“Mr. Spock, I'm so glad you agreed to beam down with me to visit my family for the New Year!” Scotty exclaimed happily as they walked down the darkened street towards the Scott's Earth side home, Spock carrying a bottle of whiskey while Scotty carried a basket of other gifts.
“You are welcome, Mr. Scott,” he replied primly. “Dr. McCoy spoke of visiting with you last time we were in orbit at this time and the fascinating rituals that your family still keep. Though he wouldn't go into too much detail, saying it was best experienced first hand.”
“Oh, yeah, I think he's right about that. Nothing like a New Year day celebration with my mum and sister. And the nieces. Honestly, New Year's Eve is an even bigger sight, but you've got a special role here in the wee hours.”
“Yep! You're going to be the very first guest of the year in a tradition called first footing. It's from hundreds of years ago when the Norse peoples invaded these lands in an activity they called 'going a viking' and eventually did a bit of settling. They brought with them their traditions, like Yule, which mostly took the place of our winter solstice celebrations. But that's when first footing started, as well.”
“Was that also a Norse tradition?”
“Not exactly, but it was likely a direct result of them. You see, the first foot in the door after midnight must be a tall, handsome, dark haired man. Light haired men are considered bad luck. We're pretty sure that's because it would be bad luck to have a Viking visiting.”
“Yep, that's why last time I asked Dr. McCoy, and this time you! One of these days I'll get Jim to come, but he can't be the first through that door any more than I can. Doesn't mean he can't enjoy the celebration afterwards!”
“Yes,” Spock said slowly, eyeing his companion skeptically. “Why didn't Jim want to accompany us as well since it's clearly allowed?”
“Oh, I asked, but he had so much work to do,” Scotty shrugged. “You know how he puts off the paperwork.”
Spock suspected he may have made a miscalculation. He was in such a hurry to learn something new about Earth culture, he didn't think to question the Captain's absence more closely. It was true, Jim often had reports he put off until the last minute, but only out in deep space. Spock knew for a fact that there were no tardy reports as of that moment. He glanced at the bottle of whiskey in his hand, knowing how much Jim also enjoyed the brand he had brought as a gift, the bottle being acquired from Dr. McCoy and it often being in their quarters. The problem had to lie in the rest of the celebration.
“Here we are!” Scotty announced as he turned up a walkway and motioned for Spock to mount the landing to the door. He noted that the curtain covering the window beside the door swayed... clearly the family had been watching for them to arrive. “And here, just put the whiskey in the basket and take the whole thing. You're giving it all over when you walk in.”
“I assumed the basket was your gift,” Spock protested even while Scott was placing the bottle among the other offerings and thrusting the basket into his hands.
“Och, no. These are the rest of the traditional gifts. Salt, black bread.... it's all in there. Happy New Year's mother!”
Spock turned to see that the door had been thrown open and a stout woman with auburn hair in loose curls was grinning from the doorway.
“Happy New Year's, Mrs. Scott,” Spock hurriedly chimed in, not wanting to be rude. “Here is what I have been assured is...”
“Come in, come in!” she cut him off and stepped back, giving him room to enter the house.
Understanding he may have been enacting the tradition in the wrong order (and he would ask Mr. Scott later why he did not brief him on the correct practice earlier), he stepped through... and found the basket yanked out of his hands and three younger women, clearly related to the Chief Engineer, surrounding him.
“I get first kiss,” one announced, only to be elbowed and spoken over by another proclaiming, “No, I do!” The third one was more demure, but only slightly, sidling up to him and smiling while saying, “Oh, he is a handsome one.”
“Let the man in the house proper!” Mr. Scott shouted and shooed his nieces away. “And what's this first kiss shite? I told ya last time when you scared Leonard with that nonsense that that's no tradition I've ever heard of and you're not to attack my colleagues!”
“Well, we left the mistletoe up this year, so good luck stopping us!” the first one fired back, her sisters (cousins?) nodding along.
