zephyr_macabee: (xmas)
[personal profile] zephyr_macabee
Title: Truth in Chocolate
Author: [livejournal.com profile] zephyr_macabee
Beta: [livejournal.com profile] tkeylasunset
Series: STXI
Rating: PG
Length:  4950
Warnings: meddlesome mother, intoxication
Summary: Winona steps up

AN: Thanks to my beta, tkeylasunset, who volunteered at the last minute.  Any remaining mistakes are my own damn fault.  This is very very mild slash, barely over the line from preslash.

I was fully prepared to dislike Commander Spock for Jimmy’s sake. I am glad it turned out that I did not have to.

I am getting ahead of myself. Let me back up a bit and clear up a few things. Most important, let me state that I failed as a mother, totally and completely. I hid this fact from myself for 14 years, but I have acknowledged it for 13, so I am almost even. I have forged fragile, new relationships with my sons, based on their wants and limits, not my own.

Sam resurfaced eight years after he ran away from Frank, my total disaster of an ex-husband. We interact fairly well from a distance. He and Aurelan call me periodically from whatever remote, primitive colony they are improving and we find safe topics to discuss.

Jimmy and I actually lived together for 4 years after the cluster-fuck on Tarsus IV finally brought me back to Earth to stay. Well, to be accurate, we both lived in this house and orbited around each other, never really touching. At 18 he was out the door and down to the local bar. I fully expected him to become a bartender, prize fighter or prostitute, despite the fact that he is a flat out genius, because he is so damn contrary. But one day he met Chris Pike and his contrariness took him to Starfleet Academy and the rest is history.

You know about the Narada Incident, don’t you? My son is a Big Damn Hero just like his dad, except Jimmy actually survived his heroic act, which puts him one up on George. Not that I would ever say that to him. He wouldn’t take it well.

Jimmy contacted me while the Enterprise was limping back to Earth. I was surprised and touched that he remembered to do so; that he thought I might be concerned. He came and stayed here for a few weeks while waiting for the Enterprise to be repaired. We talked a lot; got a few things resolved between us and opened a door to a better future. He spoke of his crew; the best and brightest from the Academy but all of them so damn young and inexperienced. That’s one reason he was so desperate to have Commander Spock remain with the ship.

I had my doubts about that. After all, their relationship defined the word ‘stormy’. I saw a video of the Kobayashi Maru hearing where Spock threw George’s death in Jimmy’s face. Jimmy told me how Spock tossed him off the Enterprise, marooning him on a frozen planetoid and how, when he got back, he goaded Spock into an emotional outburst to take over the ship. This didn’t seem to be the basis of a solid command team to me; although you can’t argue with the results.

In the end Jimmy got his way. He’s been Captain now for 18 months, with Spock as his First Officer and Chief Science Officer. I had to admit he must be a remarkable being to handle those two jobs and deal with my Jimmy on a daily basis. But I reserved the right to be mistrustful of him based on past behavior.

All this leads me to this Christmas. Jimmy called three months ago to say the Enterprise was coming in to Earth for a mandatory overhaul of the warp engines. The entire crew was getting three weeks of leave over the holidays. He asked if he could come home for Christmas. As if I would say no. He planned to come alone; his (good, best, only?) friend Dr. McCoy was going to Georgia to see his young daughter.

Then he called again, three weeks ago. He looked rough, purple bags under his eyes as if he hadn’t slept for days. Change in plans, he said. I braced myself for a cancellation, but he asked to bring someone instead. And who did he want to bring? Why Commander Spock! He had to cut the call short, before he could explain further. All I’ve received since was a quick message to expect them by suppertime on December 20th.

The twentieth dawned with a snow storm. The afternoon wore into evening with no sign of them. It was nearing midnight and I was dozing in front of the fire when I finally heard the noises of arrival.

I flung open the front door with the formal greeting appropriate for Vulcans on my lips only to be met by Jimmy practically carrying Spock up the steps. Spock was as pale as you can be without being dead. I ran out and grabbed his free arm and between the two of us we got him into the house. His clothes were wet through and he was shivering so hard I nearly lost my grip. I ordered Jimmy to strip him while I cranked up the heat and gathered warm towels and dry clothes. In short order he was dried off, dressed in Sam’s old sweats and a stocking cap, and wrapped in my warmest comforter.

