Ghosts of Christmas Pas

Title: Ghosts of Christmas Past

Author: Tempest

Series: TOS

Parings: S/Mc

Rating: PG

Summary: Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, Spock was setting up the tree, and remembering Christmases past.

Disclaimer: I don't own TOS. I never have, and I never will. Star Trek and all of its relations are property of Paramount and Viacom. I only own this story. Anybody who has a problem with the thought of men in homosexual relationships with each other, please stay away. Flames and feedback are welcome. Please ask before putting this anywhere.

Author’s Notes: This is not your typical Christmas story. I apologize in advance for the angst and sad quality of this tale. Furthermore, I may end up expanding it into a longer story because it just feels unfinished. Actually, when I say “finit” at the end of this story, I think it constitutes a lie.


Ghosts of Christmas Past

By Tempest

December 1, 2006



      The house was dark, save the glow of three candles in the window. Silent, but for the soft patter of Vulcan footsteps. Dismal, but for the knowledge that it was Christmas Eve.


      Captain Spock, retired, walked slowly throughout the main floor of the house, carrying packages into the living room. A pine tree, bare but for its needles, stood proudly in the center. The Vulcan carefully opened a package, removing a string of lights, tangled extensively unto itself.


      The Vulcan stood, his fingers moving deftly to untangle the lights. Five minutes passed and the string was still a jumble of brightly colored lights. Suppressing a sigh, Spock moved to the nearby armchair, sitting to continue his task.


      As his fingers worked, his mind wandered, remembering a different occasion with the same lights.


      “Dammit!” The sound of mild swearing reverberated throughout the house, causing Spock to put down his padd and exit the kitchen.


      “Is something wrong?” He queried of his bondmate, knowing the answer. It was painfully obvious, from the fact that the doctor sat in the middle of the living room, surrounded by strings upon strings of small Christmas lights, tangled into one big heap.


      “Wipe that smug look off your face and help me,” McCoy replied, picking up a different string to work on.


      “You would not have this difficulty if you simply followed my advice and purchased a new set of lights. It is not as though we are in fiscal straits.” The tone was calm, teasing, but the Vulcan sat down and lifted a string, working slowly and carefully to undo each tangle.


      McCoy snorted indignantly. “That’s not the point. They’re the last of their kind. The new ones the factory makes look different, less traditional. Besides, I like these lights.”


      “The sound of your ‘colorful metaphors’ contradicts that statement.” Spock dropped one of the strands to the side, fully untangled.


      McCoy gave him a look, before turning back towards the strand he’d been working on for the last ten minutes. “I like them when they’re not so tangled.”


      “If you were not so stubborn, you would be spared this frustration every year.”


      I’m stubborn?” The doctor’s voice rose dramatically. “Well, isn’t that the Romulan calling the Klingon ruthless.”


      “I simply endeavor to point out-”


      McCoy paid him no attention, wrapped up in a small rant, his hands knotting harshly, “Which one of has an entire file full of disciplinary notes for disobeying orders out of pigheaded arrogance?”


      Spock closed his mouth, not desiring an argument. He turned back towards the newest string that he set forth to work on.


      Silence fell over the room, broken a moment later by a quiet “Well I’ll be damned!”


      The Vulcan lifted his head to see a grinning McCoy and an untangled string of lights. Yelling at him, it seemed, made Leonard McCoy more efficient. As he had long suspected.



      Returning his attention fully once again to the task at hand, Spock made quick work of the last few entanglements. He remained seated a long moment, savoring a task successfully completed. Then, rising slowly, he approached the tree, mentally calculating the precise center of the bottom branch. He crouched, patiently wrapping the tree in lights, until the pine needles were jutted evenly throughout with small, plastic droplets.


      A moment to savor his task, before he returned to the hallway closet, seeking out another box, larger, heavier than the other. He lifted with his knees, carefully carrying it to the tree. A box cutter was required to open it, taped shut as it was every year, more tightly after the previous one.


