Jim glared at the star on top the Christmas tree and then stood back to inspect it, hands on hips.
“No, it isn’t.”
Vanik sighed. “Yes. It is.”
Now he glared at the boy, but he moved to stand next to him so he could see what Vanik saw.
He screwed up his mouth as he looked at the tree topper from this way and that. “Nope, not crooked.”
“I believe we should get a third opinion.”
Spock who had been sitting on the couch working silently on his PADD and doing his best to ignore Jim and Vanik as they decorated the freshly cut tree they’d carried into the apartment a short time ago.
“Come see if the star is crooked on the top of the tree.”
Spock gave a resigned and put upon sigh, put down his PADD and rose from the couch.
“I advised that I did not desire to be part of this unnecessary merriment.”
Jim looked at him and then lowered his voice, “And I advise you if you ever want to get lucky again, you’ll give your opinion.”
Spock cleared his throat. “Let me observe the tree.”
Vanik, arms folded across his chest, stared Spock down. “I am quite certain it is crooked.”
“Go and get a snowball cookie,” Jim told him.
Vanik shrugged, always willing to have a sweet, and left to fetch one in the kitchen.
Spock angled his head as he studied the tree, then he glanced sideways at Jim.
Jim frowned, already knowing what Spock was going to say. “It’s crooked, isn’t it?”
“A very small amount.”
“Aha!” Vanik crowed from the kitchen.
Spock stepped toward the tree, adjusted the star and stood back with Jim. “There, that is better.”
“Vanik, is it?”
The Vulcan boy came back to the tree. “Yes, that is better.”
Jim sighed inwardly. Two Vulcans to one Human. “Okay, thanks, Spock. You can go back to your oh so important task.”
Spock looked as though he was considering things. Then with a shrug, he said, “I suppose I could help decorate the tree for a time.”
Jim smiled. “Yeah?”
“Yes, of course.”
“Can we get a pizza?” Vanik asked, picking up a box of decorations.
“Aweee. Fine.” Jim smiled and touched Spock’s fingers with his own, then winked.
I couldn’t really find a satisfactory picture, so you get snow
Sort of a continuation of the one in November when Jim went outside when Sam arrived and Spock brought him his a coat
“Dinner is almost ready.”
Jim bit back an irritated, snarky ‘I’m not hungry’ and instead managed to grumble, “Okay.”
He thought his mom would go away then and leave him alone. But though she might not have been born a Kirk she somehow managed to get the Kirk stubbornness, nonetheless.
He was sitting on a raised log by the barn. As long as Jim could remember this same stupid log had been in the same place. It had been used as a sort of bench for decades. His mom sat beside him instead of going back into the house where it was warm and she belonged.
A short time ago he’d sent his frozen husband inside to get warm.
“You know it wouldn’t hurt you to try to get along with your brother. You’re both adults now.”
“I didn’t know turning eighteen made all the pain go away.”
He sighed. “I’m trying.”
“Not very hard.”
He shot her a look. “What do you want from me?”
“What do you want from me? He’s my son too. What was I supposed to do? Tell him not to come? He’s hurting and he needs a place to stay right now. He’s going through some serious stuff. And what was I supposed to tell you? No, Jim, don’t come for the holidays, your brother will be here.”
“No. I don’t know. It’s just…every time I look at his stupid face I just want to punch him.”
“So punch him.”
Jim rolled his eyes. “I can’t punch him.”
“Sure you can. Maybe it’ll help.” She shrugged. “He might punch you back.”
“That’ll go over real well with Spock.”
“The Great Christmas Fight of Stardate 2266,” she cracked.
Jim laughed, he couldn’t help himself. And yeah she’d intended that. Moms were manipulative that way.
“Come on inside. I made all your favorites.”
“All of them?”
“Yep. And I have eggnog and…brandy.”
“And I’m pretty sure I saw Spock taking a bite of a chocolate bar.”
He rose from the log, grabbed her hand to pull her up, and put his arm around her. “Okay, Mother mine. Let’s go inside.”
The thing of it was the planet was charming. Jim couldn’t agree more. He still didn’t want to be a part of the holiday festivities.
They’d arrived there a few days on a routine mission to update Starfleet on the colony there. Everything had gone well. The colonists decorated for the Terran holidays and the main city even had snow.
