When Jim steps outside of HQ onto the streets of San Francisco, he realizes he has forgotten that it’s the Christmas season. Around him everywhere are decorations. Holly, garland, reindeer, tinsel, red bows. Everything that seems ubiquitous with Christmas.
It’s strange how he forgot and yet, well, he was busy. Dealing with Nero and the Narada. Saving Earth (but not Vulcan). Getting promoted to Captain. Weird how he goes from hated cheater Cadet to Captain of the Enterprise. Jim doesn’t think anyone else has ever done it. He should be proud of that but…
And it’s not that he has anyone at all to spend it with.
Frank’s gone, thankfully, and hardly missed by anyone, and in a way that’s sad, but Jim supposes had Frank wanted to be missed when he was gone, he should have lived a better life. Sam is…Jim doesn’t know. His mom doesn’t know either and the two of them have come to accept that.
And as for his mom, she’s on the planet, er, Morose, no that’s not it, Montrose 4, something like that. Surveying something.
Jim currently has no significant other. Or insignificant for that matter.
He just manages not to jump when he feels a hand on his shoulder, squeezing it from behind. He turns and offers a smile to Bones.
“Hey. Merry Christmas.”
“Merry Christmas. And congratulations, Captain.”
Jim’s sure he’s far too sensitive and reading way too much into things but the way Bones says it reminds him of the nasty sarcastic way Uhura had said it on the Enterprise. She was nicer after it all but still…and Bones’ tone smarts somehow.
“Thanks,” he says, softly. He knows not to give any of this turmoil inside him away. “Where are you off to?” Because something in his friend’s stance leads him to believe he’s going somewhere.
Bones smiles. “Got a date. Going to have Christmas Eve dinner over at her place.”
Jim falters for a second, realizing he didn’t even now it was actually the 24th. Hmm.
Bones is watching him now and Jim knows his face has given away too much after all.
“You, uh, want to come with me? I’m sure you’ll be welcome.”
And Jim is sure he’ll be far from welcome no matter what Bones says. He refuses to be that pathetic in any case.
“Oh no. No. I’ve got…somewhere to be myself.”
Bones seems brightened by the lie and doesn’t even question it, so Jim knows he did the right thing. He pats his friend’s arm.
“Have a good time, Bones. See you after the holiday, okay?”
“Sure. You bet. You can’t get rid of me, kid.”
Bones gives him a brief hug before hurrying away, throwing a “Merry Christmas” over his shoulder as he goes.
Behind him the doors to HQ open again and Jim wishes he hadn’t looked, because out comes Spock and Uhura. He withdraws against the building’s shadow, so they don’t seem him. He’s really not in the mood for them.
Uhura links her arm with Spock’s and they walk in the other direction from where Jim stands.
“Dodged that one,” he murmurs out loud.
Jim doesn’t know why, but he turns and begins walking toward the hotel that generally temporarily houses Federation dignitaries. He’s heard that Ambassador Spock whom he met on Delta Vega is staying there and Jim suddenly finds himself with an urge to go there and see him.
Spock might not even be there, Jim guesses, he’s not sure when the older Vulcan is taking off to do…well, whatever. And if he is there, he may have company. He’s a fascinating person and likely has a million visitors.
Jim manages to sweet talk the hotel clerk to learn the floor and room number for Ambassador Spock. And before he can talk himself out of it, he rides the lift up to the sixth floor and knocks on number 675.
If he got the wrong room, he’s going to be embarrassed. He probably will be anyway because the elder Spock will probably think he’s nuts.
It takes a little long for the door to open and Jim almost leaves, tail metaphorically between his legs, when it finally does.
And he’s actually relieved that it’s the Vulcan himself who opens the door and not…well whoever.
“Hi.” The word is far from brilliant, but he finds himself kind of tongue-tied. The old man looks good, better than he had on Delta Vega. He’s wearing this big fluffy robe, like an Earth bathrobe rather than Vulcan attire, and his steel gray hair looks damp.
Spock looks behind him, like he expects someone other than Jim, and when he doesn’t see anyone, he finally says, “Come in.”
“I don’t want to interrupt anything.” But he absolutely does and anyway he steps inside the hotel room, suite really, anyway.
He’s even more relieved yet when the hotel room seems to be empty save for Spock.
“Clearly you are not. I was in the shower, my apologies for the delay.”
“No, sorry. I mean I came unannounced.”
He can see Spock is a little puzzled as to why he’s here but is too polite to ask.
“I, uh. I had nowhere else to-to be-to go, I mean.” Jim sighs. “It’s Christmas Eve.”
