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Spirk (with a small dose of Pinto)

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November Flashes

Flash Fic, November 30, 2020

The Thought of You is Consuming Me….

The Clothes they’d wear

It was easier for him to come to my estate. I stayed there alone during the off season save for a few servants who looked after me. My family, consisting of my mother and brother, preferred to stay in London full-time, only coming to the country estate rarely.

I knew that for my mother it held too many memories of the husband she had lost far too young, and for my brother, he wanted not only to look after her, but he liked to be closer to the action of London, even in times when the social set were absent.

I preferred the comfort and solitude the country afforded me, now more than ever, when I could have visits with Chris.

The middle of autumn was among my favorite times at my estate. The weather was crisp, clean and pure. Far away from the soot and smoke and dastardly fog of London. The leaves turned. The truly cold air made your lungs feel like you were indeed alive. And the nights by the fire, sipping port with my lover. Yes, I loved this time.

Chris would come and see me a few days at a time, and whatever he told his family, he never elaborated. It was our time together and we allowed no one else to intrude.

Chris was always provided a room of his own, though he never stayed in it. He always slept with me, even on the rare nights it didn’t become physical between us. I kept very loyal, well compensated servants at the estate who knew not to gossip or question our arrangements.

After my cook prepared our least meal for the day and the staff cleaned up, assuring themselves I needed no further care, they went off for the evening, to their homes in the village or on the estate itself, and left Chris and me to ourselves. They never returned before late morning, knowing neither of us were particularly early risers.

I suspected they were as loyal and efficient as they were because as serving positions went, my requirements were really quite low and easy, allowing them a lot of free time. When I was not there, they had even less to do, though I continued to pay them to care for my family’s home and lands.

One late November night, after they had departed, Chris and I lounged together on a sofa in the library, sipping port. He had positioned himself so that he was between my legs, his back against my chest, as he read some heavy tome he had chosen from said library. I pretended to read the London newspaper, but I was more interested in the port and watching him.

I loved the way his tongue poked out as he read a particular passage in the book. He was adorable. The whole thing struck me as rather domesticated, though I knew we could never truly be a couple accepted by our peers.

One day, perhaps not soon, we would not be allowed this amount of freedom. Yes, we would still meet. Still steal as much intimacy as we could. For the rest of our lives, as we had vowed. But these were times to be treasured. Before such demands of society changed this.

“Mmm?” Chris leaned back further to glance up at me, his head lying upon my chest as those blue eyes searched mine.

“What?”

“You’re thinking quite loudly tonight, Zachary. What’s on your mind?”

“You,” I admitted. “Us.”

Chris smirked. “Do you wish for me to put the book away so we can retire to bed then?”

“No,” I murmured. “I have been enjoying this.”

He patted my hand that I had resting on his thigh. “Me too.” He took a sip of his port. “But let me know when you’re ready. You know how engrossed I can be.”

I did know and it was one of the many, many reasons I loved him.

I brushed my fingertips over his hair and then went back to my London news and that wonderful feeling of domesticity.     

And that is a wrap for November….on to my Spirk Hallmark Christmas Story.

Flash Fic, November 27, 2020

I hadn’t always been eager for the arrival of my son, to be honest. We’d had a tumultuous relationship for many years.

Nobody could argue I hadn’t handled things well after his birth as the Kelvin died and my son’s father right along with it. Not even me.

I was long haunted by the final sound of his voice just before it winked out forever.

At first I had drowned my sorrows in a lot of drink, something I came to realize Jim did as well. It was tough for me to raise two boys on my own, one who would never know his father, and the other one full of a burning, bitter resentment at not only the loss of the father he barely knew, but at being left behind while his father and I were on the Kelvin. Left with grandparents that had long forgotten what it was like to deal with a young curious boy.

I suspected that leaving George Samuel with George’s parents had been wise as I wasn’t sure if he’d had survived the Kelvin. Many of our friends had not. While it was true George’s actions had saved some eight hundred lives, he couldn’t save all of them, no one could. The Kelvin’s captain had been among the casualties.

And it was the tormented grief of a widow left behind with those boys that caused me to drink and make the terrible choice of Frank.

Frank who’d driven George Samuel away for good, as neither myself nor Jim ever found out what happened to him once he hitchhiked out of Riverside one particularly difficult day.

Both of us tried, sometimes together, sometimes apart, to learn my older son’s fate, but never with success. That grief stays with me always. And my own inadequacy.

