Title: We Need a Little Christmas

Author: Carleen (fanfiction and ksarchive) or PearlieBlue (Live Journal)

BETA: Spockaholic

Fandom: STXI

Rating: PG

Word Count: 9081

Prompt: The twelve days of Christmas.

Summary: This story satisfies the requirements for submission to the K/S Advent on Live Journal. For clarity, Spock Prime is referred to as Mister Spock. Spock (STXI) as either Commander Spock or Spock.

Captain Kirk senses his first officer feels a little low after breaking up with Lieutenant Uhura, losing his mother and the destruction of his home planet. Taking his cue from The Twelve Days of Christmas tradition, he surprises Commander Spock with a gift for each of the twelve days. However, he is not so sure about the emotions the gift giving inspires in him. There is also something he learned in his mind meld with Mister Spock. What will he do with this knowledge? Thank you to Spockaholic for beta reading my story. Any errors still existing in the text are entirely my own.


I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close. – Pablo Neruda


Chapter 1, River

I am not sure what awakened me this morning. My time-sense informs me it is early in Delta shift. The chronometer on the bedside table confirms that it is 0235. My eyes scan the area where I spent the night. It is Spartan and empty, much like my own room. Neither of us have been around long enough to personalize our space. This reminds me that I am naked, and not alone. Behind me lays a human male. With his arm draped over my chest and his legs pressed along the length of my own. My legs are slightly longer and I am taller, but not by much. His penis is nestled against the cheeks of my buttocks. The breath on the back of my neck is warm and tender. In all the years, we will know each other, whether fighting side by side, arguing at a conference table, or exploring a new world, it is this moment of sublime acceptance of what we are that I will remember.

I suppose you wish to know how I ended up here. It did not happen suddenly or in a wave of frenzied sexual desire. With what you humans refer to as 'hindsight,' I see each step that led us to the events of last night and why I am still here this morning. It was the quick glances, which sought and found understanding and friendship. The delightful process of learning how much we had in common. Running this ship together and the satisfaction that we were getting it right. Like an algorithm which expressing its list of instructions, proceeds through successive states and successfully executes its output, led me to this moment.

My name is Spock and I am a Vulcan. That is to say, I am a half-Vulcan. My mother was a human. The man beside me is the Commanding Officer of the USS Enterprise. You may have heard of him. He is the youngest officer ever awarded a captaincy and his name is James T. Kirk.

I promised to explain how I got here and I must begin now. The human behind me is stirring and I do not know how much longer he will stay asleep. Once he awakens, my day will begin. In many ways, it will be my life that begins. Our life.

I will not bore you with the whole story of my past. It is common knowledge. You know that my home planet Vulcan was destroyed and that I lost my mother in that tragedy. While an instructor at Starfleet Academy, I began an affair with one of my students. Although, not frowned upon or even against the rules, it was probably not a wise course of action. She was not my first relationship or sexual partner, but for the first time it meant something and our relationship grew. However, as with all relationships, which begin on the unequal footing of teacher/mentor, eventually the student no longer requires a teacher. That is where I will begin my story: Six months ago, when I invited her to my quarters for the last time.

"Lieutenant Uhura, report to my quarters."

The familiar, beautiful face flashed on the screen. Normally, she would have had included a smile with her greeting. A smile, which I never returned, but needed from her. Because, although I would never admit it, I always felt the smile was for me alone. That smile included her knowledge of our nights together, the stolen kisses in the turbolift, my willingness to allow her to see my inner self and the night we made love in the captain's chair on the Kobayashi Maru set.

"I'm sorry, sir. I promised Commander Kalala IIunga I would go over some Swahili dialect with him. However, if you really need me. I'm on my way."

While pondering her use of the phrase 'if you really need me, sir,' I replied, "That will not be necessary. Training always takes precedence. Spock out."

Yes, my dark graceful beauty, I do need you, I thought. I need to hear your laughter, feel your breath on my skin, and awake in the warm tangle of your emotions, which always seep in when we spend the night together.

It is not logic, but a poignant feeling of inevitability, which informed me these circumstances are now memories and will never occur response represented her third refusal to join me in my quarters, the second refusal to join me for a meal, and the first time she mentioned another man's name. There were many men on this ship, but only one with a Bantu name or mentioned with that tone in her voice. They had their culture in common. Was that what drew them together? Now that she was on active duty and assigned to the Enterprise, her duties were numerous and varied. Her linguistics skills made her a valuable member of this crew. Logically, I should not be jealous. Logically, I should use the time to meditate or compose a letter to Father.

Are you familiar with the five stages of the grief? By efficiently monitoring my mental processes, I concluded that as of yesterday at 0600, I had passed through the phases of denial, anger, bargaining, and depression, to the final stage of acceptance concerning the death of my mother. Acceptance meant I could now honor her memory. Doctor McCoy had said a very kind thing to me that day, 'Commander Spock, she's not really gone, as long as you remember her.' I shall remember her and honor her memory. However, as I concluded the call with the lieutenant, those cold and empty emotions of grief came creeping back.

Settling down in my chair, I sought refuge in meditation. Then two hours later, someone interrupted me. The chime distracted me, because of course, I knew who it was. I found myself unprepared for this conversation. So much for meditation.

Lieutenant Uhura entered, appearing as if she would rather be anywhere else but here. Her makeup, normally subdued, now obvious. The color on her lips alluring. I knew what those lips felt like against mine, so soft and yielding and now someone else knew. Her perfume, absent in deference to my preferences, now pronounced. As the smell saturated the air in my quarters, my olfactory system processed the scent as death.

