It started, unexpectedly, with a book. She and Spock had just returned from dinner to find a small package in front of the door of their quarters. “What’s this?” Uhura asked, leaning over to pick it up.
“I do not know,” Spock said, taking it when she held it out. He opened the wrapper, and stared at the contents.
“What?” Uhura asked, impatient, and tugged his sleeve until he tilted it to show her: a book. A very antique-looking book, The Complete Works of Mark Twain. “That – is very odd…”
“No,” Spock said, with the faintest of smiles. “No, it is not. Twain was my mother’s favorite author.” He held the book carefully. “I understand we are in a gift-giving season in some human cultures. This is an …incredible gift.”
Uhura watched him for a moment, and triggered the door to his quarters. “Well. Let’s go in. You can read some of it to me.”
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a flash of gold around the corner, but she paid it no attention. Sulu and Kirk had their quarters in that section as well; seeing them wander around was entirely normal. She grinned at Spock cradling the book in his hands, and let the door close behind them.
It wasn’t until the second gift showed up, sitting on Spock’s console when he arrived on the bridge from the E deck lab, that she realized this might be a trend.
“What is this?” Spock asked the bridge at large as he sat. “Has someone forgotten equipment?”
Kirk spun in his chair, hiding a smirk as everyone else on the bridge looked up. Nobody would dare touch Spock’s station. It was his kingdom, perfectly calibrated and arrayed for the most efficient possible use. But there it was: a box, wrapped in red and white paper sitting right in the center of the console. “Well? Open it,” Kirk aid, and sounds of agreement echoed around the bridge.
“This is most illogical,” Spock said peevishly, but he started opening the paper with the same slow deliberation that he opened the book with, days before. Uhura leaned over from her station as a label appears on the box underneath: Starfleet R&D, Division Utopia Planitia. A note fluttered to the ground, and she picked it up and handed it to him. Spock frowned at it, and tilted it for Uhura to see. Commander Spock, thank you for volunteering to beta this. Sincerely, LtCmdr Davis, SRD/UP
“Well, open it!” Uhura urged him, but Spock shook his head.
“I have not volunteered for any such thing.”
“Spock. Open It.” Uhura muttered, and he shook his head once more and carefully opened the box, revealing the newest model tricorder. She was instantly jealous.
Kirk’s eyes grew wide, and he bounded out of his seat to look. “Damn, Spock, is that the Mark 4 model? Oh, look at the sensors on that…” He reached out a hand, and then snatched it back. “No, it’s your gift. Enjoy beta-testing that, Mr. Spock. I’ll be very curious to see the report.”
Spock turned the box over, as if looking for clues. “Of course, Captain,” he said, absently, and opened the tricorder. Uhura hid her smile, turning back to her station, but she watched out of the corner of her eye as Spock carefully, methodically inspected every last inch of the tricorder with barely contained glee.
"You should have seen his face, Bones, seriously." Kirk leaned across the table, covered with trays, empty plates, two coffee mugs, and one half-eaten pudding cup, gesturing with one hand. "He was actually smiling."
"Spock can smile?" McCoy looked peeved. "And I missed it? I'm hurt, Jim, I'm deeply hurt that you didn't call me."
"Please, you made it perfectly clear -"
"You're just being selfish and hogging all the fun -"
"I'm being selfish? You're the one who came up with -"
"Apparently I'm the idea man and you steal all the -"
"Hey, you could have wandered up at any time -"
"Not if you keep behaving like an infant -"
"I think I'm doing a very good job, so you can bite me," Kirk told him, very seriously.
"I know perfectly well how many alien bugs you've picked up," McCoy grumbled. "Not without protection."
Uhura shook her head to herself and went to find another table.
They were sitting in the C deck lounge a few nights later when an ensign from Ship’s Services came over to their table. "Begging your pardon, sir, but I was asked to deliver this today." He handed the small package over with a cough and fled.
Spock turned it over, looking resigned. The package was unmarked and wrapped plainly, but by this point word had spread about the mysterious gifts, and a small crowd gathered around the table. "What is it?" someone asked. Spock raised an eyebrow at them all and neatly opened the package. A set of clear envelopes fell out, each one containing a coiled object.
"Guitar strings?" someone in the crowd asked. "I know that logo, I used to get guitar strings from them as a kid. They're in Nashville."
Uhura leaned over and looked at them more closely. "They're too short for a guitar," she said, and frowned. "What on earth --"
"No," Spock said suddenly, and took up one of the envelopes, opening it carefully and unwinding the coiled string. "They are not for a guitar. They are for a ka'athrya, the Vulcan harp." The harp which was hanging untouched on the wall of his quarters, silent since two strings had broken while he rehearsed a sonata, weeks ago. With no further sources of strings, he had quietly hung the harp up and left it. Spock stared at the string in his hand, and Uhura realized he was trembling.
