DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of T'Kuht and is copyright (c) 2001 by T'Kuht.
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
The scent of pine pervaded the recreation room. The tree was not real. It had been assembled as it was every year by the maintenance staff, and this was the annual decorating ceremony. Music piped through the ship to try to create the festive atmosphere that caused Spock to almost wish that he could go and hole up in his cabin for the duration. But, he was the first officer, the exec, the head of the science department, and he could not just lock himself away. He was here simply to eat but found himself in the midst of the havoc. Lt. Uhura had entered with three crewmen and stacks of boxes that had the decorations for the tree packed inside. She'd seen Spock as he had sat down and insisted on putting her things with him. "Spock, could you go through these boxes for me? I need to find the lights and tinsel before any of the rest of it."
Spock pointed to the boxes. "They are marked."
"Those are old labels. The guys that packed them up last year just threw things in and paid no attention to the labels until after they'd already finished," she explained.
He was about to protest further when she smiled and said, "Please Mr. Spock, sugah."
With a sigh, he agreed. He found that he had very little resistance where Lt. Nyota Uhura was concerned. She could maneuver him to complying with her wishes by simply asking him in that soft, sweet manner that she used so often on the bridge. Opening the first box, he laid the lid aside and picked through the contents. It held decorations both handmade and store bought. The second box had lights and bows; the third the tree skirt, topper, and a train set that was traditionally placed under the tree. The fourth box had stockings, more decorations, and some Christmas village pieces but no tinsel. In fact, there was no tinsel in any of the boxes. Spock motioned Uhura over from her supervisory stance. "There is no tinsel."
"What?" she cried horrified.
"I have opened all the boxes. There is no tinsel in any of them. Have you brought all of them from the storage area?" he asked thinking it was simply left behind.
"Yes. I bet those three morons who packed them last year either stuck it in a box that's not marked Christmas or thrown it away. Now what do we do?" the communications officer thought. The ship's computer could make tinsel, but it was a rather silly waste of material. That's why it was always purchased and just kept from year to year. Thinking for a moment, she walked over to the intercom and paged, "Christine Chapel to the officer's Recreation Room."
Spock wondered why Christine Chapel would be called, but she often helped Uhura plan and instigate parties. Uhura supplied him with his answer. "Chris might know what to do. She's simply a whiz with this stuff. She keeps saying she should have been a window designer for Saks Fifth Avenue and forgotten about all this medical jazz."
Spock thought that a great waste of talent and destiny. It took fifteen minutes for Christine to appear in off duty apparel. By her appearance, she had been asleep. With a slight growl deep in her throat, she harrumphed at the state of the tree. "What?"
"You were asleep, sorry, but we have a crisis on our hands," Uhura explained and looked toward Spock to add credence to her statement. He did not look convincing. He would have considered it an inconvenience to the decorating plans, not a crisis.
Christine took her cue from Spock. "Mmm-hmm. So, what's the problem?"
"We can't find the tinsel. That means that the plans you made out are going to be completely screwed up," she said. Turning once again to Spock, she stated, "Christine had this idea about using tinsel to line the different sections of the room and then criss-crossing it to make a sort of net. It really looked neat in the mock up."
Christine sighed. "Then just use lights instead of tinsel. It would probably be more festive anyway. Then we can turn the main lights off and use the Christmas lights as ambient lighting."
Spock pictured it in his head. It was an interesting idea. If it went as she had wanted it would be aesthetically pleasing.
"Perfect. But we only have so many lights, what about the tree?"
With an exhale of frustration she thought a second, turned to peer at the tree, and Spock could see the jaw muscles work as she considered her alternatives. "You know, we could do away with the tree for this year."
The suggestion was practically sacrilegious. Uhura was shocked. Spock was even a little surprised that the nurse had suggested it. "But without a tree..."
"Christmas is not the tree," Christine reminded. "It's also not the lights, tinsel or the presents. These are all just icons and symbols. I think what this ship needs this year is a change of pace. We need to remember that Christmas is supposed to be a reflective time."