I sat him on the couch while I made some hot tea and Jimmy got their bags from the car. I had to hold the mug for him; his hands were shaking too much for him to get it to his mouth. Once he’d drunk the tea I tucked a heating pad against his chest and coaxed him to lie down. He was asleep by the time his head hit the pillow. Jimmy had medication for him; I administered the hyposprays without causing a flinch. We watched as a pale green flush came back into his face and the lines of pain smoothed out. Then I sent Jimmy off to shower and change while I heated him up some dinner.

As Jimmy wolfed down a plate of curry, I got the story out of him. The Enterprise had been sent on a quick side trip during the journey back to Earth. It was supposed to be a simple treaty signing. Of course, with the Enterprise and Jimmy nothing is ever simple. There had been a rebel attack during the post-signing banquet. Spock had taken a spear to the chest. A spear meant for Jimmy. Due to his Vulcan anatomy the spear missed his heart and the wound should have been inconsequential, but, of course, the spear tip was coated with a plant alkaloid that caused massive clotting of his copper-based blood. If he’d had human, iron-based blood, the alkaloid would have been harmless. Dr. McCoy managed to keep him alive until the Enterprise could beam them out and once in Sickbay they had managed to neutralize the toxin, but there had been a lot of internal damage. Spock’s convalescence was prolonged and he had only resumed light duty a few days before. McCoy had not wanted him to travel, but Jimmy swore it would be a simple, easy trip and Spock would rest easier at a quiet country farmhouse than at the Starfleet HQ infirmary.

Remember what I said about Jimmy and simple? Yeah, his jinx struck again. Their aircar broke down in an isolated area without communicator reception, in a blizzard. Jimmy needed Spock’s help to repair the car and they both got wet and cold. A healthy Vulcan would have shrugged it off, but Spock wasn’t in any shape for that kind of exposure. It was another two hours before they got to the farm. Jim had wanted to stop at the next town they passed, but Spock insisted they push on. He hid how bad he felt right up until Jimmy pulled in the drive. That was interesting behavior; not logical at all.

Jimmy didn’t realize how much he gave away by how he told his story. It seems that Spock has a habit of getting hurt protecting his Captain. Jimmy’s voice got higher and he knotted his fingers in his hair as he regaled me with tales of Spock’s heroism. Oh dear, my boy has a crush on his XO. It would be cute if Jimmy wasn’t so distressed by it. Chris Pike has threatened to take Spock away if Jimmy doesn’t stop damaging him and Jimmy doesn’t think he was joking.

“I need Spock!” he lamented. “He makes me a better Captain. He keeps from doing stupid things. He’s my sounding board.”

I don’t think Jimmy realized that his need for Spock had a personal component. He’s not one for examining his own motivations. Based on my knowledge of Vulcans this situation looked hopeless, but I didn’t want to interpret ahead of my data; I needed to investigate Spock’s side of the equation. Besides, anyone who could engender such a powerful response from my emotionally-damaged son was worth getting to know.

Jimmy was clearly exhausted, not just from a trying day but from too many stressful weeks. I sent him off to bed, promising to sit up with Spock, who never stirred all through the night. I dozed in my chair by the fire until the first light of dawn peeped through my kitchen window. The storm was over.

I dragged my sorry self up. I’m too old to sleep in chairs. I started a pot of oatmeal and was putting the kettle on when I heard sounds of life from the next room. I returned to find Spock unraveling himself from his cocoon. He looked much healthier this morning and as he rose to his feet to greet me properly I was struck by his physical beauty. Even with disheveled hair and the shadow of a beard he was elegant; all planes and angles; a little too thin but fit. Sam’s sweats were too short and his wrists and ankles stuck out. He looked so adorable; I wanted to cuddle him, but of course that would have been inappropriate so I offered a Vulcan greeting instead.

