And so October flashes begin!

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“Oh. Hey kid.”

Vanik was pleased when Jim stepped aside to allow him to enter the apartment Jim shared with Vanik’s Uncle Spock. He glanced around, already anticipating Jim’s Halloween decorations throughout the apartment.

Jim closed the door and turned to Vanik with his usual congenial smile. “Would you like a snack?”

“I would, yes.” He followed Jim into the kitchen. Jim always kept the best snacks. Spock didn’t prior to meeting Jim. Vanik was responsible for their relationship and he was quite proud of that.

“Cheese flavored chips or pretzels?”

“Where are the decorations?” Vanik asked rather than respond to the question. He didn’t really want to make a choice, he wanted them both.

“Hmm?”

“The bats, the skeletons, the ghosts. It’s October.”

“October third.”

“Yes you had two days to begin.”

Jim shrugged. “I’m going light on decorations this year.” He pointed to the coffee table. “I have a pumpkin.”

“That’s it?”

Jim smiled. “Chips or pretzels?”

“Both?” Vanik said hopefully.

“A kid after my own heart. Both it is.” Jim got out a giant plastic bowl and filled it with the cheese chips and pretzels.

Vanik started munching as he sat on the bar stool next to the kitchen counter. “Uncle Spock won’t eat these, huh? Since it’s got cheese dust.”

“Well, yeah, and he thinks their messy. His loss.”

“Indeed.”

Jim eyed him with a sudden frown. “Put those chips down.”

“What?”

The adult grabbed his arm, surprisingly gently, and brought him into the kitchen, pointing to the sink. “Wash those hands. You’re wearing your school uniform and your Uncle Spock and parents are gonna kill me if you get stuff all over it again.”

“But I want—”

“I’ll put you in a big T-shirt. Just clean up and we’ll take off that shirt.”

A few minutes later, back perched on the stool munching chips and pretzels, Vanik said to Jim, “You are wise.”

Jim laughed.

“You’ll need more decorations for the party though,” Vanik said, returning to the reason he had come.

“Party?” Jim paused with a beer bottle halfway to his mouth.

“Halloween. If you will recall you had one the last two years. It will, admittedly, be difficult to top last years.”

“Uh.”

“What does uh mean?”

“I hate to break it to you, kid, but we’re not having a Halloween party this year.”

“You…are not?” Vanik scrunched up his face.

“Nope. Parties are a lot of work and expense, Vanik. Your uncle and I decided not to have it this year.”

Disappointment washed over him, but with a heavy sigh, he popped another chip in his mouth. “Got any strawberry milk?”

Jim rolled his eyes and went into the fridge for a small bottle that he handed to Vanik. They kept the milk especially for him and Vanik loved that.

“What are the plans for Halloween then?”

“Scary movies, snacks, and cuddling on the couch.”

The door to the apartment opened then and Vanik’s uncle entered. He stopped short on seeing Vanik, then shook his head and reclosed the door.

“Did we expect you today?” Spock asked.

Vanik watched as he came to Jim and gave him a quick kiss. Spock had definitely changed. Thanks to Vanik, of course.

“No. I came to check on the Halloween plans.”

Spock frowned. “Halloween plans? We are not—”

“I know. Jim told me no party. What snacks are we having?”

“What?”

Vanik took a sip of his milk. “I’ll skip the cuddling. I can sit on a chair instead of the couch.”

Spock glanced at Jim, who smiled serenely. He turned away then, pinching the bridge of his nose. “I am getting a headache.”

Vanik looked to Jim. “Snacks?”

Jim laughed. “We have time to think about it.:

He nodded satisfied and realized, mournfully, between he and Jim, the chips and pretzels were gone. He sighed regretfully and slipped off the stool.

:”It is fortunate that Mother, Father and I now live in the same apartment building as you,” Vanik declared as he made his way to the door.

“Yes it is,” Jim agreed, amiably.

Jim was a good egg, Vanik thought. And he said his goodbyes, retrieved his school uniform shirt, and left.

For now, of course.