He cannot find any logic in this. The more he observes, the more he is puzzled and unable to understand.
Obviously he knows what the whiteness is made of. Snow, a form of precipitation consisting of conglomerations of iced water that were formed within the atmosphere. The structures, soft and granular, are called snowflake and it has been proven that every snowflake has a different shape. Tiny cloud droplets cooled and grown by the deposit of the vapor on their surface to then fall due to their growing mass, when they are too heavy to be sustained by the air.
Scientifically speaking, he could cite every article he ever read about the phenomenon of crystallized water falling from the sky; he can recall the exact and long explanations of this peculiar formation. However, what he is witnessing has little to do with science, and a lot to do with the illogic of humans.
Because of its unique structure and the conditions necessary for its occurrence, snow equals to cold. Cold, the subjective perception of temperature that is lower than that required by the comfort of the species. The difference between the kinetic energy of the object and the lower thermal energy of the environment. The unpleasant feeling caused by the transfer of thermal energy from skin to air due to difference between the inherent kinetic energy of the two.
1°Celsius below zero. At this temperature, the air entering the lungs “burns”, drying the spongy organ and eventually causing damage if the exposure is overly long. Skin will color while the blood will increase its flow to keep the tissues warm. The extremities are the first to lose warmth and risk the health of their tissues.
Taken the unsuitable and uncomfortable temperature and adding to this the existence of the snow – something he had yet to find a reason for – he cannot understand what brought him to accept.
He made sure to make the necessary preparations. A hat lined with faux fur, his ears securely tucked into it. A warm scarf to protect the lungs from the direct frozen air and shield the cheeks from the harshness of the chilly air. Gloves to protect the hands and avoid any damage to the sensitive fingertips. Thermal undershirt to halt the loss of warmth. Two pairs of socks to keep the cold at bay. A sturdy pair of boots to protect the feet and be able to walk without having wetness seep in.
He has been assured that the cold would be bearable if he wore the puffy down jacket and he – foolishly – had stated that his physiology, used to withstand the harsh temperatures of his lost planet, would be enough.
Indeed, how foolish.
He is freezing. His muscles are shaking to produce additional warmth. He does not understand how he cannot stand the cold. Are humans more suited to such a temperature... or is his human again defying the rules of the universe that asked for warm blooded beings to suffer when exposed to ice.
Jim is almost glowing in the whiteness of the environment surrounding him, his cheeks red and his breath coming out as a visible puff of vapor. His smile is akin to a child’s, even as the red nose predicts the cold that will be coming in the evening. Spock certainly does not look forward it, but he has to admit it – even if the thought is illogical – that it is worth to see his mate be so carefree and so different from his usual self, a necessity dictated by their line of work.
Should he join them as well? Spock asks himself a couple of times but, even though the answer is “yes”, he still does not wish to leave his current location and subject himself to the cold. While he is currently not provided with the warmth of their rooms and the fireplace that is only behind the door, he finds that the porch offers some modicum shelter from the brisk air. Since reaching the open clearing would make his body further suffer lowered temperatures, it is only logical that he does not wish to move from where he stands. Even when a pair of blue eyes finds him and watches him with mild disapproval that does not need to be voiced.
He is Vulcan. He is not made for snow.
He wonders for the fourth time in this past minute why he agreed to spend the end of the year in such a cold place, where the grass is now completely covered by a thick layer of white crystallized water, and, once again, he does not find a satisfactory and complete answer to his query. His mind is unable to provide a clear recollection of the moment he yielded; perhaps it has to do with his mate’s unique talents to manipulate him and pose questions under less than appropriate circumstances.
A decision about the locale of their upcoming vacation should have been discussed at the table and not in bed where two bondmates should be otherwise occupied while enjoying the company of the other. It seems obvious that humans differ in their opinion on this matter; otherwise they would not be here.
He must learn how to resist and wield some kind of authority over his childlike mate but, every time he considers such an action, he finds he does not wish to. In the end, it is Jim who is granted his every wish. One would expect a Vulcan to have learnt how to remain firm after two decades of being bonded, but he has yet to find a way to contend with the fact that James Kirk’s existence bends every rule around him. Vulcan etiquette about a mate’s proper decorum within the family included.