“T’nar pak sorat y’rani, Spockh.”*

He raised one eyebrow at that, an expression of surprise.

“T’nar jaral, Commodore Kirk.”

“Oh no Spock, none of that. There will be no rank inside this house. Call me Winona, please, or Kirk, if you must.”

He agreed to call me Winona. Before he could ask about my linguistic abilities I distracted him, showing him his room and the bathroom, suggesting he might like to shower and change. He seemed pretty steady on his feet, so I didn’t embarrass him by asking if he needed any help. I apologized for only having a water shower. I know Vulcans fret over the waste but I had enough of sonic showers in space.

While he cleaned up I checked on Jimmy, who was dead to the world, then went back to the kitchen to rescue the oatmeal before it burned. Spock wandered in a bit later, hair immaculately combed in that ridiculous traditional style, clean shaven and dressed, to my surprise, in jeans and a black turtleneck sweater. He explained that Jimmy had forbidden him to wear his uniform and had taken him shopping for leisure clothing in San Francisco before leaving for the farm. I would have liked to have seen that. He looked good enough to eat and I had to suppress yet another inappropriate thought.

I served him oatmeal. He declined honey but accepted raisins and sliced almonds. Offered tea or coffee he chose tea, unsweetened. We ate in silence for a while then he asked where I had learned Vulcan. I told him about T’vren, who I had met on a research vessel twenty years before. She was something of a rebel, for a Vulcan. She chose to serve on a Starfleet ship rather than a Vulcan one because she wanted to learn more about Vulcan’s allies. Spock was intrigued. I don’t think he had ever heard of T’vren though her story was similar to his own in many ways. T’vren had taught me a lot about Vulcan culture, beliefs and behaviors. I’d served five years with her and we’d kept in touch since. She’d been on Vulcan when the Narada came.

“I grieve with thee,” he said.

“And I with thee,” I returned. I offered my condolences, insufficient as they were, on the loss of his mother and his planet. He nodded and looked down into his tea, hiding his eyes; unusual eyes for a Vulcan. T’vren’s eyes were brown too, but cooler somehow than Spock’s.

“I met your mother once,” I told him. His head snapped up at that. “And you too.” I swear he never blinked as I told him that story. I think he craved anything that brought his mother back to him, even for a moment.

I’d been in transit from Earth to Mars colony where I was meeting George. I had Sam with me; he must have been three or so. There was a delay and we had gone to the waiting area at the Moon base transit station. A lovely young woman with a very small baby was already there. Sam loved babies and he ran right up to see. “Mommy it’s an elf!” he shouted and I wanted to melt through the floor. The woman, Amanda, laughed and gently corrected my son. “No, he’s Vulcan.”

“You were a very beautiful baby, Spock. It is nice to see you lived up to your promise,” I teased him. He flushed to the tips of the elegant ears that had caught Sam’s eye all those years ago.

Amanda and I whiled away the delay chatting about babies and husbands and families. She was taking Spock to meet her family and she was concerned about their reception. Her family had resisted her marriage to an alien; even one as notable as Sarek, Vulcan Ambassador. Her shuttle was called and we parted. I wished her luck and that was it, we never met again.

Spock surprised me by sharing the results of that visit, as he had heard them from his mother. It had gone just about as well as Amanda feared. Her parents refused to accept her ‘half-breed’ son and she returned to Vulcan after only a day on Earth. He had never again met his mother’s family. Even after her death they wanted nothing to do with him. How sad for them. I’d known him for an hour and I had gone from suspicion to wanting to adopt him.

We were contemplating our empty cereals bowls when Hurricane Jimmy roared into the room, waving a tricorder. He pounced on Spock, scanning him from head to foot. Apparently he had promised Dr. McCoy to send scans every morning as part of the deal to keep Spock out of the infirmary and he was an hour late. The scan was sent and Jimmy was approaching Spock with the hyposprays. Seeing the non-expression of alarm on Spock’s face I grabbed them away and administered them myself. Spock commented on my gentle touch. Apparently Dr. McCoy tended to express his displeasure with patients by being heavy-handed with the hypospray. McCoy was constantly displeased with Jimmy so that Jimmy thought ramming the hypo in was the proper procedure. Jimmy looked so dismayed at the thought he’d been unnecessarily hurting his Spock that I quickly promised to teach him my technique.

