Phoradendron Flavescens

Kirk/Spock by K'Chaps
justblackchaps @ yahoo.com
rated PG-13

Kirk collapsed onto his bunk. His booted feet hung off the end. He ached. Pillowing his head on his hands, he shut his eyes and tried to think of something pleasant. It wasn't working. Dark thoughts in a dark heart, and a black sense of humor. He used to be happy, right? His eyes snapped open and stared his grim reality in the face. All he had was his duty--nothing and no one else.

Staring at the bright white wall, Kirk refused to get depressed about it. Damn it. This was what he'd wanted his entire life. Now he had it, and he was going to enjoy it, even if it made him miserable. Life as a starship captain was full of adventure, danger, and excitement. It was more than enough for any man, but he wasn't just any man. He always wanted more, no matter how much he received, and he had a feeling he'd missed something important. He rolled to his back and stretched. Sitting up, he pulled off his command tunic and tossed it. Things would look better after sleeping a shift. He kicked off his boots and tried to relax.

The door beeped, and he sighed. No rest for the weary, or the captain either. He got off the bunk, pulled on his shirt, and said, "Come."

The door opened, and Commander Spock was standing in the hallway. He made no move to enter. "Captain."

"Yes, Spock?" Kirk put on his patient captain face.

"At Starbase 7 we picked up a considerable amount of interplanetary items." Spock was still in the hallway.

"Spock, come inside or save this for the bridge," said Kirk. He knew he sounded curt, but would it hurt his stiff-necked Vulcan first officer to be somewhat polite?

"Yes, Captain," said Spock. He took the three necessary steps to clear the door. It closed behind him. "This was among them and it is addressed to you. I apologize for the delay."

Kirk frowned and took the package from Spock. It was from Earth, so that could only mean his mother. Spock was still there, silent and still like a carved piece of green marble. Was he curious? This situation felt a trifle awkward, but Kirk hated to order him away. With a shrug, Kirk took it to his desk and began the process of opening it. It was sealed and opened only to his thumbprint.

Layers unwrapped until finally a small sealed plastic bag revealed itself. He cracked it open and pulled out a small bundle that was easily recognizable from his childhood. Mistletoe. A small note peeked out of the bag, and he read it.

Mistletoe: Endowed with magical powers, it is a remedy for evil spirits.

"Computer, what is the day and month on Terra?"

"January 12." The sterile voice of the computer answered immediately.

Kirk smiled. A late Christmas present. But, why? Somehow, across more star systems than he could count, his mother had sensed his unhappiness. How did she do that?

"Phoradendron flavescens," said Spock. Kirk jerked. He'd forgotten Spock was there. "Is it customary to receive flora from one's parents?"

Kirk stared down at the greenery, small enough to fit in the palm of his hand, yet powerful enough to dispel evil spirits. He could use some of that. "I have no idea, but with my mother there's no telling what she'll do."

"I have not met her."

"Maybe someday," said Kirk. The smile was still on his face and he looked up at his first officer. Why was Spock still here? Kirk was surprised to find he didn't mind. In fact, Spock was welcome in these quarters any time.

"Would you like me to reprimand the ensigns who delayed your package?"

"Were they negligent or just green?" Spock tilted his head slightly, and Kirk began to laugh softly. "Substitute: inexperienced."

"Humans seem to have slang for almost every occasion. Yes, they are inexperienced," said Spock. "However, I dislike encouraging incompetence."

"Perhaps they should pull an extra shift or two," said Kirk. Mistletoe? His mother was sending him a message. Kissing? Was this a subtle jibe at his current unmarried state? His mother had been pushing him to find a permanent partner since his affair ended with Carol. She thought he needed someone in his life.

"Captain?"

"Yes, Spock?" Kirk pulled his mind back aboard the Enterprise. "I merely said, that would be appropriate, and I will see to it," said Spock. He folded his hands in front him. "I inadvertently brushed against your hand on the bridge during our last shift."

Kirk felt every muscle in his back tense. "You don't do anything accidentally."

"This was truly unintentional. I was trying to avoid touching Lieutenant Chekov."

"Touching him is that unpleasant?"

"Yes," said Spock. "His mind is extremely intelligent yet undisciplined." "So you reached out and discovered a seething mass of what?"

