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Note: Studying in Europe I don't get many chances to read fanfiction, but the muses are going crazy with ideas for writing it. Thanks to the stories "Mistletoe Shuffle" and "Rituals" for inspiration. More inspiration came from my day trip in Salzburg.


Spock was sick of mistletoe.

It wasn't that he disliked kissing. Being kissed by Jim Kirk was most pleasant in any situation. In the years they had been lovers, Spock had grown ever more infatuated with the taste and feel of Jim's mouth, the soft sounds Jim made, the touch of Jim's hands on his shoulders and back while they kissed.

But being kissed under mistletoe was losing its allure for Spock. Not because of anything distasteful in the idea per se, but simply because it had happened too many times.

Any individual experience was delightful in itself. There was the time that he had found a bra on the floor at a party, and been so puzzled by the discovery that he had forgotten to keep watch above him. There had been the time someone had organized a game and all the crewmembers had gone around holding mistletoe over each other's heads and kissing. There had been dozens and dozens of other incidents, several during any given Christmas season, and some at times of the year when it was the last thing he would have expected.

In short, there had simply been so many encounters with mistletoe in the past few years that Spock had been dreading the coming of this Christmas, knowing that somehow, no matter how he struggled to avoid it, Jim would manage to catch him beneath that miserable herb at least a few times.

It always happened. Jim would get him under mistletoe, kiss him, and make him enjoy it as if it were the first time ever.

And Spock surrendered to that enjoyment completely, while it was happening. But then, afterwards, he would sigh at himself, his IDIC-cultivated mind wishing for some variety in his holiday love life.


So this Christmas, when Jim had expressed a wish to travel in Europe alone together, Spock had experienced a certain relief. There would be no raucous parties with mistletoe hung over every door... just the two of them, sharing hotel rooms and little rented cabins, talking, eating, giving each other small thoughtful gifts, and kissing all on their own, without the help of any ridiculous-looking little ribbon-adorned leaves.

Perhaps Jim would not even be able to find any mistletoe to buy. They would be mostly in Germany and Austria, countries that had been late in the adoption of that silly custom and had never embraced it very strongly.

Spock was satisfied.


They spent the first few days in Bavaria, but didn't do much traveling because of the weather. Apparently, in this area of the planet, it was quite ordinary for snow, sleet, rain, hail and sun to occur in the same day. At home in the consistency of a desert environment, Spock shuddered at this one, but Jim liked it. "It's just like Iowa weather," he laughed.

When they arrived in Salzburg, they toured a castle, a cathedral and a historic house where Mozart had once lived. Spock was fascinated by the architecture of the age-old buildings, and found himself delightedly studying the people and their language and customs. There was certainly charm in this place, so old and so unchanged over the centuries. He could not help thinking that they should have done this sooner.

In the evening they went to a concert, ate a light dinner in a cafe, and had a most enjoyable night at the nearest hotel.

The next day they visted a salt mine. Spock listened, intrigued, to all the information about how natural sodium chloride crystals had been dug out of the ground here generations ago. The old machinery captivated him, so different from anything he had ever operated, but so well-suited to the purposes it had served. And of course, Kirk's excitement was most pleasing to watch when they tried out the slide that the miners had used for getting from a higher level to a lower one.

Afterwards Kirk and Spock sat on a bench in the center of a big park, enjoying each other's company in silence. Snow had fallen, and it was quiet among the trees, except for the chattering of a few tiny birds and the distant noise of the street.

Suddenly Kirk leaned over, and Spock felt a hand on his shoulder and gentle lips on his face. It was an impulsive kiss, the kind that usually happened in doorways in December.

"Jim," Spock murmured, automatically looking upwards. As he expected, he saw only the branches of the tree under which they sat. And some delicate spheres of twigs and leaves, growing parasitically like bromeliads among the boughs...

"Spock," laughed Jim. "Haven't you ever seen mistletoe in the wild?"

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