Series: AU (STXI)
Word Count: 3645
Disclaimer: They're not mine, unfortunately.
Notes: I haven't written Kirk/Spock in many months, so I'm a bit rusty!
Written for ksadvent.
Summary: Six year old Spock is the new boy at school and Jim Kirk's new best friend. Winona talks Amanda into letting Spock stay over on Christmas Eve, and Jim explains Christmas to Spock.
“You got lots of presents under your tree?” Jim turns away from the snowman he was building and is staring at Spock with interest.
Spock glances around the barren playground, attempting to understand. “To which tree are you referring?”
“Spock, you're weird,” Jim laughs. “Your Christmas tree.”
“I do not have a Christmas tree.”
“No tree?” Jim gives him a look as if he's grown two heads. “Is it 'cause they're 'spensive?”
“No, that is not the reason.”
Jim nods. “Last year we didn't have a tree and my mom said it was 'cause it was too 'spensive.”
“I have never had a Christmas tree.”
Jim's eyes grow wide. “Never?”
“That is correct.”
“Upon my birth, my parents made the decision to raise me as close to the Vulcan way of life as possible.”
“And they got no Christmas on Vulcan?” Jim asks, forgetting his snowman for a moment and coming over to sit beside Spock on the icy bench.
“That is correct.”
“Maybe it's too far for Santa.”
Jim gives him a look of pity, and Spock can only stare back in response. Sometimes he has a difficult time relating to his new friend. Jim is excitable and silly, and seems to ask any question that enters his mind. Spock is not always sure how to respond to his inquiries, or how to react when Jim feels sad for him, or amusement at something he said, or irritation when Spock fails to grasp simple statements and questions.
Despite spending the first six years of his life on Earth, Spock has very little experience interacting with humans other than this mother, and dealing with six year old Jim Kirk is another situation entirely.
Jim is staring at him expectantly, so Spock asks the first question that comes to mind.
“Do you have presents under your tree?”
Jim's face lights up at the question. “Yeah! One even has my name on it! I keep shaking it but I can't figure out what's in there.”
“Does shaking usually identify the item inside?”
“Not for me, but Sam always knows. He's in grade five so he knows more stuff. But I asked him what and he won't tell me.”
Sam is Jim's brother. Spock knows this because it was the subject of their second conversation the day he met Jim. According to Jim, Sam is bigger and smarter, and he teases Jim sometimes but he's still Jim's best friend in the world. Or was, until the day Spock joined Jim's first grade class.
Spock's mother had requested that he be placed in the front row, and when Spock took his seat next to Jim, the smaller boy leaned over and whispered “teacher puts me here because I don't listen.”
Spock was intrigued by the boy's blond hair and bright blue eyes, and when Jim smiled at him, Spock couldn't help the slight curl at the corners of his own mouth. “I have been put here because it allows for an optimal learning environment.”
Jim looked confused. “What's opmimal?”
Spock considered the question for a moment before settling on a definition Jim might understand. “The best.”
“Oh!” Jim exclaimed. “You think that's why I'm here too?”
“That is quite possible.”
“I'm Jim. What's your name?”
“My name is Spock.”
“You wanna be my best friend, Spock?”
Spock found the question to be slightly rushed, considering they had just met, but he'd never had a proper friend and Jim was smiling at him, waiting for his answer.
“I would like that, Jim.”
Jim narrowly avoided a scolding from the teacher after he pumped his fist in the air, and he spent the rest of the afternoon working quietly. During recess, he showed Spock the best puddles to splash in, and when they returned to the classroom with wet pant legs, Jim offered Spock some of his favorite pencil crayons as a distraction.
It was his first day at his new school, and Spock was pleased to have found a best friend.
When the phone rings that evening, Spock hovers around the doorway of their living room, straining to hear the conversation. It's not often his parents receive a phone call –most of their communication consisting of vid comms from Vulcan– so when their old-fashioned phone rings, Spock often finds himself curious to know who is on the other end of the line.
His mother is speaking softly, but Spock can hear surprise in her inflection. “Why, yes, Mrs. Kirk, it's lovely to hear from you. We've heard much about your son Jim.”
Spock's ears perk up at the sound of Jim's name, and he tries to wait patiently as his mother pauses and listens to the voice at the other end of the phone.
“Winona, of course. Please, you must call me Amanda then.”
“Is there a problem at school? I hope nothing has happened between the boys.”