I know there are those who judge me lacking as a mother, but certainly never as much as I judge myself.

Frank who’d sent my youngest son away to a colony called Tarsus IV that nearly destroyed him and likely changed him forever.

And it was those actions that finally opened my eyes to how awful Frank truly was.

When Frank left, or I made him leave, I got my son back. Damaged yes. And a stranger. We were both strangers to each other.

I had quit Starfleet at last, lucky with the drinking, I suppose, that they hadn’t dishonorably discharged me, and taken on the task of raising my son, as I certainly always should have done.

But it wasn’t at easy between us at first. When he was just a teenager I had to bail him out of jail for a horrific fight he’d gotten into. He would never tell me exactly what started it, but there were others that told me things were said about him and his family, things he had been unable to tolerate.

He was eighteen before I stopped the drinking. He’d had to clean me up after one particular nasty binge, and the next morning he had looked at me with blue eyes so like my own, and they were hard like ice.

“I won’t ever do that again.”

He meant it.

And I decided right then, I would never give him a reason he’d have to.

We became close then, I told him about his dad, and we bonded in a way we hadn’t before.

We became estranged again when he came home one night, bruised and battered, after getting in a fight with some Starfleet thugs in a downtown bar.

After I was done fussing over him and his injuries, declaring angrily I intended to contact those in charge to file charges, Jim told me he was enlisting the next morning at Christopher Pike’s urging.

We spent the better part of the night arguing about this decision. I’d been filled with a dread I could not shake that he would end up just like George. And maybe George Samuel. And Jim was all I had.

But Jim was the most stubborn of all of them combined and in the morning he had kissed my forehead, told me he loved me, and left anyway.

There were those who thought I should express pride in Jim’s decision. They simply did not understand what it was like to lose everyone you ever loved.

We didn’t speak for a while. Me because the second most stubborn person I knew after Jim was me. And Jim because he decided it was better not to worry me.

When he died after Khan, and yes I learned about it, and I visited him in a San Francisco Starfleet hospital, I think my point had been paid. I never expected him to be revived, but I had expected him to die.

But this time, I didn’t let go of him. I’d learned some lessons myself and become less stubborn. And though I still didn’t get to see him nearly enough, and he still didn’t tell me how many times he almost died, we kept in touch, and I loved him.

I’d been absolutely thrilled when he notified he was getting very rare shore leave on Earth and pretty much giddy when he revealed he intended to spend those days with me in Riverside at a farmhouse that was suffocatingly lonely most of the time.

He further thrilled me by notifying he was bringing with him, his new significant other, his first officer, Commander Spock. He had written me about the change in their relationship, but I had never met the Vulcan.

And they were coming in November, and it made me decide I had to have a feast. Not at all for a prodigal son, but for being thankful. Thankful for my beautiful, heroic, and alive son, who seemed to suddenly happy to be with Spock. And thankful for that Vulcan, who at last chose my son over everyone else.

Yes. I was eager.

So eager that I awaited their arrival at the shuttle bay, not waiting for them to come to the farmhouse.

Jim did not appear to be at all surprised when he saw me waiting. He nudged the tall, dark haired man with him.

“Told you,” he said with a grin.

And as they approached, I immediately approved of and liked Spock just by the indulgent affection he had in those dark eyes of his for my Jim. He won me over instantly.

Jim and I embraced for a very long time. It had been years since I got to hold my son, and I had missed him painfully. His hold of me was tight and comforting. I didn’t want to let go of him and I was frankly of the opinion I wouldn’t want him to leave to return to his beloved Enterprise either.

But finally, Jim pulled back, gentle and sweet, as he touched my cheek and smiled at me. He turned to Spock.

“Spock, Mom. Mom, Spock.” He laughed. “Obviously.”

“It is very much a pleasure,” Spock greeted me.

“Oh, it’s all mine, believe me. I can’t wait for us to all go back to the farmhouse.”

Jim gave me a smile. “Us too. But…oh wait. There’s one thing.”

I looked a question at him. “What?”

“Well.” He exchanged a look over my head with Spock. “A surprise.”

“A surprise? Oh, Jimmy, you know I don’t like surprises.”

He laughed. “You’ll like this one.”

And then suddenly as if appearing by thin air, a very tall, sandy haired man with familiar blue eyes appeared next to Jim and Spock.

My heart stopped, then quickened to a rapid pounding, my lungs seizing, as I knew him instantly, though I had not seen him since he was a boy.

