The only reason Spock had obtained Kaluk was because the small calico feline had been miserable in the small pet shop he had been passing by. She had been giving off strong telepathic vibes of sadness; it had nothing to do with the fact that Spock was terribly lonely on Earth. It definitely had nothing to do with the fact that he was drawn to her rather large (by Terran cat standards) ears nor did it have anything to do with the fact that she seemed outcast by the others in her cage.
Upon bringing her to his San Francisco apartment, it became clear to Spock that she was highly intelligent. Not only had she fully learned the layout of his apartment with one pass, she had also refrained from jumping onto the furniture without Spock’s permission.
Of course, Spock had given her permission to sit on all of the furniture any person would; he did not believe in treating animals as inferior species. If anything, they were more intelligent than some of the supposed ‘intelligent species’ in the Universe.
In the few weeks since Spock brought Kaluk home, Spock had become increasingly attached to the intelligent and loving feline. Not only did she provide much-needed companionship, but she also exuded a permanent flow of love and affection; directed at him. Spock had never had such emotions directed at him, from any being he had encountered before, with the exception of I-Chaya, his pet Sehlat from his childhood, whom he sorely missed.
Logically, Spock missed her presence when he returned home from the Academy one Friday evening to find her missing. He often left the apartment window open for her; he was on the bottom floor of the building, Kaluk would come and go as she pleased, but she was always home when he returned for the day.
He pushed his illogical worry aside; Kaluk was intelligent, she would not be lost. She had returned home on her own countless times before. She had most likely been held up by a particularly scrumptious-looking bird or a quick-footed mouse.
Wondering at his illogical worry, Spock went about preparing his dinner.
Kaluk had not returned home that evening. Spock woke up and allowed a little worry to seep into his mind. She had never been absent for more than a few hours at a time. Spock forced himself to go through his morning routine, ignoring the nagging worry that was fighting to the front of his mind
Exiting the shower, he heard a soft knock at his door. Pulling on his thick sweater (Spock had taken to wearing Terran clothing, it was both more practical and far warmer), he went to the door and opened it.
A handsome Human with golden hair and golden skin stood in the hall with a large shaggy black canine sitting beside him. In his arms rested a contented-looking Kaluk.
“Hi,” the Human said with a smile. “This little girl ran into my house when I was letting Krinti in last night. Her chip said she lived here.”
“I thank you for returning Kaluk,” Spock said, happy to see the feline safe and contented. He was oddly drawn to the golden Human, he could not explain why. That was something Spock would need to meditate on later. “Would you like to come in? I can offer you tea or coffee?”
“I… uh… if it’s not too much trouble?” the Human was obviously shocked.
“Of course not,” Spock assured him, stepping aside to he could come in. “You have taken the time out of your day to return Kaluk. It is certainly no trouble.”
“I guess I know why you called her ‘Ears’,” the Human told him with a smile, scratching Kaluk’s large ears before putting her down. “By the way, I’m Jim, Jim Kirk. And this is my dog, Krinti.”
“You know Vulcan?” Spock asked, trying very hard not to smile when Kaluk walked imperiously to Krinti and smelled him. “I am Spock,” he added politely.
Jim nodded. “I lived on Vulcan for a while before coming back to Earth. You teach at the Academy? You’re in Science right? I’m in Engineering. You’re the only Vulcan, so it’s hard to miss you,” he added when Spock looked surprised.
“Indeed. I have not seen you around the campus,” Spock told him quietly going over to the replicator. “Can I interest you in coffee or tea?”
“Coffee, please,” Jim smiled and Spock felt warmed by it. “Yeah, I don’t leave my office much, just to go teach a class or go home,” Jim chuckled a little and Spock had a sudden urge to smile.
“I have never encountered such a mild-mannered canine,” Spock said, observing how Krinti sat passively at Jim’s side; most dogs he’d seen had been unruly and hyperactive.
“I got him when he was really young. I feel like he really understands me, you know? He just wants to please me, so he listens really well,” Jim said proudly. “He’s really smart; he understands when he needs to be quiet.”
Spock nodded; Kaluk was also highly intelligent in that respect. “An impressive quality in such a playful species.”
“Tchyeah, his brothers and sisters still live on my mother’s farm in Iowa, they’re so loud you’d think you were going to the circus,” Jim chuckled and took a sip of his coffee. “Wow, this is so much better than the crap they serve at the Academy. You must work on the replicator yourself.”
Spock was taken aback. “I implemented a few minor changes,” he said slowly.
“Aha, I’ve found another tinkerer,” Jim grinned. “I’m in engineering, remember? I love to break things and fix ‘em up again.”