Uhura and Spock looked at each other. Christine was correct, but that made for an awfully boring celebration. Spock had always assumed that the true meaning of Christmas was so lost in the translation that humans didn't even remember what it was about anymore. He was obviously wrong. "But the crew expect its traditional trappings," he reminded.
Christine nodded, "I know. I try to get out of this every year. Just have more lights set up. Scotty can rig the wire, and I have replacement bulbs. In fact, we could simply have the lights permanently attached to the tree. I don't know why we didn't get one like that in the first place."
"Because the recreation fund didn't have the money to purchase one of those models," Uhura answered.
"Mr. Scott will be entirely too occupied with the engine refits to be able to complete the task," Spock reminded. The two women looked at him. Spock was a scientist. How much science could it take to hot wire a tree? He once again found himself unable to say no. Something about Uhura's look of absolute distress and Chapel's worn out expression made him answer yes. He was put in charge of the task immediately, but he also had duty on the bridge in fifteen minutes. The captain had said that he would take the shift if Spock had other plans. As usual the first officer had been almost insulted by the mere suggestion. Now, he had to contact the captain and explain his inability to report for duty. Jim Kirk had tried not to laugh when Spock said that he was going to decorate the tree. Leonard McCoy, however, was not so restrained. Spock could plainly hear the Southerners' gales of laughter through the comm link. He might have a very difficult time living this down.
Christine jotted down some other notes about the alterations to her design and toddled back to bed with the implications that if she were roused again, she'd give Scrooge and the Grinch a run for their money regarding Christmas humbugs. Spock figured the amount of wire he would need to put lights on the ends of each branch, requisitioned the wire, and then had to design a socket to fit the bulbs. It would be more a labor of time consumption than mental ability. He considered putting a rotating holder on it so that the tree could rotate while being illuminated, but after further pondering, decided that it would be rather showy and not worth the effort. He would install a dimmer switch, however, that would allow more of a twinkle effect for the bulbs rather than the standard blinking. He remembered other trees that he had seen. "Would you wish music to be played along with the lights?"
"No, we have the feed from the main comm link. I think that music would just be cheesy," Uhura replied. Besides, the type of music she'd always heard from the singing trees was quite annoying and tinny like a cheap music box.
"Then I shall not include that into my plans," he said. She looked over his shoulder at the data padd with the notations all over it. He had taken a simple request to attach lights to a tree and turned it into a massive electrical rewiring job. "You don't have to go to all this trouble rotating."
"No, I have discounted the rotation. If a malfunction occurred and it began to spin out of control the ornaments would fly off and possibly create a safety issue."
"Yeah. Well, just wire the thing and let us know when you're done. We can work on the other parts of the room and sorting the ornaments while you do this."
Spock began his task. With pliers, wire strippers and crimpers in hand, he had to dismantle the tree to begin at the bottom and work his way up. He became lost in his work, but the music that was playing began to filter through. A small boy's voice was intoning, "I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus underneath the mistletoe last night."
A sudden image came to his mind. He was quite young, but it was so vibrant and clear that he knew it had occurred. His mother was standing in the light of the fireplace that they had in the embassy on Earth while she hung a stocking with his name embroidered on it. A man dressed in a red outfit and black boots came up to her, pulled her close and kissed her soundly. The image was so crisp and disturbing that Spock dropped his crimpers and ended up breaking several of the precious bulbs. Admonishing himself for his clumsiness, he retrieved the crimpers and continued with his work. But the images that had flashed through his mind kept nagging at him. His mother had kissed Santa Claus. His mother had kissed Santa Claus? Or more specifically someone dressed as Santa had kissed her. He kept probing in the back of his mind until he dredged up more of the memories, but he kept them contained in a file of sorts so that he could meditate on them when he could focus completely on them. Within three hours, he had the tree done, tested the grounds and the various dimmer switches that he'd installed, and called Lt. Uhura over to gain her approval for his work. She was utterly delighted with his tree. Even though she knew that he was a hands-off person, she hugged him and would have kissed him but she was aware that there were other officers in the room. Later, when there was a reason to kiss him, the mistletoe, she would do that.