My eyes filled with tears as he came toward me, arms outstretched. I flung myself at my older son, who squeezed me tight.

I looked over at Jim with blurry vision and mouthed “How?”

He shrugged. “Surprise.”

And I burst into tears completely lost for the day.

But it was okay. Amazing even.

Amazing.    

Flash Fic, November 25, 2020

Once more we spend time with Jim and Spock from the Who Does Spock Wake Up With series of flashes (last seen around Halloween)

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

Jim is nervous bringing Spock to meet his mom. There’s nothing wrong with his mom and nothing wrong with Spock, for that matter, but he’s never taken that kind of step before and it feels big.

There’s a short break from the Academy that allows them to make the trip to Riverside by Shuttle. Since it coincides with what used to be Thanksgiving where Iowa is, Mom has decided to have a feast like they did before to show gratitude for what they have.

Jim reminds her several times Spock is a vegetarian but even though he is sure he must be annoying about it by now, Mom dutifully accepts the reminders and tells him not to worry.

He’s not left Spock out either. He’s told his boyfriend many times not to expect much, they live in a simple farmhouse outside of Riverside, there’s nothing fancy, and it might be cold.

“Yes, so you have said,” Spock says again, as they finally board the shuttle.

Jim’s palms are sweaty and he feels a little queasy and he knows it’s all ridiculous. Mom will love Spock and Spock will be nice to his mom. He has nothing to worry about.

Except he loves Spock. He does. And as he’s sitting on the shuttle making their way to his mom’s idea of an old-fashioned Thanksgiving, Jim wonders if he’s ever said those words to Spock. Spock’s a touch telepath, yes, and Spock is always touching him, so surely he knows, but maybe Spock wants the words. He replays all their interactions in his head, mostly to distract himself.

Then he recalls that yes he has and he lets out a sigh of relief.

“Thank God.”

“Jim?”

“I…I was trying to remember if I had said I love you. You know out loud.”

“You have.”

Jim smiles. “Yes.”

“And I returned that declaration.”

His smile widens. “I remember.”

Spock takes Jim’s hand. It is under a table on the shuttle that is placed in front of them so they can enjoy beverages should they wish to, so the sight of their clasped hands is mostly hidden from anyone nosey enough to pay attention. Jim doesn’t think anyone is.

“Everything will be well, Jim. There is no need for such nerves.”

“Yeah. I’ve just. It’s a lot.”

“Wait until you meet my father.”

Jim laughs because Spock says it so dry he thinks Spock is trying to lighten things up with a joke. Spock’s lips are curved upward a tiny bit. And Jim has met some of Spock’s stodgy Vulcan friends.

“Is the point of the upcoming feast to show what one is grateful for?”

“Yep.”

Spock squeezes Jim’s hand. “I am most grateful to be with you and to have you invite me to meet your mother.”

Emotion overwhelms Jim’s ability to speak, but he leans in and gives Spock a very quick, chaste kiss.

He’s not less nervous, not really, but he feels good, and knows Spock is right. Everything will be well.

Flash Fic, November 23, 2020

We will see these two cuties again in 2021. The “so far” only roommates!

Photo by Edward Eyer on Pexels.com

It was nearly time for the winter break at the Academy and Spock’s roommate, Jim, had not said anything about what his plans were for the break.

Spock was, of course, merely curious. Whatever Jim decided to do would have no direct effect on him. And yet, one evening as the date quickly approached, Spock decided to ask.

It was a Friday and Spock anticipated Jim would likely go out to party as most cadets do. Jim didn’t do it that often, Spock noticed, but he did it certainly more than Spock.

Jim was dressed quite casually, nonetheless, wearing a pair of faded and ratty looking jeans, a burgundy tank top, and nothing on his feet. He was putzing, as he called it, around the kitchen.

“Jim, are you planning on vacating the dorm during the winter break?” Spock asked.

Jim was spraying whipped cream out of a can directly into his mouth when Spock asked. He took a moment to swallow, lick the cream from his lips, and then set the can on the counter.

“Nah. I’m not going anywhere.”

“No?”

Jim shrugged. “As you know, my mom’s on her ship. She’s pretty much the only family I have these days since my bro took off when I was just a kid. No need for me to go back to Iowa to an empty house. I figure I’ll just stick around here.” Jim smiled. “How about you? You going to Vulcan?”