I sat him down with a bowl of oatmeal swimming in maple syrup and melted butter. Spock looked vaguely queasy, whether from Jimmy’s tastes or from the medication I wasn’t sure. I bundled him off to the couch regardless. He was still feeling the effects of the previous day since he lay down without protest. I sat with him until he drifted off to sleep then returned to the kitchen to see Jimmy finishing the dishes. Joining Starfleet and becoming a captain had certainly improved his domestic skills.

We had no sooner sat down at the table with fresh cups of coffee when his PADD beeped. It was Dr. McCoy, demanding to know what Jimmy had done to Spock to cause the scanner readings he had just received. Jimmy is quick on his feet I must say. He spun an epic tale that had me, who knew the truth, completely enthralled.

“Bullshit, Jim!” came over the PADD. “Let me talk to Spock.”

I turned it to face me. “It’s Winona Kirk, Dr. McCoy. Spock is fine. He just fell back asleep and I’d rather not wake him.”

Dr. McCoy, (another very handsome man; where does Starfleet find them all?) gave me a very piercing, almost judging, glare. I wondered how much of his childhood Jimmy has shared with him. I pasted on a reassuring smile. Too much of a gentleman to call bullshit on his friend’s mother, he backed down, asking that Spock contact him when he woke up. I promised this would happen and he rang off. Jimmy swept me up in a grateful hug, then quickly put me down, embarrassed. I swatted his behind with the dish towel and we were good again.

We figured Spock would sleep for another few hours, so Jimmy went out and cleared off the last of the snow from the drive and I took a power nap. Spock awoke just before noon, and after we’d fed him some tea, bread and sliced fruit, Jimmy declared that he looked much more like his normal, handsome Vulcan self. Spock raised an eyebrow and Jimmy blushed.

This was getting more and more interesting. I couldn’t wait to begin my investigation of Spock. First things first though, Spock needed to make a call to Dr. McCoy. After assuring the doctor he had not been damaged by exposure to the cold and that he was ‘systemically adequate and improving’ Spock had me re-scan him to prove his contention. Mollified, McCoy ordered Spock to rest and stay warm and to check in again the next day.

Perfect! I sent Jimmy out to the Andersons’ farm to get us a real Christmas tree. Aimee Anderson is quite the chatterbox and she would keep Jimmy there for at least an hour. After seeing him off I stood on the porch awhile, staring off over the snowy fields, planning my strategy. The data I had collected thus far indicated that Jimmy was interested in Spock. How to go about determining if Spock was interested in Jimmy? I never had to do this as the parent of a teenager. And now I had to interrogate a Vulcan. Karma’s a bitch sometimes.


I returned to the living room with mugs of tea for Spock and me. Working with T’vren had shown me that subtle doesn’t work with Vulcans. But asking about feelings wasn’t going to get me anywhere either, so I asked Spock about life on the Enterprise.

Bingo!

Vulcans can be very enthusiastic about things, in a very calm way. Their eyes get brighter, their posture relaxes just a fraction and they speak more rapidly. Spock practically fizzed when he talked about the Enterprise and her crew. Apparently this ship is manned by the best Starfleet has to offer. Spock seemed to be as fond, in his way, of the little Russian genius Chekov as is Jimmy. There were other names I had heard before, Sulu, Scott and Uhura. Just a hint of softening with that last name, the communications officer. I vaguely remembered gossip linking their names. Oh dear, if Spock was already involved with Uhura, this game was over before it started. I decided I would check with Jimmy rather than asking Spock and possibly putting him on alert.

Then there were names unfamiliar to me, the members of the Science department. Spock’s pets, obviously; I wonder if they know what a remarkable thing it is to be thought adequate by a Vulcan.