      The box contained ornaments, nearly one gross. Each different. Some were traditional balls or in the shape of small, wrapped boxes. Others were more abstract, including one shaped like a sehlat that had been found at a market years ago.


      Spock spread the ornaments over the coffee table, taking care to ensure none were damaged in the action. Then, much like Noah, two by two he brought them to the tree, seeking out the perfect spot for display, where they could compliment one another.


      The nearby chronometer struck the hour, beeping out the time, as Spock absentmindedly reached for another two ornaments. He decided, as he put up the first, that he would need to work more quickly if he was to complete his task. As his eyes fell upon the other ornament, his mind went blank. He lost his grip, and the item crashed to the floor.


      The Vulcan went down after it, groping beneath the tree. His hand made contact, and he lifted it for closer examination. It was cracked, vertically along the back. His fingers could feel the separation. However, the crack was not visible, and thankfully, the thick carpet had prevented it from shattering.


      He held it in his hands, rolling it around until it faced forward. A silver ball, some four inches in diameter. And imprinted on it, one of the pictures taken at his wedding day, specifically, the one where, at the encouragement of Scotty, McCoy had grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him into a deep kiss. The ornament had been a present from Jim Kirk.


      He continued to hold it, feeling the weight as he cradled it, so, in fact, he had been gazing past it. He could remember quite vividly, the event depicted on its shining surface. More vividly, he recalled the more recent event of the Christmas when Kirk had given them that particular gift.



      It had been a hard Christmas that year; spent on the ship, away from family. Bad enough that the Enterprise had been unable to get holiday leave, but they were deep within the Beta Quadrant on patrol of the Romulan Neutral Zone. There had been a close call the day before and the entire crew was still on edge. The only thing remotely resembling Christmas was the red of the alert klaxons.


      Yet, McCoy had done his best to keep up crew morale. First of all, as Chief Medical Officer, it was his job to keep the crew sane and stable. And secondly, he was still high on endorphins from his reunification with Spock several months ago. Considering how he’d thought he had lost Spock for good, every day had become Christmas to him.


      With a bit of finagling, cajoling, and bargaining, he’d managed to put together a Christmas party in the recreation lounge, and most of the men had been able to stop by in their off time. The smile on the doctor’s face, and the eggnog he could offer managed to put a smile on the faces of the crew ship wide. Jim Kirk, however, had been mysteriously missing from the festivities.


      Not quite mysteriously; he’d spent most of his time either on the bridge or in engineering, wary of Romulan attack. Ever since his espionage mission years ago, he’d become more concerned about the Romulans than the Klingons. And it was not to be unexpected. In the past six months, he’d lost his first ship, his son, and his rank. Christmas being a family was only natural that he would have some aversion to the attempt at jocularity.


      Yet, McCoy wasn’t satisfied; he had been so grateful to Kirk for all he had done that he wanted to spread holiday cheer to him most of all. The gift he had gotten Kirk was quite special. If the Captain had thought that Romulan Ale was hard to smuggle, he couldn’t imagine the difficulty of getting Argellian pleasure crystals. Or Rigellian ceremonial daggers. Favors had been called in, and delivery under the guise of “medical supplies” had been made.


      The doctor had invited Kirk over to their quarters for a nightcap, and the Captain had agreed much more readily than McCoy had expected. Perhaps a touch of the holiday cheer had reached his heart.


      The three of them had sat in the living area, sipping eggnog and tea, and swapping memories. Spock had found it particularly helpful, since his memory still had the occasional gap from the fal-tor-pan.


      It had been McCoy’s suggestion to move on to presents. But before he could whip out Kirk’s gifts from the desk drawer, Kirk had removed a silver-wrapped package from his bag. “Here, Bones. Take it.”


      McCoy had looked surprised, but touched. “Thanks, Jim. But I want you to open yours first.”


      Kirk had shaken his head, pressing the gift into McCoy’s hands. “I insist. Please, open it.” A smile reached his lips.


