|Title: A Wish in the Mist
Author: Farfalla the Butterfly-Kitten
Website: Farfalla's Kirk/Spock happyplace at COSMiC DUCKLiNG
Email: blueberrysnail at yahoo dot com
Betas: Sensefille, gensei, and Hypatia Kosh
Series: Star Trek Original Series, present-day AU
Characters: Kirk/Spock, sort of. Scroll down to the bottom for illustrations by Mina and Lovin' James T.
Written for the 2003 Slash Advent Calendar. Also archived at ASCEM, The All-Ages Kirk/Spock Archive, WWOMB, and by nice people who ask first.
Characters are property of Paramount, but I think I've taken them out of their original home enough to warrant forgiveness :-) Anyone other than Kirk and Spock in this story is my invention anyway. No profit but my smiles and your feedback
~A Wish in the Mist~
Iowa's first openly gay state attorney general drained his glass of eggnog and gazed through his farmhouse window at the falling snow. He had his apartment in the capital now, but he wouldn't hear of spending Christmas anywhere else but the house in which he'd been raised. Everybody just assumed it was nostalgia, and the media spun it as just another one of the endearingly homey and friendly traits of James Kirk.
But that wasn't it at all. Truth was, he had a date to keep--the one appointment he had in every year that nothing in the world could have induced him to break.
He had just acted on impulse that night in early December, so long ago when he was a teenager. In a moment of lonely whimsy after a shower, he'd written a note to Santa in the steam on the bathroom mirror. It was an attempt to lift his own spirits out of the closet where he'd remained for his entire youth. A young man as attractive as he was, with brains, kindness, and athletic abilities, was naturally very popular. But in the Midwest of the 1970s it was safer to be secretly gay and slightly morose for want of companionship than to come out as as an open homosexual and risk losing the respect of most of Riverside.
The girls loved him. And he loved them, because he liked loving people. But it wasn't ~that~ kind of love. In his dreams he imagined gripping a pair of muscular shoulders and nuzzling a musky neck. His fantasy lover was taller than he was, and more slender--Jim being buff from working out since he was twelve--but still sturdy and strong.
But there was no one like that in Riverside--no one worth falling in love with, for want of brains and good nature--and definitely no one who'd be interested in being nuzzled by a fifteen year old boy. And Jim was a good student and a loving son, and thoroughly not the type to think about running away from home to find romantic companionship. So, just to feel like he was doing something about it, even in jest, he wiped his finger across the misted mirror and asked for a boyfriend.
The steam cleared up as he toweled off his body, and he didn't think any more about it. He didn't remember it the next day either, as he walked through the department store near his mother's dental practice looking for a new pair of gloves. Even when the department store Santa suddenly looked him square in the eye and asked, "Have you been a good boy?" Jim didn't remember his message on the mirror.
But on Christmas Eve, he did think of it, for one fleeting moment as he threw on his pajamas and wriggled under the covers. His mother was downstairs locking up the house for the evening and dimming the fire in the living room fireplace. The image of his silly note flashed into his mind, and as he lay there trying to fall asleep, he smirked. How would Santa send a boyfriend, anyway? He could just imagine coming downstairs the next morning and finding a naked man in his stocking--and having to explain his presence to his loving but conservative mother.
The minutes ticked on, and he stared out a window at the crescent moon. It must be near midnight...
Through the draped stillness of night he started to hear a faint tapping on one of his windows. He ignored it at first, assuming it was a small animal or just the house "settling". But then he realized that the tapping came in a pattern--was it Morse Code?
Jim loved military adventure and so translating the taps came as second nature to him. It was with a warming face that he realized that it was spelling out his name.
Curious, and his heart thumping loudly, he slid out of bed and went to the window. He pressed his face to the frigid glass and saw nothing. But still he felt a presence, calling to him from beyond the window--even though all he saw through the pane was snow, and the snaking black branches of naked trees.
He unlocked the catch and slid the window up. And when he did, he was too entranced by what he saw to be shocked or scared.
