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written for [livejournal.com profile] ksadvent 2011

prompt: Jim decides to introduce Spock to an old family tradition at Christmas, homemade eggnog. Figuring he'll be fine drinking it given his Vulcan resistance to alcohol, Spock agrees. Little does he know that the old Kirk family recipe includes a bit of cocoa powder in the seasoning.

Secret Ingredient | PG-13 | 2388 words | complete

Shore leave on Earth over Christmas was the most coveted among the Humans in Starfleet, and Enterprise’s crew was no exception. It had taken Jim three years, and countless favors called in, to get it for his crew, and he’d finally succeeded. A skeleton crew of volunteers would stay with the ship, but the rest of the crew happily beamed down in groups to San Francisco, then they were off to the spaceport to catch various forms of transportation to locations all over the globe.

The Kirk family cabin had been Jim’s refuge for as long as he could remember. It was located on a lake in Minnesota, and had been in the family for a few hundred years, though it had been updated over time to include all the latest modern tech. His mom used to bring him and Sam there for Christmas, until Sam ran away and Winona left Earth for good. Winona had given both the farmhouse and the cabin to Jim, and while Jim had sold the farmhouse without a second thought, he’d kept the cabin, unwilling to completely leave behind happy memories of curling up by the fireplace on Christmas Eve, reading a book until he fell asleep and Mom carried him to bed. Even the few years Frank had been with them hadn’t been horrible; Mom had been there, and made an effort to make them get along, and it was...a nice change.

He’d avoided the place between the ages of 16 and 22, not willing to bring the hot mess that was his life to the place that had been his sanctuary. And then there was Starfleet, and while he could have gone for breaks, someone had to keep an eye on Bones, and as good a friends as they were, Jim hadn’t been quite ready to share that part of himself with anyone. Maybe someday.

And when he finally did find that person he wanted to share everything with, it was someone who would never return the sentiment.

*

Jim was just finishing packing to leave the Enterprise when the door chimed. “Come,” he said, surprised. He was one of the last members of the crew to leave the ship; who could it be?

“Captain,” a familiar voice said, and Jim turned to see Spock standing just inside his doorway, hands tucked behind his back, as he tended to do.

“Spock, hey,” Jim said. “What can I do for you?”

“You have not notified the skeleton crew where you will be spending your leave,” Spock said.

“Do I have to?” Jim asked. “I’ll have my communicator with me; they’ll be able to find me if they need me.”

“It would be wise for someone to know where you are going,” Spock said softly, and Jim sighed.

“I’m going to my family’s cabin, in one of the northern North American states. You’re welcome to join me,” he added, before he could talk himself out of it.

“I had planned to spend my time on experiments in the various labs that will be empty due to the absence of the majority of the crew,” Spock said, and Jim fought to hide his disappointment. “But none of them are particularly time-sensitive, and they could easily be performed at a later time. The weather will be colder than San Francisco, I assume? I will pack accordingly.”

“Great,” Jim said, grinning broadly. “Meet you in Transporter Room One in half an hour? Is that enough time for you to pack?”

“Yes, Captain. Jim,” he corrected when Jim frowned. “I will meet you there.”

*

Jim chattered happily as they waited for their transport at the spaceport and through the short flight from San Francisco to Minneapolis-St. Paul. They rented a hovercar, settled into the comfortably heated interior, and Jim started driving north.

“Alright there, Spock?” Jim asked, looking at his companion, who was staring out the window at their snowy surroundings.

“Merely observing the differences between this latitude and the warmer climes I am more accustomed to.”

“You ever been this far north?” Spock shook his head slightly. “Well, let me know if it’s too cold, okay?”

A few hours later and they were pulling up to the long driveway that lead up to the cabin. Jim had contacted an old family friend and neighbor and let him know he was coming, so the driveway was cleared and Jim could see a faint curl of smoke coming from the chimney. A light snow was just beginning to fall, covering the existing drifts, and Jim drove silently up the driveway, enjoying the view. Just like he’d remembered.