"Well, that's a mystery solved," Uhura announced brightly, and people started wandering off, a few people commenting that they were looking forward to hearing Spock play again. She counted under her breath as they dispersed. "There's two sets here, Spock."
He let out a slow breath, carefully coiling the string in his hand again and slipping it into its envelope, before rising and gathering the pile together. "Very thoughtful," he said simply.
It wasn't until they were walking out that Uhura realized Kirk and McCoy were both sitting in the back of the lounge in off-duty blacks, looking smug.
Most ships developed their own unique holiday traditions over the years, growing and changing with their crew as time went on. The Enterprise hadn’t had a chance to do that, so Uhura was unsurprised when Kirk took matters into his own hands – something Kirk could always be counted on to do. He arranged for a tree to be put up in one of the rec lounges, and invited any interested crew to make, replicate, devise or otherwise create ornaments for it, as appropriate to their family history and culture.
It was surprisingly popular, and by Christmas Eve the tree was covered. A menorah and a kinara had appeared and both were covered with candles, glowing brightly on either side of the tree. The lounge was packed, and Spock was in high demand, accompanying Lieutenant Mueller of Astrometrics, who had a guitar and was happily filling request for carols. Uhura found a seat on the side with her eggnog, enjoying the ambiance and the way Spock managed to harmonize with Mueller even though he wasn’t familiar with most of the songs.
“I have a request.” Uhura looked up to see McCoy approaching the musicians. “How about T’Priyah’s Fourth Concertina?”
Spock looked as stricken as Uhura had ever seen, and she started to stand up when McCoy held out a hand. “See, a little bird told me that’s the piece you won the All-Vulcan Music competition with when you were a kid, but all the copies were thought gone, but – well. Turns out if you do a little digging, there’s a place in New York that specializes in old music and they had a used copy of the score.” He held a padd out to Spock. “They scanned it in for me, and next time we get back to Earth the original’s waiting for you to pick up.”
Spock stared at the padd, and then at McCoy. “You – found the score to T’Priyah’s Fourth Concertina?”
McCoy shifted on his feet. “Well. Actually, all ten of them. Somebody brought the book with them decades ago, they figured, and it’s been sitting in this bookstore almost as long.”
“You found – all – ten of T’Priyah’s concertinas?” Spock lifted his eyes to the padd.
Uhura was suddenly aware the whole room was listening in, since the music stopped.
McCoy looked sheepish. “Well, it is Christmas. And even a green-blood logician like yourself deserves a present on Christmas. Well? Take the damn thing, already!” He waved the padd at Spock again, grinning when Spock reached out and took it, scrolling as he went.
The room burst into scattered applause and people went back to their drinks and cookies. Someone called out another request and Mueller loudly started playing, giving Spock a break as he stared at the padd in front of him like it might vanish at any moment. “Doctor,” he finally said. “This is unspeakably precious. I cannot possibly –“
“I don’t want thanks, Spock,” McCoy said, shaking his head, “Just –“
“Hey, you gave it to him already? I wanted to see!” Kirk appeared behind McCoy. “Spock, seriously, he bothered every rare bookstore in the Northern Hemisphere over this.”
Uhura couldn’t take it any more and wandered over. “Well done, getting McCoy to help you,” she told him. “Leonard, that was really sweet.”
“Help with what?” Kirk asked her, managing (almost) an innocent look.
Uhura eyed him sideways. “The tricorder? The ka’athrya strings? The book?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Kirk told her, haughtily. “You’re not drinking Scotty’s eggnog, are you? That stuff would fell an elephant.”
McCoy, meanwhile, stood behind him, smirking. “Maybe Santa Claus can get to deep space?” he said, and waited until Spock had lowered his head back to the reader and winked at her. “Jim, I see some mistletoe over there that needs testing.” And he grabbed the captain’s hand, astounding Uhura in more ways than one. “Merry Christmas, Lieutenant. Spock –“
Spock looked up.
“Merry Christmas,” McCoy said softly, and Spock, ever so faintly, smiled.
“Merry Christmas, Doctor.”
The general upcry went up a moment later and everyone’s heads turned towards the mistletoe. Uhura took advantage and leaned over to kiss Spock, very gently, and dropped her hand to his. “Merry Christmas, Spock.”
“For all of us, I think,” he said, and moved over on the bench so she could join him. Across the lounge, the doctor had the captain dipped backwards as he kissed him deeply, and when the crew cheered, Uhura grinned, and joined in.