A/N: Written for KSAdvent on livejournal. You'll want to go check out all of the goodies posted there!
For the purposes of my story, George Kirk and Chris Pike are cousins.
Prompt I chose: North Pole/ Santa Claus AU: George Kirk was Santa Claus. Chris Pike took over after his death while Winona raised her sons. The North Pole village and workshop is populated with Elves, humans and a few other species (Santa having a habit of rescuing orphans from bad situations and bringing them home) Older son Sam is the perfect heir to the role of Santa Claus. Younger son Jim is more interested in hanging out in the workshop working on plans for toys, machinery or learning to fly the sleigh, despite being forbidden to train with the flight team. Then there's his favorite hobby of teasing his secret crush Elf!Spock. Everything changes when Sam finally rebels and runs off with girlfriend Aurelan to follow his real dream (whatever author chooses). Unfortunately this coincides with acts of sabotage (by competitor/ someone who is annoyed that they've been helping out a planet they control, competing family who want to take over from the Kirks) which cause Pike to be injured. Jim is forced to step up, save Christmas and win over his Elf!
"James Tiberius Kirk." Winona's voice echoed off the stable walls. It was crunch time at the North Pole, Christmas only 6 six short days away. Everyone was feeling the pressure and tempers tended to flair. Santa Claus, of course, never would end up on the Naughtylist but the former Chris Pike was unnaturally patient. He always had been. Mrs. Claus, the former Mrs. Kirk, however, was less understanding of the shenanigans that went on in the workshop at this time of year. She didn't often frequent the stables except when she was unable to find her younger son. "James Tiberius Kirk," she yelled again. "Front and center."
Jim slowly emerged from his favorite hiding place. He had always escaped the chaos inherent in this time of the year in one of the stalls. Prancer and Dancer neighed at the sound of Winona's yelling, bumping Jim's shoulders in sympathy. They understood all too well why he hid in there with them. They didn't yell at him, and the only demands they made were for the carrots he stuffed in the pockets of his red and white fur coat.
"I'm right here, Mom," Jim said, brushing off the tell-tale hay. "What's wrong?"
"'What's wrong?' he says like the entire workshop isn't turned upside down," Winona said, her fists on her hips. "Do you know where your brother is?"
"Uhmm… in Chris's office? Double-checking the Naughty and Nicelists?" It wasn't an entirely wild guess. That's where Jim had last seen Sam. And it was only an hour earlier.
"No. No he is not in the office. He is – right now – as we speak – on his way to Tahiti. Tahiti," Winona repeated, the word a curse.
"What?" Jim asked, his head tilted to one side as he studied his mother. "What are you talking about? Sam was in Chris's office, on the computer."
"Yes, he was on the computer. Apparently he was using it to check flights to Tahiti. Where he is now headed. And you don't know anything about this?" Winona asked in accusation.
"Mom. I'm telling you. The last time I saw him was in Chris' office. An hour ago. We talked about the world weather forecast and if they'd be enough snow for the reindeer. He didn't act like anything was different."
Winona sighed and shook her head, holding one hand out to Jim. "If one of my little boys was going to run away, I'd have bet good money it'd have been you."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence," Jim said, taking her hand into his gloved one. "You know he never liked being Santa's son. Or step-son."
"I blame Aurelan," Winona said. "She was always a bad influence on him."
"You don't mean that," Jim said. "You love her like you love us."
"No. No I do not. She is going on the permanent Naughtylist."
"All right," Jim said, hugging his mom and pretending he didn't see the unshed tears in her eyes. "Right after New Year's we'll take the reindeer to Tahiti and talk to him."
"Okay," she sniffed, backing away. "Okay." She smoothed down her red dress and pushed her glasses further up her nose. "Where is Spock?"
"How would I know?" Jim asked, the edge of anger in his voice that always seemed to be there when the Chief Elf as mentioned.
"Jim," Winona said with a tsk. "When are you going to stop this feud of yours?"
"It isn't my feud. He's the one who barely speaks to me," Jim said.
"Calling him a pointy-eared hobgoblin doesn't help," she said, her scolding milder than usual.
"I never call him that. Bones does," Jim corrected.
"And you do nothing to stop him," Winona said. She held up one hand to stop Jim's protests. "I know. I know. You're not his conscience."
"I'm not," Jim said as he followed her into the hive of activity that was the main workshop. There were elves finishing toys, wrapping presents, making candy to put in the stockings of the good little boys and girls. Overseeing it all was Spock, his ever-present iPad in his hand. Jim knew if he weren't a Vulcan, he'd be frowning at the elf he was currently talking to. Scotty loved tinkering with the toy planes, always trying to make them fly faster, higher, longer. Spock told him they needed to be finished, not perfected.
"Ach," Scotty said, shaking his head. "You never say that to Hikaru about his toy swords."