Standing on the outside second-story ledge of his house, a tall, slender male creature peered back at Jim with hot-chocolate eyes. His hair was jet-black and cut short with bangs, and it fell neatly around a face with exotic, high cheekbones. He was dressed entirely in green.
Jim opened his mouth to speak, but then he noticed the man's ears. They were pointed.
"Yes, that's me, I'm Jim." Jim smiled warmly out of habit, his brain having gone completely and happily numb. The stranger's voice was deep and soothing and quiet, and comforting--as if he'd known him all his life, or was preparing to.
"My name is Spock." He held up his hand in a strange salute, fingers splayed in the middle.
"You're an elf," Jim realized.
"I am," said Spock. "May I come in?"
"Oh! Sorry, come in!" Smoothly handling a situation he was completely unfamiliar with, namely escorting a fantastical being in through his bedroom window in the middle of the night, Jim held out his hand.
The elf's hand was hotter than a human's, and gripped Jim's strongly as he clambered inside through the open window. There was a little bit of snow on his boots, and Jim handed him a paper towel to wipe it off with. He sat down on his bed, because he didn't know what else to do. But he did motion to his desk chair, inviting Spock to sit.
"I'd offer to get you something to eat, but my mom might hear me in the kitchen." Jim looked around the room, inspecting his own belongings for an impromptu session of show-and-tell.
"I have eaten," said Spock. "Elves are rewarded for our diligent efforts throughout the year with a large feast the afternoon of Christmas Eve." He rubbed his fingers together a little nervously.
"So you're really--so..." Jim's eyelashes fluttered as he struggled to comprehend what he was hearing. "So Santa is--real?"
"As real as you are," Spock confirmed. "Although many doubt the existence of elves, we work hard to bring the world the benefit of our skills." He straightened proudly in his chair.
He talks like he's pretty smart, Jim thought to himself. And so hot! I can't believe this is real. "So you're here because of my note on the bathroom mirror?"
"I have come here tonight, and I will remain your companion for life, if you approve. However, I regret to inform you that I am permitted to stay with you in the mortal world only between the hours of midnight and sunrise on Christmas Eve." Spock's tone was unnaturally calm, as if he were selling an insurance policy, not speaking of such fanciful matters of the heart.
"My... companion for life?" Jim blinked. Yet he didn't mind the prospect, whatever it was that Spock meant. He was already fantasizing about running his fingers through that sleek black cap of hair...
"We would be joined through our minds, and communicate in thought during the quiet moments of your day," explained Spock. "I shall not disturb you when you are with others, lest they believe you mad."
"That's an awfully clever system," said Jim. "And... unusual."
"Your request of Mr. Claus was quite unusual as well," Spock pointed out.
"But it came true."
"Yes, should you desire me." Spock looked into the corner of the room demurely through half-closed eyelids.
"Well, I--I'd like to get to know you better." Jim, barely believing his luck but not wanting to ruin things by jumping immediately to the physical.
"Tell me about yourself, Jim." Spock cocked his head to listen.
Jim told him all about his family, and his life in Riverside. He told him about all the fun he had on the swim team, and about how he was planning to join the Navy and become an officer like his uncle. He also had ideas about becoming a lawyer eventually, and fighting injustice on the civilian front as well as the military and nautical one. Then, as he felt more comfortable, he shared with Spock his frustration at having to hide his natural inclinations from everyone he loved.
"It doesn't *feel* perverted," he said emphatically. "I'm sitting here talking to you, but I don't feel like I'm talking to a *man*--I'm talking to you! To one, special person. That's what's important. I can't help the way I was made."
"I agree," said Spock. He reached out to lightly touch Jim's arm. "You are a very appealing human." He looked at Jim with interest and attraction.
Jim grinned. "Thank you! You're not so bad yourself. Are all the elves as attractive as you are?"
"Most likely you would think so," said Spock, "but you requested someone of intelligence, and mine is rare among our folk."
"I have been trained as an engineer for the toy factory," explained Spock. "I have served for hundreds of years in service to Christmas. But I was lonely for true companionship."
