On, Admiral!

K/S by Farfalla; rated PG-13.
Why is Jim is late coming home on Christmas Eve?
Beta-read by Hypatia Kosh.
Written for Lyrastar. *giggles ominously*
This story originally appeared in the 2005 Slash Advent Calendar.

It was Christmas Eve, and Captain Spock sat in his armchair reading as he waited for his husband, Admiral James T. Kirk, to come home to their San Francisco flat. Spock didn't particularly care about the original reason for the holiday, or even about the secular implications--Jesus and commercialism being equally uninteresting to him--but tonight was a happy one for him all the same because of Jim's return.

The admiral had been up tied up in Starfleet affairs for weeks, which included an extended inspection of the Martian shipyards. Spock, of course, had been busy with his Academy pupils, but he'd discovered long ago that once he had become accustomed to sharing Jim's bed, it was very difficult to get used to sleeping alone again. There was nobody to talk to, and pillows just didn't hug back.

But poor Spock!--for the sun set and the moon rose, and Jim did not appear.

Spock reached the end of his astrophysics journals and selected a book at random from Jim's collection. They were mostly historical adventures, old classics that had inspired Jim as a young boy, and Spock had taken to sampling them whenever he felt Jim's absence most keenly. This time, Great Expectations would keep him company.

Several hours later, he realized with grim amusement that he made a poor Miss Havisham. He exchanged his clothing for pajamas and crawled into bed, hoping that whatever had delayed Jim would produce him in the morning. He knew Jim was safe, of course--any severe physical harm or loss of consciousness would have resulted in bond problems that he was sure he didn't sense at the moment. It was only this thought, and his Vulcan serenity, that allowed him to rest.

As the sun crawled west into the California sky, Spock arose to the sound of the front door opening. Wiping his eyes, he left the bedroom and approached the living room just in time to see Jim stumble through the doorway. He looked up at Spock with anguished, exhausted eyes.

Spock rushed forward and caught him before he collapsed. "Jim," he murmured, holding him tightly.

"Honey, I'm home," Jim gasped. Apparently, he had just enough energy left to be silly.

Spock helped him straight to the bed, where the admiral flopped down without removing a single stitch of his uniform. "Were you delayed at Lunaport?" Spock asked, sitting beside him and rubbing his leg lightly.

"No," Jim said weakly. "I got in... around late afternoon. The transporters were all offline because of the holiday traffic, so Starfleet rented me a shuttlecraft to drive back down to Earth. A red one."

"You must have had problems with the shuttlecraft, then," Spock postulated.

Jim's eyes closed. "You could say that." His voice was tinged with irony.

Spock eyed him suspiciously. "Jim, did you--is the shuttlecraft intact?"

"No, my love, the shuttlecraft is now reposing in a repair shop somewhere in northwestern South Carolina."

Spock petted him like a cat. "I am pleased you are uninjured."

Jim nodded faintly, opening his eyes again. "Just exhausted."

"Might I inquire what it was destroyed the shuttlecraft?"

Jim blinked. "An... animal... flew into my windshield."

"You crashed into a bird? Or was it pulled into your engine?"

"No, it wasn't a bird. Mammal," Jim added, clearly unwilling to provide more information.

"Surely a bat--"

"No, Spock, no bats. It was a deer. A big one."

"You did not say the collision was on the ground."

"That's because it wasn't."

"If a deer jumped into your shuttle--"

"I didn't say jumped. I said flew."

Spock took a deep breath. "Jim, what happened last night?"

Jim sighed. "Maybe you better just meld with me and see for yourself. It's the only way you'll believe me."

"Logical," Spock agreed, curious as hell.

He placed his fingers across Jim's face in the appropriate position and bent down close to him. Placing a quick kiss on Jim's lips, he murmured the words, "My mind to your mind," and joined their thoughts.

Jim's shuttle ride had been pleasant and uneventful up until one terrifying moment that had ruined his evening entirely. He was riding along through the sky, smiling to himself as he thought of how happy he would be to see Spock again, when suddenly something large and brown and with legs came careening towards him and crashed straight into the front of the shuttle. He barely had enough time to duck underneath the controls to avoid the beast, and the tsunami of broken glass.

