They were out by the barn. Jim getting wood for the fireplace. His mom checking on the pony she’d bought from Mr. Jenkins up the road.
They, he and Spock, were there in Riverside in November to visit Jim’s mom. It would be a short visit. They were on leave. Jim had been surprised when Spock wanted to come with him. He supposed Spock’s recent breakup with Uhura had left him with no one to spend it with and no particular place to go.
They’d arrived that day. Had barely settled in.
“What’s between you and your first officer?” Mom asked.
“Between us?” Jim shook his head as he loaded wood into a wheelbarrow. “What do you mean?”
“I see the way you look at each other. There’s more there than friendship, isn’t there?”
Jim laughed. “No. There’s nothing between us like that, Mom. Honestly it took forever to even be friends.”
His mom frowned and came to sit on a little stone wall near where he worked.
Jim took a break from loading wood to go and sit by her. “The first time we met it was at an assembly to accuse me of cheating on a test he’d programmed. He detested me. Then when the distress signal came from Vulcan and we were on the Enterprise, well…”
She hadn’t heard any of this before. She hadn’t told her.
“We had a…a fight. We disagreed on what was to be done to battle against Nero. You have to understand, Mom, he loathed me at that point.”
She pursed her lips. “Go on.”
“He had them dispose of me.”
“Dispose of you?” she asked sharply. “Just what does that mean?”
“He sent me off the ship in a pod that landed on Delta Vega.”
“The ice planet?”
“I don’t understand. Isn’t that against Starfleet regulations?”
Jim shrugged slightly. “Yes. Save for the appearance of…of another…I would have lost my life there. It was inhabited by giant creatures who wished to make a meal of me.”
Jim looked away. “Even now I sometimes think of that time. When I returned to the Enterprise, Spock…tried to strangle me.”
She stared at him, coldness in her eyes. “And how is it that he was not brought up on charges?”
“It was a long time ago and his mother had just died.” Jim shook his head. “I’ve made peace with it.”
“I’m glad you have because I’m furious!”
“Mom.” He reached over and took her hand. “I don’t tell you this to make you hate Spock. It’s just…I’m explaining why it took us so long to even be friends. Until recently he was in a long term relationship with a human woman. We’re friends now. Good ones. But there’s…Spock isn’t interested in me that way.”
She sniffed. “Well his loss.” She patted his leg. “I’m going to go get dinner started unless you need help.”
“No, I got this.”
A few minutes after his mother left, Spock approached and began to help him put wood in the wheelbarrow.
“You done with meditating?”
Spock seemed pensive and kept glancing Jim’s way.
“May we speak, Jim?”
Jim straightened. “Sure. What’s on your mind?”
“I…I was unaware you still thought about your time on Delta Vega.”
Jim looked at him in surprise. ”You heard?”
“It was not my intention to eavesdrop. I did overhear though.”
“Well. I can’t lie. Sometimes I do think about that. I’ve dreamed about it.”
“Jim, I would never—”
He held up his hands to stop him. “I know, Spock. I know we aren’t there anymore.”
Spock stared at him, dark eyes tumultuous. “I have definitely been too subtle.”
“Jim, I wished to come with you because—”
“You had nowhere else to go?” Jim guessed. “I mean we didn’t have time to go to New Vulcan.”
“I did not wish to go to New Vulcan. I chose to come with you because I want to be with you.”
Jim blinked. “Uh. Like-like a friend?”
Spock slowly shook his head.
“I am uncertain as to what that response means,” Spock said.
Jim nodded. “Then let me show you.”
He stepped forward, grabbed the collar of Spock’s sweater and pulled him into a deep kiss. He smiled. “Well?”
“Enough talking.” Spock pulled him into his arms and covered his mouth with his.
After a few more minutes, Jim stepped back, eyes shining. “Let’s go start a fire. Mom’s going to be surprised.”
“I do not think she likes me.”
Jim laughed. “She’ll grow to love you. Trust me.”
“I’m already there.” He took Spock’s hand. “To the future.”