"And so you were sent to me?"
"I hope I meet your specifications," Spock said honestly. "I like you very much." He said this frankly and purely.
After so much secrecy even within his own heart Jim yearned for such honesty. "Will you come in the bed?" he invited shyly. He was a little intimidated by Spock's age, but he hoped that the immortal would be able to teach him many new things--of the world, and love.
Spock crawled under the covers with him, and they held each other in the chilly, silver hours of the winter morning. The elf's arms cradled Jim's bulky torso tightly, and for the first time in his life, Jim ran his fingers through another man's hair. At the unearthly hour of three-thirty AM, they kissed. Jim was amazed at how good Spock's velvety-soft lips felt against his own, and pressed in with his own eagerly.
Exploratory caresses took them through the night, and they broke from each other's embrace only with the whitening sky of dawn. Jim followed Spock to the window, holding his hand tightly as he pushed open the pane. "I've never met anyone like you before," Jim murmured, his mouth tickling a pointed ear. "You promise you aren't leaving me?"
"I shall always be yours," promised Spock. "Keep my vow sacred in your heart, and you will always be able to contact me."
"I'll see you in a year, then?"
"On Christmas Eve. Good luck, Jim."
Spock climbed out of the window and vanished into the wintry morning mist. Jim stood at the window for a long time, gazing out at the snow, before crawling back into bed to actually get a few hours of sleep before his mother woke up the whole house with Christmas cheer.
As he drifted into slumber he sent out a thought to his faraway new friend. //I think I'm in love with you, Spock.//
//I love you as well, Jim,// came the reply, warming the Human more than any quilt ever could.
Their hearts knitted together tightly over the years. Every night before he fell asleep, Jim called for Spock, and they talked with their souls. Jim confided in Spock about school, his family, his friends, and the issues in his life. He and Spock philosophized over current events, and discussed theories of science. Spock was usually able to provide a unique and constrasting perspective to many ideas, and Jim could meet no mortal who even came close to making him feel the way Spock did.
And once a year they were allowed to meet. At midnight on Christmas Eve each year, Jim waited expectantly for the arrival of his supernatural love. It had to be at his mother's farmhouse, the rules of Spock's gift of himself being very strict. Even when he graduated from college and joined the Navy, somehow luck was always in his favor and he was able to return home for the holidays. He didn't know what he would do without Spock's kisses, Spock's arms around his body, Spock's hot breath against his neck. His heart belonged so much to Spock that their annual tryst was his one foray into the physical for the whole year. No other's touch could have brought such peace, such beauty--although he admired the gorgeous physiques of some of his comrades in the service.
It was when he left the Navy and was trying to get himself established as a lawyer back in Iowa that he met Carol Marcus. She taught physics and biology at the local community college, and seemed to want to get to know the handsome, dashing young Naval officer pretty badly. Since she did all the work, the relationship appealed to Jim--as a cover for his still-closeted true orientation. All he had to do was sit back and make sure she felt loved. And he was a good friend to her, and eventually a good husband. They even had a son together, an adventuresome little blond boy called David.
And each year, they visited Jim's mother for Christmas, and Carol slept soundly through the night as Jim snuck off into the attic to make love to his true soulmate. By the time Spock's hands were finally on his skin after 364 days of celibate conversation, he almost felt like he could die with relief.
Jim's practice flourished, and so did his popularity. He started getting involved in local politics. Soon, people began to speak of him as being seriously in the running for the position of state attorney general. That was when Carol, lying awake late one night, asked him if he was gay.
He said yes. He didn't want to lie to her anymore. He never told her about Spock, because she would have had him committed. But latent feelings were enough for her. "I think I've always known," she mumbled.
She and David stayed the summer, then left in the fall before school started. He saw David every few months, at the school talent show or other such special occasion.
"I am sorry," Spock whispered into his thoughts each night.
"It's not your fault," answered Jim, all alone in his spacious house. "You didn't make me the way I am. You make it worthwhile."