A shiver runs down his back and Spock wishes once again he never yielded so that they could still be in their San Francisco apartment, where the sun is gentler and offers some warmth. When they are done with the day and retire to their bed, he will make sure to initiate a thorough talk with his immature bondmate about the need to care about one’s well-being, as he doubts subjecting oneself to temperatures below the zero is what it could be called “care about one’s health”. Should Jim need the expertise of a doctor, he will make sure to contact Doctor McCoy: it will then be Leonard’s duty to convince their thick-headed admiral that cold does not agree with an aging body that is not suited for such glacial climates.
More importantly, children should not be subjected to the unforgiving cold of a mountain resort. Leonard will see about to that aspect too, once and for all.
Now he will decide to leave his shelter of the porch to take the young one and return him into the house before the cold could beset them both; if Jim wishes to stay outside and get ill then so be it. His reckless companion will learn the lesson: he will make sure to not be the one tending to one ill admiral.
Four point five minutes pass, but Spock still has not found the determination to move and carry out his decision. He continues to stand motionless, his eyes never leaving the two figures playing in the soft whiteness.
Jim appears ten years younger, as stunning and carefree as the first time he glanced him back in the Academy, when he was a teacher and his mate still the unruly cadet – with scores that destroyed the grading curve and the infamy of a repeat offender – who had not taken the first failure of the Kobayashi Maru well. He is a pleasure to the eyes, just as he was then: he can now once again see the boy behind the officer he has come to respect and cherish during the years.
“Spock... Come here!”
It is impossible to resist the magnetic pull Jim exerts on him. He abandons his efforts to do such with practiced grace and thinks no more about his decision to retreat in the house and be firm with the human half of their bond. He is reaching his bondmate before he acknowledges he has done it.
Jim’s face seems redder from so near, the skin flushed similarly to when they are engaged in more pleasurable activities, but there is a fascinating light in those blue eyes so he, pulled in like a moth by the flame, tilts his head to search a brief touch of lips. There is no one around, as they have rented the cabin for themselves, so he can indulge himself with human gestures of affection, like a chaste touch of lips.
Jim’s skin is cold, as feared, but the breath is scorching hot against his own, and Spock knows he needs not to be concerned. A smile threatens his schooled features and his initially scolding expression is fatally compromised; his mate has taken his round.
He is still busy basking in the sight of the happiness on his bondmate’s face when suddenly his vision is filled with white, wetness – prickling, burning wetness – against his cheeks. He manages to retreat two steps before he takes in what has transpired. Jim has the unrepentant grin that many Klingons and aliens have come to recognize and fear in the past decades of their active duty. He should have known better than to lower his guard when in front of his devious and unpredictable human.
The grin opens, showing white teeth, and the blue eyes sparkle with open mirth. Unrepentant indeed.
A high pitched squeal, followed by laughter, makes Spock – still confused by the sudden niveous assault – move his attention from his bondmate just in time to see something coming his way; however, he is stiff from the cold and his body does not react with the promptness he always demands from his muscles. The roughly-rounded object is unavoidable and he find himself the target of another snowball that hits him in the chest. He is not proud to admit that, not only he has not been able to avoid it, but that he also falls back, right in the snow covering the ground.
Immediately above him he can spot two faces sporting the same appeased look and patented grin. One should not wonder why father and son are so much alike, yet he still does – and perhaps illogically wishes the child was not this similar to the human parent. Illogical, indeed, when they are related by genetics.
“Yes, you did it, champ!” Jim beams at their child.
Spock blinks again, unable to take in that he has been handed his defeat by a man and half who have joined forces against him.
He admits to have expected such a childish behavior from his bondmate but not from their son; it appears that Jim has been corrupting their child as well.
“High five, buddy!”
He watches flabbergasted as his two attackers reach out and let the palms of their glove-covered hands hit each other with a muffled sound. He knows the gesture but it still stings to have allowed the two to take him by surprise, as illogical as the feeling can be.
Jim’s grin – it seemed to have been impossible – grows wider, unashamed for the sly attack planned against his supposedly beloved bondmate. It suits James Tiberius Kirk to entice one with a sweet smile before an attack so that the victim does not expect an assault; it suits Spock less to let himself be fooled once again by said sweet smile, as he – after all these years together both as officers and mates – should know better about Admiral Kirk’s unorthodox tactics.
