A/N: I am so terribly sorry that this is so late! It was meant to be out on Christmas Day at the latest and well...it's January ninth, so clearly that didn't happen. But between the holidays and personal stuff that I've got going on and a touch of writer's block when it came to the end of this thing...well, it's finally here. I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and a lovely New Years. It's 2010, can you believe it? It's a new decade! Here at last is the final chapter of Boughes of Holly, and I do hope you enjoy it! I will definitely be getting around to replying to reviews very soon, as I am woefully behind in that department. Now, I believe I mentioned before that this chapter would include slash, and indeed it does. If you have issues with two men (or half-vulcans, =)) kissing you should turn away right now. It's nothing graphic at all; in fact it's quite fluffy. And i have to admit that I have so many issues with writing Spock--which is one of the reasons I had so much trouble with the end--but I did my best. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own the movie, but that's about it. Oh, but I wish...
A Merry Little Christmas
"Through the years we all will be together
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now."
It's Chekov's idea. Given a little more time there's a good chance that Uhura would have stumbled upon the same bright idea, but under the circumstances she jumps over the idea with youthful exuberance. She and Chekov have their heads together, their eyes bright, a couple of children in a candy store.
And, of course, no one else has a chance of escaping them. Sulu makes a minimal resistance, but all it takes is one pouting puppy-dog expression from Chekov and he's bending over backwards. Uhura manages to finangle Spock into helping—despite his protests against the "illogical frivolity" he does eventually concede to Uhura's logic. After all, she knows how Spock's mind works, even if their relationship is no longer of an intimate, romantic nature. Scotty gets shanghaied into the whole business by one flirtatious bat of Uhura's eyes—damn those feminine wiles of hers, he thinks to himself later, when he's carrying heavy chairs all over creation. But the promise in her eyes is worth it. He hopes.
The next stumbling block is one Leonard "Bones" McCoy. The good doctor doesn't even like holidays, because they remind him too much of his daughter. Surprisingly though, he isn't too difficult to convince. Not when Chekov says the words "Et iz for ze Keptin". Then Bones just sort of folds. He agrees to all of their—Uhura's mostly, girl can be bossy—plans with minimal grumbling. So long as he doesn't have to dress up he agrees to be part of the plan.
And after that the only hard part is keeping their captain in the dark. Which is harder than it sounds, because Jim Kirk may be a lot of things but stupid is not one of them. He's incredibly observant, and he knows what happens on his ship. He knows everything.
Thus keeping an undertaking of such magnitude under wraps takes a lot of finesse and a lot of luck.
He's suspicious, of course. He knows that something is going on; he's just not sure what it is. But they manage to pull it off. And he's so busy trying to figure out exactly what they're up to that he completely forgets the date.
Until he walks into the rec room on December 25th and is greeted by a riot of red and green and gold and silver. And a massive shout of "Merry Christmas" from his broadly grinning crew. Uhura has a cat-ate-the-canary look on her face, and Chekov just giggles and giggles at the look on Jim's face. Even Bones, hand firmly encircling a glass of some kind of alcohol, is relaxed enough to smile and pat him on the shoulder.
He walks through the room in a near daze. There are people everywhere, but for once it doesn't bother him. These are people that he knows. Everyone on the ship seems to be crowded into the spacious room; it's a living throng of laughter and movement and the low hum of pleasant chatter. An impromptu band strikes up in the corner and soon people are clearing space for a dance floor. Uhura takes Scotty's hand and with a grin tugs him out onto the floor, twirling herself into his arms. Chekov and Sulu are in a corner, the Russian whiz kid giggling up a storm and Sulu leaning in towards him. People nod at him left and right as he makes his way through the crowd.
After he's been greeted by just about every person in the room, had a drink pressed into his hand, and interrogated Bones as to who exactly was behind all of this—Chekov is a bit of surprise, but he should have known that Uhura had something to do with it—he finds his way to a corner in the back and leans against the wall, sipping his drink. There's a tiny grin on his lips as he lets his gaze sweep over the crowd. Everyone seems so…happy. Everyone is happy to be there and happy to see each other and full of holiday cheer.
