Chapter Twelve: Rescue Me

“Okay.” Jim glanced at the top of the house. He stood next to the ladder he had dragged out of the barn. On the ground next to the ladder was a tangle of outdoor lights.

This might be the last time they decorated this house, Jim thought. And yeah, a huge part of him was sad about this. This farmhouse had been in his family for generations and it sure didn’t feel good to be the one who lost it. Who had to sell it. But they’d needed the money for his mom’s treatments, and he hadn’t regretted that. He hadn’t known what the future held. Hell, no one did.

“Okay,” he said again. He wasn’t fond of heights. Or climbing ladders. In the past when they’d put out Christmas lights, his mom had been the one to climb the ladder. And yeah, he felt a little ashamed over that. But just a little. “Just have to climb up here and get these lights hooked up to those little hooks that are already there.”

“Maybe you should wait for Spock,” Lily said.

He glanced down at her. “I don’t need him to do it. I can do it.”

Lily raised both brows, but Jim decided to ignore her. He bent down and picked up the tangled lights. He bit his lip.

“It’s not even that high,” he said out loud.

Blowing out a breath, he smiled at her, and then started up the ladder.

“Be careful, Daddy!”

Jim reached the top of the ladder and did not look down. He exhaled again and unraveled the first part of the string of lights, carefully hooking the line up to the hooks that remained on the house from previous years. He worked slowly and methodically. And to his ridiculous amount of pride, finished it all along the arch above the door.

“There! Ta da!”

“Ta da!” Lily exclaimed.

Jim grinned and began to come down the ladder, but as he descended he missed a step and his whole body went crooked. He was going to fall.

“Daddy!”

Jim heard the fear in his daughter’s voice and his own heart beat hard in his chest. He tried to balance himself, overcompensated, and began careening faster off the ladder. He closed his eyes as he began to fall.

He braced himself for the impact of hitting the hard ground, likely to cause himself broken bones or other significant injuries.

But it never happened.

Jim landed in the arms of Spock, who remarkably had arrived, literally, in the nick of time.

“Daddy!” Lily cried again.

Jim met the wide dark eyes of his Vulcan rescuer, who still had him cradled in his arms. He sucked in a shaky breath.

“Th-thanks.”

“You are…welcome.”

Spock set Jim down on the ground carefully and Lily launched herself at him.

“Daddy.”

Jim scooped her up, his legs still shaky, and held her close as she cried.

“I’m okay, angel. I’m okay,” he whispered as she hiccupped.  

She hugged him tighter.

“Shh.”

“I love you, Daddy.”

“I love you too.”

She whispered in his ear, “He saved you.”

Jim smiled. “He did. Would you like to thank him?”

Lily nodded.

Jim turned to Spock. “Lily would like to say something to you, Spock.”

She held her arms out for Spock to take her and without missing a beat, Spock did, reaching out and pulling her into his arms. She put her little arms around Spock’s neck.

“Thank you for saving my daddy.”

Jim wiped the moisture from his eyes.

“You are very welcome, Lily. Any time,” Spock told her.

Jim glanced up at his handiwork. “Looks good.”

Lily, still held by Spock, turned to look. “Hope they work.”

Jim laughed. Wiped his eyes again. “Me too, angel. Me too.”