Therefore when the powers that be indicated they could have shore leave there, Jim seeing an eager crew, agreed
Everyone had been thrilled, because they couldn’t get to Earth in any reasonable fashion, but this was almost the next best thing.
And so they were basically “parked there” for the next several days of some R and R.
Jim wasn’t anti-holiday or celebrations, he was just so behind on everything and really wasn’t in the mood to watch happy couples canoodle in front of him. Spock and Uhura being the number one couple he had no stomach to view.
It wasn’t only them. Jim had been feeling a bit lonely even before Altamid and Yorktown, in all honesty. His random carousing days were mostly behind him and he sought a much more mature, loving connection with someone.
Except the one he wanted seemed forever out of his reach.
Of course his desire to stay on the ship for shore leave didn’t stop Bones from coming by his quarters to pester him.
“Come on down to the surface with me, Jim.”
Bones frowned. “How come? You like shore leave. And I understand there are some pretty sexy women there.”
“Not interested in sexy women,” he muttered.
“Sexy men then. Whatever floats your boat.”
“Right now getting this work done is what’s doing it for me.” Jim waved his hand. “But please. You go and have a blast. Tell me all about it. Sing a few carols for me.”
In the end, though Bones tried to argue with him, Bones went down without him.
He was relieved and still oddly hollow.
Perhaps it was the video call he’d had earlier that day with his mom where she told him she was sitting in the living room of the farmhouse watching a fire made with real wood, sipping eggnog with brandy and enjoying her young grandson, Peter, who had arrived with his father and mother for an Earth visit. He found himself wanting to be with family or…someone who loved him.
Jim was listening to music when some of the crew arrived with a fresh cut Christmas tree to Jim’s quarters courtesy of Bones.
He couldn’t deny it put a smile on his face.
He had no decorations for it, but Ensign Mason advised another crew member would be arriving with lights and decorations.
Jim realized after they left they had not said who. He suspected it was either Bones or perhaps his yeoman.
He’d been working on reports for some time when he head a strange mewling. It was soft and somewhat whiny and for the longest time he was trying to decide where it was coming from.
Jim rose from his seat and went over to the tree the crew had placed in the corner. He bent down and peered inside.
Way far in, near the trunk, was a tiny fluffy little feline creature that greatly resembled an Earth domesticated cat. It was fluffy white like the snow.
“Where did you come from, little one?” Jim reached in and grabbed the little fluff ball, cradling it in his hands. “It’s all right, I won’t hurt you, I promise.”
It had big blue eyes and they stared at Jim, wide and uncertain. But then Jim smiled and used his thumb to gently rub the creature’s head and it began to purr much like an Earth cat.
“God, you’re cute. Were you hiding in that tree?”
Just then someone rang his door. “Come.”
And in stepped, to Jim’s surprise, Spock. The Vulcan carried a shopping bag.
“Jim, what is that you are holding?”
“I. uh, I don’t know. It…” He paused to study the little thing. “She was hiding in the tree Bones got me. What’s that you have?”
“Decorations and lights for your tree.”
“Aren’t you spending time with Uhura?”
Spock looked at him quizzically as he approached Jim and the kitten creature. “Why would I be with Nyota?”
“We are not a couple, Jim. And have not been for months.”
Jim frowned. “How did I not know that? And, wait, are you calling me Jim?”
Spock arched a brow. He set the bag down. “What will you do with her?”
“Uh, I guess, I should contact them down there and see if this is a wild animal they want back.” She crawled up Jim’s chest and snuggled into his neck.
“She appears to want to stay.”
Jim smiled. “Yeah she does.” He searched Spock’s gaze. “And you? Do you want to stay, Spock?”
“I’m afraid the storm is just getting worse, m’lord. It’s best not to travel to the country right now and stay in London.”
Of course Zach knew his solicitor was right. The snow had begun in London that morning and instead of letting up, it snowed harder, the wind picked up to be a biting cold, and visibility was next to nothing. It would be far too dangerous to travel England’s country roads by carriage.
He’d briefly thought of taking his stallion and making his way to his country estate, but even he knew that was foolhardy. It just wasn’t going to be the Christmas he had planned for. Perhaps, weather permitting, he’d get the chance to be reunited with Chris on Twelfth Night.