In one fluid movement, I rose to my feet.

"Commander Spock? May I speak with you for a moment?" Depression.

"There has never been a moment when you could not speak freely to me, Nyota." Bargaining.

Tears filled her eyes and her hands twisted together. "I don't want to hurt you. I did not see it coming. I'm so sorry. But, there's someone else."

"I concluded as much, Lieutenant Uhura." Anger.

"I hope this won't affect our working relationship, sir. You can be assured for my part it will not."

"I never doubted it, Lieutenant. You are dismissed."

"But Spock. I…"

"Ashau," I note this would be the last time I will use this endearment with her. "As my mother was fond of saying, 'everything always works out for the best.'" Denial.

I watched her walk away. The door closed and I was alone. The smell of her perfume stank of betrayal and loss. I could no longer find refuge here. Heading out of my quarters, I ran headlong into Captain Kirk.

Without a second thought, Kirk put his hands on my forearms to stop his forward motion and steady us. At the touch, a vibration of emotion shot through me. The look on the Captain's face told me he felt it too. There was more, but he covered it quickly.

"Sorry, Spock. I'm still gawking like a tourist," he joked.

"No offense taken, sir. Your quarters are here. I activated the door and stood on the threshold to hold it open for the captain. Is there anything you require?"

There was more to this than a chance collision of minds. It puzzled me and I wanted to learn what it was that had Captain Kirk looking at me with guarded eyes.

"Uh, no, just settling in. Let's meet for lunch in about three hours."

"Yes, Captain. I will meet you in the officer's mess in three hours. Good day."

The normal functions of my mind were now in turmoil. Losing Uhura and the sudden exposure to Jim Kirk's thoughts kept my mind from finding the tranquility of non-emotion. Indeed, I found quite the opposite. The three hours went by much too quickly for me to find refuge in any Vulcan discipline.

The officer's mess was crowded and loud as Alpha shift filed in quickly to eat and get back to work. When the three hours stretched to 3.5 hours, I gathered crackers, fruit, and some cheese and made my way to the Captain's quarters.

When he failed to answer, I entered and found him at his desk with his head in his hands. At the sound of my voice, he looked up and what I saw in his eyes drew me to his side. He quickly looked away.

"I did ring, sir. You are thirty minutes late for our luncheon meeting. I brought a tray for us."

"Three hours… well, what the hell. Where'd the time go?"

Did the captain need me to illustrate Albert Einstein's theories of time and space to explain? Probably not. Rhetorical questions were a unique mannerism of humans.

"With respect, sir, I am your first officer; I thought we might spend some time discussing duties, expectations, and ship functions."

"That was my thinking, too. I assume that's food, Commander Spock? Sit down and let's eat. I can't even remember the last time I had a meal."

I would not have predicted it at the time, but this simple meal, shared at Jim's desk, laid the foundation for our relationship. For many years to come, I would bring a simple meal to Jim's quarters, where we would discuss ship's business in the privacy of the captain's cabin. However, at this point in our relationship, we were still a little wary of each other.

"You don't like me very much, Commander." The captain commented while expertly stacking cheese and a slice of apple on a cracker.

It was not phrased in the form of a question. The young man rarely asked questions. He simply followed his instincts.

"I neither like nor dislike you, sir. I am your first officer and you are the commanding officer. My role is to see that your orders are carried out, monitor ship's functions and personnel, and report back to you."

I am aware he is watching me. My formal bravado fading and I could no longer hide the pain of Uhura's betrayal. What does he see? I do not wish to meet his eyes. If I look up, he will see it all. I cannot hide the grief, the disappointment, and confusion. I deliberately turn the discussion to ship business. In just a few minutes, he changed the subject.

"Spock, if I haven't said it before, please allow me to offer my condolences over the death of your Mother. My Mother and I have a turbulent relationship, but I cannot imagine her not being there."

Humans… one minute they are discussing dilithium replenishment schedules and the next they want to discuss emotionally charged issues about mothers. My eyes slid closed. I must regain control. Kirk saw my lapse. Of course, he saw it.

"There is something more," he stated matter-of-factly. Spock, I saw her this morning with...I'm not trying to pry, but something happened between you two."

One slim finger landed on the blue sleeve of my uniform. I watched it travel, once, twice, three times over the fabric.

"I'm sorry, Spock."

"She is young and no longer a cadet. It is only logical that she moves forward with her life."

"Yeah, but it still hurts." Again, not a question, but a statement of fact.

My chair rocked back and I managed to catch it before it crashed to the deck. How is that I am now on my feet? Kirk watched me with concern. How did I know that with such certainty the he will not mock my loss of control? As I set the chair to rights, I notice scattered on his bed lay the remains of his unpacking. A welcome distraction.

"You have unpacking left to do. Your Yeoman would do this for you, Captain. Although, I understand you do not employ her for personal tasks."

I saw the edge of something familiar inside the box on the captain's bed. I looked to him for permission to pursue the item. When he nodded, I continued my exploration.

"If Yeoman Chambers is not suitable, another yeoman can be assigned to you."

"It's fine, Spock. Been on my own for a long time now. I don't need a valet."

I could not argue that fact. My yeoman was not even allowed to enter my quarters. Inside the box, my fingers felt familiar lines. Gently tugging, I uncovered an old-fashioned wooden chess set. In the dim light of the sleeping area, the old wood glowed with a patina of something well-loved and well-used. Below it a wooden box for the chess pieces. With the set now in my hands, for the first time since I had entered the room, I made eye contact with the human.

