Jim hadn’t wanted to come to Riverside for the winter break. He’d told his mother no. At least a dozen times. But then he had nothing else to do. Nothing. Bones was going home to Georgia for two weeks with his daughter and to see his dad, and though Bones had invited him, Jim felt like he’d be an outsider.
And then Spock, who he’d hoped to maybe spend some time with, to, um, make it clear he liked the Vulcan more than as a buddy, had declared he was going to Vulcan to visit with his parents. There had been no specific invitation there and Jim would have turned it down anyway. Sweltering on Vulcan as the awkward friend who had no one to spend the break with, so Spock was stuck with him, wasn’t in Jim’s list of positive things to do.
Mom would be returning on the same day to Riverside from having visited with Sam and his family for the last month or so in Toronto.
From San Francisco to Riverside, Spock would be riding the shuttle with him. Spock had a short meeting at the shipyard there and then he would be taking another shuttle direct to Vulcan.
Just before they were due to land, the pilot had advised them that Riverside was experiencing a significant snow storm.
Spock eyed Jim. “I hope that does not mean what I think it means.”
Jim grimaced and took a chance, reaching over to pat his friend’s hand. Yeah Vulcan’s didn’t like touching. Except, well, Spock didn’t seem to mind it too much from him.
“I’m thinking it means what you think. Your shuttle won’t be leaving for Vulcan, Spock. Not today.”
Sure enough, when they landed and departed their shuttle, the boards were filled with cancelations to every single destination.
Jim stood next to Spock as they surveyed the information.
“Sorry, Spock. Looks like you’ll be stuck here. At least overnight.”
“It would seem so. Wasn’t your mother due to return on the shuttle from Toronto?”
Jim followed his gaze to the cancellation board for arrivals. “Uh-oh.”
“How long do you think this storm will last?” Spock asked, falling into step beside Jim as they walked toward the baggage area of the shuttle bay.
“I wish I knew. Sometimes they are gone in a day and other times…” His communicator buzzed. He pulled it out of his pocket. “Yep, that’s Mom. Hang on, Spock.”
He stepped away from the Vulcan so he wouldn’t be forced to hear any lame family conversations.
“Mom? You okay?”
“Was about to ask you the same thing. Listen, big storm in Toronto,”
He frowned. “Wait. What? There’s a big storm in Riverside.”
She chuckled. “Yeah. I heard about that. But I wasn’t getting out of Toronto today anyway, kiddo. And doesn’t sound like tomorrow either. Did you make it to Riverside before they shut it all down?”
“Yep. Just landed. Spock came with me because he had a meeting here, but looks like he’s not getting out of here to go to Vulcan.”
“That’s too bad. But it makes me feel better that you have someone with you at least. Look I had the neighbor over on Johnson Road, Mr. Witherspoon, stock up the house ahead of time for us, so it would be all ready for you and me when we got there. That’s good news for you as you probably want to head straight to the farm before it gets too crazy.”
“You think of everything.”
“I sure didn’t think of this,” she said with a sigh. “So I won’t be there for at least a couple of days. Hopefully not longer than that. Do you think Spock will stay there that long with you?”
“I think Spock will hightail it out of here the minute they tell him it’s okay. He’s a desert dweller. He won’t be amused.”
“Hmm. Well, I won’t keep you because I don’t want you to be caught in something you can’t get home from. I love you.”
“Love you too, Mom. Enjoy your extended stay with Sam and his family. Bye.”
Spock was waiting for him when he turned around, holding his own communicator in hand. “My meeting has been canceled.”
Spock nodded, then looked uncertain. “I suppose I should procure hotel accommodations.”
Jim snorted. “Get real. I have this whole huge farmhouse where you can stay. It’s just the two of us since Mom can’t make it out of Toronto. Let’s get going before it gets worse. You can notify your folks when we get there. But something tells me they already know.”
“Likely. But I will contact them there anyway.”
They got their bags and headed for the exit, with Jim quickly flagging down transportation to make it to the farm.
By the time the hover cab dropped them off the snow was falling so hard it was difficult to see in front of them.
“Hope you make it back okay,” Jim said to the driver.
“I will. You were my last fare. I don’t live too far. Have a good night.” And the guy was off.