“Yes, you are correct, of course. And speaking of, it’s time for you to go home to be with your family, Jenkins. I’ll see you after the new year.”
After that, Zach spent the rest of the day sending the rest of his servants on their way so that he’d have his London residence to himself, at least until the next afternoon.
“I’ve set out your dinner in the dining room, sir,” his housekeeper, Mrs. Anderson, advised. “And I’ll be back in the morning to prepare your breakfast.”
“No, no, don’t bother. I won’t be up for hours. I plan on sleeping in. No need to come tomorrow until about two. And if the storm is worse, don’t bother coming until the day after.”
“Now, Mrs. Anderson, be on your way.” He pressed some extra coins in her hand. “And Merry Christmas.”
“Thank you, sir.”
And she was the last of those he dismissed. He was now quite alone in his London home and on the Eve of Christmas.
Zach ate his dinner of roasted goose, vegetables and a Christmas pudding.
Later he sat in his parlor, sipping some sherry and staring glumly into the roaring fireplace. He was feeling a bit sorry for himself to be sure. And it certainly it wasn’t the only Christmas he’d ever spent alone. And once the storm passed, he could travel to the country and eventually see his lover.
At some point he must have fallen asleep because he woke to the unmistakeable sound of a key in his front door.
Straigtening, he got up from his settee, left his parlor, and made it to the front entryway in time to find the door opening and Chris stepping into his home.
Snow covering his hair, Chris laughed, and closed and locked the door. “Happy Christmas.”
And as he went into Zach’s arms, he murmured, “It is now.”
*Kind of has a Cyndi Lauper’s I Drove All Night feel to it I think*
Spock found the boy sitting on a raised bench, legs dangling off and swinging above the stars that passed by.
This was a new feature of the rebuilt Enterprise and something Spock had yet to make use of. To his knowledge no one he personally knew had before this.
To get to the raised bench, which was high above the glass that looked over the stars, one had to climb up a set of stairs and then slide across the bench, at least to where the boy sat swinging his legs. Fortunately the action didn’t make the bench swing, but Spock did wonder how much it would hurt should the boy dislodge himself onto the glass belong.
When he was in place beside the boy, Spock waited for his attention before speaking.
Eventually the boy, approximate age eight, flicked an unreadable glance at Spock before returning to the view of the stars.
“I like to watch the stars.”
It was voice was much higher and softer than the adult voice Spock knew so well.
“Did you watch them a lot in Riverside?”
The boy nodded.
“Do you know who I am?” Spock asked.
“Yes. And what is your name?”
Spock nodded. “You left the Christmas party in the rec room.”
“You don’t like Christmas, Jim?”
Jim shrugged. “Sometimes. When Mom is home, it’s nice. But…I have this stepfather.” He eyed Spock. “Frank.”
“You’ve met him?”
“Not directly,” Spock hedged. “Your…older self made me aware of his existence.”
Doctor McCoy was fairly certain Jim’s de-aged child self was a temporary condition. As Jim’s husband, Spock, of course, hoped so.
“Well, he doesn’t like celebrations,” Jim explained. “One year, Sam, that’s my brother, and I dragged up the artificial tree from the basement and Frank made us put it back. He was always doing stuff like that.” Jim shook his head. “I don’t like him.”
“Would it make you feel better to know that now in this time, Frank is deceased?”
Jim’s eyes widened. “What happened to him?”
“He was…” Spock paused. The details didn’t need to be shared with this young Jim. His adult mate knew well enough. “He passed away unexpectedly.”
“Was Mom upset?”
“No, she was not. Your mother and you enjoy a close relationship now.”
Jim looked doubtful but nodded.
“Are you hungry, Jim?”
“A bit, yeah.”
“Then you should come back to the party, there are many good things to eat. And there are people there who wish to welcome you and make this holiday special.”
“Will you be there?”
“Of course I will.”
Jim nodded. “Ok.”
Spock was relieved. This sad little Jim tugged at his heart strings. “You need assistance getting down?”
Eight-year-old Jim snorted. “Do you old man?”
A short while later, they entered the party, and Spock was not surprised when the crew gravitated toward little Jim. The crew loved adult Jim too. But Jim kept an eye om Spock the whole time, so Spock never could leave.
It was a couple of days later when Jim, his Jim, finally emerged. Spock had never known such relieved contentment.