“Oh, I am glad to hear that.”
“Yes, that is true.”
“Oh, isn't he the sweetest little thing.”
“Well, I would like to discuss it with my husband.” Her voice grows quieter then. “I will also have to discuss it with Spock, to see if it is something he would like to do.”
“Of course, yes, I appreciate you calling. Please, keep in touch. I sense Spock is glad to have found a new friend.
“Thank you. Goodnight.”
Spock stands just outside the door, trying to make sense of the conversation, and when his mother remains seated in her chair he steps forward, unable to wait any longer.
His mother is knitting –one of the human customs she held onto after her marriage to his father– and she glances up as Spock gets closer.
“Spock,” she says, placing the needles at her side and gesturing for him to approach. “Were you listening at the door?”
“Yes,” Spock admits.
“Sit with me for a moment.” She pats her lap, and Spock sits carefully on her knee. He is of the opinion that he is growing too old to cuddle with his mother, but he still finds himself unable to resist if she initiates physical affection. Spock leans in, resting against her, and he stares at the drab gray sweater she is knitting.
“That was Jim's mother,” she explains. “She was inviting you to spend Christmas with the Kirk family.”
Something stirs in Spock's stomach, excitement possibly, but he finds himself unable to identify the feeling. “I see.”
“Do you know what Christmas is?”
“Yes,” Spock replies, and it is true. He knows of the holiday, having read about it in books, hearing other children at school, and having heard a Christmas song once when he was visiting the city with his father. Spock knows what Christmas is. He does not understand it, but he is aware of the holiday.
“And Jim, he is your good friend?”
“Yes,” Spock nods, speaking softly as he often does around his mother. “He is my best friend.”
“I'm glad to hear that,” she replies, and Spock can hear the smile in her voice. “I had planned to consult your father before asking you, but I am curious – would you like to spend Christmas with Jim and his family? Do you think that is something you would enjoy?”
His mother wraps her arms around him, rocking him gently, and he doesn't shy away from the gesture. “Well, I'll make the decision for us then. As long as your father has no stern objections, you shall be spending Christmas with Jim's family.”
“Do you expect Father to object?”
His mother is quiet for a moment, considering. “No, I believe he'll recognize the need for you to experience human customs. You are half-human, after all.”
“Mother,” Spock says, sitting up to look at her directly. “Did you celebrate Christmas as a child?”
“I did,” she nods. “When I was very young.”
Spock tries to imagine his mother as a child. The logical side of him knows it was once a reality, however the other side of him finds it impossible to imagine. Surely his mother was always an adult, not a small child experiencing Christmas with the same enthusiasm and excitement he sees in Jim.
“Will you tell me about your experience?”
“If you would like to hear it.” She pulls him in closer again, smoothing his hair as she pets him affectionately. “After you experience your own Christmas, I will tell you about Christmas when I was a girl.”
“Will you not tell me now?”
“Oh Spock,” she sighs. “If I were to tell you now it would likely influence your own experience of it. I want you to experience a Christmas for yourself.”
“I suppose you are correct, though you guarantee you will tell me your own story when I return?”
“Yes, I promise.”
Spock doesn't feel nervous until his mother turns the wheel of their hovercar and pulls it in to park in the Kirk's driveway. He's never been to Jim's house, or to anyone's house without his parents, and his stomach aches as the car door slides open. He remains in his seat for a moment, gripping the carefully wrapped gift that sits on his lap.
“Would you like to reconsider?” his mother asks.
“No,” Spock replies, aiming for emotional control. He knows there is no need to be afraid of Jim's house, and he will be perfectly fine without the presence of his parents. “I am fine.”
His mother retrieves his small overnight bag from the backseat, and then he follows her up the front steps of the house and waits behind her as she presses the doorbell.
It only takes a moment for someone to answer, and as the door opens a woman with a kind face and a friendly smile is greeting them. “Amanda, Spock, hello! Please come in!”
As they step through the doorway, Jim appears from another room. He looks out of breath, as if he ran from his previous location, and he stands back from them, celebrating their arrival by kicking his legs and quietly shouting “yeah! Spock!”
Seeing Jim's happy reaction gives Spock a sudden sense of relief and the ache in his stomach seems to fade.
Jim is already in his nightclothes, a one piece outfit which covers him all the way to his toes, and as Jim steps closer Spock notices the fabric is covered with tiny spaceships.