He rises, shaking his head once to shrug off the snow that has surely latched to the hat. He will be having his revenge on his mate as soon as the are alone, no matter how much revenge is unfitting for a Vulcan and illogical when aimed at a husband.
He will, unless he develops a cold, because he already feels shivers run from his back to his whole body.
“Aren’t you proud of our little monster?” the unrepentantly smug look on his mate’s lips morphs into a soft smile. He will do his best to not let himself be fooled again, so he does not reply in word, but limits himself to raise a brow, annoyed. Not as nearly as annoyed as he would wish it to be, if he were sincere.
Jim scoops their child up, the small boy securely fastening his arms around his father’s neck, and Spock is once again stricken by the resemblance between his two beloveds. Same flushed cheeks, same blue eyes lit with happiness and same innocence.
No, he is unable to be strict when they look this way.
“Ah, yes...” he replies to Jim’s enquiry, a hint of fondness seeping in his voice, “ he does have shown to have taken after his father’s attitude for creative strategies...”
“It’ll mean I will kick Klingons too!” their son proudly concurs, drawing an amused chuckle from Jim. Their offspring is learning the language from the bad-mouthed part of their couple, which is something he is concerned about and intends to correct before it’s too late.
“My little Captain’s growing up!” Spock watches as his mate nuzzle a bit with their child, “Next time it’s Gorns!”
He cannot repress the urge to roll his eyes at these words, remembering very well the instance in which the crew of the Enterprise had met the race of the Gorns and, more specifically, how Jim had become acquainted with one of them. He certainly does not wish for his son to stumble upon one of those reptilian beings so he does hope Jim’s influence will not do further damage to the child.
Though his desire has not many chances to come true, judging by the way their son’s blue eyes sparkle with life and childish eagerness to discover new things. Alexander is always like this, eager to learn of whatever they both – but especially Jim – tell him. As Nyota has once told him, it’s must not be easy to have James Tiberius Kirk (nor Spock of Vulcan) as father.
Nyota’s words, truth be told, were numerous and implied much: according to her, Alexander “will either develop a case of father worship case or will hate Jim for being too hero”.
It is clearly the former, for their offspring, for he gazes at his human father with reverence mixed with love that must be strong as the one Vulcans the same age experience and hide – obviously they both do not wish for their child to repress any emotion.
The small hands, safely tucked in the warm gloves, are now fixing Jim’s hat to better cover the rounded ears, exposed lobes too bright pink for the cold. His son in his bondmate’s arm: the sight is pleasing.
Alexander’s caring gesture reminds Spock that he has also met the snow from up close and personal, and he starts shivering in that very moment, with his face wet and frozen.
Jim immediately turns, either picking up his thought or, more likely, remembering the double assault from before.
“Come on, monkey, let’s go get a hot chocolate: your cold Vulcan dad could use some.”
He looks forward more for a cup of steaming hot tea and he is aware that his mate knows the fact as well. Why his bondmate still insists on the chocolate is something that escapes him.
Alexander, despite being a big aficionado of the brown hot beverage, seems to not yet wish for break at the moment. The child whines, claiming to have yet to make the angel – Spock does not know what that means: after retreating into the cottage he will ask Jim to provide an explanation.
His humans have stayed out for half an hour and he believes this to be the right amount of time before returning into the warmth without suffering any complication because of the cold.
His eyes meet his bondmate’s and they silently exchange a look of fondness for their child, so similar to both and yet with a unique personality of his own – although indomitability and stubbornness is a trait he inherited from both sides. It’s never easy to make their son back down when he has decided something and, in this very moment, Alexander has decided he wishes to stay out in the snow some more.
“Time to go before daddy Spock becomes the first snowman with pointed ears, Captain Kirk...!”
Spock raises a brow again, wondering what a snowman exactly has to do with him. He is about to explain that snow is not currently falling and, as such, he cannot become covered in snow, but his attention is drawn to the sight of their son proudly puffing his chest and managing to make a decent copy of the salute. Lately Jim has started to refer to their child with the nickname “captain” – the last of the many his mate has come up with in the previous four point six years – and it is easy to see how much Alexander likes to be referred to in this way.
