Advent Day 11

“I’m so tired of this, Bones.”

“About time,” Bones replied. “I told you not to go out for a second five-year mission.”

Jim sighed glumly. “It’s not even that. I heard from my mom. Back home it’s the holidays and it’s snowing. And Sam’s there with Aurelan and their son, Peter. Did I tell you she’s expecting again?”

“Congratulations.”

“I’ve never even met Peter and now there’s going to be another one.” Jim shook his head. “I’m never going to have a family. Not like that.”

“Well, it would be hard for you and Spock to have kids. At least in the same way Sam is with Aurelan,” Bones pointed out.

“Yeah. It’s just…sometimes.”

Bones frowned as he took a sip of his coffee in the mess room. “Don’t tell me there’s trouble in paradise, Jim.”

Jim snorted. “Hardly paradise. I wanted to put up a Christmas tree and I got ‘that’s illogical’.”

“What did you expect from Spock?”

“A little more consideration? I don’t know. It took so long for us to get together, Bones, and admit our feelings. Was it too late or something? Maybe I should have given up a long time ago. You know Carol wanted to get married and have a family but—”

“You were too hung up on Spock.”

“Yeah. Is it too much to dream of a white Christmas?”

“On a starship? Yeah I think it is. Are you saying you don’t love Spock anymore?”

“No, of course not. I just…sometimes what you want doesn’t end up being as great as you thought it would be, I guess. Of course I love Spock. And I don’t know, maybe I should cut him some slack. He’s not Human. Not fully anyway. And his mother was Jewish. He doesn’t have any experience with Christmas trees and all that.”

“What you’re saying is you’re feeling homesick and left out.”

“Yeah.” Jim laughed a little. “Yeah. And I really hope Mom and the rest of a great time. I just wish I was there, that’s all.”

****

Jim woke to the smell of gingerbread and smoke from a fireplace. He sat up, frowning.

“Spock?”

“Who’s Spock?”

Jim’s head turned quickly to see his brother, Sam, standing in his bedroom doorway.

Wait, what?

“Sam? What are you doing here?”

“Aurelan and I were coming for Christmas, don’t you remember? It’s Christmas Eve. Mom said to come wake you up.”

“But when—”

“We got here about an hour ago. Get dressed and come down. Mom has coffee made.”

Jim looked around the room after Sam left. It looked like his bedroom in Riverside, but he hadn’t been there in years. There was no sign of his boyfriend either.

He got out of bed and went to the bathroom. While there he peered at himself in the bathroom and realized he looked about five to ten years younger than he was. Weird.

He found jeans and a pullover sweater and got dressed.

When he got downstairs he still saw no sign of Spock. He did see his mom in the kitchen and Sam and a very pregnant Aurelan in the living room by the tree. No sign of Peter. It looked like maybe Sam’s wife was pregnant with Peter at that moment.

He wouldn’t know as he hadn’t known her when she had Peter. He’d never met Aurelan in person. Only over a video chat. Sam had met and married her on the planet, Deneva.

“Mom?”

“Oh there you are, honey. You got your wish.”

He stared at her. “Wish?”

“It’s snowing. It’s a white Christmas.”

He followed her gaze to the window and saw that, yes, snow was falling.

“Coffee’s ready. Help yourself. I’ve got gingerbread in the oven. You want some breakfast?”

“Uh. Okay.” Jim went to the coffeemaker and poured himself some.

“What time is that girl coming?”

He turned and stared at her. “Girl?”

Mom laughed. “Your fiancé. Or so you say. She’s coming today, isn’t she?”

“Fiancé,” he said faintly.

“Mm hm. Ruth.”

Jim had no clue who Ruth was. He didn’t know a Ruth. He blinked and looked around the house.

“You okay?”

“Not sure. I…I think I had a strange dream last night.”

“A dream? What kind of dream?”

“I was the captain of a starship—”

“Jim,” she interrupted sharply. “We’ve had this discussion. No Starfleet.” She shuddered. “We lost your father thanks to Starfleet. And you almost weren’t born. No more Starfleet.”

His head hurt. He took a sip of the strong brew. “Well,  it was a dream I guess. And I had this Vulcan boyfriend.”

Her eyebrows shot up. “A boyfriend? All you’ve done was chase girls. And don’t forget Ruth.”

Except he had. Or he thought so anyway.

There was a knock at the door and he automatically went there to open it to a blonde, pretty woman who grinned at him.

“I’m here! I can’t wait to meet your family.”

“Ruth?”

“Of course, Ruth,” she said with a laugh. She threw her arms around his neck and kissed him soundly. “Merry Christmas, Darling.”

“Jim, close the door, you’re letting in the cold.”

Jim did and then Ruth linked her arm with his and he moved away into the rest of the house where everyone waited to meet her.

“I’m Ruth,” she declared. “Jim’s fiancé. It’s so great to meet all of you.”

Aurelan smiled her welcome. “We’re happy to meet you, too, Ruth. Jim’s so settled since he met you.” She glanced at Jim’s mom who was talking to Sam. She lowered her voice. “Jim had been talking about joining Starfleet.” She shuddered. “For obvious reasons we all hated that idea.”

“Oh, don’t any of you worry. There’s no way I’m letting Jim join Starfleet. He’s going to stay grounded right here on Earth. We’ll have children and make a home here.”

“Here?” Jim asked, absently. It all seemed so strange. It was like he was watching this whole scene happen to someone else. They were talking about someone else. He didn’t know any of these people.

Ruth snuggled up to him. “Yes, here. Daddy’s already been looking for a house for us. And he has the perfect job for you in mind.”

“A job for Jim?” Mom put in. “Do tell.”

Sam came up to stand by Jim and he put his arm around Jim’s shoulders. “See, Jim, we can all be a real family. What you’ve always wanted. Look, little brother, it’s snowing harder.”

Sam led Jim over to the kitchen’s picture window where several moments they stood watching the snow fall on the farm.

Jim shook his head. “This isn’t…”

“Isn’t what?”

“Spock,” he whispered.

“I don’t know who that is, Jim. You’re with Ruth. You’re getting married soon and you’ll have a family. Just like me and Aurelan.”

“That’s not what I want.”

“Of course it is,” Sam insisted. “Before you know it, you’ll be happy with Ruth and your family and you won’t even remember the dream of Starfleet.”

“No, I want stars and space and Vulcans and—”

“Jim.”

“I don’t want Ruth or any of this—”

“Jim, wake up.”

Suddenly Jim sat up straight, gasping for breath. In front of him on the bed, dark eyes wide with concern, was Spock.

Spock!

“Oh my God, it’s you.” He threw his arms around the Vulcan and hugged him close.

“Jim”, Spock murmured. “It is all right.”

“Yes. Now it is. Spock, I missed you so much.”

Spock pulled back just a little to look into Jim’s eyes. “I have been right here all along, ashayam.”

“No…you were gone. And there was Ruth—”

“Ruth?” Up went the eyebrow.

“A nobody. It was a white Christmas. What I-I thought I wanted. But what I want is you. Always you.”

Spock’s lips curved upward. “And you have me. Always.” He stood then. “Look, Jim.”

There on Jim’s desk was a Christmas tree, decorated and lit with bright twinkling lights.

Jim grinned. “You put up a tree.”

“Indeed.”

“Thought it was illogical.”

“Well, as a Human, you are. But I want you to have what makes you happy.”

Jim grabbed Spock’s hand. “You are what makes me happy.”

Spock sat back on the bed and drew Jim into his arms, kissing him thoroughly.