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HOW SPOCK SAVED CHRISTMAS or What happens when a practical Vulcan gets fed up with drama

It was the day of winter solstice in the northern hemisphere on Sol III; the shortest day of the year.

Jim Kirk stared out into the gray drizzle from the picture window of his San Francisco apartment and wondered if it was snowing in Iowa.

Spock walked in the door with a clatter of hard cases and boots. The apartment was too small for storage space, so they kept some things in a facility across town. Spock had just returned from retrieving them.

The plastic resin cases were dripping with rainwater. Spock brushed past Kirk, who had come forward to greet him, on his way to the kitchen to get a towel to dry the cases off.

"Four days until Christmas," Kirk said sarcastically.

"Do you intend to murder another conifer this year?" Spock asked, returning from the pantry.

"No, just a few boughs. A wreath, maybe." Kirk looked at the depressing stack of cases. "I hate decorating for the holidays. You know the worst part? Taking it all down again."

Spock stopped, and looked up from his task. "And yet you insist upon honoring this tradition every year."

"Well, no sense in breaking traditions, Mister Spock." Kirk waved his hand. "Carry on."

Spock watched his mate wander away. Evidently something, or some memory, had put him in a foul mood. Spock had long observed that humans' moods could be volatile around holidays. They were at turns depressed and elated, nostalgic and anxious. Spock ran the towel over the lip of the last case and set it aside. It was time to prepare their home for the winter holidays.

-//---//-

It was two days before Christmas. Hanukkah was already over, and the Solstice Jam had been held the week before; numerous other winter celebrations were yet upcoming. James Kirk was interested in none of them.

What was there to celebrate? Walking home through freezing slush in the dark with a daunting load of term papers to grade? Never mind, of course, the papers which had not even been turned in. As for friends and family, Spock was never much fun in this weather, shutting down as if cold-blooded, while Bones had used his semi-retired status to absent himself to Georgia for the rainy winter months. A fair-weather friend indeed!

Kirk was thinking about Bones and his absence, rather sourly, I might add, when he stepped right into the gutter. His shoe was flooded and his sock instantly soaked. The frigid water splashed, or, rather, rocked back from his sudden displacement of it with considerable force, drenching his pants halfway up to his knee. If Kirk had been sour before, he was completely cross now. He trudged home with his very own storm-cloud hovering over his head and practically slammed the door shut.

Naturally, he didn't actually slam the door; it wouldn't do to slam the door in a historic building. If, however, you shut it a bit firmly, it made a satisfying sound, a sound which no doubt sounded thunderous to Spock.

Spock, it seemed, had anticipated him. He was waiting for him once he came in the door, so still and calm as if he had been standing there always. Finally, his gaze travelled down to Kirk's sodden feet. Seeing the soaking Kirk had gotten, he raised an eyebrow. "Would you like--"

"Save it," Kirk said curtly, and proceeded to strip off his drenched clothing in the hallway. "I have papers to grade, so you probably won't see me for a few hours," Kirk informed him. "Or days."

"Jim," Spock said, making the name an earnest request. His beleaguered husband turned around.

"Yes, Spock?"

"Is there any way I can help?"

-//---//-

Kirk stretched and wriggled his toes before carefully placing the PADD he'd been working off of all evening onto the floor. Twenty student papers were enough to read for one night. The others could wait.

He turned towards his companion on the sofa. Spock's body had warmed and soothed him while Spock's considerable intelligence had kept him amused as he made his offerings to the scholastic gods. He had been right to accept Spock's offer of aid. Spock was not only his best friend, but by happy chance his spouse as well. How very lucky! Kirk smirked to Spock's interested gaze.

"Kiss me," Kirk said. They had been making a game of this all evening.

Spock smiled and planted his lips on Jim's, letting his mouth part slightly and Jim's warm, wet tongue dart in between his lips to tap the tips of his teeth.

Kirk's palm rubbed Spock's shoulder and traveled down his arm until Kirk could just tease his sensitive hand with the tips of his fingers. Spock relaxed, trusting, for whatever Kirk wished to do with him.