The next year, Jim's mother died. Jim sold the house he'd lived in with Carol and moved back home to Riverside. He and Spock spent Christmas Eve that year looking at old photo albums and home movies of his mother, and told Spock lots of stories he remembered about her. Spock held his hand as he said goodbye.
Jim's career recieved a great boon, when, a few months later, public opinion proved true and he was appointed state attorney general. Immediately afterwards, he stumbled into a matter of concern that piqued his heart, and pursued it instantly.
A local chemical plant was polluting the water supply and had lied to residents of the area about which isotopes they were releasing into the environment. The potential for a great lawsuit was there, if he could only face going up against such a mighty opponent.
But he worked with the determination of he who knows right, and each time he met with another of the victims, his neighbors, suffering from cancer or troubled and financially bereaved by the illness of a loved one, his passion for justice grew stronger.
And despite all odds, despite the fancy lawyers and intimidating strongarm tactics employed by the polluters, Jim helped lead the case to victory. Thanks to him, those afflicted by the isotopes would recieve a settlement to help them with their medical bills, or to provide for their families once they'd passed on. He felt almost dazed with the happy shock of his victory. He'd been working so hard on this case that weeks had gone by with barely any food or sleep, so hard had he studied the law, chemistry, medicine, and insurance policies. And in addition, he'd become a close friend of many of the families that had lost or were losing their loved ones. Riverside was proud of him, and took him to its heart.
It was the chemical plant's fault that the public found out he was gay, but someone informed him of their intentions and he beat them to the punch. It was just after the Supreme Court struck down the laws forbidding sexual relations between same-gendered partners that he made his statement, expressing within it his heartfelt wish that some day every consenting adult would be awarded the dignity of marriage. He didn't know quite what to expect once opening his heart and letting the world see his big secret, or at least the bulk of it.
They could have shunned him, had him run out of office, forgotten him. But instead, they remembered what he'd done for them, how hard he had worked, and how good of a man he'd always been--and they accepted him!
For whatever strange, selfish reason of their own, even the media loved him. They played up his down-home Midwestern geniality, and made his lonely farmhouse look so appealing that even the most conservative of Iowa housewives wished as they stirred their homemade soup that someday James Kirk should find a partner to keep him company.
Jim Kirk himself longed for the same thing. He wanted it so strongly that sometimes his body was wracked with pain. But he could only see Spock once a year; if Spock had not left by sunup, he would fade away back into the mist like the steam on the mirror so many years ago.
Jim was forty now. He'd been in love with Spock for twenty-five years, and wanted nothing more than twice as many years again to know his lovely soul. But he yearned for more than one day a year of real, physical contact. There were places, now, where they could even get married... and have a real life together. He knew Spock wanted it too. They discussed it every once in a while-- only briefly because it easily brought useless sadness. But Spock knew of no way to change the rules.
And so Jim waited, yet again, staring out the window waiting for their one night of passion. He was so deep in thought, dreaming of Spock's deep eyes, soothing voice, and strong wiry arms, that he almost dropped his empty glass onto the windowsill when the phone rang. It shattered the silent winter air with its cacophonous beacon of reality.
"Jim?" A tearful voice croaked. "Oh, Jim Kirk, is that you?"
"Anne? What's wrong?"
"Oh, Jim, Jeannie's gone." And then the old woman broke out into uncontrollable sobs.
Jim swallowed hard. Anne and Jeannie Teller were twin sisters in their eighties with no other family besides each other. Jeannie had been one of the Riverside residents who developed cancer as a result of the water pollution, and during his work on the case Jim had been half-adopted into their family. Jeannie had lost her only son in the Navy, so she took a special liking to Jim.
"Anne, are you all right? Do you want me to come over?" Jim asked soothingly.
"Oh, Jim, would you? I can't bear it here and I have nowhere to go."
"I'll be right there. Is the snow clear?"
"As far as I know.... oh Jim, she looked so pretty when she was younger. She was always the pretty one. I wish you could have seen her before the cancer!"