“It is...quite lovely,” Spock said, almost echoing Jim’s thoughts. “I thank you for inviting me to join you.”

“See if you still think that when I have you chopping wood,” Jim teased, but he felt a warm spot in his chest. This would be fun. Spock was his best friend, and Jim wanted to share this with him. The rest of it was Jim’s problem and Jim’s alone.

*

The cabin was toasty and dust-free when they walked inside, and Jim made a mental note to send a heartfelt thank you and a bottle of wine to the Hendersons. Jim kicked off his boots, hung his coat in the tiny mudroom, and then walked through into the living room. Perfect, just like he’d remembered, down to the as-yet-undecorated tree in one corner. A fire was lit in the hearth, burning merrily, and there was a note on the kitchen counter, saying that the fridge and the replicator had been fully stocked. Yes, this would do nicely.

“Well, what do you think, Spock?” Jim said, putting down his bag and turning to his First Officer, who had followed him after scrupulously removing his coat and boots and brushing the snow from his hair.

“It is quite picturesque,” Spock said. “Similar to images on the Christmas cards my mother used to receive when I was a child.”

“You used to celebrate Christmas?”

“Not as such,” Spock said, depositing his bag next to Jim’s and going to explore the small, open kitchen. “I was raised Vulcan, as you know, but my mother had friends on Earth, and she never kept such things as Human holidays a secret.”

“Oh, I thought this would be new to you,” Jim said. “Having a real Christmas and all.”

“Jim, I have lived primarily among humans for 12.4 years,” Spock said, eyebrow quirked, but it was not an admonition. “I am fully aware of how Christmas is celebrated.”

“Perfect,” Jim said. “Then I won’t have to explain everything.”

*

Jim gave Spock the room his mother had used, since it had always been warmer, and took the room he had split with his brother. He was pleased to see the stars they had glued to the ceiling when Jim was eight. They took a few minutes to unpack, then Jim went to the storage closet, where he was happy to find all the old ornaments had been preserved. They decorated with glass balls and strands of tinsel, boughs of fake holly for the mantle and the edge of the counter that separated the kitchen from the main room. Jim only had to remind Spock once that it didn’t have to be perfect, but even so Jim was sure the tree had been arranged with mathematical precision when he wasn’t looking.

It was already Christmas Eve, so Jim sent Spock out to the shed to chop some of the dried logs into more manageable pieces while Jim mixed up a batch of eggnog. He didn’t expect that Spock would join him in drinking it, but he could give the extra to the Hendersons; they had always enjoyed the old family recipe, too.

Jim was happy to use the old electric stand mixer to whisk the eggs up frothy, then the caster sugar. Ground nutmeg, vanilla, and the secret ingredient went next, then the milk and the heavy cream a little at a time. Finally, Jim added the blend of brandy and dark rum his mother had always preferred. Jim had been allowed sips the last few years they’d been at the cabin, and couldn’t wait to have a whole cup to himself.

He was just transferring the mix to a container and putting it in the fridge when Spock came in, looking adorably green-cheeked. “I have quartered the logs as requested,” he said, stripping off his gloves and leaving them on the edge of the counter.

“Good,” Jim said. “Sit down in front of the fire. You look like you’re freezing. I’ll make you some tea.”

“Thank you,” Spock said. It was funny; Spock had once explained to Jim that thanks was illogical, but he must have changed his mind, since over the last year and a half or so he’d been saying the words more often, at least when Jim was around. Jim had long admired and appreciated Spock’s willingness to adapt.

Jim poked at the replicator, idly programming in a few Vulcan recipes from memory before making two cups of tea. He settled on the other side of the couch from Spock, carefully handing him a mug so their fingers didn’t touch. Jim was a touchy-feely person by nature, but he could adapt, too.

“Mom used to replicate a big, traditional Christmas Day dinner, and we’d just have a light meal of sandwiches and soup on Christmas Eve,” Jim said, looking into the fire. “I was thinking we could do that, though we’d tweak it a bit to cut out the meat.”

“That is not necessary,” Spock said. “I will merely consume more of the dishes that do not contain meat.”