Kirk broke lip-lock and just looked at Spock. He was so happy to have Spock with him. He took Spock's hand, not in the Vulcan way, but in a human way, curling his hand around Spock's fingers.

"Jim," Spock said, seeing his mate somewhat lost in reverie, "I know you have been thinking of home. Why not cancel your classes tomorrow and your prior engagements and visit your mother for a few days?"

Spock had been monitoring Kirk's ill humor, and while he considered himself no doctor in the field of human psychology, he had some small insight into the workings of this human's mind. After a period of diligent introspection, he had arrived upon the reason for Kirk's discontent, with a high level of confidence. Jim had received, as he did every year, an invitation to come home for the holidays, and, as he did almost every year, he had refused.

Kirk's mother was in her eighties. She suffered from various health problems. Thus, Kirk was burdened with the thought that "next year" might be one year too late.

Ingrained habits are stubborn beasts, however. "Spock . . . I can't just cancel class."

Spock raised both eyebrows, as if to say, of course you can!

" . . . At the last minute."

"Then send a notice to your students now."

"Spock, I'm needed here. I can't just blow off duties whenever I feel like it."

"This is not 'whenever you feel like it.' I would submit that the productive capacity of your department at this time is exceedingly low."

"Spock, you, of all people, should understand that Starfleet, as an organization, stands on order and discipline."

"And you, Jim, should understand that officers who are 'stressed-out' and preoccupied cannot perform their duties effectively."

"Don't coddle me."

"I am doing nothing of the sort. As your first officer it was my duty to look after your health and well-being; as your spouse, I hold that the same duty still applies, if not more so."

Kirk let out an exasperated groan and laid his head on Spock's shoulder. "It's not that I don't want to take you up on that offer--it's very tempting, in fact."

"But?"

"But I can't justify . . . I was the only one available . . . there is work to be done. We've got a January 10th deadline coming up and I don't want to cut it close."

Spock knew that what Jim was really looking for was permission, so he gave it. "When you have returned, and your emotional state has, logically, improved, you will be able to make your deadline. Please allow me to give you the permission to take time off. You know that when I believe that you have acted improperly, I am concomitantly critical of your actions."

Kirk was suddenly animated, pointing a finger at Spock. "Why don't you ever feel a need to go home?" he accused, adding, "Special circumstances excepted."

"I am a Vulcan."

"Is that how you intend to settle every argument?"

Spock simply raised an eyebrow, with that faint air of Vulcan smugness. He had been, if not winning, at least ending arguments that way for over twenty years.

"And what are you going to do, in the middle of Iowa, with all that cold and snow and people who do a double-take when you walk by?"

"I suggest we bring appropriate clothing, for the weather, and an appropriate dose of tolerance for the rest."

Kirk closed his eyes and smiled. "You're too good to me." He reached around Spock from the side and hugged. "I think you're too good in general."

Spock stirred. "Am I to take this abundant expression of flattery to mean that you have accepted my proposal?"

"Why not?" He squeezed his Vulcan again. "But," Kirk whispered, dangerously close to Spock's eminently lickable ear, "we can carry out that plan in the morning."

-//---//-

In the end, Spock, as so often, was successful, and the holiday was saved. Kirk spent an agreeable Christmas with his mother and many members of his extended family who all had not heard from him in many years and who, in spite of the foregoing, kept to a minimum their grumbling that Starfleet brass on his chest had made their little Jimmy too good for them.

Starfleet survived the temporary absence of one of their finest without a hitch. Order and discipline marched on without breaking step. Kirk's students took the announcement of their canceled classes as their signal to party, though their spirits were somewhat dampened when they found out that their classes had been merely rescheduled for after the holiday break. Bummer, man.

Spock went nowhere without at least three layers of clothing, and had an interesting time in Kirk's home state. When Bones decided to show up the day after Christmas, the holiday was complete.

That night, Spock sat by the warm glow of the space heater and observed Kirk, McCoy, and one of Kirk's cousins in animated conversation over brandy. They looked happy and contented, by human norms. Spock was pleased. A job well done. Spock anticipated that when he reported back, the dean of Starfleet Academy would be most satisfied.

All's Well That Ends Well

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