I decided it was time to launch a probe. I asked how my Jimmy fit in with this team of geniuses. Instant vertical line between the eyebrows and tightening of the nostrils; he’d taken offense on my son’s behalf! One blink and he was back to his normal, neutral face. His ‘tells’ were more obvious than T’vren’s, but he got them under control quicker. He informed me that despite his lack of command experience (and wasn’t that a nice way to put it) Jim was an exemplary captain who put his crew and his ship ahead of himself. He gave me a few examples; adventures that Jimmy had never shared with me; missions that went pear-shaped; where Jimmy’s creative command style and unique thought processes had saved the day.

“I have learned from Jim that logic does not always define the correct course of action. I am fortunate in my choice of ship and captain,” he said. “The more I learn of him the more remarkable he becomes.”

Wasn’t that an amazing statement from a Vulcan, to whom logic is everything? He might as well have Jimmy’s name tattooed over his heart. I decided that Spock liked my son very much. I just needed to discover if he was free to act on that.

While we waited for Jimmy to return with the tree I roped Spock into helping me with dinner. He made the salad while I prepared my famous black beans and rice. Cursing from the side yard heralded Jimmy’s return with a gorgeous but recalcitrant 8 foot spruce tree. Citing McCoy’s orders I made Spock stay inside and stir the beans while I went out to help Jimmy get the tree into the stand (always a challenge).

As we struggled to get the tree straight and secure I gave Jimmy an edited version of my conversation with Spock, then slipped in the important question.

“He is so intelligent, and so good-looking, Jimmy. Is he married?”

“He’s too young for you Mom.”

I smacked him and he laughed, but then he did tell me what I needed to know. Spock had been in a relationship with Lt. Uhura, but that had ended by mutual consent when the Enterprise started her 5-year mission. Inappropriate and against regulations was the public reason but Jimmy implied there were personal reasons as well. I knew from T’vren that Vulcans prized mental compatibility over all else, so I wondered if there had been a problem there. Well regardless, the bottom line was Spock was currently unattached.

Finally the tree was straight in its stand and I had all the information I needed. Lugging the tree in the back door we enlisted Spock’s help to maneuver it into place in the living room. I sent Jimmy to shower off the needles and sap and we sat down to dinner.

The next three days were a flurry of holiday preparations. Spock got a clean bill of health from McCoy and was released to participate fully in our activities. He turned out to be a superlative maker of popcorn and cranberry garlands for the tree; patient and not inclined to eat all the popcorn. Although he did nibble on the cranberries which makes me pucker up just to think about.

I brought out the heirloom ornaments and told their stories to Spock while Jimmy surreptitiously listened in. I mourned the fact that I had never done this with Jimmy as a child; I hadn’t wanted to remember back then.

By the day before Christmas the house was fully decorated and all possible preparations for a big Christmas dinner had been made. There were presents for all of us under the tree. Jimmy was frequently found lying on the rug in front of the tree, poking at the boxes and trying to guess their contents. Spock pointed out how illogical that was, since we would be opening them the next day anyway. Jimmy just stuck his tongue out; getting an eyebrow-lift out of Spock.

I was ready to implement my plan. While I went into town for the necessary supplies I sent Jimmy and Spock out for a walk to work up an appetite. After supper, I ordered them off to shower and change into sweats for an evening of games in front of the fire. Jimmy made it obvious that he was humoring me, but they obeyed and that’s what mattered. While they were otherwise occupied I prepared my magic potions. For Jimmy and me I had purchased a half gallon of Johnson dairy’s best homemade eggnog plus a bottle of Stroh’s rum. Stroh’s is lethally strong and (to me) undrinkable straight, but mix it with eggnog and you get ambrosia.

As I prepared Spock’s beverage I sent up thanks to T’vren, who had shared with me some of the wonders and mysteries of Vulcan physiology. It seems that alcohol has little to no effect; the Vulcan liver efficiently metabolizes it to non-intoxicating compounds. On the other hand, chocolate, or more accurately the theobromine in chocolate, has a markedly intoxicating effect. Sometimes she and I would sit around and get sloshed, me on beer, and she on dark chocolate. Those were good times; we’d gossip and giggle and the next morning she would be her pristine, remote Vulcan self again; hangover-free.