The captain swept away the remains of our lunch and the chessboard lay between us. Then, as if it were ordained, I took the black pieces and Jim the white.

"This set belonged to my father," he commented quietly.

"You are fortunate to have something from your past. My possessions were lost when Vulcan was destroyed. My Mother illogically kept everything from my school years. Now, all of it is gone."

"It's not illogical at all. It's what moms do. Tell me. Which ones were your favorites?"

"She often read Lewis Carroll to me."

"No way. 'Alice in Wonderland?'"

"'Through the Looking Glass,' was my favorite. Prior to meeting you on earth, I had just been home. In anticipation of orders to the Enterprise, I'd removed my personal articles back to Vulcan."

I could not know it then, but a plan began to form in the Captain's mind. The earth holiday of Christmas was coming up and Jim's quick mind began working a plan. At that moment, I was simply glad for this time. The human stopped staring at me and allowed me to find my inner balance. What a remarkable and complex man he is.

"It's your move, Jim."

Chapter 2, It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

As I lay in my bunk listening to the sounds of the ship, I reflected over the last six months. During those months, my life had changed. I did not miss my teaching as much as I thought I would. The Enterprise was home now and I looked forward to exploring and adventuring. Starfleet threw increasingly complex assignments at us and we took them in stride. The crew now functioned as a team. Uhura, Sulu, and Chekov were integral to the smooth functioning of the bridge. I watched with pride as they matured into their roles. The young Mister Chekov ate responsibility as if it were his favorite Russian dessert and was now something of a protégé of mine.

The night before, the Captain had gathered his senior officers together for a drink to toast to the holiday season. Yes, six months since my life changed, and I was content.

Rising from the bed, I padded barefoot to the bathroom. My eyes caught the flicker of light off a small metallic object on my chest of drawers. This had not been here before. My fingers closed around the small square object. It was wrapped in metallic looking paper, without a card or note. The silver paper yielded easily and inside I found a velvet box. Carefully opening the lid, I drew a sharp breath of surprise. Vulcans do not gasp, but I must admit, for a moment my breath and heart ceased to function.

Lying gracefully on a bed of black velvet was a gold and silver medallion of the IDIC. Turning it over, I noted the item could be worn as a pin or a necklace. It was inscribed with a Surakian quote: Dethrone the past: this done, day comes up new.

With the medallion in the palm of my hand. I turned it to watch the light reflect off the gold and silver. This was no knockoff. It was beautiful and handcrafted from Vulcan materials. The crystal at the apex of the triangle caught the light in a prism of colors.

"Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations," I said aloud. This gift could only be from Jim Kirk. A man who treated all beings with dignity and acceptance. Often defending their rights at his peril.

As a Starfleetofficer, I was accustomed to respect. Unlike most individuals, who either snubbed me or found me intimidating, Jim Kirk actually befriended me. He accepted me as just Spock, just as myself. He sought my counsel and showed genuine concern for my well-being. Jim also showed it to me in small personal ways, such as this gift.

With only five minutes to report to the bridge, I placed the piece carefully in a drawer. Apparently left as a surprise, I had no real proof of the giver's identity. Should I speak of it? By the time I exited my quarters I decided to remain silent. I would wait and see.

"Good morning, Commander," greeted the Captain, as I exited my quarters. We walked to the turbo lift and entered the bridge together.

The morning went quickly. When I joined Jim in his quarters for our customary lunch meeting, I thought about bringing the medallion. At the last second, I decided to leave it in the drawer. That afternoon, we played chess late into the evening, but still I did not mention the medallion. You might ask why, but I have no answer for you. Perhaps I wanted to savor the mystery just a bit longer.

The next morning, when I requested my usual breakfast of oatmeal and fruit, the food dispenser presented a bowl of Plowmeek soup and a cup of tea instead. In complete confusion, I lifted the tray and sat down at one of the empty tables. The soup smelled delicious, but this was not the soup the computer normally delivered. The usual recipe tasted too much like that human concoction called split pea soup. My Mother had once tried forcing me to eat that and it had not ended well.

When I opened my napkin, a note slid to the table. It reads, Not really two turtle doves, but the ship's computer is now programmed with your Mother's recipes for Plowmeek soup and her special tea. Any time you feel the need for comfort food, it's here.

The tea was fragrant and soothing. The last time I enjoyed this tea had been in my mother's garden. She had served me the tea herself and we had talked the afternoon away.

"Hey Spock, mind if I join you?"

Captain Kirk sat down opposite me. "That tea smells really good."

"May I get you a cup, sir? I would enjoy sharing it with you."

"I'm not much of a tea drinker, but it smells so good. Sure, I'll try some."

"The tea is a special recipe of my Mother's. Someone programmed the computer to prepare this and her recipe for Plowmeeksoup. Did you have something to do with this, Captain?"

"Me? I don't know anything about programming computers."

Not exactly an answer. Apparently, he had forgotten about the Kobayashi Maru test. Deciding to let the comment pass, I set the cup down in front of him and watched him enjoy the tea. He took a few sips, then duty called.

"Got to go, Spock. Meeting with Scotty at 0800. I'll be on the bridge, in time for our rendezvous with the Farragut. Enjoy your breakfast."

He placed a hand on my shoulder as he passed. The Captain often touched me casually. At first, I found it off-putting. As the days and months went by, I found myself wishing for more. More of what? I asked myself. I was still intrigued by what I had seen in his mind that day outside my quarters. His active brilliant mind was as attractive to me as...what? I had no answer.