“Will we be doing a snowman later, daddy?”
He does not stop to look at his beloved blonde pair: he does glance at them out of the corner of his eye as they make their way back to the front door of their cabin, a distance of only twelve point three meters away from them. Though he does not speak, he likes to listen.
“Sure champ. After daddy Spock gets back to the world of warm-bloods.”
His mate surely does not deserve any kind of answer; Jim is obviously cognizant of the fact that his Vulcan mate cannot be considered to belong to a cold blooded race even after being knocked into the snow and used as a target for two children’s amusement.
Their son blinks Jim’s way, probably not fully grasping the concept in Jim’s words, but his human makes no further comment to explain what he meant and Alexander quickly dismisses the matter, more interested in stealing some warmth from his father’s red-flushed cheeks.
His two beloveds are giggling now but Spock’s attention is once again drawn away, this time when he feels something softly touching his cheek. Puzzled, he blinks to then start noticing small white particles coming down from the sky.
Oh. Snowfall then. A most curious sensation, as the small flakes land on his face then melt against his warmer skin. Obviously he cannot find it as wonderful as apparently both his laughing mate and squealing child do, if their giggles are of any indicative value, but he cannot discard it as an unpleasing sensation either.
He tilts his head skywards. It is an odd feeling to be able to see things land from the sky without the impetus to run away to avoid collision. It is not like see the rain because, unlike when water drops fall, he finds himself unable to keep his eyes open without risking something entering. In fact, three and then four snowflakes get trapped in his lashes but it is not uncomfortable.
So, this is the reason why humans, even illustrious admirals famous and known all over the quadrant, in presence of snow revert back to their childhood, playing with their offspring with balls made of crystallized water?
He cannot decide whether he likes the sensation of the iced conglomerations melting against his cheeks or if, instead, he finds it unpleasant to have wet spots of frozen water on his already chilled skin.
He should find unwelcome such a feeling and he should already be condemning this as an illogical reaction, yet he keeps his head tilted in a kind of bizarre fascination for the small crystals falling on him and all around him in a chaotic pattern, almost as if dancing in the air before piling up on the whiteness already covering the yard.
“... fascinating, isn’t it?”
He turns, feeling as a Vulcan child caught in the act of indulging himself in emotions instead of the studying and practice of control, only to see Jim near him with a grin bending the full lips, the ‘laugh’ wrinkles near the eyes standing out in stark contrast. The blue of the iris is lit with mirth.
“But obviously you’re ‘immune to its effect’...”
He barely has the time to collect himself before his human speaks again, landing the final strike.
“As you were with tribbles...” the falsehood is produced with a bright smile and in a chirping voice, implying that Jim does not believe it to be true.
“What’s a tribble, daddy?”
Spock straightens his posture in time to see their son turning their way, flakes on his small face akin to small white freckles that melt on the warm skin.
“Balls of purring fur that made a mess on my ship many, many years ago...” Jim scoops up the child once again. He has not noticed the boy was allowed into the snow again.
“Can I have one?”
“Sure. But then daddy Spock would steal it for some scratching and cuddling while claiming he doesn’t like its purring...”
He is not flushing: the rush of blood in his capillaries is caused by the cold and the need for his skin to be supplied and to keep the tissue warm. However, he makes sure to send his cheeky mate a chastising glare that should convey all about his aversion to such a lie told their child.
As expected, his human replies with a blink and a small, unapologetic smile that he would find insufferable had he not become used to it just after two weeks of serving under Captain Kirk during their first official mission together.
“A tribble would be quite troublesome to keep. I am sure you would not wish to repeat the experience caused by Mr. Jones.” he comments, not failing in his job to remind his apparently forgetful bondmate that, at the time, Captain Kirk had certainly not been amused nor pleased with the invasion tribbles had successfully executed on the USS Enterprise on two different occasions.
“Why, dad?” their child shows his innate curiosity once again. As far as Spock can recall, and his eidetic memory never fails him, they have never told their son about that particular mission that had made Jim officially an enemy of the entire Klingon Empire.
“As doctor McCoy and I have later discovered, a tribble is born pregnant. Providing the tribble with sufficient nutrition, it will procreate at a high rate with an average litter of ten every twelve hours.” he starts explain but he stops speaking when he notices the grimace on Alexander’s face.