"If you will excuse me, I have other things to attend to," he excused and left to go to his cabin.
* * *
The deep red curtains created an atmosphere of almost womblike calm for him. Humans considered the color red to be one of the warm hues. He found it to be true. The higher heat in his cabin instantly made him breathe easier. After changing out of his uniform, he sunk into meditation easily.
The file opened to reveal the memories he'd retrieved. One by one images invaded his thoughts. He was three and his parents had taken him to spend several months on Earth while Sarek worked on a large-scale project. Christmas arrived and Amanda had convinced Sarek that 'when in Rome do as the Romans do'. They had a large tree brought into the embassy's private living area. With the aversion Vulcans had to killing, Amanda had arranged for a live tree still wrapped in burlap to be used instead of a cut or a fake tree. It was not as tall as some of the more ornate ones, but it could be planted after Christmas to continue to grow and bring pleasure outdoors. Spock had been allowed to help with the lights and decorations. He was utterly fascinated with the twinkling multi-color bulbs. They glowed and changed colors and mesmerized him thoroughly. He would spend hours just watching the patterns.
"Spock, you have to go to bed or Santa will not bring your presents," Amanda reminded as she carried him up the stairs. He had tried to stay up so that he could watch it snow outside. It had been an unseasonably warm year without snow while they had been there. Now, only hours before midnight on Christmas Eve, snow had started to set in. By the amount that was falling and how fast it was accumulating, it would be a white Christmas after all. He could barely keep his eyes open, but he still insisted that he wanted to watch it snow.
"But, Mama," he tried.
"No, you will go to bed and go to sleep. There will be snow in the morning to play with. The weather forecast indicates that it will be snowing for a couple of days. Do you want me to tell you a story before you go to bed?" she asked knowing he'd say yes. Spock always wanted to hear a story, but when his father was home he was denied story time before bed. Bedtime was for sleeping. His father was not home, however. He had been called to San Francisco and would not return for another two days. Amanda had been a little disappointed that Christmas would come and go without her husband and let him now it, but she also felt a surge of joy when she realized that she'd be able to show Spock what a human holiday was like without friction from Sarek. Spock was just as human as he was Vulcan. He needed to see both sides of his heritage.
The room that Spock slept in was a former nursery. It had a door that connected it to the hall as well as his parents' room. It was an oddly shaped room. He liked to sit and look about him at the murals that had been painted on the walls. The little bed he used was built in, and he settled in while his mother tucked the covers around him. He chilled so easily in this weather. His dark brown hair lay crisply against his head. He had the perfect little head for the traditional Vulcan hairstyle. She brushed one of her hairs away from his eyelashes and smiled sweetly at her baby.
There was only one story that she could possibly tell that night. With the lights down and only a small nightlight to illuminate the path if he woke in the night to go to the bathroom or became ill so she could get to him without tripping over the toys in the room, she began:
"Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, with hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there.
"The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads, and mama in her kerchief and I in my cap had just settled down for a long winter's nap. When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
"Away to the window I flew in a flash, tore open the shudders and threw up the sash. The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow gave a luster of midday to objects below.
"When what to my wondering eyes did appear, but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer. With a little old driver so lively and quick, I knew in an instant it must be Saint Nick.
"More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, and he whistled and shouted and called them by name, 'Now Dasher, now Dancer, now Prancer, and Vixen, on Comet, on Cupid, on Donner, and Blitzen, to the top of porch, to the top of the wall, now dash away, dash away, dash away all.'
"As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly when they meet with an obstacle mount to the sky, so up to the housetop the coursers they flew with a sleigh full of toys, and Saint Nicholas too. And then in a twinkle I heard on the roof the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
"As I drew in my head and was turning around, down the chimney Saint Nicholas came with a bound. He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot, and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot. A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
"His eyes, how they twinkled, his dimples, how merry, his cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry. His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, and the beard on his chin was as white as the snow. The stump of a pipe he held in his teeth, and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
"He had a broad face and a little round belly that shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly. He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself. A wink of his eye and a twist of his head soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread. He spoke not a word but went straight to his work and filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk and laying his finger aside of his nose and giving a nod up the chimney he rose.