Chapter 3, Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer

"Commander, those readings please?"

Quickly setting the box down on the console, I turned to my computer. Something strange, an anomaly, had just appeared off our starboard bow. The Captain asked for sensor readouts and as I turned to comply, I almost sat down on a square box lying incongruously on my chair. I found myself distracted by the unexpected appearance of another gift.

"Coming up now, sir." I replied quickly.

The anomaly turned out to be a probe. We made the decision to bring it aboard once we had determined it was harmless. As a safety precaution, we placed a stasis field around it. At a nod from the Captain, I headed down to the shuttle bay. Unfortunately, in spite of our testing, it was rigged to defend itself against tampering. I watched as the crew member next to me took a large piece of shrapnel in the chest. My feet left the deck as the blast took down most of the shuttle bay in its destructive wave and me with it.

Someone called to me. I could not answer, because I was drowning. Curious. How could one drown without being submerged? Gentle hands turned my face to the side and helped me clear my mouth of blood. I could breathe again.

A different hand touched me now. I recognized it and I welcomed it. Jim! His mind, although in turmoil at the destruction of the shuttle bay and the dead crew member, swirled with concern for me. The emotions shimmered across our clasped hands like the current of a dilithium power cell. I gripped his hand in response. I knew the Captain had no idea what was happening between us. Just before he released my hand, as the medic transferred me to a stretcher, I saw the other Kirk and Spock in Jim's mind. They were beautiful to behold. Unconditional and unapologetic, their obvious love and devotion emanated from the Captain's thoughts. Was this what I had caught a glimpse of that day? Then I lost the thread of thought as everything slipped away and I lost consciousness.

Later, as I awakened, the familiar sights of sickbay solidified around me and someone pulled a blanket over me. Fingers lightly touched my cheek. Reaching up, I found the hand.

"Jim?"

"I wanted to check on you. Thought you might be cold. You left this box on the bridge."

"Thank you, Captain. This is the third day I have received a gift."

"All nonessential personnel out!" Doctor McCoy shouted above the din of the emergency first responder teams.

"I'll put this in your quarters for you. Is that what you want?"

"I have not seen it. Perhaps you might come back later? When the doctor is off duty?"

"I could do that. I'll bring you some of that tea."

With that promise, I allowed myself to drift back to sleep.

A few hours later, I watched the Captain quietly enter sickbay with two mugs of tea and my gift.

"You're awake. Here's your tea."

"The tea smells inviting, but my injury prevents me from sitting up to enjoy it."

Without thinking about his actions, he slid his hands under my back to help me sit up. For a long moment, our heads were very close. Then blue eyes were looking into mine. "I thought you were dead."

Then, as if caught in some illegal act he pulled away. "Spock, I shouldn't have touched you without your permission."

"Do not concern yourself with that. I find your presence…"

"Yeah, I feel it too," He dismissed it by handing me my tea and bringing me to date on the ship's status. We were bound for Star Base 12 for repairs. The damaged area of the ship was secured and the Science Department began studying the device. At present speed, our ETA was twenty-fourhours.

"So, when do I get my First Officer back?"

"The Doctor claims I may return to duty tomorrow. But only if I can walk out of here on my own two legs."

"We'll be at Star Base 12 tomorrow evening. Never been there. I'll need you to help me negotiate the base."

I nodded my understanding.

"You haven't opened your mysterious gift. Here," he said, placing it in my hands.

The old fashioned framed photograph was of Spock at about sixteen, flanked by his parents. His mother, smiling openly with her hand on Spock's shoulder. Sarek was not looking into the camera. He was plainly looking down at his son with affection.

"Jim… This is too much."

"Let me see."

"It's nice, Spock. Do you remember the picture being taken?"

"Yes." I could say no more.

"I should go. I hope the gift brings you pleasure, my friend."

"It has brought me pleasure, Jim. Then, before the moment was lost, I said, "Both the pleasure of the image and hearing you call me friend."

"I… I'll see you in the morning, Spock."

I returned to my quarters the next morning and discovered four perfect Tuvok Tulips in a crystal vase beside my bed.

Chapter 4, Silent Night, Holy Night

The Enterprise gracefully entered her assigned berth at the Star Base 12 docking facilities.

"Docking procedures at your discretion, Mister Sulu. Chekov, initiate a ship wide message please. As soon as Mister Sulu gives the all clear, shore leave may commence."

After issuing those orders, he turned to me and mouthed, "Let's get out of here."

We left the bridge together and headed down to Star Base 12.

~0~

The last of the wine went into Jim's glass. The plates were cleared and the waiter brought me a brandy. The restaurant was quiet and lit only by candles and subdued lighting.

"Thank you for joining me, Spock."

"You need not thank me, Jim. It is what we both wanted."

Jim lifted his glass. "Yeah, I guess you're right."

"There is more on your mind than dinner, Jim. Do you wish to discuss it?"

"I guess so. Let's go outside. There's a deck out there and more privacy."

Once outside, Jim headed to the side of the deck where the moons of the planet had completed their journey and were visible above the horizon.

"Five moons. Curious and coincidental."

"How so, Spock?"

Seriously wondering if he could manage a straight face through this conversation, I asked with all the innocence I could muster, "A holiday song just came to my attention. The title is The Twelve Days of Christmas. Are you familiar with it?"

"During the holidays back on earth, especially in the United States, you're inundated with those holiday songs. After a while, they all sound the same."