"What I do or do not discuss with Mr. Sulu is not your concern at present," Spock said in that formal, stilted way of his.
"My swords are the best!" Hikaru shouted good-naturedly, holding one up to show his craftsmanship. "The best."
"Yes, Hikaru, they are the best," Santa said as he came into the workshop. "But right now it's time for dinner."
"What's this about Sam leaving?" Nyota asked. Along with the 'fashion dolls' and action figures, she was responsible for all the toy phones. She had suggested adding colored flashing lights this year, the other elves agreeing they added just the right measure of fun to the toys.
"It's true," Winona said, shaking her head.
"You can't be all that surprised, dear," Santa said, kissing her grey head. "It was inevitable."
"I suppose," she sighed. "But I thought he'd at least wait until after."
"I know," Santa said in sympathy. "Come eat. Worrying about his decision isn't going to change it."
Winona nodded, going with Santa to the large dining room, the elves following. Jim took his seat at the Claus table, Bones soon coming to join them. Santa was talking quietly to Winona, trying to sooth her hurt feelings.
"You hear about Sam?" Jim asked as he accepted the bowl of mashed potatoes.
"Yeah. That's on him," Bones said, passing Jim the chicken. "How's Winona taking it?"
"Not great," Jim said, glancing up from his plate to look over at her. He caught a glimpse of Spock out of the corner of his eye. As was his custom, he was sitting at a table by himself, his entire focus on his iPad.
"Go talk to him," Bones said, elbowing Jim in the side.
"No. Absolutely not. I have nothing to say to him. And he'll just ignore me."
"You know that's not true. This stand-off is ridiculous," Bones said, pointing his fork at Jim.
"Have you been talking to Mom?" Jim asked in suspicion.
"What? No. But you two are childish. It's a wonder Santa hasn't put you on the permanent Naughtylist."
Jim sighed, turning all of his concentration on moving around the food on his plate. "Just stop. He's nothing but a pain in my ass."
"Uh huh," Bones said, shaking his head.
"What have you been up to?" Jim asked, more than ready for a change of topic.
"Nothing interesting," Bones said. "I was helping Pavel with the wind-up dogs and cats. With his broken hand, he's having a hard time attaching the eyes and noses."
"Good thing you have a medical degree, huh?" Jim laughed.
"Ehh – whatever. I'm not unhappy about not having an infirmary full."
"Yeah," Jim said absently, scooping up some potatoes. But his attention was fully across the room, his gaze never leaving Spock.
"You are pathetic," Bones said.
"You are a nosy old man."
"I'm only a few years older than you," Bones corrected.
"Except you were born old. Don't bother to deny it," Jim said. He finally gave up pretending to eat, putting his napkin down. "I'm going back to the workshop."
"Please eat some chicken before you go," Bones requested, pushing Jim's plate a little closer to him.
"I know. You're never hungry. And you barely sleep. Are you trying to wear yourself out on purpose?"
"Shut up," Jim said absently picking up a chicken leg to take a bite. He put it down when Spock stood, standing up himself. "I'll see you…you know…later."
"Right," Bones said, shaking his head. This time he was definitely telling Winona. Well. Maybe not. She had enough to worry about now that Sam finally 'escaped' as he always put it. After Christmas, he'd tell Winona without delay. He watched Jim leave the dining room, following Spock into the workshop.
Jim went directly to his bench, the one none of the other elves ever used. His station held the computer he'd configured to run faster than the standard issue ones. He used it mainly to design toys that multiplied the fun factor as much as he possibly could.
Spock was wandering around the workshop, inspecting the toys in various states of completion. Jim thought he looked as unhappy as he ever did. Spock would deny having any emotion as human as unhappiness but Jim knew better.
"What is this you are doing?" Spock asked Jim when he stood behind him, looking over his shoulder.
"Why?" Jim asked automatically. There was no good reason not to tell Spock except, Jim acknowledged silently, pure spite.
"Because I am responsible for overseeing the development of all toys."
"And I am exempt from your authority," Jim replied, continuing to stare at his computer.
"Yet I must approve all design modifications. Even those you have developed," Spock said firmly.
"Take it up with Chris and leave me out of your power play," Jim said, typing into his computer. In truth, he was calling up the plans for Scotty's latest airplanes but he wasn't about to tell Spock that.
"Santa has far more important responsibilities than mediating between the two of us," Spock said, taking a step closer. Jim stiffened before turning to look at him. Instead of animosity, he detected…sadness in Spock's expression. That was surprising.
"I suppose," Jim said in a softer tone. "I'm not doing anything important. I'm just…." Anything else he would have said was cut off the sound of an explosion, the entire workshop shaking. "What the hell?" Jim said as he and Spock took off at a run toward the direction of the sound. It seemed to have come from the stables and they rushed to the door, leaving the workshop to come to a screeching halt in between the two buildings. The entire stable was consumed in flames, the yellow and red flames reflecting off the bright white of the snow. "Oh God. The reindeer," Jim said, making to run toward the flames.