"He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, and away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight, 'Merry Christmas to all, and to all a..goodnight.'"
Amanda's elfin boy was fast asleep. His little eyes had closed for the final time around the section where Saint Nick first arrived. She kept watch over him for a little longer. Sarek thought it rather silly that she liked to watch her baby sleep. She tried to explain that it was perfectly natural to her. When he was first born and arrived home, she fairly wore out the section of floor between the master bedroom and his nursery just checking to see if he was still breathing. When she got to the point that she woke him from a sound sleep just to hear him cry and reassure her that he was all right, she knew it was time to just relax and allow the boy to sleep. Now, she had no fear that he would stop breathing in the night and went into the adjoining room. She couldn't go to bed quite yet. She had some wrapping to do, and then she had to go down and put the items under the tree. She also had to eat the cookies that she'd had Spock put out and put treats in his stocking. He had a fondness for peppermints and was just as happy with a bag of them as he was a new toy. She had bought him suitable toys that would nurture his already obvious talent for science and technology. She had found an old but very reliable toy, an Erector set. The box said the contents were for children over the age of 5, but Spock did not put things in his mouth and was very conscientious when it came to his possessions. He would not lose even a nut out of the set. She tried not to rattle the paper too much, decided it would be best to shut the door and went to work.
It was nearly midnight when she finished and went quietly downstairs. Placing the packages around the tree, she chewed on a cookie as she worked. She was certain that the idea of cookies and milk for Santa actually came from a parent who got hungry while putting the presents out or worked to put together the new bicycle for their child. That was over in a corner. Spock had shown remarkable co-ordination and Sarek deemed it possible to give him a small bicycle. It was a popular means of exercise on Vulcan. Turning to the stockings, she began stuffing them with candies and trinkets. She had made one for Sarek even though he had protested and put her gift to him there. It was not ornate nor was it expensive, but it was something he would appreciate. It was a new set of picks and strings for his lyre.
Coming to her own stocking, she noticed a box. It was long and velvet, like a jewelers box. She hadn't bought herself any jewelry, and she hadn't placed anything in any such box to hide. Removing it she opened it to reveal the perfect pearl necklace. With a start, she gasped at the voice, "Have you been a good little girl this year?"
She turned to see Santa standing before her. With a mischievous grin she winked, "I've been very good this year."
"Then you need a reward for such behavior," he said and kissed her firmly. The beard tickled.
* * *
Spock fled up the stairs as quietly as he could. He had awakened when he heard his mother go by his room and knew that she would be placing the items she'd purchased under the tree. He wanted to watch it snow, and he wanted to watch the tree. He sat secluded behind a section of the stairs that he had discovered was a perfect hiding spot when he wanted to watch but not be seen. His mother had gone about, ate some of the cookies that he'd put out for Santa and was putting things in the stockings. Then, Santa Claus himself arrived and startled her. Spock's eyes were as wide as saucers. She had told the truth. There was a Santa Claus. He was dressed just like the old poem stated. He had a dark red suit with fur and black boots and a beard and a hat and a poochy belly. He nearly gave himself away when Santa kissed his mother. That wasn't in the poem. Arriving at his room, he scurried in, hopped in the bed and flung the covers up over his head. He tried to understand what had happened but found himself completely unable to stay awake and fell asleep.
The next morning, he was surprised three fold. He was very pleased with the bicycle, the snow was almost six inches deep, and his father had arrived home early. Sarek was relaxed and almost, almost, smiling as he watched Spock open the gifts carefully. The boy sat amidst the presents in the pajamas he'd gone to bed in. There was a bicycle, an erector bridge building set, a new set of computer programs to work with, several sets of new clothes for the colder climate, a sled, real books that he could hold and read with his name already embossed on them, and peppermints. He sucked on the one peppermint his father allowed before breakfast and stared at the tree. This human custom was quite nice. He liked getting things. He was anxious to try out the bicycle, but the weather outside made that difficult. He would have to wait for the walks and drives to be cleared off. He could play with the sled however. "May I go out with the sled?" he asked.