"I'll be over as soon as I can, and you can show me pictures." Jim was running around the house, the portable phone clutched between his shoulder and his chin as he looked for his jacket, his snow overcoat, and then the keys to his truck.
"Thank you... thank you so much... oh, Jim, I feel so bad... what am I going to do?"
"I'll see you in a few minutes, Anne. Thanks for calling me." Jim hung up, and stepped out into the black, frosty night.
//I feel terrible,// he told Spock as he drove through farmland and suburbian mazes of ranch-style homes to the Tellers' house.
//I will wait for you,// Spock reassured him.
//I need to stay with her as long as she needs me,// Jim reminded him.
//I know. And if we are forced to remain apart this year, then take comfort in my love.//
//I have been and shall always be your friend.//
Jim pulled his truck into the driveway of the Teller sisters' house. He could see Anne's face peeping through the curtains at him as he shut the door of his truck and walked up the steps to the front porch. His breath fogged in the cold air as he rang the bell.
"Merry Christmas, Jim," Anne mumbled as she opened the door, and fell into his arms sobbing.
Jim stayed with her through the night. She was too distraught to sleep; instead, she walked him through the house, taking comfort in sharing with him every artifact and memory of her sister's life. They looked at photographs and recounted stories, and Anne baked Jim a batch of Christmas cookies--mostly just to keep herself busy. The lights on her Christmas tree twinkled in alternating patterns, and reflected off the piano in the den long into the night.
It was far beyond sunup when she finally told Jim she was ready to go to sleep. "I can't thank you enough for coming here tonight," she whispered, giving him a huge grandmotherly hug. "I think Jeannie wanted you to have this." She placed a gold band into his hand. "It was her husband's wedding ring. She was going to give it to Michael when he got married but he died so young..." She dabbed at her eyes with a tissue.
"Thank you," said Jim as he took the ring from her, puzzled.
"You'll find someone someday," Anne reassured him. "We're all rooting for you." She slyly pinched his cheek and he smiled weakly.
She waved him out the door and lay down on the sofa to nap. He trudged through the snow to his truck, squinting his eyes against the strong glare of the sun on the brilliant white. The bang of the truck door seemed to shatter his hopes for good.
He revved the gas and set off for home. As he drove, he thought of the ring in the pocket of his jeans. How desperately he wished he could marry Spock! But this year he hadn't even been allowed their one night of romance. He never regretted coming to Anne Teller's aid, but the injustice of bad fortune caused a pain in his heart that welled up like a bubbling stream under the frozen ice.
Through the winter mist his truck struggled onwards, making its way back to the old Kirk farmhouse. Every Christmas morning for the past twenty-five years, he had bid Spock farewell till next year, then gone to sleep for a few hours as a happy man. But this morning would bring no such sweet repose. He railed against his loneliness, and the increasing fog that was starting to seriously obscure his vision.
It made him drive more slowly, but he finally reached the farmhouse. Walking inside and throwing his keys on the hall table, he suddenly tensed. Someone was in the house.
He cautiously, stealthily, crept into the den silently, his Naval training serving him well. And nearly fell to his knees with speechless joy.
Spock sat cross-legged under his Christmas tree, regarding him with peaceful dark eyes. "Good morning, Jim." There was no smile, but the eyes twinkled.
"Spock!" Jim gasped, approaching him slowly. "How... is this possible? Are you really here?"
"What you have done tonight touched the heart of the universe," Spock explained calmly. "You gave up your one night with me to assist a grieving old woman in her hour of need."
"There was nothing else I could have done," Jim interjected.
"And that is precisely why I am now permitted to stay," Spock continued. "Because your nature is so essentially good."
"Spock..." Jim breathed, taking both of his hands in his own.
"Jim," the elf answered, bending his head slightly. Jim kissed him, the daylight pouring upon them warmly through a nearby window.
One hour and forty five minutes later, a truck packed with luggage and Christmas cookies pulled out of the farmhouse driveway, bound for Vermont.