"You wished to discuss something with me?" I prompted.

"I've thought about discussing this with you, but I'm still not sure."

I do not know what he wishes to say either. However, getting to know him during these last months has taught me he can be trusted to discuss personal subjects.

I ventured, "It is most unusual for you to be hesitant about voicing your thoughts. There is nothing you can say that will change my opinion of you."

The human searched my face for clarification. My feet moved toward him and Jim is trapped between me and the railing behind him. The desire to touch him was more than I could resist. He watched my hands land gently on his shoulders. His emotions tugged at me, while he searched my face.

"Tell me what troubles you, Jim. I am aware there is a thing you wish to tell me."

"Okay. When Mister Spock melded with me back on Delta Vega, he let more slip through than just the emotional trauma of Vulcan's destruction."

"You may tell me, Jim."

"The other Kirk and Spock…the other two…I read it…or saw it, in his mind. The other two. Spock, they were lovers."

"Does this knowledge disturb you?"

"No… no, not at all. It filled me with something…. Spock, I've never experienced those emotions. I guess their feelings of love are with me now."

"And what do you wish to do with those feelings?"

"I want to give them to… or share them. It's like a pain in my chest. I don't know a damn thing about how it all works."

"Jim, it is not always painful."

He looked up at me as if I had all the answers. My hands tightened around his shoulders.

"And, it is worth it." I assured him.

The other couples joined us to enjoy the romantic evening and the five moons. He tensed under my hands and I reluctantly released him. I followed him back to the ship, where we said goodnight.

Chapter 5, Rocking Around the Christmas Tree

Later that night I sat on the edge of my bed, unable to sleep or achieve a meditative state and thought about Jim's revelation that our counterparts had been lovers.

Earlier, as I entered my quarters, I noticed a book lying open on my desk directly under one of the overhead lights. It glowed in the darkness of the room. Another gift? I traced my fingers over the title, reading aloud, The Teachings of Surak: Six Chapters. This book represented the sixth day: Six chapters, five moons, four orchids, a picture of three members of my immediate family, and the IDIC medallion.

The old leather felt alive in my hands. It spoke of its history. How many Vulcan hands had held this book and studied the philosopher's words? A page was marked with a blue ribbon. I read the passage aloud. "'Ma etek natyan – teretuhr lau etek shetau weh-lo'uk do turn t'on'. Translated, it read 'We have differences. May we, together, become greater than the sum of us both.'"

Surak's wisdom directed my thoughts toward the roles the Captain and I played on this ship. Perhaps it was more important for us to have a functioning working relationship. We had a lot to prove out here. They had made Jim a captain and given him a ship. Romantic, sexual, or other dalliances were probably not on any captain's list of priorities. Too much to do, too much to keep track of and a standard to set.

Perhaps these gifts were not from Jim, at all. Was this Nyota's way of apologizing? I wondered if these gifts expressed a wish to return to our former relationship. The hour was late; I knew her custom of enjoying the atrium before retiring. With the book in my hand, I headed below decks. As soon as I entered the garden area, I realized my mistake. The sound of Uhura's laughter reached my ears. Something twisted inside me when I heard the richly accented tones of Commander IIunga's voice.

"Spock! What are you doing here?" Uhura exclaimed as she noticed me.

Her hair down around her shoulders, agitated state and glittering eyes spoke of their activities.

"Touring the ship, Lieutenant. You are aware of my usual habit."

In fact, she and I had walked this path through the ship together. Then I did something very un-Vulcan and experienced the human emotion of jealousy. Very un-Vulcan, indeed.

"Commander IIunga, my quarterly report lacks detailed information from your department. You will please provide me with a complete report concerning acquisition schedules, budgetary requirements, forecasts, and crew requirements by morning. I'll look for it in my inbox, not later than 0600." With a formal nod, I fled the atrium.

The captain found me sitting in the officer's mess alone with my back to the room.

"Hey, Spock. Everything okay?"

"No, sir. Everything is not okay."

The door slid open. The Alpha shift crew entered the mess to have breakfast.

"Let's go for a walk." Jim suggested as the noise level around us increased.

"I'll just report to the bridge, Captain."

"One of the great things about being a CO is I get to give orders and people have to follow them. It's really pretty cool. So let's go."

I followed the human into the corridor. "Captain, I am perfectly fine. I will head to the bridge now."

"And I will walk with you."

Instead of the turbolift he pulled me into an empty conference room. In a familiar gesture, he crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against the conference table.

"Talk."

"Not every problem can be solved by simply talking it out, Jim."

"Sure it gets the bad stuff out of your head and into the light of day. For example, I know about what happened in the atrium last night."

"Some things are too personal to discuss."

"No argument there, but I we are a little past that, don't you think? Damn it, Spock!"

"Yes, Jim?"

"What is this between us?"

"What do you wish it to be?"

"That's not a goddamn answer."

"Shall we define it? Give it a voice? Give it expression?"

"I spent my life wandering from one bar to the next, one relationship–who am I kidding–one sexual encounter to the next. No focus or meaning in my life. Everything came too easily and I felt so empty. Captain Pike dared me to do something with myself. Dared me to be better."

"And so you have, and more. But you are still troubled by what you learned in your meld with Mister Spock. Share it with me."

"No!"

"Then why did you pull me into this room? Why are you swearing? Your eyes are dilated and your breathing shallow. Do you wish me to admit that my own heart stumbles and increases in speed when I am in close proximity to you? I understand you defended me against Commander IIunga?"

