Spock had grown up on Earth. His Vulcan father, Sarek, had been much older than his human mother, Amanda, and had died not long after Spock had been born. Rather than live on a strange planet with her half-human son, Amanda had returned to Earth to raise Spock.
He had been subjected to a lot of teasing as he went to human schools, mostly because he knew all the subjects better than any of the others. But also because he was different. And because of those differences, Spock had grown up despising Christmas as a ridiculous, frivolous waste. A human weakness that lost its relevance long ago. He did not understand the continued pursuit of it or why the Academy continued to shut down for the last few weeks of the years so that humans could indulge in such illogical pursuits.
This year had been no exception. Spock was alone for the most part. He didn’t really mind. He taught at Starfleet Academy and generally he found making the cadets cower an enjoyable experience.
He had developed a fondness for a certain cadet. Cadet James Kirk. Kirk was highly intelligent, especially compared to his fellow humans, pleasing in appearance, and kind. Perhaps too kind, Spock surmised, for often his fellow cadets took advantage of his generosity.
Spock had guessed that Cadet Kirk had something of a crush on him and though Spock tried not to encourage it, Cadet Kirk began to hang around Spock more and more.
Two days before Christmas, Cadet Kirk had waited for the end of Spock’s last class, and all of the other cadets to leave, before he stepped up to Spock.
Cadet Kirk licked his lips. “Well, um, Christmas is in a couple of days.”
“I am aware.” Spock knew he had trouble keeping the disdain out of his tone. He did not like Christmas. He would be glad when all of its nonsensical celebrations were over.
“I just-I thought maybe.”
Spock arched a brow. “What is it? Why are you stammering nervously? If you have something to say, just say it.”
Kirk turned red. “If-if you want to come to my apartment tomorrow, Christmas Eve, maybe you can, you know stay through Christmas. I could cook.”
Spock straightened and reached for his book bag. “I do not celebrate Christmas.”
“Oh.” Kirk turned redder still. “Well, you wouldn’t have to. You could still come over and I’d cook us dinner and—”
“No?” Kirk whispered.
“It would be best if I did not even pretend to appreciate Christmas, Jim. I do not enjoy it. And it would be pointless to interrupt your celebration with my presence. I suggest you invite more appropriate companions over.”
Kirk’s blue eyes blinked rapidly and then he backed up a step. “Okay. Thank you, Professor. I’m sorry to bother you.”
“It was no bother.”
Kirk nodded. “I’ll see you after Christmas I guess.”
“Indeed. Good day.”
Cadet Kirk departed but there was no lightness like there usually was in his step, and his shoulders were hunched in.
Spock briefly wondered if he had been too blunt in his refusal. He did enjoy Cadet Kirk. More than any other, actually. It was Christmas he objected to.
Shrugging, Spock decided he would see James Kirk after Christmas and it would have to be enough.
Spock had his dinner alone in a small vegetarian restaurant. He was surprised when a new waiter came to take his order. He read the name tag.
“What sort of name is Bones?” Spock asked.
The waiter shrugged. “A nickname. But everyone calls me that. We have a Christmas special going on if you’re interested.”
“I am not.”
“Don’t even wanna hear it?”
“I do not like Christmas.”
Bones frowned. “Who doesn’t like Christmas?”
“I just told you that I do not.”
The waiter, Bones, rolled his eyes. “Why?”
“I have never much appreciated it, and if you must know my mother died on Christmas seven years ago.”
“Wow, I’m sorry to hear that. And on Christmas.”
“Her death had nothing to do with Christmas.”
Bones nodded. “But still. It must have made you a little bitter, right?”
“Bitter is an emotion I do not experience.”
“Oh one of those types, huh?”
“I beg your pardon?”
“What will you have?”
Spock gave his order to the strange waiter and the man walked away. He ate quickly and got up to get out of the restaurant. Already noisy revelers were arriving for what appeared to be a company Christmas party. Spock wanted no part of it.
As he was rushing for the door a drunken Scotsman slammed into him coming through the doorway, knocking Spock into a tinsel covered Christmas tree.
“Oh! So sorry, lad. I wasn’t watching where I was going.”
“Clearly,” Spock said coolly, pulling off a piece of tinsel that had attached itself to him. “And I am not a lad.”
“It’s just an expression.” The Scotsman grinned and held out his hand. “Montgomery Scott.”
“I do not care who you are.” Spock ignored his outstretched hand. “Get out of my way and take care not to knock others around.”
“Grumpy sort, are you? Ah, well. I’ll wish you a Merry Christmas just the same.”
“Be gone with your infernal Merry Christmas,” Spock said, then left the restaurant in an even worse mood than before.
He walked the short distance to his apartment and shut himself in good and tight. Spock had no intention of leaving his apartment again until after Christmas. He made himself tea and when he finished it he went into his meditation room.
Somehow, though Spock could not remember doing so, he must have fallen asleep because suddenly someone was shaking him awake. He sat up abruptly.
“Easy, easy, Spock. It’s me.”
Spock stared at the waiter, Bones, who stood above him, looking down at him. “Bones?”
“You are the waiter.”
Bones frowned. “For God’s sake man, I’m a doctor not a waiter.”
Bones shook his head. “Never mind. I’m no waiter and you need to come with me.”
“Come with you?” Spock asked derisively. “I think not. You should not be in my apartment.”
“Yet here I am.”
Spock got off his meditation matt. “Did you break in?”
“What kind of amateur do you take me for? Go and see for yourself. Your door is still locked.”
Spock went to the front door and sure enough it was still locked.
“See? I didn’t come through the door. I was beamed here.”
“Who would give you the authority to do such a thing?” Spock demanded.
“I gave myself the authority. Now listen, you have to come with me.”
“Why do you look older than when I saw you at the restaurant?”
“Pay attention, Spock. I’m from the future.”
“And I am about to take you back to the past.”
“Nope, your past.” Bones touched Spock’s arm. “Energize.”