“I've packed his nightclothes in his bag,” his mother is saying above him, and Spock becomes distracted by the bright tree in the room behind Jim.
“Is that the tree you were referring to several days ago?”
Jim turns to look behind him and then looks back at Spock. “Yeah, my Christmas tree! Wanna see it?”
Spock glances up at his mother and she gives him a reassuring pat on the shoulder. “Go on, Spock. Enjoy yourself. I will return tomorrow.”
Spock carefully toes off his boots and sets his coat on a nearby chair, and follows Jim to the tree.
It's an evergreen, with sweeping branches and prickly needles, and Spock finds his eyes want to travel to every decoration all at once. He's seen photos of Christmas trees, but seeing one in person with its twinkling lights and eye-catching decorations gives him an undeniable sense of awe.
“It is quite appealing,” he says, unable to take his eyes off the tree.
“It's beautiful,” Jim agrees, standing beside him and staring up at it. “I like the star the best.”
Spock can still hear his mother's voice behind him in the hallway, and she speaks quietly to Mrs. Kirk before calling, “Spock, be sure to give Jim his gift.”
Spock glances down at the gift in his hands and then over to his mother. She motions for him to hand it to Jim, and he does – unsure how the custom works. “This is for you.”
Jim takes the gift with a bright smile. “I got somethin' for you too! I wanted to give you a whole box of chocolates, 'cause I was tryin' to think of what I would want most if I was you and a whole box of chocolates would be good. But my mom says you can't eat them.”
“She is correct.”
“So I got you a book.”
“Jim,” his mother warns from the hallway. “You've just spoiled Spock's Christmas gift.”
“Not all of it!” Jim looks pained, “I didn't spoil all of it!”
“Well, no more talking about it. Let him open it for himself tomorrow.”
“Okay.” Jim turns back to Spock. “You wanna get your pajamas on? My mom says when we're in our pajamas we can have apple cider and cookies.”
Spock nods, heading back to the hallway to retrieve his bag from his mother.
“Have a wonderful Christmas,” she says as Spock follows Jim upstairs. Spock waves to her as he goes, feeling a slight pang in his stomach at the idea of her leaving.
But then Jim is yelling to him and racing ahead. “Spock! Come see my room!”
Spock quickens his pace, following Jim into a small corner room. There is barely enough space for a bed, dresser, and bookshelf, and the rest of the floor is scattered with tiny race cars and bits of racing track.
“My mom told me to put my toys away but I wanted to show you all my cars.”
“It is an impressive collection.”
Jim grins at the compliment and then kicks a few out of the way as he walks across the room. He takes a seat on the bed, facing away from Spock. “You can get your pajamas on. I won't look.”
Spock closes the door carefully, and retrieves his nightclothes from the bag.
“Yours have spaceships too?” Jim asks.
“No, they do not.”
Jim is quiet until Spock is finished, and he laughs when he turns around. “Spock, are you wearin' a dress?”
Spock glances down self-consciously. His nightclothes are quite different from Jim's – consisting of a long-sleeved shirt which ends just below his knees and a warm pair of socks. His bare legs show between the end of his shirt and the start of his socks, and Spock can only shake his head as he looks back up at Jim. “It is not a dress.”
“I didn't mean it like a bad thing,” Jim explains, as if he recognizes his words might have hurt Spock's feelings. “I just never seen pajamas like that before.”
“This is what I wear to sleep on a daily basis.”
“I like it then,” Jim smiles, moving from the bed. “I wish mine had socks. Sam says my pajamas are for babies.”
Spock looks at the spaceship fabric and the built-in feet. “I think your pajamas are perfectly acceptable.”
“Thanks Spock!” Jim reaches for his hand. “Let's go get cookies.”
The evening passes quickly. Spock and Jim sit at the foot of the Christmas tree, drinking apple cider and eating cookies, and Spock has a difficult time prying his gaze away from the twinkling lights.
Music plays on the old stereo in the corner, and Jim sings along to each song, making up lyrics when he forgets. There's a song about a hippopotamus, and one about two front teeth, and another –Jim's favorite– about a world made of marshmallows.
Just before bed, Mrs. Kirk suggests they set out a plate of cookies for Santa..
“Why do you leave cookies?” Spock asks carefully.
“Santa gets hungry on his trip,” Jim explains, dumping a pile of oatmeal cookies on a plate. He takes a quick glance inside the empty package and then tosses it over his shoulder. “So we leave him cookies and milk, and carrots for the reindeers.”