"Not until you have had breakfast and gotten dressed in appropriate clothing," Sarek decided. Spock scampered up and walked quietly to his room to dress. He knew what to pick out, gloves, insulated trousers, insulated shirt, and heavy socks. He could hear his parents talk softly as he went upstairs. "So did you have a Merry Christmas?" his father asked.
"Very merry. You know Santa arrived last night, said I'd been a very good girl," Amanda revealed. Spock had forgotten about Santa. He'd been there. He'd seen him. He'd seen him with his mother. Looking back down at the couple, he made a decision. He would never reveal this to anyone. His mother's meeting would remain a secret with him forever.
* * *
36 years later, Spock returned from his meditations. He had seen Santa Claus? That was impossible. It had been explained to him, by more than one person, that Santa Claus did not exist. Santa was simply a legend that grew out of charity, kindness, and fantasy. Then, who was Santa, and what did his mother have to do with him? It was time to ask the questions that he hadn't wanted the answers to earlier.
He toggled the switch that connected him to the bridge. Uhura answered, "Good morning, Mr. Spock."
"Miss Uhura, may I have a connection to Vulcan please, my family's estate?"
"Of course. It will take thirty minutes from this distance to get you a face to face communication."
"That will be sufficient. I shall be in my cabin," he said and occupied his half hour with a shower and new uniform.
His mother's smile greeted him. "Spock, this is a surprise. How are you?"
"I am well. I had a question that I wished to ask. It is personal. Where is Father?" he asked, not wanting to cause any undue strain between them.
"Your father is in Shi-Kahr. What is it?" Amanda asked immediately curious.
"When I was three, we lived for a time on Earth," he began.
Amanda's face didn't change. "Yes."
"We spent Christmas there," he prompted.
"Without your knowledge I witnessed something on Christmas Eve that I wished to have clarified."
Amanda chuckled. "Spock, this is a little late for confessions."
"Mother, I saw you."
She thought a moment. What did he see? Oh, the presents. "Spock, you surely do not believe in Santa still after all these years."
"It is Santa that I wish to discuss. I saw you kissing him. I wished an explanation," he said as calmly as he could. Inside he really was rather shaken. His parent's marriage might have been rocky, but he would never have imagined his mother and another man.
His mother was bubbling with laughter. Holding her hand in front of her mouth she attempted to settle down before speaking, found that she couldn't. With a burst of giggling, she tried to get words out before the tears started flowing. Spock thought she'd had an illicit moment with a myth.
"Oh, Spock, do you mean that all these years you have thought that I had an affair with Santa Claus?"
"No, it was only recently that the memory returned to me. Can you explain this to me?"
"Yes, it was your father. If you recall, he came home earlier than he was expected. You woke up and he had gone out and come back from a trip to the office. He arrived shortly after I took you to bed and decided to surprise me," she explained the mirth still evident in her face. This would be enough to keep her giggling for a long time. The look of utter despair on her son's face, although anyone else would have just said he looked like he was concentrating, was priceless to her.
"Then, Father dressed as Santa Claus?" Spock repeated almost more confused than at the idea of Amanda having an affair. His father, the staid, somber, sober Sarek had dressed up as Santa Claus. Shaking his head he stated, "I find that difficult to believe."
"You doubt your own mother? Spock, I had been quite upset that your father had to be gone for the only Earth Christmas that we were going to spend for some time, and your father wrapped his business up early just to arrive in time to celebrate with us. It was my Christmas present from him, as well as a pearl necklace," she said and touched the string of pearls that she wore. Spock knew that at Christmas time she always took them out of the velvet case and put them on. "He dressed as Santa for other reasons, but it was your father. You can ask him yourself when he comes home."
"No, that will not be necessary. I shall take your word for it. May I wish you Christmas greetings, Mother."