"Yeah, well. I overheard him bragging about how he'd taken Uhura away from you. He won't say anything again. I can promise you that."

"I am touched, touched in a way I cannot describe. That only you, among all the crew, offer me friendship. Why?"

I moved very close to the human and his hands moved instinctively to brace himself against the table. My own hands reached for the nerve points, I felt a tear slide over my finger. His blue eyes were electric with emotion.

"Spock…"

Then I was in his mind and nothing was hidden. The gifts were of course, from him. I could manage to hide that fact from him for now. Then there was the other Kirk and Spock. They shone like the sun in Jim's mind. Yes, they'd been lovers.

Mister Spock had remarked to me that it would be a friendship which defined us both, and he'd said, 'in ways I could not imagine.' What were those "ways" and what could I not imagine? Tension built between us. Was it responding to the lips of Jim's upturned mouth? Was it pulling his body to mine to let him feel what this was doing to my composure?

I looked to the meld for my answers and I saw that Jim was receptive to my questing. In fact, he demanded it. His arms slid around my waist and he pulled me close. It was no gentle lover's touch, but an ancient drive and the force of the physical evidence of our passion crashed together as he pulled me against him.

He cried out and I covered his mouth with mine to silence him. Anyone could walk in. I slid my hands under his hips and lifted him ontothe table. Our lips fed on each other. Our first kiss was neither romantic, nor particularly gentle.

How ironic that it would be Lieutenant Uhura who interrupted us. Her voice, coming from the bridge, sounded as if she was in the room with us. It forced us apart.

"Captain Kirk, you are wanted on the bridge. Priority call from Admiral Komack. Please acknowledge."

I kept my hand under his arm, to steady him, as he turned to answer her.

"Acknowledged, Lieutenant. I'll take it in my quarters. Kirk out."

Without another word, he left me standing there alone. I reflected that it was a good thing Vulcans were able to control their emotions. Otherwise, the pain of the loss of his body against mine would hurt more than it did. It was several minutes before I left the conference room. I did not see or speak to him again that day.

Chapter 6, Do You Hear What I Hear?

I stayed very late at the labs that night. When I finally headed back to my quarters, I was ready for a rest. The seventh gift lay on my bed. In Latin, the title was De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii, subtitled, De septem disciplinis. In English, it read "On the Marriage of Philology and Mercury, subtitled, or on the seven disciplines of a liberal education."

This ancient book was an encyclopedia concerning the importance of a classic education in the seven liberal arts: Grammar, Dialectic, Rhetoric, Geometry, Arithmetic, Astronomy, and Harmony. How like him to think I might enjoy this particular book.

The next morning, at my bridge station, I found a copy of another book, equally as ancient as the first. It was a book on the symbolism and history of chess, titled "The Golden Prairies" by the Arab historian al-Mas'ūdī. My small library was growing and I had Jim to thank for it. His thoughtfulness and generosity warmed my heart. I did not fail to recognize the symbolism of the book. The symbolism of the number eight is woven throughout the game's long history. I also recognized his efforts at making up for my personal losses, which might be amplified by the holiday season. Managing to push those thoughts aside, I stayed on the bridge for only four hours. Then after checking on the Enterprise's repair schedule, I headed back to my quarters.

I found my desk chair and tumbled into it. My thoughts on the bridge, too long ignored now assaulted me. Jim! The name called out for acknowledgement. Our encounter in the conference room unsettled me. More than unsettled I was aroused. The need for its expression sang through my body. Briefly, I yearned for Nyota. My mind answered, she was too fragile for this. I needed more than her tender caresses and timid surrender.

My hands gripped the edge of the console. I needed to be acknowledged, my body overwhelmed and plundered. Ravaged by his strength. Someone who knew me for what I really was, not what they wished me to be, or needed me to be.

What if I entered his quarters right now? What would be the outcome? I was on my feet and standing in front of his door before I knew it. Reaching for the entry chime, I heard the sound of feminine , directly in front of me, the door opened and a young lieutenant exited Jim's quarters. Her uniform insignia identified her as base personnel. To her credit, she quickly sobered and slipped past me, hurrying down the corridor.

"Commander? May I help you?"

"No, sir. Good evening."

"Come in." It was not a question.

A thick, uncomfortable silence followed as the Captain adjusted his tunic and ran a hand through his hair.

"I'm sorry you had to see that."

"What you do with your personal time is not in my business."

"It has become your business too. Hasn't it?"

There was an edge to his voice I did not understand.

He poured us each a drink.

"Nothing happened and nothing was going to happen," he commented, pacing restlessly. Finally turning to me and gesturing toward the door with his glass. "I'm so sick of that."

"May I suggest you return to Star Base 12? Perhaps you might more easily find what you seek."

"I think you're right. In fact, I'd planned on it and you're coming with me."

"But...?"

"Never mind. She just barged in here on the pretext of giving me a message. Come on."

I followed Jim's lead as we wound our way through the city. As we ran up the steps to a concert hall, we heard the orchestra tuning up.

"A concert?"

"Actually," He turned to me with mischief in his eyes. "It's a symphony."

The usher seated us so quickly and easily, I knew Jim must have planned this. The lights went down. The conductor entered the stage. I realized I had no idea what music we were about to hear. Then in the darkness, I felt Jim grasp my hand. The opening bars of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony washed across the audience in a wave of sound. How had he known? How had he known that Beethoven was one of my favorite composers? I did not fail to notice that this represented the ninth gift. I turned my hand over and returning the embrace, lacing my fingers with his.