“Ehhhrg, big wooords!” the child moves his small arms in the air, waving the colored mittens covered with snow and managing, by chance, to not hit his father’s face during the gesture.
“Your dad’s got a thing for big words...” Jim comments, his aim to embarrass him: his mate knows it well that he still finds it improper to make use of sexual innuendos when their son is present. For this very reason, his human perseveres in the action.
“Aunt Uhura had brought one on board: a few hours later that ball of fur had got cubs that had cubs that had cubs...” Spock refrains from mentioning how the lack of proper grammar in this sentence makes him cringe, “and in no time the Enty was filled with tribbles.”
Alexander obviously does not mind the wrongness of the phrase construction, the disgusted face only provoked by the concept itself of a tribble non-stop producing offspring, or perhaps by the image of the powerful starship Enterprise filled with small purring animals.
“No ball of fur then, daddy. Buy me a cat, daddy daddy? Purring purring cat!”
He sighs to himself, something he does not consider an illogical gesture by now. Jim is a bad influence for their son’s ability to speak a correct Standard; if he does not intervene soon, their child will grow up with no knowledge of how to properly use the language of the Federation.
“Lex... we already have daddy Spock: we don’t need a purring cat!”
Spock blinks and he is about to remind his mate once again that Vulcans do not resemble felines – let alone the ones of the Felis catus species – despite the decennial habit of his bondmate to use nicknames like “kitty” and “kitten” during intimate moments, when their child starts to giggle. Son of his human father indeed.
“Dad purrs like a cat!”
“Yep, champ: you’ve got a cat-dad. Dad-cat. Cad.”
Insufferable, smug human...
He should punish his mate for this, ‘dress him down’ as the human idiom goes, but he is illogically ‘whipped’ – as doctor McCoy is fond to say – so he cannot help the small smile that manages to quirk his lips.
Not only he is not ashamed by his words, Jim even goes as far as to openly laugh now. Illogically again, he finds the sounds pleasing and the sight endearing.
Spock moves his attention from his mate’s reddened cheeks to their child’s face, tilting his head in wait for further words.
“Can I call you kitty? Daddy does it all the time you fight in bed!”
He stills at the words, a mild sense of discomfort making this conversation – and him – awkward. As Vulcan he cherishes privacy and what happens in the intimacy of their bedroom should not be spoken of with such carelessness, especially by children. The memory of the last time their son has entered their room in the late hours of the night, when a child his age is supposed to be sound asleep, still bothers him. Jim never showed embarrassment and he can vividly recall the laugh with which his mate reacted to the sudden appearance of their son while they were engaged in a quite passionate intercourse, nor can he forget the quite bizarre explanation his human gave to elucidate what was happening without saying what exactly they were doing together.
How their son believed to such a blatant lie as a hypothetical fight is mystery but he also has to admit it never occurred to him to turn up in his parents’ bedroom either and it is uncertain he would not have believed such lie.
“Your father has been told plenty of times to stop using that label, Alexander.” he slowly shakes his head in negative answer: it’s already problematic enough that Jim persists in referring to him with such childish endearments to allow his son copy the troublesome paternal habits.
“That’s a no, Lex...” Jim decides to cut in to, at least from his point of view, translate from correct grammar to a more basic Standard, even though it appears to Spock that he has been quite clear in his reply.
“Buuuh!” their son goes great lengths to show his opposition to the refusal, as he always does when they – mostly one, the only adult in the marriage – do not allow him to do as he pleases. It is a trait that Spock attributes to Jim and his ways of raising their child, with few ‘nos’ and plenty of excited ‘yeses’.
The Vulcan watches as his beloved bondmate, with their son in his arms, heads up again to the small porch that will bring them to the safety of the warmth that must still be lingering within their cabin. The snowfall now has increased in intensity, numerous snowflakes falling from the sky, that now has an unique white hue. It does feel like living on a world made of soft cotton, no sounds breaking the stillness, with only the frozen crystals dancing in the air, as if moving with the direction of a silent symphony only known to nature, a music that escapes the sentient beings.
He has never seen something like this and, for only a brief moment, Spock finds himself in agreement with the human idiom of living in a dream, a saying that, until now, he has seldom found logical and applicable to the real life.
