It was exciting. It was different. It was a surprise.
In reality, it was a disaster.
Jim Kirk looked over the empty sitting room, no tree in the corner, no decorations up, no sign of his mother. The only reason he decided to come out here was because last year his mother had sent him a note saying how lonely that Christmas had been with everyone gone and him so far away. He decided when they were given a week’s shore leave on Earth due to stationing errors that he would remedy that.
Now here he was in an empty house looking around for any sign of anything. He would have to start a fire to get rid of the chill, the heat was turned off and would take at least a day to get going again. And he needed to go air out his own room. Hopefully he still had a bed in there. His mother was completely missing and Jim had the suspicion that she was gone on holiday. She’d been saying she wanted to visit Alpha Centauri, but Jim didn’t think she would leave over Christmas.
He sighed and tossed his bag aside, moving to the wood chest to pull out some kindling to start a fire. It was a good thing that he still knew how to do this, otherwise it would be an extremely cold night. Being alone was cold enough. But even on the ship, he would have been alone. At least in Riverside there was no reminder of exactly how alone he was. No torturing himself with a padd full of work just so he didn’t have to think about how lonely he was while surrounded by so many people. But being the captain meant sacrificing some things. The tinder caught and Jim smiled, adding some more substantial wood until he could feel the heat taking over the room.
With a fire started, Jim turned to look at the area around him. It was devoid of any sign of the holidays, so he picked up the hatchet so he could go find a small tree. One he could carry back on his own. Passing through the kitchen towards the back door, Jim spotted a bottle of whiskey tucked on the top shelf. It took some doing before he had it down and opened, the hatchet under his arm as he took a quick swing and grimaced. Nothing tasted quite right after the reactor meltdown but it would work to get him drunk enough to forget that he was alone once more for Christmas. He would have to grab the decorations from the barn to cover the tree, but one thing at a time.
On the Enterprise, Spock sat at his terminal. He did not want to spend the Christmas holiday on Earth. The other Vulcans were at the colony during the cold season in Earth’s northern hemisphere and despite his father’s invitation, Spock simply did not want to leave the Enterprise. It was just him and a very skeleton crew. The only other officer was Doctor McCoy, who had his daughter on board the starship for the duration of the week, an allowance only put through because the captain bypassed a few regulations. Spock said nothing, because the doctor was more than pleased with the development of the ability to see his daughter.
But that left Spock on the bridge by himself. The captain was in Iowa, seeing his mother. Most of the crew was visiting family. None of the bridge crew was still on board. Sitting at the science station, Spock idly flicked on the scanners, watching as the various lights in a multitude of colors danced across his maps. With no one around to witness what he was doing, he narrowed in on Iowa, getting closer and closer to the Kirk family home. A single light flickered around the home, moving in a semi-erratic way towards the house. Spock had expected to see two lights at least, inside the home. Not one slowly traveling back to the home. This was odd. He zoomed back out and turned off the scanner, standing and straightening his uniform before making up his mind and heading towards his room. It looked as if the captain was alone and possibly injured, and Spock, being the first officer, needed to check up on him. Or at least that was the reasoning the logical Vulcan made as he walked to his rooms to fetch his cold weather gear.
It wasn’t because his friend was alone or because he secretly had been hoping for some time with the captain away from the Enterprise. After the situation with Khan, Spock was still coming to terms with how much he did feel for the captain. So much so that even Nyota was giving him some space to work out what it was. The lieutenant was more understanding than most would ever be in that situation.
But it wasn’t for those reasons that Spock walked onto the teleporter pad, nodding to the ensign on duty to send him down to the specific coordinates. It was because his logic told him the captain was in trouble. And he had to make sure that this was not the case. The ensign hit the mark on the head and Spock found himself materializing on the lonely road that gave land access to Kirk’s childhood home.
Spock walked slowly up the drive. He wasn’t completely certain as to what to expect. The captain could be in a good mood to be alone. Or he could be in a depressed drunken stupor. Even Spock’s analytical mind couldn’t decide the most likely situation for him to be walking into. But the loud music that filtered out into the yard was the last thing he expected. As well as the sound of Jim singing along with the old Terran song.