Spock inclined his head. “I thought to stay here also. I had considered spending the break on Vulcan, but since my parents were just here and I visited with them, I have decided to forgo a visit at this point.”

“Oh. Cool.”

Spock hesitated. “Unless you wished to spend the break alone here.”

Jim laughed. “Why would I care about that? We’re living together in this dorm now. The break doesn’t make any difference. Hey, we can keep each other company.”

“Indeed.” Spock found himself somewhat pleased at this prospect. “Are you headed out tonight?”

“Nope. Gonna stay in. Get a pizza and watch old time Christmas movies on the couch.”

“That sounds…interesting.”

“I don’t know about that.” Jim grinned and then took out his communication device, presumably to order his pizza.

Spock wanted to ask to join Jim, but words failed him. He had hoped Jim might say something rather casually like, ‘want to watch with me’, but he didn’t. And Spock was far too shy to insert himself into Jim’s plans.

Yet he was surprised to hear Jim’s pizza order.

“Two cheese pizzas. One with vegan cheese please. Yep. Okay.”

Jim smiled at Spock. “Be here in about forty minutes.

“Jim, you ordered one with vegan cheese.”

“Sure. Aren’t you going to want some?”

Spock blinked. Did not answer at first.

“You aren’t going to join me?”

“I…am. Yes.”

Jim’s smile brightened. “Then vegan cheese. Trust me. You won’t regret it. It’ll be fun.”

Spock cared not at all for the holiday movies, but he was pretty sure Jim was correct. He would not regret it.  

Flash Fic, November 20, 2020

It was all over except the goodbyes. And they were happening.

It was, admittedly, a huge relief to Spock. He’d never really wanted everyone over, of course. It wasn’t that he had a problem with their guests. Really, he did not.

But life with Jim was still so new and special, he didn’t really like anyone interfering with that. And then there was all the fuss Jim had gone through.

His boyfriend had risen early and spent all day cooking and fussing. They had so much food left over, even with giving care packages to their friends and family, it couldn’t put a dent in it. They would never eat it all.

The pie contest had been called as a tie, thankfully. And perhaps Spock had a little something to do with persuading the judges to declare it so. But at the end of the day, Jim and McCoy seemed satisfied.

Jim lingered at the door, hugging everyone. Well, except for Spock’s dad.

Finally, Jim closed the door, with promises to have breakfast with his mother in the morning, and dinner with Spock’s parents’ tomorrow night. Still far too much socializing.

Spock looped a finger in the belt-loop of Jim’s pants and pulled him away from the door, turning him around to face Spock, then drawing him into his arms.

Jim sighed wetly against Spock’s neck, snuggling close. “God, I’m exhausted. I think I’m barely standing.”

“It is no wonder. You were up early and overdid everything.”

“Anything worth doing is worth overdoing,” Jim muttered against him. “Everything was so good too. I’m happy about the way it turned out.”

“You should be. I believe everyone considered it an enormous success.”

Jim pulled back to smile at Spock. “Yeah?”

“Very much so.” Spock kissed him. “What are your plans now, my love?”

“Clean up and then veg on the couch with a big turkey sandwich.”

Spock stared at him. “You wish to continue eating?”

“Well.” Jim laughed. “Sure. It’s a tradition.”

Spock shook his head. “You go relax on the couch, I will clean up.”

Later, when Spock was done, he went to check on Jim, who was snoring away. With an affectionate sigh, he leaned down, scooped Jim up and carried him to their bed.

“Didn’t get the turkey sandwich,” Jim mumbled.

“Tomorrow.”

“For breakfast.”

Spock shook his head and leaned down toward Jim. “Goodnight, Jim.” Spock kissed his forehead. “And happy gathering. Next year, I hope we will be in space.”    

thank you, this concludes this little short series of vignettes on this Academy couple.

Flash Fic, November 18, 2020

Photo by Nishant Aneja on Pexels.com

Spock watched as his boyfriend frantically ran back and forth through their apartment, making food for their friends and family. He did what he could do to assist him, but Jim often shooed him away, declaring he wanted to do most of it himself.

Spock had finally been sent out to get more tea, he thought they had plenty, and whipped cream. It was a little chilly out, so Spock had dressed himself in the sweater Jim had given him for his last birthday.

But as he stood there, Jim didn’t even seem to notice he had returned. And he smelled something burning.

“Jim. Something has burned…”

Jim stopped and gave him a look. He looked crestfallen. “I know. I burned the crust of one of my pies. Now I have to start all over.”