Spock was pretty much covered in snow and not at all happy about it. Jim thought he was about as magnificent as anyone or anything he’d ever seen. And he wanted to tell Spock that, but he couldn’t get the words out and Spock was looking unhappier, so Jim turned toward the house.
“Guess you don’t think this is a Winter Wonderland,” he murmured as he accessed the front door with a swipe of his palm print.
He stepped aside to let Spock inside. Then he followed into the cold and dark house.
“Computer, voice authorization, James Tiberius.” He paused briefly.
“Lights and heat on.”
The house lit up bright instantly. He could see the tension in Spock’s shoulder lessen even as the chill in the front hall dissipated.
As Jim shrugged out of his snow covered outerwear, he smiled crookedly. “I’m guessing you won’t want to go outside to build a snowman we call a circus clown.”
The Vulcan’s brows furrowed. “Pardon?”
He shook his head. “Nah, nothing. Just a silly song.”
Jim sang, “In the meadow we can build a snowman and pretend that he’s a circus clown. We’ll have lots of fun with Mr. Snowman until the other kiddies knock him down.”
Spock stared at him blankly.
“When it snows ain’t it thrillin, though your nose gets a chillin…not much of a music lover, huh?”
“On the contrary,” Spock said primly. “I enjoy a very eclectic selection of music from different species.”
“Ah. Just not a Jim and music lover.” He gave a self-deprecating laugh. “Gotcha. You wouldn’t be the first to be resistant to my various charms. Come on. Take off your coat and I’ll get you settled in a room upstairs.”
Spock removed his snow covered coat and placed it on the coatrack Jim pointed out and then followed him up the stairs to the bedrooms.
“I guess you’ll be staying in Sam’s old room. I’ll get the sheets all changed and everything.”
He led Spock to the room and Spock glanced around the simple room made up of a bed and a dresser with a small attached bathroom.
“Thank you, Jim. I know this is all unexpected and you did not plan to have me as a houseguest.”
“Nah, it’s good on my end. What with Mom not making it, it’s nice to have someone here. I’m just sorry you’re stuck with me. Can’t be fun for you.”
Spock looked away for a second, then back to Jim. He looked suddenly very serious and not at all Vulcan blank.
“Jim, I am afraid that you are under a very mistaken impression.”
Jim frowned. “Oh?”
“I do not feel stuck with you.”
He brightened then. “Oh, I know. I didn’t mean anything. Just kind of a joke. I know you wanted to go see your parents for the break.”
“And I will still be able to see them once the storms pass, but that does not mean that I am in a hurry to depart from you.”
“Well.” Jim nodded. “Okay good.” Warmth blossomed in his chest. “We can change the sheets and stuff later. Want to go down for something warm to drink?”
“Yes, but if you will permit me, I would like to make contact with my parents. I will be down shortly.”
“Oh. Sure. Sure.”
When he got downstairs, he set water for boiling, checked out the fully stocked cabinets and refrigerator, as his mom had promised, and then checked his own messages. He had one from Bones.
Made it. I heard your area got a storm. Hope you made it safely. Listen Jim, when the break is over, you really ought to tell the hobgoblin, er, Spock, how you feel. Maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Make it your new year’s resolution.
Jim smiled. Glanced up to the stairs just as Spock was coming down. He had changed out of his uniform into a big brown fluffy sweater. He got a funny lump in his throat just looking at Spock.
“Jim? Are you all right?”
He swallowed down that lump. “Spock, I…I don’t know if this is the time or maybe if there never will be a time, you know, that’s good. It’s just…I really like you. As a friend, sure, but…but more than that. In fact, it’s more than like. And I guess maybe you probably…”
“Jim. Be quiet.”
His mouth hung open. “Did you just tell me to be quiet?”
Spock stepped close. “I did. You were about to say I probably did not share your feelings. Is that correct?”
Jim blinked. “Yes,” he whispered.
Spock’s mouth covered his in a deep kiss. He then drew back. “What does that tell you?”
“That I won’t need to put sheet’s on Sam’s bed after all.” Jim laughed and pulled Spock back into a kiss. He heard a jingle of bells in the distance. He pulled back. “Did you just hear bells?”
“I did not.”
“Hmm. Still snow is glistening.”
“Are you talking about that song again, Jim?”
He grinned. “A beautiful sight, we’re happy tonight…”
Spock’s gaze went to the window in the kitchen. “We are most definitely not walking in a winter wonderland.”