“Hey, we need to do a holiday party,” Jim told him.
“We already did it.”
Jim laughed. “Right. But I don’t remember it and since I’m the captain, I say we have another one.”
Spock, simply grateful to have his husband back, agreed, though pretending it was reluctantly.
In some ways Spock wished he had been around when Jim was a child so he could slay Jim’s dragons, but at least he’d gotten the chance when Jim was older. And though it didn’t make up for Jim’s childhood, Spock was glad.
“Come see Santa Claus. Bring your child to Santa. This way.”
Spock stopped in front of the building to stare openly at the…he wasn’t quite sure what he was seeing.
“What are you supposed to be”
“A candy cane.”
Spock nodded, slowly. “I see.”
“It’s for charity. It was either this or…”
Spock arched a brow.
“A reindeer costume.”
“Either is unbecoming of a starship captain.”
Jim looked disgruntled. “Do you want to put this on here and direct children to Santa?”
“A monetary donation would have saved you some dignity.”
“Listen mister if I wanted to be dignified—” Jim huffed. “You know what? Never mind. Go away. Or go talk to the reindeer, I don’t care.”
“Who is wearing the reindeer costume?”
Spock tilted his head. “You are assuredly the cutest candy cane I have seen.”
Jim snorted and rolled his eyes. “Don’t try to play nice and flirt with me now. Scram.”
“When will I see you back at the apartment?” Spock asked politely. “I was planning on serving latkes for dinner. And I found a vegan recipe for the sufganiyot.”
“Soon,” Jim assured his husband. “I only have an hour before my relief candy cane arrives.”
Spock bowed slightly. “I will await you.” He raised his fingers to touch his to Jim’s and then decided there was no real place to touch Jim because of the costume. And so with a shake of his head, he left Jim to his charity work.
A wee bit early for Hanukah this year but here it is. And you can decide TOS or AOS, I see this as TOS, but your mileage may vary.
I sometimes like to include recipes here in December so here’s one for Spock’s Vegan Sufganiyot
“Over the ground lies a mantle of white, a heaven of diamonds shines out through the night, two hearts a-thrilling in spite of the chill in the weather,” Jim sang.
“I can assure you my heart isn’t a-thrilling,” Spock retorted sarcastically.
Jim gave his first officer the side-eye. At the moment they were sheltered in a cabin on the icy planet known commonly as Delta Vega. Jim was pretty familiar with it. Unfortunately.
“It’s from a song, Spock.”
“Kind of an introduction to Winter Wonderland. Done a million years ago by the Eurythmics. That version anyway.”
“I don’t consider this a winter wonderland.”
Jim closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the flimsy wooden wall. He counted to ten.
It was a cabin that had seen better days. It had been abandoned likely decades ago. He was surprised there had ever been such dwellings here. When they returned to the Enterprise, if they did, he’d have to look that up. The old man had never mentioned it to Jim when he’d been there all those years ago. Of course Nero had stranded him there just before Jim came across him so maybe he hadn’t known either.
So that left Scotty…who’d been stationed there.
“What are you thinking?”
Spock had surprised him by the question.
“That you are rethinking agreeing to see where our ‘relationship’ could go.” Jim used air quotes.
“I am hardly thinking that. And is that really what you were thinking just now?”
“No. I was thinking about the last time I’d been on this iceberg.”
Spock visibly flinched and then lowered his gaze for a moment.
“Hey, it’s okay.”
“At least we found this place before any of the Jim eating creatures showed up,” Jim said, trying and failing to inject humor. Spock’s face was stony.
And really, if anyone had a right to be offended because Jim almost got eaten it surely had to be JIM.
Jim sighed and moved closer to Spock under the emergency blanket they were snuggling under.
“This is nice.”
“Do you really not want to dump me?”
Spock made a derisive noise. “I do not want to dump you.”
Jim smiled and rested his head against his shoulder. “We’re going to miss the holiday party.”
“Jim, do you really think they will continue to have a party while we are missing?”
Jim chuckled. “I guess not. So, we can have it when we get rescued. IF.”
“We will certainly be rescued.” Spock took Jim’s hand under the blanket and held it.
With renewed vigor, Jim sang, “To sing a love song while we stroll along, walking in a winter wonderland.”