his wish list.”
“Santa” looked down at Jim’s son. “Have you been nice, David?”
David nodded. “’Course. Daddy says it always pays to be nice.”
“Well. I think you can tell him what you want right now, David. Santa can delay his break for you,” Uhura spoke up.
“That’s right.” “Santa” crouched down next to David and put his arm around him. “What do you want for Christmas, David? A toy space ship? A telescope? A little mini science lab?”
“Nope. None of that.”
“Er. Um, then, books? Coloring books or…”
“Perhaps it would be wise, Santa, to allow David to make the request himself,” Spock said.
“No, Santa,” David said, voice small. “Daddy can get me all that. Or Mommy.”
“Santa” glanced up at Jim, who shifted awkwardly. “All right. What do you want?”
David glanced over at Spock and then back to Santa. “Daddy needs a boyfriend.”
“He’s super lonely and all he does is study and spend time with me. And Santa, I know he really really likes Spock.”
“How do you know that?”
“He told me!”
Jim saw Uhura smother a laugh and he glared daggers at her. “All right, David. I’m pretty sure we’ve taken up too much of Santa’s break as it is. We should go.”
“But Santa hasn’t said…”
“Well, now, David,” “Santa” interrupted. “It’s very difficult to give gifts of people, you know.”
“Sure. But I’m sure if Mr. Spock got to know Daddy he’d really like him.”
Jim coughed. “Lunch. Come on, kiddo. We’ll go to your favorite place. Say by to Santa now.”
David pouted a little. “Okay.”
And to Jim’s further embarrassment, David walked over to where Spock stood, looking unfailingly serene.
“I know Santa can work magic!” David said to Spock. “See you later.” He waved frantically at Spock and then ran to where Jim waited. He smiled so brightly at Jim, he didn’t have the heart to be upset with the boy.
“Did you have fun?” Jim asked, as he steered his son away from the gawking group.
“Yeah! And I got candy.”
Jim laughed. “I know. But before you eat too much of that, let’s get some real food.”
“Daddy, he’s here, he’s here!”
Jim frowned at his terminal screen, paused it, and looked over at his son who was standing nearby jumping up and down.
Jim blinked. “What?”
“At the door! He’s here.”
He got up from is chair and came around the desk. “David, I’ve told you before not to answer the door. Come and get me.”
He hadn’t even heard someone at the door.
“Okay,” David said. “But he’s here, he’s here.”
Jim couldn’t imagine what Spock was doing there. He’d never been there before and Jim didn’t even know Spock knew where he lived.
He went over to the apartment door and peered out the peephole, but he couldn’t see much.
“It’s what I asked Santa for!”
“David, shhh. It’s got nothing to do with Santa.”
He gestured for David to get back and then he opened the door.
Sure enough Spock stood there, dressed in his all black uniform, looking austere and intimidating.
Jim tried a smile. “Hi.”
“Good evening. May I have a word?”
He cleared his throat. “Sure. One second.” He turned back to David. “Wait inside, okay? I’ll be back in a minute.”
Jim smiled and then stepped onto the landing outside his apartment. It was a beautiful day, really. His second-floor apartment faced out onto the garden area of the apartment complex. He preferred that then looking out over the pool or the street.
“So, um, what can I do for you?” he asked Spock.
Spock’s gaze flicked briefly to the closed door. “Your son is quite appealing.”
Spock nodded. “His…mother…”
“She’s off planet. Carol Marcus. She’s a scientist. She’s not…” Jim licked his lips. “We’re not together.” He cleared his throat. “Anymore.”
“I see.” Spock straightened. “I was wondering if I may…that is, if you might be free to have dinner with me at some point.”
Jim blushed, glancing quickly at the closed door. Clearly he needed to have a conversation with his son about listening in on adult conversations.
Spock quirked a brow but otherwise did not react to David’s yell.
Jim took a step further away from the door. “Listen, um, what David said at the store.”
“Children say all kinds of things,” Spock said quietly. “I am aware that you did not wish him to speak up, however I did hope there was some truth to what he said.”
Jim blinked. “Yeah?”
Way to go, Jim, he thought. You sound so brilliant.
“Leonard McCoy did advise me that David’s words were truthful but if—”
Spock fell silent but nodded. His cheeks were just the tiniest bit green.
Jim laughed. “Well, then. I guess I shouldn’t bother to deny it.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means, Professor, that I’d love to have dinner with you at any point.”
“I see. Then I am gratified.”
“I do need to arrange for a babysitter, though. How does tomorrow night grab you?”
Spock inclined his head. “It grabs me well.”
Jim grinned. “Fantastic. See you then? Did you want to meet somewhere or—?”
“I will come for you at seven tomorrow night.”
Spock nodded again and then turned and walked over to the stairs that would take him to the ground level. Jim watched him the entire way until he was out of sight.
He exhaled deeply. “He’s making a list, checking it twice. Gonna find out who’s naughty or nice.” He shook his head. “Guess I’ve been nice.”
He turned back and opened his apartment door to face the eagers brightness in David’s face.
“Guess you were right, kiddo. It did have something to do with Santa.”
“Yay!” He laughed, dropped to his knees and hugged his son.