Spock looked down at his hands. Kirk watched him think his next answer through, and again. "You are distraught, and as your first officer I am compelled to offer my assistance."

"Compelled is an ugly word. Choose another," said Kirk. The mistletoe was suddenly heavy in his hand. Magic was in the air, or perhaps that was the smell of Spock sweating?

"Duty-bound to offer my help."

Kirk's spine stiffened another inch. Duty, again, nothing but duty. They were standing not more than two feet and a galaxy apart. He looked down and was a little surprised to see that he had forgotten to put on his boots. His gaze traveled up to see Spock flicking his eyes away.

"Is there a human tradition behind the gift your mother sent you?"

Kirk pinned Spock to the door with the intensity of his glare. "Your duty, again?"

"No," said Spock.

One simple word and it stopped Kirk from tossing Spock out on his pointy ears. "It is traditionally hung in a doorway at Christmas time."

"What is the purpose?"

"The person standing under it is given a kiss," said Kirk. He placed the mistletoe down carefully on the desk and went to his closet. He removed his shirt and hung it up. Spock didn't seem to be in any hurry to leave. Kirk was tired of the formality.

"Why?"

Kirk looked over, and Spock was staring down at the mistletoe. He reached out and touched it extremely gently. Kirk considered another shirt and decided against it.

"Why not? Kissing is fun." Kirk went to his bed and sat down. His eyes rested on Spock's lean form. Was he here for the night? "Did McCoy send you here to baby-sit me?"

"You are not an infant," said Spock, "and I have not spoken to him in three shifts."

"Have you discharged your duty to me?"

Spock came around the partition and stood over Kirk. "I have many duties, but none more important than your health and well-being."

Kirk rubbed the back of his neck. "I'm fine, Spock."

"You are not, and I am uncertain as to the reason."

Kirk focused his attention on Spock's hand. It seemed to want to rest on his face, and he wouldn't allow that to happen, not tonight. "Don't even think about it."

Spock put his hands behind his back. "I would never intrude myself."

Kirk looked up. "You would, if the cause was great enough."

"You are correct," said Spock. He glanced over at the mistletoe. "Perhaps if you told me the underlying difficulty, I could find a solution."

Kirk leaned back on his arms and wished Spock would sit down. "Nothing more than the usual conflicts that comes with commanding a vessel this size."

"When we are this close, I can almost hear your thoughts. You are concealing the truth." Spock brought his hands back to the front and took off his blue shirt, leaving the black underneath. Kirk narrowed his eyes and tried not to think too loudly. "Would you like to make another attempt at clarification?"

Kirk watched Spock fold the shirt. "Command of the Enterprise is, at times, extremely isolating. Usually I'm too busy to notice, but lately we have had quite a bit of time on our hands."

Spock sat down on the bed. Close, but not touching. "Humans do seem to require a great deal of interaction. And?"

Kirk rolled his eyes. "Evil spirits, Spock."

Spock raised an eyebrow. "You are restless, dissatisfied, and feel unable to form a long-term bond with any other person."

"Well, if you knew the answer, why are we talking?"

"Because you won't allow me to touch you," said Spock.

Kirk flinched, but didn't move away. He didn't want to leave Spock's side. It felt right. "Go ahead, if you want."

Spock raised his hand in that instant and laid it alongside Kirk's face.

//Always searching//

//Yes//

//You are missing something important//

//Yes//

Kirk fell out of the meld, and Spock was kissing him. He blinked in confusion. The kiss lingered over his mouth, and he fell back from the weight of it. Spock followed him down. He was overwhelmed with the taste and sensation. The dark shoved aside. The evil spirits fled, and his sense of humor returned.

"Shouldn't you get the mistletoe?"

"Do I require your mother's permission?"

Kirk smiled. "Better safe than sorry."

Spock left the bed and returned with the mistletoe. He pulled the adhesion tab off the back and pressed it to the wall closest to the bed. "Will that be satisfactory?"

"I'll let you know in the morning," said Kirk. He looked up at the mistletoe and wondered what his mother would say when she found out the results of her gentle meddling. Probably, about time. Spock took off his black shirt. Their naked chests molded together, and Spock kissed him. A kiss under the mistletoe. Magic poured over them. Two became one. Nothing was missing.

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