“You said you’d carve a pumpkin with me.”

Sam gave his brother a nasty look. “I changed my mind. Another day.”

“But it’s almost Halloween and you said—”

“I’m not going to carve a damn pumpkin with you, all right? Halloween sucks and you’re too old to be dressing up and going trick or treating and carving pumpkins.”

Jim stood there holding the pumpkin he’d wanted to carve. He could feel the sting of the tears pooling in his eyes, and the painful lump in his throat.

Sam crossed his arms in front of his chest. “Anyway, you need to grow up. Things are going to change around here.”

“Change?”

“That’s right. I’m making plans to split.”

Jim blinked, aware that dislodged some of the tears he’d fought to suppress onto his cheeks. “You can’t leave.”

“Watch me.”

“Keptin, we’re beginning the pumpkin carving contest. Didn’t you want to compete, sir?”

Jim forced a smile as the memories of Sam’s cruelty and abandonment got pushed aside. “I think there are plenty of competitors, Ensign. I’ll be happy to judge.”

Chekov nodded. “Okay, Keptin.”

Jim was aware of Spock moving over to appear by his side. “Hey.”

“You are not participating in the festivities?”

“Not these ones, no.” He sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. “The whole…pumpkin carving thing sort of brings up some memories from my childhood I’d rather forget.”

He remembered throwing and destroying that pumpkin he’d picked out of so many at the pumpkin farm after Sam’s rejection. It made him sad the instant he’d smashed it to bits. All it had done was upset him, not Sam, and Jim figured he’d learned an important lesson that day.

 He turned to face Spock when he realized the Vulcan was watching him carefully.

“What?”

“I do not like it when you are…melancholy.”

“Sorry, sweetheart.”

“You owe me no apology. I know that this relationship is new for both of us, I just do not know what to do to clear the clouds I see in your eyes sometimes.”

Jim smiled and put his hand on Spock’s arm. “You’re doing good, I promise. Help me judge these things?”

“Of course. Though I am not certain I can be entirely unbiased. Nyota has entered.”

“Yeah? What’s she doing?”

Spock paused. “Us.” Jim laughed. “This I gotta see.”

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