His heart pounding in his chest, he resurfaced to take the controls again, only to find that none of them worked. The shuttle had frozen still in midair, inside a cloud, where he could see nothing. Or could he?

That was when he realized that his shuttlecraft was not alone in the cloud.

Seven large and extremely fierce-looking reindeer, all sporting magnificent antlers--even the females--stood in the middle of the sky pawing at the fog. One grazed from it as if it were cotton candy. They were harnessed to a giant sleigh, fully loaded, and hopping out of the driver's seat was--

Jim whirled around to inspect the animal lying in his shuttle. It was the eighth of the reindeer, and although it wasn't dead, it was definitely in a bad way.

He turned forward again to find himself face to face with a very angry Santa Claus.

"You've hit one of my animals," St. Nick said gruffly.

"He jumped straight through my window!" Jim protested. "He could have killed me."

"Hmph," Santa grumbled. He stepped through the hole in the shuttle's window, slid down Jim's control panel, and crossed the floor to investigate the status of the reindeer.

"I'm very sorry about your deer," Jim ventured. "Can he be saved?"

"Oh, he'll live--just got to get him back to the Pole to recuperate until next year, I guess."

"Which one was it?"

"Prancer," answered Santa. "Not the fastest of my deer, but a good worker. Don't know what I'll do without him. I can't deliver all this stuff with only seven deer. I've done all my calculations for eight!"

"I don't suppose you have any backup deer back at the Pole."

"Nope. This is my only herd--just these eight. They're immortal," Santa explained.

Jim was trying to think of another solution when he realized that Santa had a very suspicious gleam in his eye. "What are you going to do?"

"First, I'm going to call my wife to come collect Prancer in her ice-carriage," Santa explained, drawing a communicator out of his fur-lined pocket. "It's drawn by swans. Can't use them for deliveries--they can't handle it."

Jim nodded. When one has been an astronaut for a decade, nothing is a surprise anymore.

"And then," Santa continued, clapping a gloved hand on Jim's shoulder, "you're coming with me to finish Prancer's work."


"Or else Christmas will be ruined this year," Santa threatened ominously.

"But I'm not--"

"I'm not interested," Santa interrupted.

"But my husband--"

"You'll be home by morning. I have to finish the whole planet by morning. That's why I need all eight of you."

"But what about colony worlds?"

Santa shrugged. "Don't care. My deer can't breathe in space anyway. Now, git!"

And before long, Jim found himself, still in his red and black Starfleet uniform, harnessed in Prancer's place to Santa's sleigh.

Spock withdrew from Jim's mind, his eyes wide at what he'd seen inside. "Fascinating."

Jim rolled towards Spock and clutched at him. "I hurt everywhere," he said, almost whimpering.

Indeed, Spock had felt his soreness while they were joined. "I will reduce your pain," Spock offered, rolling Jim's limbs out across the soft bed. His skilled fingertips delivered comfort with every touch as they traveled over Jim's weary arms and legs. He undressed Jim as he massaged him, hanging up each component of the uniform as he freed Jim from it.

Jim needed his rest, so Spock pulled the covers up over them both. They fell asleep quickly under the periwinkle comforter.

A few hours later, Spock awoke to find Jim nuzzling into the crook of his neck. Jim's hands were slithering around Spock's thighs like water seeping through soil, spreading in every direction and causing plants to grow. Or green stemlike organs, at any rate. Spock turned on his side and moved bits of blanket out of the way to provide Jim easier access.

Jim welcomed the offering and took Spock in his hand. "I missed you so much. I couldn't stop thinking about you--and this--while I was strapped to that harness."

"Are you recovered from your muscular discomfort?" Spock inquired, with some concern.

"I think so," Jim replied, testing himself. "Mostly."

"Then I will make love to you," Spock replied, rolling on top of him and taking Jim into his arms.

Far away, in the North Pole's clinic, Prancer reclined lazily on a cushion stuffed with high-end hay, bandaged up like a reindeer mummy. He hurt in places he didn't even know he had, but he felt awfully smug about getting to miss the Big Day this year.