And then a chorus of voices rise up in song, and he can feel himself falling back through the years. These Christmas carols aren't exactly like those his mother used to sing. For one there are quite a few intoxicated belting out the merry holiday tunes. But above it all he hears Uhura's voice rise, sweet and clear, and he closes his eyes, smiling.
He opens his eyes to find Spock standing in front of him. He starts to smile at his First Officer and then he blinks. He closes his eyes and opens them again, and then rubs his eyes just to make sure he's not hallucinating. Spock shifts awkwardly in front of him—clearly uncomfortable, and the fact that he's showing it is astounding. The source of his discomfort is quite obvious.
Because Spock is standing there, his hands behind his back, his posture straight and tense, dressed not in his usual uniform, nor in any form of Starfleet regulation uniform. He is, in fact, wearing a bright red sweater. And from the look on his face he is not wearing it willingly. Seeing his stare Spock looks down at himself and—amazingly—blushes a little, his cheeks taking the slightest green tinge.
…In a completely manly, strictly friends kind of way. Of course.
"Ah," Spock says, clearing his throat. "Nyota logically persuaded me to wear the attire that she presented me with."
He stifles a snigger, smiling. "She threatened you," he says, folding his arms. The Vulcan inclines his head a little.
"There was a minor threat to my continued health should I not adhere to her demands." Now Spock's shoulders relax a little, but he still seems…nervous, almost. He has perfected the art of reading his first officer's body language, and there is a distinct amount of nervousness in the slight shifting of his weight from side to side, in the fiddling of his hands behind his back. And actually…it almost looks like he's hiding something behind his back.
He cranes his neck a little and Spock automatically moves to block his view. He grins a little. He is hiding something. He raises his eyebrows at the Vulcan. Spock shifts again and then raises his chin.
"I—Christmas is not a holiday we celebrate on Vulcan," he begins. "The religious overtones are not applicable and the commercialized aspect is seen as frivolous. However," he says slowly, "my mother was human." His voice goes cool over those words, and Jim wants to reach out and touch his shoulder, an automatic comforting gesture. He holds himself firm, but there's softness in his eyes and he knows it. It's the only form of comfort he can give the man. "She taught me the traditions of the holiday. And…I was encouraged by Nyota…." He stops. In a lesser person Jim would say that he was flustered, but of course this is Spock, so that's impossible. Right?
Spock lifts his chin, determination in his eyes, and then brings his hands to the front. Clutched in one hand is a box, wrapped in shiny blue wrapping paper, with a silver bow on top of it. He holds it out. "For you, Jim," he prompts after a moment, when he just stares at it. Trembling only slightly he takes the box, careful not to brush the Vulcan's hands accidentally. He holds the box in his hands, still staring at it, until another prompt from Spock starts him into motion. "I believe you are supposed to open it, Jim."
That's the third time he's used Jim instead of Captain. And despite his months of harping Spock still tends to use his title rather than his name, so this is a miracle in itself. He grins and slides his thumb under the taped end of the package. He can tell that Spock is the one who did the wrapping, because it's perfect, neat and tidy without wrinkles, every bit of tape perfectly placed. Normally he rips right through the wrapping paper, but he can't bring himself to do that now. So he unwraps the box slowly, making sure not to tear, marveling at the fact that he's unwrapping a Christmas gift from Spock. Beneath the paper is a square black box. He casts one look at his first officer and then opens the box.
"Doctor McCoy informed me that you collected Terran antiquities." Spock says, as he lifts the silver watch from the confines of the box. "This piece is from the Terran twenty-first century."
"It's beautiful, Spock," he says, running his fingers over the silver links and around the circular face. Then he pauses. "Where—how did you get this? We haven't been on Earth in months."
Spock inclines his head. "It has been in my possession since our last sojourn on Earth." He seems to hesitate, then continues. "During our leave on Earth I located my mother's relatives. Her sibling gave me a collection of her belongings and family heirlooms, of which this is one. It has been passed through the generations of her family."
He looks at the watch in his hand. "Spock…I can't—."
Spock holds up a hand, stopping him. "Please, Jim, I want you to have this."
He stares at the man, then smiles—softer now, a real smile as opposed to one of his grins—and latches the watch around his wrist. "Thank you. I'll cherish it."