“Start all over…Jim. Didn’t you make three pies?”

“Yes.”

“Won’t the other two pies be enough? Considering McCoy is making a pie as well, that seems more than enough.”

Jim sighed. “It’s not. And anyway I can’t possibly let Bones beat me in pie making.”

“What is the difference?”

“You just don’t know me at all!” Jim threw up his arms and turned away from Spock.

Spock decided he desperately needed meditation. He loved Jim. He did. So much it was nearly overwhelming in the best of times. These were not the best of times. When he got like this, Spock just did not know what to do.

He put the tea and whipped cream on the counter and left to their bedroom to meditate and leave Jim to overdo.

Spock reemerged later to find Jim lying on the couch, asleep.

He saw three perfectly baked pies cooling in the kitchen and many other dishes Jim had made ahead of time. Many of them were vegetarian.

Spock knelt down next to Jim on the couch. His recently acquired glasses were crooked on his face. Spock carefully removed them, set them aside, and leaned down to kiss Jim gently.

Jim opened his eyes and stared at Spock. “Hi.”

Spock smiled very slightly. “Hello Jim.”

“Are you mad?”

“Not at all. Are you?”

“Course not. I didn’t mean to make you leave.”

“It was best for both of us that I meditate. May I suggest that tomorrow you allow me to assist you?”

“I’ll try. Want to join me here?”

Spock looked at the small couch. “Not a lot of room.”

Jim smiled. “Not a lot needed. Come on. I see you’re cold. Sweater looks good on you.”

Spock kicked off his shoes and placed himself on the couch after Jim moved over. He was right, there wasn’t really enough room, but as Jim’s body was mostly on Spock’s, he found he did not mind.

Tomorrow all their friends and family would invade, and he would have no time alone with Jim, but for now…this soothed him.

Flash Fic, November 16, 2020

A Continuation from 11/13

“They’re just migraines, babe. Nothing at all to worry about,” Jim assured Spock as he sat on the edge of the exam table.  

“I will be the judge of that.”

Bones snorted. “Actually I will.” Bones ran a medical scanner over Jim. “When did these headaches start, Jim?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know.”

Spock sniffed. “Three weeks ago. He has them nearly every day.”

“Traitor,” Jim muttered.

“Mmm.”

“Let me put you through some tests.”

“Can’t you just give me a shot or something?”

“We’ll see.”

“You coming Saturday?”

Bones rolled his eyes. “You know I am. Pie in hand.”

Spock frowned. “Another pie?”

Jim nodded. “Bones and I are having a pie making contest. Whoever makes the best pie is king of the pies.”

“And?”

Jim looked at him. “That’s it. They just get the title of king of the pies.”

“Illogical.”

“Your granny,” Bones cracked.

Spock sighed. “Is this an apple pie contest?”

“Yep,” Bones replied. “Nobody makes a better apple pie than the McCoy family recipe. You’ll see, Jim. You’ll be crying all Saturday afternoon.”

“You wish.”

“Why would Doctor McCoy wish you to cry all afternoon?”

Jim smiled. “Cause he’s a meanie.”

“Ignore him, Spock. He’s just afraid he’s gonna lose and everyone will throw his apple pie in the trash.”

Jim stuck out his tongue and McCoy put an instrument on it. “Hey!”

“Actually, Jim, I don’t think you’re sick.”

“See!” Jim crowed triumphantly.

“The headaches?”

“Pretty sure it’s eye strain. Too much computer work. I’ll test him to be sure but Jim just needs glasses.”

Jim mumbled.

“What was that, Jim?”

“I have some, I just don’t wear ‘em. Make me look like a geek.”

“It’s not the glasses, Jim.”

“Shut up, Bones. Mom looked into getting my eyes fixed when I was a teenager but I was allergic to all the treatments. My eyes got better.”

“Apparently not,” Spock said calmly. “He will wear them.”

“Probably need new ones if the ones you have were when you were a kid. We’ll get that started too.”

Jim sighed. “Fine. Damn eyes.”

“They are quite beautiful,” Spock told him.

Jim smiled.

Bones retched. “I’m right here you two, love birds. I’ll be right back. With a shot.”

“I thought you said I just need glasses.”

“I’m a meanie remember?” Bones smiled evilly and departed.

Jim sighed, pouted, and said, “He really is.”

Flash Fic, November 13, 2020

Starting today through the 20th I’m doing a series of sorts (13, 16, 18, 20). I am combing suggestions made by Jay, Evening and Kris to make this short series of November flashes. This is basically a new Spirky Academy Couple created for these four fics.

