Spock was coming up the street to his apartment building when he saw a human male struggling with removing a rather large pine tree from inside the building’s foyer out to the sidewalk.
It made no sense to Spock, as the Terran holiday of Christmas had not yet passed, so the human should be bringing the tree inside instead of outside.
Spock walked up the steps and realized he knew this human. Not well, but he knew him. Almost everyone knew James Kirk. He was extremely popular at Starfleet Academy and Spock had him in one of his classes the year before. It did not hurt that he was exceptionally goodlooking by any standards, even Vulcan ones. Golden hair, blue eyes, pouty red lips. Yes, Spock found him…appealing.
“Do you require assistance, Cadet Kirk?”
Kirk looked at him startled, through the branches of the tree. Even then Spock could see his eyes were wet and rimmed red.
“Are you in distress?” Spock demanded.
“Oh. Um.” The tree rattled and shook and then all of a sudden it lay on the sidewalk at Spock’s feet. “Hi.”
Kirk licked his lips. “I, uh, sorry. I didn’t mean to block the entrance into the building, Professor.”
“That is currently not my concern.” Spock surveyed the tree. “Forgive me, Mr. Kirk, but is it not traditional to decorate the tree indoors?”
He nodded, then looked away. “Yeah. Well. Yeah. That’s usually how it works.”
“But?” Spock prodded.
“Oh, everything’s just all messed up, is all.” Kirk sagged against the wall of the building. “I’m throwing it away. The tree, I mean. I’m sure you don’t want to hear about it, sir. Let me just move this out of your way, so you can get in.”
“I would not have asked had I not wished to know. It seems a shame to waste the life of this tree all for naught.”
“Yeah.” Kirk wiped his hand over his face. “Maybe you’re right. It’s just…I don’t know why I keep believing, you know.”
Spock did not know. “I can assist you with bringing it back inside to your apartment if you wish.”
Kirk sighed. Looked down at the ground. “Okay. Yeah. Thanks.”
Spock hefted the pine tree up and then pointed to the door. “If you will open that—”
“Wait, you don’t have to carry that by yourself.”
“Just open the door.”
Kirk opened the door and Spock carried the tree into the foyer. Kirk rushed in after him.
“This tree is too big for the lift. I will take the stairs. What floor is your apartment?”
“Cadet…Jim. This will be a lot easier if you simply cooperate and advise me where your apartment is.”
Spock went up the stairs on the right, conscious of Kirk following up after him, apologizing profusely the whole way. Spock ignored him until they reached the third floor and Kirk ran ahead of him, opening a door on the far right of the corridor. Spock carried the tree inside, noticed a tree stand still set up in the middle of the living room and headed there.
“I’m sorry for all this trouble.”
“You do not need to apologize repeatedly.” Spock stuck it in place. “This is a large and beautiful tree.”
“Yeah.” Kirk blushed red. “I, uh, sorry about that.”
“I mean, about the tree. Being dead. You being Vulcan it probably offends you. I didn’t think. As usual. About anything really.”
“Jim, I would like you to explain what happened to cause you to wish to dispose of this tree.”
Kirk deflated even more if that was possible. “My mom. She had told me she was coming here. To San Francisco and we’d spend Christmas together. It was going to be the first time in years. And I know, I’m way too old for this, but I got a little excited and I went out and got this tree and some decorations and I started planning what we’d eat and just, generally, getting carried away.” He bit his lip.
“She is not coming,” Spock guessed.
“Got it. She contacted me this morning to say, nope, so sorry, Jim. Something came up. Again.” He grimaced. “Something always comes up. Since I was a kid. She was always off planet. Never around. And every time she tells me she’s coming, I believe it all over again like a dummy.”
“I am sorry that she continues to disappoint you,” Spock said. “I do not know her, so I cannot say if she had good intentions or not, but knowing what I do know about you, I cannot imagine that she did not intend to fulfill her obligations when she first promised.”
“I shouldn’t have bought this tree, obviously. No one else is going to be around except me.”
“What about your friend, Leonard McCoy?”
“Georgia.” Jim smiled and shrugged. “And speaking of, I am sure I’m keeping you from Uhura or something.”
“You are not. Nyota has gone for the Winter break as well.”
“And she didn’t take you with her?”
Spock frowned. “Why would she?”
“I thought you two were…together. Together.”
“We are friends. There is no romantic connection if that is what you believe. I admire many qualities Nyota possesses, which is why we are friends.”
“Oh.” Kirk nodded and moistened his lips. Which for some reason Spock always noticed. “So. Would you…like to stay for dinner?”
“Yes,” Spock said immediately. “And afterward, perhaps, I could help you decorate your tree with the decorations you bought.”
Those blue eyes met his and they were much brighter and lighter than they’d been only moments before.
“I would love that.”