Title: Holiday Traditions
Summary: A little lesson in celebrating the holidays.
Disclaimer: I don't own them or their universe. Paramount does. But they don't let them out to party anymore, so I will.
Notes: Written for Kira's Advent Calendar, and Farfalla.
Feedback: itsjustjm at yahoo dot com (any comments welcome)
The ship moved through the cold vast blackness of space, inhabited by explorers on a journey of discovery. Traveling boldly on an endless dark alien sea, they were continually searching for the unknown. Well, usually. At the moment, they were orbiting a planet they had previously visited. It was the home of their current guest, who had hopes of joining the Federation. Captain James T. Kirk's superiors had told him to wine and dine the VIP, and try to get a feeling on whether her planet ought to be admitted.
~ HOLIDAY TRADITIONS ~
Kirk, with vague memories of the woman from their previous visit, hadn't been looking forward to it. By the end of the day, he was thrilled to hear that their guest wanted to return to her quarters to 'absorb' all the information she had been given on her tour. He had to restrain himself from practically shoving her through the door to her quarters when it opened.
She paused for a moment and faced him and Mr. Spock, who was there at his side as always. "Captain, I hope you don't think me rude for retiring so early. I heard about a gathering--party, I think you call it, going on tonight from your Mr. Scott. I'm just not sure, but perhaps..." She frowned in thought.
"Oh, no, no, no! Don't worry yourself about it at all! It's nothing, really. Just a little something for the crew. Quite boring, actually. You won't be missing a thing, I assure you," Kirk said, oozing false charm. He smiled for good measure, desperately hoping she wouldn't change her mind. Already a headache was forming at the thought that she would join them.
"Well, if you're quite sure. I've been told to observe your Earth ways as much as possible, in order to better understand them. But if this wouldn't be a good time to do so, I'll bid you...good night." It appeared that she had trouble coming up with the correct phrases for certain situations.
"Yes, quite sure. I hope you enjoy your stay with us," Kirk answered. Because I sure won't, he thought. His jaw ached from smiling so much. If she would just move in a little farther, the door would begin to close and they could get away.
But they weren't so lucky. First she asked Mr. Spock if he would be interested in showing her how to play three-dimensional chess tomorrow. A flash of irritation crossed Kirk's face. The woman seemed to enjoy Spock very much. But at least she finally stepped inside her room so they could make their way to the 'boring' party.
"So, what did you think of our guest, Spock?" A genuine smile crossed his face now. He felt a load come off his shoulders and nearly started walking down the hall with a bounce in his step.
"You did not appear to be particularly fond of her, Captain," Spock observed.
"Was it that obvious?" Jim asked. "Anyway, I thought I asked for your impressions, Mister," he grinned.
"She seemed very focused on her goals, Captain."
"Hm. That's one way to put it. Spock, you missed your calling. You should have been a diplomat," Kirk teased.
"With all due respect, I think not. My place is here, at your side," Spock said matter-of-factly.
"Good to hear it, Mr. Spock," Kirk replied lightly. But secretly he was immensely pleased. His first officer's words gave him a warm feeling inside. This might turn out to be a good holiday after all.
"I am sorry, however, that you are not looking forward to the crew's holiday festivities," said Spock.
"Not looking forward to the party? Are you kidding? You know how I feel about parties, surely?"
"I did find your remarks to our guest somewhat illogical in that regard, yet you did seem to downplay the gathering."
"Yes, well, I was...merely thinking of her, Spock."
"Thinking of her, Captain?"
"Yes. And there's no need to be so formal. Call me Jim. She appeared to be...tired. I didn't want her to feel obligated to attend. It probably wasn't her cup of tea, anyway."
"Tea? Will there, in fact, be tea served at the party?"
"Not if Scotty can help it. It's a figure of speech, Spock. And you...already knew that."
"Indeed I did."
Kirk clapped Spock on the back. "All right, you got me. I'm just glad to see there is a sense of humor buried down in there somewhere. Are you looking forward to our little party?"
"I did agree to attend."
"But that's not the same thing."
"I am curious as to the purpose of this gathering. Mr. Scott said it was a 'Christmas party'. But you yourself have said that you celebrate Hanukah, and I find it difficult to believe that everyone else shares the same beliefs as Mr. Scott."
"Spock, we're not trying to cover all the bases here. Everyone is free to do his or her own thing in private. This is just a chance to get together and celebrate. Unwind; be with friends, exchange gifts. It's an old Earth custom. Any other significance is up to the individual to apply. Besides, it's a nice way to end the year and enjoy the season."
"Seasons do not have the same meaning in space, Jim."
"Yes, yes. But it's tradition. The Vulcans have traditions, surely?"
"Most Vulcans would find your party illogical."
"There's only one Vulcan's opinion that I'm concerned about right now," Kirk answered warmly.
"As Dr. McCoy is fond of pointing out, I am half-human as well."
"Then I expect your human half to enjoy the party with me. And I am eager to do all I can...to ensure that this happens. Is there anything else that puzzles you about our quaint little traditional gathering? I'm all yours. Ask away."
"Nothing comes immediately to mind."
"That's too bad. Well, I'm sure you'll think of something." As Kirk said this they arrived at the party. Uhura and Chekov had helped coordinate the food, and Scotty had been in charge of the drinks. Someone had done a pretty decent job of decorating, too. Jim felt the evening held promise after all.
Spock was just about to look for a quiet corner to observe the festivities from, when he spotted her. There was no doubt that she was headed in their direction. She seemed to have a specific goal in mind, however. Spock suppressed a feeling of unease at the sight of her determined stride. He was fairly certain who her intended target was.
Jim seemed purposefully and cheerfully oblivious, too, which didn't help. "Eggnog, Spock?" he asked.
"No, I am fine, thank you." But he was feeling far from it. Nurse Chapel stepped boldly up to him with some odd green leaves clutched in her hand, which she was proceeding to lift over both their heads. Christine Chapel then swayed closer to him, and he detected alcohol on her breath. Desperately he asked, leaning away from her, "What is the significance of these leaves in her hand?"
"Ah, Spock! A perfect example of old holiday traditions. Allow me to demonstrate. Christine?" Kirk asked. She turned toward him reluctantly. He reached out and took the mistletoe from her grasp. "Thanks."
What happened next left her slack-jawed in drunken shock. Kirk leaned in and kissed Spock tenderly. "There, you see? We use this plant as an excuse to kiss one another," Kirk said.
"Really? Most fascinating."
By the end of the night Kirk got him to try the Eggnog after all.