“Though I’m guessing that’s not exactly something you care about.”
Spock inclines his head. “My mother was Jewish, though not really practicing.”
Jim nods, moistens his lips with his tongue. “Sometimes we acknowledged it and sometimes not. Frank thought…”
Jim shakes his head. “It was frivolous and lame. When it was just him with us instead of Mom, he wouldn’t let us do anything for it. He was my stepfather. He’s gone now.”
“And your friends?”
“Gone too. I mean, doing their own thing, I guess. I don’t know. I didn’t really want to bother anyone. And then I thought about you and…the meld you did with me on Delta Vega.”
“Have you eaten?”
“No. I’m kind of…” He almost said starving but that’s not really true, as he knows about that. “Hungry.”
“Sit, Jim. We can order room service.”
Spock smiles slightly. “Yes.”
And so Jim sits on the little sofa in the sitting area of the suite and Spock sits beside him on the little two-seater, and hands him a PADD that has the hotel room service menu.
Jim smiles at Spock. He smells good, Jim thinks, and for some reason his pulse races. He looks away to the menu.
“Order what you wish. Since it is Christmas Eve perhaps you wish some festive dishes.”
Jim notes they do have some listed. For some reason this excites him. He ends up ordering way too much. Egg nog, cookies, sweet breads, chestnuts, cheeses, crackers, nuts. Just so many things and Spock encourages him.
When it arrives, he laughs. “I’ll never eat all this. What was I thinking?”
“It’s fine, Jim. We will share.”
And they do, in rather companionable silence. It doesn’t feel awkward at all and that makes Jim very happy.
When he’s finally had enough, he turns to Spock with a smile. “Thanks. For this. And for not throwing me out.”
“There is no way I would ever do so. You are always absolutely welcome with me.”
He thinks about the other Spock and how much he hates Jim.
Spock seems to know what he’s thinking, because he says, “I believe eventually you will form a positive relationship with my counterpart, Jim.”
Jim doesn’t question how Spock knew where his thoughts were. There were plenty of things he doesn’t get about Vulcans.
“I don’t think that will happen. I’m pretty sure I’m never going to see him again.”
“Why do you say that, Jim?”
He shrugs. “I’ve heard through others from the Enterprise he plans to be part of the rebuilding of the Vulcan race. I can’t even blame him for that. So yeah, whatever you had with the me from your universe, that’s not going to happen here.”
Spock places his hand on Jim’s. “We shall see.”
They change the subject then and after sharing tea, Spock brings up what Jim said when he first arrived.
“I was, uh, wondering if we might do another meld. Between us. Or will, will that cause you pain?”
“It will not. But the last one we did, it seemed to cause you discomfort. Are you certain?”
“Maybe some,” Jim admits. “You had a lot of emotional pain.”
“As did you,” Spock tells him, which startles him.
“You – you could get that from me?”
“Yes. A normal meld between us would not necessarily cause you the same discomfort. I am willing to try if you wish. But…I am curious as to why you request it.”
Jim wonders the same, but he remembers seeing other things beside what happened with Romulus.
“When you touched my mind, I…I saw some thing that made me curious.”
Jim laughs. “I think maybe there was more to you and Jim then you’ve admitted to?” He lowers his gaze and blushes a bit. “Or am I wrong?”
“Jim, look at me.”
“You are not wrong.”
Spock places his hand on Jim’s face, spreading out as he had before. He speaks the words and suddenly his mind is joined with Jim’s.
The experience is not like the first meld at all, instead it’s joyful, comforting, warm, and unexpectedly loving. Jim feels euphoric.
He isn’t sure how long the meld lasts, but pretty soon he finds himself in Spock’s lap and they are kissing.
Jim pulls back when he needs to breath, his eyes shining and searching Spock’s, and what he sees convinces himself this is right, this is wanted on both sides and he returns to kissing.
In the morning, Jim wakes up in the older Spock’s bed. It had been an unexpected night of passion, and while Jim suspects Spock viewed him as a substitute for the Jim he really wanted, Jim is okay with that. That Jim could not be around for this Spock anymore. And Jim knew he would never have this with young Spock. He really believed he would never see that Spock again.
Jim can smell coffee and cinnamon rolls. He gets out of the bed and seeks out Spock and the scents.
“Good morning Jim.”
Spock is in his fluffy robe, pouring coffee from an urn and there beside the urn on a tray from room service were the cinnamon rolls.
It’s the best Christmas Jim can ever recall and he knows he will remember it always, no matter what else life brings him.
He accepts the coffee gratefully with a smile.
And it is.