“And yo-oo-oour…your sex is on fire…Consuuuu-uuumed…with what’s to transpire.”
Pausing long enough to peek through the window, Spock’s eyebrows knitted at what he saw. James Kirk, captain of the starship Enterprise, was in nothing but his regulation trousers, holding a bottle of what looked to be whiskey, singing and throwing tinsel on the saddest looking tree Spock had ever seen. He was aware that Christmas trees were a regular occurrence during the festive winter season, however this one only stood at what Spock estimated to be two feet six inches and was on top of a table, the lamp that had obviously been there before sitting on the floor next to it. The lights were hanging from an odd angle, the star barely clinging to the top, and the multi-colored bulbs were in clear danger of shattering on the wooden floor. Jim seemed not to care as he continued singing, throwing tinsel everywhere and taking a drink of his whiskey as he continued to sing.
“If it’s not forever…if it’s just tonight….Oh we’re still the greatest. The greatest. The greatest…”
Jim turned and his balance wavered. Spock saw him bump into one of the bulbs, sending it to the floor, broken glass surrounding the captain’s feet. Oblivious to this fact, Jim took a step away to reach for some more tinsel and almost stepped on a shard, narrowly avoiding spearing himself. Spock decided that this would be the proper time to enter and allow the captain to know he was here.
A simple knock on the door and he heard Jim stumble to it, cracking it open. “Mom?!” came the voice, but he grew quiet when he saw the Vulcan standing there instead. Spock looked up at him and gave a curt nod.
“May I enter? It is unbearably cold out here.”
Jim took a step back, the bottle clanking loudly off the door as he tried to keep it open for Spock. “Shure thing, pointy. What are you doing outside my mum’s house?”
“I was attempting to ascertain to your good health and well-being,” Spock said as he entered, brushing just past Jim on his way towards the living room where the broken glass was. “However it seems that you are slightly inebriated. Captain, I must ask if you are well or if you require assistance.”
Spock didn’t want to outright say it. He was staying whether Jim invited him to or not. The captain only really touched alcohol when he was already depressed. That was a bad sign. Jim closed the door and followed Spock into the other room.
“I’m not well,” Jim said, his speech only a bit slurred as he looked at Spock. “I’m sad, Spock. I died last year and no one wants to spend Chrishtmas with me. Am I really that bad?”
With a sigh, Spock knelt down and started picking up broken glass. “Captain…Jim…I am not going to hide the fact that I am here with an ulterior motive. Nor am I going to insult your intelligence by suggesting that there is merit to your question. I did not suggest to accompany you when you announced your visit because I falsely predicted that you would be here spending time with your mother. As that is not the case…” He paused as he placed the broken bulb on the table, brushing off his hands as he stood. “I would request to spend Christmas with you. If that is acceptable.”
With how much liquor Jim had already consumed, Spock did not expect the smile that slowly crept across his face. Jim set the bottle down and nodded. “Let me go find some clothes,” he said after a long moment. Spock could only watch as Jim turned and half stumbled up the stairs, the sound of his bumping into things loud as he made his way upwards. The Vulcan turned to the tree and started straightening the various ornaments until it was less in danger of collapsing. He was only barely finished when Jim reappeared, in a green shirt depicting Santa Claus riding a reindeer and a pair of worn jeans. Spock could have smiled if he were one to show physical emotions.
“You fixed it,” Jim said with a grin. “Thanks.”
The human moved to stand next to Spock. He Vulcan felt warm fingers slip into his hand and he glanced out of the corner of his eye at the captain, seeing the rosy color in the human’s cheeks. At first he thought Jim wasn’t aware of what he was doing, but the look in his eyes said otherwise. Spock wrapped his hand around Jim’s and stood next to the captain, not pushing him away.
“Thanks for being here,” Jim whispered after a few moments of standing there.
“This is where I want to be,” Spock said. Very quietly he whispered under his breath. “Always. So you are never alone again.”