      Relenting, McCoy had taken the present and carefully unwrapped it. Spock’s presence was still in his mind; what other explanation could there have been for him not ripping the paper off in three seconds flat?


      Seeing the present, McCoy’s face lit up. “Thank you, Jim,” he’d whispered. “Thank you.” Before Spock could enquire as to the nature of the present, McCoy had carefully handed the present over.


      A Christmas ornament, with that picture from their bonding. Although it wasn’t the one displayed over their mantle, it was McCoy’s favorite, and Spock had a soft spot for it too. He could feel his lip curl upward in pleasure, in gratitude. “Thank you, Jim,” he had echoed, “we will cherish this.”



      “We will cherish this,” he had said. Spock recalled that moment as though it had happened earlier in the evening. And he’d broken it. No, not broken it, he corrected himself. He had merely cracked it, and it wasn’t noticeable. He couldn’t allow himself to grow overly emotional, not tonight of all nights. Better to simply concentrate on the tasks at hand.


      Spock carefully hung the ornament in a prominent spot on the tree, facing the front door, so as to greet what visitors might come. The remaining ornaments were put up within short order. And using the small stepping stool kept near the closet, Spock had placed the bright star atop the tree. He’d paused then, to admire his handiwork. The three was gorgeous; McCoy would be proud. And the thought brought pain to his chest. He pushed it away. Not yet. He couldn’t allow such feelings yet. Tonight was a time of joy, of peace, of comfort.


      Spock pattered around the house, finding the carefully wrapped packages where he’d hidden them, out of tradition more than anything else. There were no children to go peeking. Balancing them carefully, and prepared to make as many trips as necessary, Spock brought them into the living room, arranging them delicately beneath the tree. When the guests arrived tomorrow, there would be a bountiful harvest of presents to share.


      Just as the clock began to strike midnight, Spock had placed the finishing touches on the decorations. The stockings had been hung; the mistletoe was in place above the doorway. The tree was up and decorated, and all of the presents had been placed beneath it. All but one.


      Hands trembling, Spock picked up the last remaining present. Wrapped in silver paper, with a green ribbon, and a faded label, which read simply, “To Spock, from Leonard. Another Merry Christmas, love.”


      He couldn’t place that present beneath the tree. For to do that would mean that the next day he would have to open it, in front of the guests. And it would also mean that he would embarrass himself, as he would undoubtedly lose his calm. The pain had returned to his chest, and his grip tightened around the present. The cursed present.


      Last year’s Christmas Eve had begun unremarkably. Spock and McCoy had shared in the task of decorating their house. McCoy had started the cooking for the next day’s Christmas potluck and Spock had made tea and eggnog. Then they’d sat on the sofa, listening to Christmas music and simply enjoyed one another’s company. That night, they had resolved to retire early, since the next day would involve a lot of traveling. After testing the mistletoe...twice, they had changed into pajamas and fallen asleep; very much looking forward to the next day.


      A crashing noise had awoken Spock in the middle of the night. Turning on the light, it became very apparent that McCoy was not beside him. Spock was out of bed and on his feet in seconds. Running down the stairs, he’d called for his husband. “Leonard?”


      There had been no response, and this only made his concern grow. He ran through the first floor, towards the living room; turning on the lights as he ran. He called again, only to have the name catch in his throat, “Leonard?”


      McCoy was there, in the living room, beneath the tree. He had fallen down; the doctors at the medical center would call it the result of cardiac arrest. It had always been so easy for Spock to forget McCoy’s age, and his shorter Terran lifespan. His husband’s spirit had always been larger than life.


      When the paramedics had taken McCoy to the emergency room, he had still clutched an object in his hand. A special present he had wished to keep secret and make a surprise for the next morning. A present, wrapped in silver paper and green ribbon, with a white label which read simply, “To Spock, from Leonard. Another Merry Christmas, love.”


      A present he would never see opened. Meant for a Christmas he would never see come.




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