He opens his mouth to say something more, to try and diffuse this strange tension—because Spock is still high-strung and tense—but he catches sight of Bones heading their way with a wicked grin on his face and immediately narrows his eyes in suspicion. Spock follows his gaze as their resident doctor makes his way over.
"He's up to something…." He looks around and sees several other key members of the crew—Uhura in particular, but Sulu and Chekov and Scotty as well—looking slyly at him with various degrees of grins. He's starting to feel his stomach tie in knots, because he recognizes the look on his best friend's face, and it means that his life is about to get very embarrassing.
He folds his arm as McCoy finally gets within speaking distance. "Now, now, what are you and our first officer doing back here in this corner all alone, oh fearless leader?"
Was that…was that an innuendo? A subtle one, sure, but he picks up on that little suggestive undercurrent to the doctor's voice. He glares. "Talking, Bones. Are you familiar with that form of communication?"
His friend doesn't rise to the bait. Instead he just smirks, slow and definitely amused and scheming. That is never a good sign.
"Talking? Is that what they're calling it these days?"
Okay, now he's just damn confused. As is Spock, apparently, judging by the height that his eyebrow has risen to. The particular expression he's wearing right now translates approximately to what hell are you silly humans talking about? And Bones—damn him—looks oh-so amused, standing there with his conniving smirk. Finally he snorts and takes pity on them. "Look up, Jim."
He cranes his neck backwards.
Oh. Well shit.
"Phoradendron flavescens." Spock says with mild interest, also looking up. "Commonly known as—."
"Mistletoe," McCoy cuts in, still with that smirk. "You're standing under the mistletoe with Spock, Jim. Sure you're just talking?"
He glares, and then a thought strikes him. For a moment his eyes widen and then narrow again, set on his friend. "You planned this," he hisses. Bones shrugs, but doesn't make a denial.
"You like corners," he says with a wider grin.
He folds his arms, wishing that he could melt the doctor into a puddle with the heat of his glare. "I am marooning you the first chance I get."
"I assume," Spock says, making both of them jump, "from your reactions, that there is connotation to this plant's presences that I am unaware of."
Bones laughs wickedly while he flushes, feeling the hot rush of blood to his face. "You could say that, Spock." Bones says with a snort.
"There—there is a tradition on Earth concerning mistletoe." He says, trying to compose himself. Looking out he sees that Uhura is watching the scene with a particular self-satisfied grin. He decides that Bones is going to have a little company when he gets marooned, namely one Lieutenant Nyota Uhura. Spock turns to him, with that eyebrow raised, prompting. "When two people are standing under mistletoe tradition calls for them to…."
Spock folds his arms, looking at him.
"What are you scared of, Captain?" Bones says, still grinning. Oh he is definitely getting marooned. Preferably on somewhere like Delta Vega where he'll be chased by giant monsters who want to eat him. "It's just a simple kiss."
He glares at his supposed best friend. "I will kill you and hide the body where no one will ever find it. See if I don't."
McCoy looks at him, grins, looks at Spock, and then turns away. "Good luck," he says, and walks away cackling. He gulps and looks at Spock, whose expression is—as usual but perhaps even more now—unreadable.
"It's just a stupid tradition Spock, don't worry about it. I mean, forcing people to kiss because they happen to be standing under a plant? What kind of bull is that? Besides, it's really just a tradition for horny teenagers and people who can't get kissed any other way. People probably stand under the mistletoe for hours, waiting for someone to come along because they're that desperate, and we clearly aren't anything like that—."
He goes from rambling to completely silent in less than a second as Spock—using those non-human super reflexes of his—grabs the front of his shirt, pulls him off balance, and presses their lips together.
He stares, wide-eyed, at the Vulcan that is kissing him, too stunned to do anything other than think Spock is kissing me. Spock is kissing me. Spock is kissing me. And then, in true Jim Kirk fashion, he mentally shrugs and kisses him back. When he finds Spock's hand and presses his fingers against the Vulcan's fingers and hears a moan in return he smiles into the kiss.
Now this is a Christmas present of the very best kind.
…But he's still going to maroon Bones. And Uhura. It's only fair.
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