I enjoyed watching Jim's pleasure, at the music and this simple gift, as we walked leisurely down the steps of the concert hall. The night was still and warm and he led me into the darkness.

"That was fun." He referred to the fact that the fourth movement was actually, an audience "sing along." The blending of my base tones with Jim's clear baritone had been enjoyable and satisfying.

"And now that I know you sing, next year we'll attend an audience participation performance of "Messiah."

"I look forward to it. Then I sang a line from the Oratorio, "'Every valley. Shall be exalted!'"

And with a grin, he responded with the next line. "'And every mountain and hill layed low.'"

"'The crooked straight.'"

"'And the rough places plain.'"

I pulled him to a stop and glanced around. We were alone. Before he could begin the next sentence, I pulled his head to mine and pressed my lips to his. He tasted of the night air and the wine we sipped at intermission. I inhaled deeply of the scent that was so uniquely his. He moved restlessly against me. I had not asked for permission. I did not want him to say another word, before I spoke first.

"Thank you. Thank you, Jim."

Then he pulled me back down to him and deepened the kiss. What could I do? He was my commanding officer, after all.

Oh yes, this is what I wanted and what I needed from him. Those possessive strong hands roaming over my body. Following his lead, I pressed my hands against his buttocks and pulled him to me grinding my hips against to let him know the strength of my desire. Suddenly and inexplicably, he pulled away and my arms were empty.

"We should stop."

"I do not wish to stop."

"There's more at stake here…"

"There is only you and me."

"I have to think of the Enterprise."

"Indeed. I cannot disagree with that statement."

"Then what happens when this… thing… whatever it is between us ends?"

"I cannot predict the future, Jim. When you decide what you really need. I will be waiting. Thank you for the lovely evening."

I left him standing there, headed back to the Enterprise and the haven of my quarters. Next to my bed, I discovered another gift-wrapped surprise. Inside I found a pair of slippers and a note.

Before you meditate

We wish to predicate

That logic and good sense shows

These will warm all ten Vulcan toes

"Jim, I said out loud. What do you want from me?" I put on my new slippers and sought my answers in mediation and reflection.

Chapter 7, Adeste Fidelas

On the following day, our repairs completed, we left Star Base 12 bound for our next assignment. According to the Captain's wishes, the command crew, including Doctor McCoy, stood on the bridge as we disembarked. Other than ship's business, which required he speak directly to me. It seemed obvious he was avoiding me.

"Commander Spock. I'll have to cancel our usual lunch meeting today."

"Understood."

That simple statement, uttered so formally by the Captain caused immediate discomfort. At that point, I had to admit to myself that he did a better controlling his emotions than I. His features revealed no hint of my own inner turmoil. I did not understand the gifts compared to his behavior. As soon as my shift ended, I headed to the gym for my exercise period and planned to end the evening in my quarters.

The Captain was also in the gym. When he noticed me, he turned quickly away and headed to the locker room. I followed.

"Sir, may I speak to you?"

"Of course, Commander."

"Jim… I seek only clarification."

"Look, Spock. Let me change and I will meet you in the conference room in about an hour. We can talk as much as you wish."

"Jim?

"In an hour, Spock."

"Yes, sir."

Was this his usual way of dealing with relationships? If so, then I would find only frustration in pursuing anything more than a professional connection to this man. So be it. Opening my own locker, I began to dress for my own workout. Only to find at the bottom of the locker a decorative box. Sitting down on the bench, I pulled the engraved and painted wooden box onto my lap. I traced the brightly painted carvings of Alice, The Rabbit, Cheshire cat, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, The Red Queen and The Mad Hatter on the lid. In complete wonder, which I am sure Mr. Carroll would approve , I lifted the lid. Inside, tucked in red velvet were the complete literary works of Lewis Carroll.

Do I need to remind you there are eleven literary works? Lewis Carroll wrote about mathematics as well, but these were his literary works. The only person aside from my own mother who knew about my fondness for these books was Jim Kirk. What should I make of this gift? What conclusion should I draw from it? So bemused was I over it, I failed to close the locker door or complete my workout. Back in my quarters, I set the box in a place of honor on my bookshelf. I prepared myself to sleep with the decision that I would resolve or end this tension between us.

Long after I had retired that night, I heard the sound of my cabin door opening. For several seconds the light from the hallway flooded my quarters. As if, the person could not decide whether to enter. I decided to remain quiet and learn who and why someone was entering my quarters in the middle of the night cycle.

Of course, it was Jim and he carried something in his arms. I watched him seat himself at my desk and set a box in front of him. Although I could not see his face clearly, I could draw some conclusions by his body language.

"May I assist you with something, sir?" I ventured, rising from my bunk. Dressed in loose sleeping clothes, I was not prepared for a meeting with my CO.

"Please, before I lose my nerve, come here."

"Sir, if you will allow me a moment to dress?"

"That won't be necessary, Spock. You missed our meeting."

Carding my fingers through my sleep-tousled hair, I joined him in the main living area. His head was down and his hands spread over the box in front of him.

"So many gifts have come my way."

He spoke so quietly. I sat down across from him to hear his whispered words.

"Spock, there are days when I'm not sure I've earned a single one of them. Before Starfleet, I was nothing more than a drifter. Drifting through other people's lives and emotions. Using them to satisfy my own needs. Then obliterating them from my memory with alcohol."