He has to admit that this is not the first time he sees snow. His legs had sunk in the perpetual snows that cover planets of systems whose star is dying, the standard boots providing enough protection for him – as for all the other officers included in the away missions – to cross those covered lands without sustaining harm. He does remember when Starfleet Command ordered the USS Enterprise to travel to Andoria, where the flagship was required for a diplomatic meeting. There he met this phenomenon of nature called snow for the first time, alongside with the experience he hopes to never repeat again: “skiing”. However, this is the first time he experiences a snowfall.
Spock’s attention tries to follow the unpredictable direction of the flakes falling down, carried by the imperceptible drafts: it is no easy feat, his eyes keep getting distracted every time he tries to focus on a single, specific crystal.
Out of a genuine, if perhaps childish, curiosity, he reaches out with a hand to allow the iced conglomerations to land on his glove: part of him is tempted to remove the piece of garment just to feel the softness of the iced formations on his sensitive pads but he thinks better, too fond of his digits to dare face the cold of the air with his naked fingers.
It is nonetheless captivating, almost hypnotic, to see the snowflakes, soft as small balls of cotton, stand out on the black of the thermic fabric to then slowly loose consistency, melting until there is no more than a droplet of water.
He will never say that he finds the phenomenon magical – as that would be illogical – but, even with his wide knowledge of words, it is hard to find another adjective that could fit the feeling he is experiencing better.
“Would you stop playing with the snow, Captain?”
Spock blinks, abruptly drawn away from his study of the snowfall by the familiar voice of his bondmate. For a brief moment that lasts only point two seconds, he feels bewildered, still absorbed in his own thoughts and unable to give his full attention to the human. Jim is waiting, standing under the porch with their child clinging to his neck, and he does not seem to be mocking him, despite the ironic tone and the fake command would say otherwise.
“If you don’t, I, by the power bestowed upon me by Starfleet, could be forced to put you on probation...” the human continues aloud with a hint of genuine authority that does not come unheard; the Vulcan cannot decide how much of this is some sort of performance put up for the amusement of their son’s. He knows Jim enough to come to the conclusion that this childish act is for no more than his own amusement, and he hears the prelude of a sexual innuendo. Again.
Unaware of the hidden motives of his human father, Alexander seems genuinely fooled and decides to promptly offer his opinion.
“No gifts for dad!” the child throws both his arms in the air, making a gesture that could potentially harm Jim who has, once again, shown to be able to defy the laws of nature by avoiding, out of pure instincts, the elbow headed toward his eyes.
Jim bursts into laughter almost immediately and he dashes inside, vanishing behind the door; Spock is left alone out in the snow but not for too long because, after a slow turning of his head, he is moving as well. His mate is incorrigible and he cannot help it but feel even more affection for his human. Even if he wanted to, he’s unable to even raise an eyebrow.
When he is in front of the door, Spock allows himself a second to turn, his eyes drawn to the snowfall. It has picked up pace and it is easy to compute how many centimeters more they will find tomorrow should the snowfall continue at such a rate.
He shall leave the cabin when Jim is otherwise occupied with his ablutions to better enjoy the phenomenon but, for now, he shall get inside to enjoy the warmth inside the cabin; his fingers will no doubt be grateful when they will be placed in front of the flames.
If he applies all his resourcefulness and prepares accordingly, he should be able to restrain the eagerness of his two humans and that should save the life of a living tree and spare it the undignified end as decoration for the upcoming celebrations.
Fanfiction betaed by uber-professional Tapsyhapsy over at Livejournal.
This fic was started in January 2012, when an unusual cold (up to -12°C) hit North Italy during the last days of the month; it was a luck that at least there was much, much snow with the ice! Now, I don’t know why but I turn into an idiotic five years old when I look outside the window and see everything white and I felt the need to put down a bit of this happiness into this fluffy shot.
It's quite puzzling how I ended up never finishing it until few days before my Ksadvent deadline was up! Because of this, I have to super-thank Tapsyhapsy who's been a professional and nit-picking in such a short time: she fixed anything that wasn't strictly "Spock-ish" so most of the merits go to her.
He cannot find any logic in this. The more he observes, the more he is puzzled and unable to understand.