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What a way to step off the monofandom bus! I said it was ridiculous, and pointless -- and then I was hooked. The rest of the Shack stories can be found here.

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Jim stopped to catch his breath. They'd just cleared the high point of the hike, and the view rivaled anything he'd seen on any other planet. No matter how far he went, this would always be home, this planet, this sky.

He looked back at Spock, who was bent over, examining some of the local flora. Jim smiled; he'd long since given up on insisting Spock conform to his methods of relaxation, and there was something endearing -- and reassuringly familiar, not to say human -- about the Vulcan's insatiable curiosity.

"Find something unusual?" He was glad that this shore leave hadn't happened in a colder season. Spock could deal with the thinner atmosphere up here, but the cold would have made such a trip impossible, and Jim really wanted to share this with him. He hadn't been up here in decades, but Chekov had confirmed that there was still some sort of building at the site, and they'd have thermal tents, if necessary.

Spock looked up at him. "Yes, Captain. It is rare to see this variant so far south."

Jim laughed and stretched, the sun warm on his face. "Just Jim, Spock. I want to forget all about the ship and being Captain for a week." He sat down on a nearby rock, untying his boot to find the rock that had slipped in on the hike up.

Spock raised an eyebrow. "I find that hard to believe."

Jim imitated the raised eyebrow. "You don't think I can let go for a week?"

Spock regarded him quietly for a moment, as if considering his words. "I believe...that you will find it difficult to restrain yourself."

Jim looked up and grinned devilishly, letting his eyes drift over Spock in his jeans and flannel shirt. On him, such common human garments looked exotic, and damn sexy. "Oh, I didn't say I was going to try." He wasn't close enough to see Spock's face flush, but he did see the minimal shift in body language, which for Spock was tantamount to a convulsion.

"I didn't--"

Jim laughed again. "We should be able to see the cabin just over the rise." He finished tying his boot and looked back at Spock, who stood there looking both awkward and faintly pleased. "I'm glad you came with me."

Spock moved to stand in front of him. "I look forward to seeing a place that holds such good memories for you."

"You don't think I'm being foolishly nostalgic?" Jim looked off over the valleys and mountains, thinking back to his last trip here. "It was a great summer."

"I don't see anything foolish in honoring your grandfather this way."

Jim smiled. "He was a cantankerous old coot, but I learned a lot from him. He was fascinated by people who went off into the wilderness, the miners, the farmers, the trappers. We spent the whole summer looking for remnants of old camps and mine shafts, digging through trash piles and privy dumps." He stood and picked up his pack. "I'm not sure any of it was entirely legal, but I don't think he cared." He checked for Spock's reaction. His spine may have gotten a bit more rigid, but it was hard to tell.

"He didn't have permission to excavate?"

"I'm not sure we even had permission to be in the park. Grandpa wasn't much for formalities and regulations." Spock didn't say anything, but his eyebrow went up again, and this time, Jim was the one who blushed.

"C'mon. We're almost there."



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