“Yule is over, and I'm taking it down!”
Mr. Scott then proceeded to scuffle with his nieces further in the house over a bit of greenery Spock could see hanging from the ceiling in the sitting room. He brought out his communicator as carefully, but as quickly, as possible.
“Spock to Enterprise,” he said into his communicator as softly as he could and still be heard. “I need an emergency beamout.”
The voice that answered was not the one he was expecting.
“Now why on earth do you need to be beamed up already?”
“Doctor, I do not know why you are in the Transporter Room...”
“Just playing a little gin rummy with Mr. Chekov. Now, as I was saying, why so soon? You had to have just gotten there. I let the girls kiss me and had a drink before I got the hell out.”
“I do not think letting these girls that close would be good for my health. The youngest one has Mr. Scott in a headlock.”
“Oh, now, she's just a little scrappy. Nah, you can survive. Enterprise out.”
And the doctor hung up on him. Spock stared in horror at his silent communicator, plans for revenge formulating in his head. Just as he was about to call back, and about the time Mr. Scott got the foliage down only to have the middle girl rip it from his grip and run off to another room, both of their communicators chirped.
“Dr. McCoy to Mr. Spock and Mr. Scott. Sorry gentlemen, but I'm going to have to cut Mr. Spock's trip short. There's a problem in the biolab. I need his help or all the samples are going to be ruined.”
“No need to apologize, doctor,” Spock responded, almost completely forgiving the other man. Almost. “Those samples are vital to our research. Beam me aboard immediately.”
“Ah, that's too bad,” Scotty said from his position bent over, hands on knees, catching his breath. “We were going to play some games, soon as I got the mistletoe from the girls.”
“Perhaps some other time, but right now, I do have to return to work. Again, Happy New Year.”
With that, Spock signaled his readiness to be beamed aboard, and the transporter carried him off. Scotty stood up and cracked his back while his nieces bounded back into the room.
“That one was gone quicker,” the youngest said.
“I don't see why we had to chase him off,” the oldest shrugged. “He's a Vulcan. He most likely wouldn't have drunk any of the good whiskey.”
“True,” Montgomery agreed, “but he and Leonard would have had different stories and he might suspect we were messing with him last time. And Dr. McCoy can drink. But he also can give a right good bottle. He gave this one to Mr. Spock, just as I knew he would. Same brand I give him for his birthday, and he gives me for mine. So, I'm one up on his every year, since he's kind enough to give it as a New Year gift every year as well.”
The girls shook their heads at their uncle's antics while he took a satisfied breath and took the bottle to the kitchen to be opened.
“I wish you had warned me, Doctor,” was the first thing Spock said as he stepped off the transporter pad, “though I am grateful you rescued me.”
“Honestly, I wasn't sure they'd do that to you,” Leonard laughed as they walked together out of the Transporter Room, waving at Mr. Chekov who was beginning a hand of solitaire. “They weren't seriously trying to get in your britches. I figured it out last time. It's a game Scotty gets them to play so he can keep the bottle of Scotch I give him without having to share it with me. I think they only did it to you so that I wouldn't get suspicious.”
“Is that not the type of alcohol he gives both you and the Captain for your birthdays?”
“Yeah, and the joke's on him... that's the same bottle he gave Jim this year. We don't really care for it, just too polite to turn it down. We realized we had a perfect way of not hurting his feelings when we realized it's his favorite whiskey. I give him mine on his birthday and give him Jim's on New Year's. Jim's the insensitive one who gives him HIS favorite bourbon.”
“It would probably be easier to simply tell the truth. However, I have seen how badly some Humans react to the truth.”
“Exactly. Hey, where are you going?” McCoy asked as he kept heading down the corridor to officer quarters while Spock stopped at the turbo lift.
“Back to work, Doctor,” he said. “It soothes me.”
Bones shook his head and waved him off as they went their separate ways.