“Nonsense,” Jim said. “I can do without ham for one year.”

Spock examined his mug like it was the most fascinating thing in the universe.

*

After a satisfying dinner of tomato soup and grilled cheese, Jim went to retrieve his present for Spock from his room. He grinned when he saw a perfectly wrapped package already placed under the tree, and placed his gift next to it. “I was thinking we could play chess, and I could have some of that eggnog I mixed up.”

Spock put down the PADD he had been reading. “I will join you for eggnog, if there is enough,” he said. “It is integral to the celebration of the holiday, is it not?”

Jim chuckled, but poured a second glass and brought them over to the couch, handing one glass to Spock and hauling over a coffee table with his now-free hand. “I don’t know about integral, but it tastes good. Yum,” he added, after taking a sip. “Just like I remember.”

Spock took a careful sip, then another. “The flavor is quite pleasing, but I do not recognize it.”

“Old family recipe,” Jim said, going to his bedroom to retrieve the TriD chessboard and pieces. “Secret ingredient and all that jazz.”

They played two games and finished the entire batch of eggnog between them, which Jim distantly thought was a little surprising. But he was warm and just a little bit buzzed, and Spock was sitting next to him, shoulders pressed to Jim’s, idly playing with Jim’s fingers. There was something off about all this, but it just felt good.

“Hey, Spock--” Jim began, turning to Spock, but the rest of what he was going to say was swallowed by Spock’s lips. The kiss was gentle, and Jim found himself bringing one hand up to cup the back of Spock’s head. They kissed for a few minutes, and it was perfect.

But then Jim’s brain caught up with him, and he pulled back quickly, one hand still caught in Spock’s. “Spock, what’s going on?”

“I find myself unable to control my responses as I usually do,” Spock said. “However, I do not mind.”

“Okay, that’s weird.” Jim stood, hauling Spock to his feet, only just catching him when Spock leaned against his shoulder. “Come on, why don’t you go meditate or whatever and then sleep. If you’re still fee--uh, having this problem tomorrow, we’ll call Bones, okay?”

“I do not wish to see Doctor McCoy,” Spock mumbled, almost to himself. “I wish to spend time with you.”

“And you will,” Jim said, warmed despite his concern. “In the morning. We’ll have tea and I’ll make you waffles and we can open our presents. How’s that sound?”

“Acceptable,” Spock said, but Jim would have sworn he was pouting.

Jim pushed open the bedroom door and sat Spock down on the bed. “So, sleep, or meditation?”

“I will sleep, and meditate in the morning.”

“You got it,” Jim said, watching with distant amusement as Spock struggled to get out of his sweater. “I’ll leave you to it. Don’t hesitate to wake me if you need anything.” Spock nodded mutely, and Jim backed out of the room, closing the door behind him.

*

Jim was standing at the kitchen counter when Spock appeared the next morning, hair messy and still in his pajamas. “You’re going to want to have a glass of water, and there’s pain hypos in the bathroom cabinet, if you have a headache,” Jim told him.

“I do not have a headache,” Spock said, though he did retrieve a glass of water from the replicator. He sounded slightly subdued.

“Spock, if I’d know that chocolate was an intoxicant for Vulcans, I would have told you it was the secret ingredient,” Jim said. He’d had a conversation with Bones that morning, who had been grumpy to hide his concern. “I didn’t mean to...get you drunk and take advantage of you.”

“You did not take advantage of me,” Spock said firmly, and Jim looked up at him. There was something unreadable in his dark eyes. “The sentiment was...accurate, if not expressed in the most elegant fashion.”

“What?”

Spock stepped up into Jim’s space and wrapped a large hand around the back of his neck, pulling him forward for a kiss. “My regard is returned, correct?”

“Yeah, but...we need to talk about this.”

“If you recall, I am a touch telepath,” Spock said, in his lecturer voice. “Your shields were down last night when we touched.”

“But--Spock, that’s totally cheating,” Jim said, laughing.

“A skill I learned from an old friend,” Spock said, and Jim pulled him down for another kiss.

Feedback is better than chocolate.
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