Photo by Tom Swinnen on Pexels.com

“Why are we here again?”

Jim laughed at the disgruntled look on Spock’s face. He knew that Spock didn’t really understand any of this, but he appreciated Spock’s efforts to indulge Jim in it.

“To pick apples. It’s an apple orchard.”

Spock looked at the trees before them. “Obviously.”

He smiled. “I’m going to make an apple pie. You know for our gathering.”

The “gathering” as Jim called it was to take place that Saturday at Jim’s and Spock’s apartment in San Francisco.  Their friends were coming. More importantly the parents were coming. Well…Jim’s Mom. And Spock’s Mom and Dad. Jim had been rather surprised Sarek was coming, but Spock had advised he was.

Jim was getting rather carried away, he knew. Had plans of roasted turkey and stuffing for those who ate that way, and several vegetarian dishes. And pies. Two or three kinds.  

“Jim, do they not sell apples in the market?”

He laughed as he climbed up on a ladder to pick apples. “They sure do, Spock.”

“Then I fail to comprehend the hassle of coming all the way to this orchard.”

“Apples in the stores are not the same. This pie has to be amazing.”

Spock pursed his lips as he held up the basket for Jim to drop the apples into. “Do you not think you are getting a little carried away with these extravagancies? All of this trouble for just a couple of hours on Saturday?”

“Yep.” Jim grinned.

“You agree that you are getting carried away or that it is too much trouble?”

“To both.” Jim gazed down at Spock indulgently. “I want to make a good impression. Besides our family and friends are worth a little bit of trouble, don’t you think?”

“You are overstressing yourself. Your headaches—”

“Are something I can deal with.” He got off the ladder and took the basket from Spock. “It’s gonna be great.” He leaned in to kiss Spock. “And I’m going to be fine.”

“Very well.”

“We’re done here. We can go back to the city now.”

Spock nodded, seeming pleased.

“There’s a Harvest Festival right next to the Academy. If we hurry, we can make it.”

Spock’s steps faltered and he barely hid his grimace. But to his credit, he simply said, “if you wish.”

Jim laughed. “You look like you might actually mean that. Bravo.”

“Jim—”

“I’m kidding, Spock. Well, there is a Festival, but no, we’re not going.”

“If you really want to go I will make no objection.”

“Nah, I’m good. Let’s go home. We can spend the rest of today in bed.”

Spock’s pace quickened then and Jim grinned.

He knew how to get his Vulcan interested.  

Flash Fic, November 11, 2020

I want to thank all of our Veterans for their service for our country. And I want to thank the family of Veterans for the sacrifices they have all made in support of their loved ones.

Photo by Maria Perez on Pexels.com

Jim kept by his mother’s side through the entire service dedicated to her deceased husband and son. George of course many years ago in service for Starfleet. George Samuel, far more recently. Though his death was as a result of an invasive alien organism on the planet, Deneva, he’d been working for Starfleet in the labs there.

His mother remained fairly stoic throughout the service until they handed her the folded United Federation flag. Then she had collapsed into Jim’s arms.

They went to her hotel room after. He’d asked her if she wanted to go to a restaurant, but she hadn’t wanted to be on display there, and Jim couldn’t blame her. She would be returning to Riverside in the morning.

Jim ordered room service instead. Tea and coffee and all kinds of food that the four them likely could never finish.

Spock stepped up to stand beside them as they both watched Winona Kirk speak softly to Peter Kirk, Sam and Aurelan’s surviving son. He would go to Riverside with her in the morning, to be taken care of by her now. Aurelan’s parents had passed on more than five years earlier.

“You are well?” Spock asked, softly.

“About as well as can be expected.”

“I know what it is like to lose a sibling.”

Jim looked at him. “Yeah?”

“One day perhaps I will tell you about them.”

“Them?”

“Mm. The important thing is you and your family now. I was surprised they’d never had a service for your father.”

Jim shrugged a little. “They had one for all those lost that day, not Dad specifically. At the time, she didn’t want one. But with Sam’s death, well, she arranged it for both of them.”

Spock touched his fingers to Jim and Jim smiled a little.

“Thanks for being here.”

“I could be nowhere else.”

Jim squeezed his arm, kissed him lightly, and then turned to his mom and nephew. He walked over to where they sat talking, kneeled down, and hugged them.

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