"Doctor McCoy… Bones. You know, he's been a father figure to me and a good friend. I have this ship, a crew, a career and that selfish person I was is gone."

"Surely these are positive things, Jim. Yet, you are still conflicted."

"Because there is one more gift… and I'm not sure what to do with it. Just not sure if I'm actually worthy of it."

"Jim, it is unworthy of you to even consider such a thing."

"Is it? Here is your last gift, he said, pushing it across the table to me. I hope you like it."

There was the hint of the golden smile that always warmed my stoic heart.

"I guess you probably knew it was me all along."

"I knew it was you, Of course. I did enjoy the mystery thought. But there is no one of my acquaintance who would have done such a thoughtful and generous thing for me. Additionally, you are the only one I told about the Lewis Carroll books."

Inside the box, under a layer of protective fabric was an irregularly shaped object inside another bag. My fingers untied the cord and I opened it. I suppose at this point you want me to tell you that my hands were trembling. Yes, they were.

Jim held the bag, so I could pull the item free from the packaging. In my hands was a twelve string, Vulcan lyre. Far more beautiful than the one I lost on Vulcan, this was inlaid and the tuning pins were made of a natural material.

"Do you like it? He asked with such shyness in his voice, I looked away from the instrument to him.

"It's made from materials near your home town."

"This is unnecessary, Captain. Why did you give me these gifts? Do you pity me? The poor refugee who has no home."

Alarmed, at my inexplicable turn of behavior, he was at my side in seconds. Removing the lyre from my hands, he set it gently down on the desk.

"Pity you? No! I wanted to give you back some of the things you'd lost. I only meant to lift your spirits. Christmas can be a sad time and I didn't want you to feel alone."

"If not pity, then what, Captain? Your actions outstrip any gesture a captain owes his first officer. You claim, 'you only meant to lift my spirits.' These are very personal gifts."

"I don't pity you, Spock. I… I think… I think I'm in love with you."

Finally.

I reached for him, but he eluded my hands. "Do not walk away now. Not this time."

There he goes…. Again.

There are not enough swear words available in the Vulcan language to do justice to my level of illogical frustration. I followed him to his quarters. This would end now.

I spoke before the door closed behind me, "What do you require from me for you to understand the depth of my regard for you? Do you need me to tell you the affection we shared is that of a sunny day, compared to the placid ministrations of Uhura? That I desire to warm myself in the fire of your presence. That when I'm with you, I don't want to leave and when I'm away from you, I wish only to return to your side?"

I turned him to face me.

"Captain, there is another holiday tradition in the culture we share. The Feast of Fools is, among other things, a day where the master becomes the servant and servant becomes master."

A smile lit his face and this time it reached his eyes.

"So you think you can order me around now?"

"Yes, I do and I shall."

"And, what is the first task, My Lord?"

"To express the love you just admitted to in whichever way you wish. However, I will determine if the application of your affection is satisfactory to my needs. You may begin."

"Your needs, Spock?"

The look in Jim's eyes, as he approached me, would have unnerved Surak himself. This man could never resist a challenge.

He placed his hands on my chest and studied my face for a reaction. Finding none, his hands began a slow journey. One slid up to my cheek and began to explore my features. Gentle fingertips brushed over my ears. Suddenly my ears were an erogenous zone. How had I not known that?

His lips reached for mine and slowly and sweetly, he kissed me with all the intensity I craved. My arms circled his shoulders and for once, he did not tense or back away.

He looked up at me seriously, "I'm sorry, Spock. I've been such as an ass…"

"Stop. There is no need to apologize. I understand. You seem to think I would doubt your intentions. Those gifts tell a different story."

"I just followed my instincts and bought what I thought would please you."

"You do not trust your own heart. Will you entrust it to me?"

"Yes. Spock. Yes, please. Don't let me screw this up."

"Then come with me," I said, pulling him toward the sleeping area. It was not a question.

Now you know the story of how I ended up in the captain's bed. My story is truly over now, because his hands are moving over me and he's tugging me over onto my back.

"Hey there, he murmurs, snuggling his face against my neck. Who're you talking to?"


References

1. The Twelve Days of Christmas: en . wikipedia wiki / The_Twelve_Days_of_Christmas_(song

2. River, Sarah McLachlan : youtube watch?v=E2t9J4YBI_0

3. 100 Love Sonnets by Pablo Neruda: goodreads work / quotes / 9295-cien-sonetos-de-amor

4. Ashau: /Vulcan-to-English-Dictionary/Ashau

5. IDIC: -alpha wiki / IDIC

6. Geroge Fredrick Handel, Messiah - Oratorio, HWV watch?v= watch?v=gdbB36x15mE

7. Tuvok Tulips: Tuvok Tulips Tuvok was a prize-winning orchid breeder. VOY: "Tattoo", "Tuvix") He used grafting techniques on flowers from both Earth and Vulcan. (VOY: "Alliances") /wiki/Tuvok

8. The Classic Liberal Arts Education: A Classic Medieval Education, Martianus_Capella wiki/Martianus_Capella

9. The Teachings of Surak: The_Teachings_of_Surak /wiki/The_Teachings_of_Surak

10. The History and Symbolism of Chess: Studies in Comparative Religion .

11. Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125. Conductor Leonard Bernstein: watch?v=DcGQV1hRHJ4

12. Lewis Carroll: wiki/Lewis_Carroll#Literature

13. Vulcan 12 String Lyre: /wiki/Vulcan_lute

14. The Feast of Fools: en . wikipedia wiki / Feast_of_Fools