"You cannot," Spock said, grabbing Jim's arm. "You will be injured."
"I can't leave the reindeer to die," Jim protested, trying to shake off Spock's hand.
Spock's reasoned arguments of why Jim should not continue toward the stable was forestalled by the sounds of hooves on the snow. All 10 reindeer were safely in front of the stable, Chris stumbling out of the stable after them.
"Get Bones," Jim said, taking off at a run toward Chris who had slumped to the ground. "Chris. Can you hear me?" Jim was kneeling next to him, protecting him from the flying shards of the stable that had been picked up by the wind. He thought Chris was breathing but with his thick red and white coat, he couldn't be entirely sure. "Chris," he said in more urgency.
"The reindeer. Get…out," Chris whispered, his lips barely moving as he tried to tell Jim.
"You got them out," Jim said, touching Chris's cheek. Under the soot and ash, his skin seemed reassuringly warm. "They are all safe." Jim looked up as Bones, Spock, and Winona came racing over followed by most of the elves. Spock directed several of them to round up the reindeer and put them in the corral. He got some of the other elves to start putting out the fire before it could spread to the workshop.
"Chris," Bones said, kneeling by his head. "Are you hurt?"
"I think… broke my arm," Chris said. "In… blast."
"All right," Bones said. "Anything else we need to know? Concussion? Internal injuries?"
"Don't know," Chris said, trying to shake his head.
"We'll check when we have you in the infirmary," Bones said in his usual calm, reassuring tone. They moved aside when the elves brought over a stretcher, Bones helping them lift Chris onto it. They carried it carefully inside, directly to the infirmary.
"What happened?" Winona asked Jim when Bones had closed the doors between them and the examination area.
"You heard the explosion?" Jim asked.
"How could we not? Where's Spock?"
"He was directing the firefighters. I guess he's still outside," Jim said, looking over at the door that led outside.
"I'll go find him," Scotty said, a hand on Jim's arm, sympathy in his eyes.
"Thanks," Jim agreed.
"You think this was the work of Cimmerian?" Winona asked, seeing the look on Jim's face. The Clauses had fought Cimmerian and his forces of darkness since time immemorial. They had been blessedly free of his tampering for the past 15 years, since his interference had resulted in the death of Jim and Sam's father. But there had been rumblings that Cimmerian was planning a return, a new attempt to defeat joy and destroy happiness. They had hoped that was all it was – rumors. But the explosion in the stable seemed to imply otherwise.
"Yeah," Jim said regretfully. "Why else would the stables explode? It's not a coincidence that this has happened less than a week before the Big Day."
Winona shook her head, pacing in front of the wooden benches in the waiting area of the infirmary. "Go help Spock," she said, stopping to look down at Jim.
"Let me know the minute Bones comes out," Jim said, hugging her before rushing out toward the stables. Spock was firmly in control of the apparent chaos, the elves working to extinguish the blaze. "How can I help?" Jim asked, pulling his coat closer around him to block out some of the wind.
"Can you calm the reindeer? They are skittish after the explosion," Spock said, turning to look at Jim, nothing but patience and understanding in his eyes. "How is Santa?"
"I don't know. I left before Bones came out. Mom will let us know as soon as she hears anything."
Spock nodded, laying a warm, gloved hand on Jim's arm. "He is going to be fine. You must believe."
Jim took a deep breath. "It's too much like how Dad died."
"You suspect Cimmerian," Spock said, his eyes narrowed.
"You don't?" Jim asked, looking at the smoldering stables. "There isn't anything in the stables that would cause an explosion. It's less than a week to Christmas. How could it be an accident?"
"Your argument is logical," Spock said with a nod. He turned his focus to three of the elves who came up to ask about the smoldering remains and Jim slipped away to see to the reindeer.
He talked to the deer, soothing their fears and calming their anxiety. He wasn't sure where they would be permanently housed until the new stable could be built but he promised them he'd find them a warm place to sleep. He asked if they knew anything about the explosion but if they did, they were still too spooked to inform him.
"Mom," he said as he left the corral. "How's Chris?"
"He broke his arm in three places," she said. "He has burns on his face and hands. His beard was singed but Leonard said the burns are not life-threatening."
"Thank goodness," Jim said in relief.
"Leonard said there is no way Chris will be able to fly on Christmas," Winona told Jim, watching him carefully.
"Then who….?" Jim started to ask. But the expression on her and Spock's faces gave him his answer. "Oh no – no – no. No way. I can't do it."
"There is no alternative, Jim," Spock pointed out. "Christmas cannot be postponed. You are the only Claus left."