Spock felt his lips quirk a little upwards. Something about this Human was oddly alluring; he exuded an exquisite warmth and friendliness, and, most importantly, did not seem to be put off by Spock’s Vulcan heritage. “Perhaps we should ‘break things’ together sometime at the Academy.”
“That’d be pretty awesome,” Jim grinned. “We definitely should.”
Spock allowed his lips to quirk into a small smile and they settled in to drink their tea and coffee.
Spock soon found that he greatly enjoyed spending time with Jim. While before he would eat lunch alone in his office, Spock often joined Jim in the mess where they would eat the terrible replicated food and playfully debate each other’s opinions on various subjects. The topic of the day was whether or not Spock smiled.
“You so do,” Jim grinned evilly. “Not in front of other people, but you totally smiled at me when I brought Kaluk home to you.”
“I was understandably pleased to have my companion brought back to me,” Spock said with amusement. “I may have been slightly lax in my emotional controls.”
“Admit it, you liked me from the minute you met me and you couldn’t help smiling,” Jim laughed. “I’m just irresistible,” Jim fluttered his ridiculously long lashes.
“If you insist,” Spock teased quietly. If he were to be honest with himself, he would acknowledge the fact that Jim’s words were true; Spock found that Jim was indeed irresistible. He would never admit that to the Human in question, but it remained true. Spock often caught himself staring the long eyelashes framing those lovely hazel eyes or the rather perfectly-shaped backside of his fellow instructor.
As Spock contemplated the ramifications of these thoughts, a young woman, obviously a student from the way she cautiously regarded them, approached the table to look at Jim.
“Katie, I’ve told you at least ten times, the rules are the rules, and I’m not going to break them,” Jim cut her off before she could speak. It was obvious to Spock that they had had this discussion before.
“But I know you wouldn’t play favourites,” Katie complained. “You’d still be fair.”
“I don’t care how cute you are, I’m not dating my students,” Jim rolled his eyes in exasperation. Spock felt a surge of jealousy rise up in his chest at that statement. Was Jim attracted to her?
“Fine, I’ll just have to wait until next semester then. I’ll make sure you’re not my teacher,” she turned on her heel and stalked off. Jim sighed.
“This is why I barricade myself in my office,” he shook his head. “Never thought I’d see the day where I hide behind rules and regulations to get away from a girl.”
“You do not like her?” Spock asked, considering the annoyed look on Jim’s face.
“I like her just fine,” Jim shrugged. “She’s a sweet girl. But she’s definitely not my type.”
Spock nodded. “And what is your type, if I may ask?”
Jim blushed. “Uh, well, not like her anyways,” he dodged the question, uncomfortable.
Spock nodded, respecting that Jim did not want to discuss this. He changed the subject to something they both enjoyed. “Kaluk returned home with a bird last night. It flew into the replicator and it is broken. Would you care to aid me in repairing it?”
“I love replicators, they’re so much fun to fix,” Jim grinned. “You bet. When you want me over? We can go right after classes are out.”
“That would be acceptable,” Spock nodded, suppressing a smile. Jim may not want to be solicited by his students, but he did seem to want to spend time with Spock. This pleased him immensely.
“Wow, it really did a number on it,” Jim said with a low whistle as he and Spock took apart Spock’s replicator. “Did the bird get fried or something?”
“No, I was able to rescue it before it injured itself,” Spock said quietly. “But not before it injured the replicator.”
“Obviously,” Jim chuckled, looking at the blown tangle of wires. “Good thing we’re geniuses, or we’d never get this fixed.”
Spock looked up from his own pile of wires with amusement. “You have a massive ego, Jim.”
“You bet I do,” Jim grinned. “You know, when I brought Kaluk here, I never even thought you’d talk to me… And then we turn out to be friends. I’m happy.”
“I never expected to encounter a Human so inclined to disregard my differences,” Spock answered truthfully. “In my time here, I have found that not many are so willing to do so.”
“You’re not that much different from me,” Jim said, eyes wide in surprise. “I never thought of you as something different. “Sometimes I forget you’re even Vulcan.”
It was Spock’s turn to be surprised. “You are the most extraordinary Human I have ever met,” he said, eyebrow raised beyond any point it at ever reached before.
“Well, you’re the most extraordinary half-Vulcan I’ve ever met,” Jim grinned.
“I strongly suspect I am the only one,” Spock replied, amusement saturating his tone.
“Doesn’t make it any less true,” Jim laughed. “You’re truly one of a kind. I’m glad we met.”
Spock would deny it to anyone who asked him, but he felt the same way.
“Seriously, I don’t mind watching Kaluk,” Jim said seriously as he and Spock ate dinner together in the almost-empty mess at the Academy. “She’s a sweetheart, and you’re only gone to see your mom and dad for two days. It’s nothing.”