"Merry Christmas Spock, have you had a pleasant one so far?"
"I assisted with the design and decoration of the officer's lounge tree last evening. It was an interesting way to spend the off duty hours," he said not wanting to actually admit he had a pleasant time.
"That's good. Have you received the package I sent yet?"
"No, however, we have not taken on any deliveries for the last two weeks. There is one scheduled for today. Perhaps it will be in that shipment."
"Well, it's a little something from your human mother. I hope you like it."
"I am certain that I will appreciate the gift." The picture began to become snowy and break up. He would have to cut the communications. "Mother," he said, hesitated, wanted to say I love you so much but fought that urge. It was not appropriate to feel those emotions. "May you find the season joyful."
She smiled. "You, too. Do you wish me to tell your father that you called?"
"You may inform him. Tell him I send greetings."
The communications were cut and Spock felt a little foolish. Of course the man had to be his father, but why had he dressed up? That revelation alone was enough to have him pondering for the rest of the morning until it was time to go to the officer's Christmas party. This year he did wish to attend if only to check on the status of his handiwork. The party was just beginning when he arrived. There were items under the tree, decorations loaded the boughs down, and his lights twinkled perfectly. Uhura greeted him. She'd changed from her usual uniform into a more festive outfit. Handing him a cup of eggnog, she noted, "It's non-alcoholic. Just for you."
"Thank you," he said.
"Come on over and load up a plate. There are some special dishes this year."
Spock filled a plate, carried it and the eggnog to the table that the captain and Dr. McCoy were sitting in. Kirk nodded at the tree. "You did a great job. Very nice tree."
"Yeah, if you ever get out of Starfleet, you can apply as a tree decorator," McCoy snorted. It was an impressive tree. He just couldn't help teasing him a little.
"I shall be certain to list you as a reference," Spock replied completely serious. There were times that Kirk really wanted to just slap him on the back. This was one of them.
"So, who's playing Santa this year?" Kirk asked.
"Sulu I think," McCoy said.
"Sulu, he's so skinny, they'd have to use a mattress to pad him up. Wonder why he volunteered? Scotty usually plays Santa. He's got the laugh down pat."
"I don't know, Christine said he insisted on doing it this year. Ask her," McCoy said sipping his eggnog and nodded toward the head nurse who was busy making rounds. They summoned her over to pose their question.
"Oh, he said he wanted to play Santa this year to get women. Apparently he's found out that there are several of the ladies who have 'fantasies about Santa Claus'," she explained with a bit of a red face.
"Fantasies about Santa," Spock said mystified.
Christine realized she should have just said it outright. "Sexual fantasies. You know, they like to dress up as different characters as a sexual turn on."
Spock nearly choked on the eggnog. Just at that moment, Sulu entered, completely doffed in the costume and beaming from ear to ear through the fake beard. He was right. Women did like the Santa costume. As Sulu made his way around passing out presents to all the good little girls and boys, Spock was trying to shake the image of his own father in such a costume out of his head as he tried exiting the room. He was stopped by Christine Chapel as he rounded the tree. "Mr. Spock, I wanted to thank you personally regarding the tree. It is truly lovely."
"It was not a difficulty."
Christine considered taking him up on the traditional mistletoe kiss, but he seemed a bit out of sorts. Before she could ask anything else, he said, "If you will excuse me, I have some duties to attend to."
Sulu bounded over. "Mr. Spock, wait. You have a gift."
He was handed a box wrapped in brown paper. Obviously someone thought that the package his mother had sent was meant to go to the officer's Christmas party. Everyone else had opened his or her gifts in front of the others, and it would look odd to leave with his unopened. His mother would not send anything inappropriate. Removing the wrapping, he found a small tin box and a book. Opening the box he found a cache of peppermints. She'd remembered. Popping one in his mouth, he closed the box and unwrapped the book. It was an old manuscript of "Twas the Night Before Christmas." Tucking it under his arm, he nodded to those still attending the party and headed to his cabin for a long winter's nap.