“Yeah, the reindeers.” Jim hops down from his stool and carries the plate of cookies to the fireplace. “They prolly get hungry too.”
“They travel with Santa?”
“Yeah, how do you think his sled flies?”
“I had not considered it.”
Spock had seen drawings of Santa Claus and his sleigh, and the reindeer as well, but the issue of how they traveled had remained unclear.
“Will you explain the reindeer again?” Spock asks as he follows Jim up the stairs.
“They help Santa fly around the world.”
“Do these particular reindeer have wings?”
Jim laughs. “They don't got wings, Spock, they do it with magic.”
Spock can feel his brow moving up his forehead as he glances at Jim with surprise. “Magic?”
“Yeah, Christmas magic.”
Spock is silent until they've brushed their teeth and Mrs. Kirk tucks them into bed. She turns off the light and they remain in the darkness just until her footsteps can be heard traveling down the stairs.
Then Jim is reaching above them, retrieving something from the shelf above his bed, and the room is bathed in soft light.
“Flashlight,” Jim says, waving the small device at him. “I don't like the dark sometimes.”
Spock simply nods. He has never experienced a fear of the dark, but he understands that it is a common phenomenon in humans.
“Jim, will you explain more about Christmas?”
“Sure!” Jim shifts in the bed next to him, turning on his side and holding the light between them “Wanna know about Santa?”
“Santa flies all over the world and brings toys to little kids, and you can write letters to him, and the elves in the north pole make the toys, and Santa delivers them all on Christmas Eve, and he eats lots of cookies and he has a big belly and a fluffy white beard and he dresses in red and wears a hat.” Jim offers the explanation without pausing to take a breath.
Spock considers it briefly, shaking his head. “I am having a difficult time comprehending the logistics of the situation.”
“Logistics. Traveling across the entire world over the course of one night, with only the power of a few reindeer. It seems unlikely that it would be a successful undertaking.”
Jim shrugs. “I told you, it's Christmas magic.”
“Has anyone proven this to be true?”
“It's true,” Jim says, “I've met Santa so I know it's true.”
Spock is barely able to mask his surprise. “You have met him?”
“Yeah and I sat on his knee and one of his elves gave me a candy cane.”
Spock concedes defeat on the matter. “I am impressed he is able to make such a significant journey in such a short period of time.”
“It don't always work,” Jim says. “Last year he missed our house, I think.”
“Yup, I think it was 'cause we had no tree. I told my mom he'd find us but he didn't come and she was sad.”
Spock's chest feels heavy. “You did not have Christmas last year then?”
“Oh no, we had Christmas. Santa didn't come but it was okay and my mom made cookies, and Sam and I played outside all day and when we came inside we drew pictures for my mom to make her not sad.”
“It is possible to experience Christmas without Santa?”
“Yeah! If Santa comes it's more fun 'cause you get toys, but it's okay if he doesn't come 'cause sometimes he's really busy and misses people.”
“Do you expect he will find your house this year?”
“Yup 'cause I wrote him lots of letters, but I'm gonna wait up and make sure he comes. You wanna stay awake with me?”
Spock nods, staring at Jim over the flashlight. “I would like that.”
They don't manage to stay awake.
Spock stays awake long enough for Jim to explain Christmas stockings and then he's drifting off, dreaming of Christmas trees and spaceship pajamas and an entire plateful of cookies all for himself.
“It's Christmas!” Jim squeals, pulling Spock from his sleep, and Spock jumps from the bed and follows him downstairs.
The tree is lit up and casts a brilliant glow in the early morning light, and Jim's eyes grow wide when he sees the collection of gifts under the tree.
“Santa found us,” he breathes, and Spock stands beside him to admire the sight.
Mrs. Kirk encourages them to take a seat on the floor, and Spock can't deny the thrilled feeling that comes over him when he is handed two separate gifts wrapped in shiny paper.
“That one is from me!” Jim says excitedly, pointing to the rectangular one with a large lump on the top, and he thrums his feet against the floor when his mother sets three gifts in front of him.
One is from his mother, one is from Spock, and the other is labeled FROM SANTA.
Spock glances at his own gifts and realizes the second one is marked FROM SANTA as well.
“Jim,” he whispers, “Santa found me at your house.”
“I told you,” Jim whispers back. “Christmas magic.”