Spock was taken aback when Jim had offered to care for Kaluk while he was away to Arizona for a much-anticipated (not that he’d admit it had been) visit with his parents, who were on Earth for a diplomatic visit. “That is most kind of you.”
“Hey, what are friends for?” Jim shrugged. “You can drop her off tomorrow before you leave if you want.”
“I will do so,” Spock replied, confused by the way his heart warmed when Jim treated him to his brilliant smile. If he were not Vulcan, Spock would have thought he was falling in love with the young professor.
“Don’t worry, Spock, she’ll be fine with me,” Jim chuckled as Spock went over the list of Kaluk’s requirements for the tenth time that morning. “God, you’re like a nervous mother leaving her baby at kindergarten for the first time,” Jim rolled his eyes. Spock struggled to not do the same.
“Jim, I am not-”
“Yeah, yeah, I know, Vulcan’s don’t worry,” Jim laughed and took Kaluk from Spock. “Your baby’ll be fine when you get back. I’m sure she’ll miss you, too.”
Spock raised an eyebrow but made no comment on Jim’s teasing. It was something he had come to expect from him; Jim loved to engage in verbal banter. It appeared he found the exercise stimulating.
Spock reached out to pat Kaluk on the head and ended up scratching her behind the ears longer than he’d meant to.
“Have a safe trip,” Jim said putting Kaluk down and clapping a hand to each of Spock’s shoulders, staring him straight in the eye. The warmth and affection in them sent Spock’s heart beating faster by 6.4%.
AS he turned away and made his way to the airport, Spock pondered his reaction. Perhaps, despite the fact that he was Vulcan, he truly was falling in love with his Human friend.
“I’ve told you before, Krinti, and I’ll tell you again,” Jim sighed and at down as soon as Spock left. Kaluk hopped onto his lap and curled up. Krinti sniffed at her enthusiastically. “I have never been more hopelessly in love… And the chances of him loving me back are basically zero.” The Human sighed and put a hand over his face.
Kaluk looked up curiously. Could the Human be talking about her master? If he was, she knew he was sorely mistaken. Spock was not careful to shield his thoughts away from her when he petted her, she knew her Vulcan master was very interested in becoming a mated pair with this Human. She opened an eye to look at Krinti. Perhaps the canine would have answers for her.
Spock was amused when he returned to pick up Kaluk and Jim appeared to be having a difficult time separated her from Krinti. The two animals appeared to have quickly become close friends. Everytime he’d reach out to pick up Kaluk, Krinti would intercept him playfully and Kaluk would dash off to another hiding place in the room. If Spock were not Vulcan, he would have chuckled at the frustration on Jim’s face.
“Oh, hey Spock,” Jim said, noticing Spock for the first time; he had left himself into Jim’s apartment as Jim had insisted upon since his second visit. “We’re having a little bit of trouble getting Kaluk to want to leave.”
“It appears so,” Spock said with amusement.
Kaluk’s large ears snapped in his direction and he ceased running away from Jim. She knew that voice; it was her Vulcan’s. She walked around Krinti and went to sit in front of Spock, meowing imperiously for him to pick her up. He did.
Spock petted her, and as was not unusual, he began to receive dull flashes of what she was thinking about. His hand froze when she reflected on the words she had heard come from Jim’s mouth.
I have never been more hopelessly in love… And the chances of him loving me back are basically zero.”
Brief flashes of her interactions with Krinti confirmed that Jim had indeed been speaking of him. He looked up and met Jim’s uncertain gaze. “Jim?”
“Yes, Spock?” Jim prompted, his mouth dry. Did cats understand what humans said when they talked to them? Vulcans were touch telepaths… could she be letting him know what he’d said?
“You… love me?” Spock asked, incredulous. He would have thought he was too different from Jim for the Human to be interested in him romantically.
Jim felt the blood drain from his face. “Please don’t let this change anything in our friendship. I promise you that you’ll never hear about it again. I won’t act on these feelings and I won’t do anything to make you uncomfortable. Please just don’t stop being my friend.”
Spock raised an eyebrow and put Kaluk on the floor. “What would make me uncomfortable is the idea that you would not act on these feelings,” he said quietly, walking over to Jim, who appeared to be rooted to the spot.
“I – uh, what?” Jim gulped when warm Vulcan arms wrapped around him. “Spock?” he asked helplessly.
“I am pleased that you feel this way,” Spock said quietly before pressing his lips to Jim’s. “It will render the task of making my own feelings known much simpler.”
Jim felt his eyes go wide and he gasped. “Are you saying… you love me too?”
“I do,” Spock said simply before pressing his lips to Jim’s once more.
Kaluk and Krinti watched with satisfaction. They were tired of seeing their masters pining for each other. It was much better for everyone to see them together. They loved their caretakers, if the Vulcan and Human were happy, they were happy as well.