I had purchased a block of premium dark chocolate which I shaved into a mixture of cocoa powder and water. No sugar; Spock was like most Vulcan in that he lacked a sweet tooth. I heated the mixture until the shavings had melted and then whipped it to a froth. Perfect. Based on T’vren’s reactions, I needed to get him to drink at least one mug-full to lower his guard.

As I carried the tray into the living room, Jimmy and Spock were setting up the Monopoly board on the coffee table, with pillows on the floor to sit on. Jimmy jumped up to relieve me of the tray, placing it on the floor at my side

“I know you don’t consume eggs, Spock, so I made you hot chocolate. Jimmy and I are having eggnog,” I chirped as I offered him a mug. He looked at it quizzically. This was the critical point; did he know about chocolate and if he did, would he refuse the drink? He sniffed it and then took a tiny sip. Eyebrow up…he liked it! He took a larger swig.

“This is a very pleasant beverage, Winona.”

I smiled and offered Jimmy a cup of my ‘special’ eggnog. He knocked half of it back in one swallow, then the rum hit. His eyes bulged and the eggnog nearly made a re-appearance, but he rallied and kept it down. That’s my boy.

“Good eggnog, Mom,” he squeaked and took another, more cautious sip. I smiled into my cup.

Spock was unfamiliar with Monopoly, but after an explanation of the rules and the purpose of the game he proceeded to wipe the floor with us, ending up with hotels on all the best streets, three railroads and both utilities. He also consumed all the hot chocolate and asked for more. As Jimmy, who had steadily been downing eggnog, dramatically declared bankruptcy, I heard a stifled giggle.

“Spock?” Jimmy was startled. “Are you OK?”

“Yes, Jim…hic.”

Oops, it might be time to cut Spock off; he was starting to list to port.

Jimmy reached over to straighten him up and they somehow ended up in a tangled heap on the rug. I thought Jimmy’s eyes were going to bug right out of his head when Spock calmly commented on how handsome he looked in the firelight. He might have been giving a report on the bridge, if it wasn’t for the hiccups.

Jimmy tried to disentangle himself, but Spock hung on like a boa constrictor. That vaunted Vulcan strength came into play and eventually Jimmy had to surrender. Considering the amount of rum he had imbibed, he was remarkably coherent as he asked Spock just what exactly he thought he was doing. Spock primly replied that he was trying to cuddle with him and would Jim please cooperate.

They’d obviously forgotten I was in the room.

Jimmy paused for a moment then, grinning like a loon, he tucked a pillow under Spock’s head and snuggled up beside him. Spock was nuzzling under Jimmy’s ear when I stealthily slipped out into the kitchen. Judging by the amount of intoxicants ingested, I figured they would manage about 15 minutes of necking before they passed out. I underestimated them. It was a good half hour before the room fell silent. I sneaked in to bank the fire and throw a blanket over them. Jimmy was dead to the world, but Spock was awake and watching me with soft brown eyes. Just like T’vren, he sobered up very quickly.

“Are you all right?” I hoped he did not misunderstand my actions.

“Yes. Thank you, Winona, for your help. I would never have had the courage and Jim would never have taken the risk. Now that we have taken this first step; I think we can build a more intimate relationship. That has long been my wish.”

“You knew about chocolate?”

“Yes, I was warned before I left for Earth. I never tried it until tonight. I have heard the old Earth saying ‘in vino veritas’. For Vulcans, I suppose it is ‘in chocolate veritas’, truth in chocolate. It was a fascinating experience and quite rewarding.” He smiled an honest-to-goodness smile with teeth and everything. Hah, not entirely sober I think.

I left him a glass of water and a hangover remedy to give Jimmy when he woke. He snuggled down in his nest on the floor with my son and I finally sought my own bed.

What a day! I’m pretty sure I gave Jimmy exactly what he wanted for Christmas. I’ll find out in the morning. Merry Christmas everyone!




*Lifted from the Vulcan Language Dictionary, on-line: not translated but identified as ‘a formal Vulcan greeting and response’
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