"We need to get Sam back here. He's been training for this. I never have. I've never flown with Santa. No – no – no."
"You have to do it, dear. There is no one else," Winona said, a gloved hand on his cheek. "The reindeer will fly for you. You know the route. We'll have the lists all prepared. And Spock's right. You are the only Claus who can do it."
"You are a Claus," Jim said to her with an air of desperation.
"Only by marriage, dear," Winona reminded him. "You are a Claus by birth."
"She is correct, Jim," Spock said. "You are the only one who can fulfill the Christmas wishes of children worldwide."
Jim sighed, looking from Spock to his mother and back to Spock. "Okay. Fine. But you're coming with me."
"That is an acceptable compromise," Spock agreed, surprising Jim. He'd expected an argument.
"All right," Jim said. "Can we see Santa?"
"He's asleep, thanks to Leonard," Winona said.
"Okay," Jim said. "Where can we put the reindeer? I don't want them out all night. They are too upset about the stable and about Santa."
"The raw materials warehouse is mostly empty," Spock said. "We can have straw put there and house the reindeer temporarily."
"Good," Jim said with a nod. "I'll move the hay."
"Sulu, Uhura, Scott," Spock called. "Please assist Jim."
The three elves came over immediately, following Jim to the secondary storage bay for the straw, piling it on a sleigh they pulled over to the warehouse. When the floor was mostly covered, they herded the reindeer inside, making sure they were safe and warm.
Jim and the elves made their weary way back to the house, everyone gathered in front of the blazing fireplace, no cheerful voices to be heard. "How's Chris?" he asked Winona when he sat on the arm of her chair.
"Sleeping peacefully," she said, getting up. "I'll get you and the elves some hot cocoa."
"Thank you," Jim agreed, sliding down into her chair. He thought about protesting, that he could get his own cocoa. But he understood her need to dosomething. "Where's Spock?" he asked Pavel. His red and green coat had a layer of soot on it that Jim knew came from the stables and not from sliding down chimneys.
"The Workshop," Pavel said, nodding toward it.
"Why?" Jim asked, looking over at the connecting door.
"He said he wanted to check the progress of the toys," Pavel said with a shrug.
"You know he gets like this every year," Hikaru reminded Jim.
"Yeah," Jim sighed.
"Go talk to him," Nyota requested, looking up at him with concern. "Please."
"How will that help?" Jim asked. "It will only make things worse."
"Jim," Winona said when she returned with her tray of mugs. "Go. Take him some cocoa."
Jim slowly stood, taking two of the mugs before going out to the Workshop. It wasn't hard to find Spock who was inspecting the rocking horses. Ordinarily all of the elves would still be working but the explosion in the stable had put a temporary halt to their production.
"Hey," Jim said as he approached. He extended one of the mugs, sipping from the other.
"Jim," Spock said, taking the mug. "The reindeer are settled?"
"Uh huh. They are still skittish but they'll be okay. I may sleep with them."
"That would assist them but be a determent to you," Spock said.
"It's only one night. I'll be fine," Jim said, hoisting himself up on one of the benches. "Take a break, Spock. We've been up since…well, it feels like since Thanksgiving," Jim said with a wry smile.
"Indeed," Spock said, surprising Jim by sitting on the bench next to him.
"If you could ask Santa for one wish, what would it be?" Jim asked, breaking the friendly silence.
"To see my parents again," Spock said, an unusual wistful tone to his voice.
"I'm sorry," Jim said softly.
"Your guilt is unnecessary. You were not responsible for the accident in which they died."
"No. But I'm sorry I asked. I didn't mean to …bring up bad memories."
"My memories of my parents are not sad," Spock said. "While I miss them, I no longer mourn them."
"That's good, I guess," Jim said.
"What would your wish be?" Spock asked, studying Jim over the rim of his mug as he sipped his cocoa.
"Something even he couldn't give me," Jim said regretfully.
"You mustn't ever underestimate Santa's power to make wishes come true," Spock reminded him. To Jim's ears, it sounded a little like a promise.
"He can't change people's hearts," Jim said. "If he could, war would no longer exist."
"Perhaps the heart in question needs not be changed but revealed," Spock suggested in an unusually soft voice.
"Oh," Jim said, turning to look fully at Spock. "Do Christmas wishes really come true?"
"As a Claus, surely you must believe," Spock said, leaning a little closer, all the while staring at Jim's lips. He was licking his own, his tongue peeking out to taste the chocolate lingering there. Jim wanted to taste his lips too, to see if they were as delicious as he always imagined.
"You're not a Claus by birth. You believe?" Jim whispered.
"I hope to be a Claus by marriage. If that is what you want," Spock whispered back.
Jim was smiling as their mouths met, all his dreams coming true with that one kiss. He'd gotten his Christmas wish. Finally.