“Spock,” Jim said patiently, “you’ve got to wear something green for St. Patrick’s Day.”
His First Officer (and fiancé, and that was the role Jim really valued) raised one eyebrow in a familiar gesture of incomprehension. “I fail to see why I should be expected to wear a color I do not possess in my wardrobe in order to honor an Earth figure who despite his reputed holiness was probably a fictional character.”
Jim rolled his eyes. “All right, but if you don’t wear green, you’ll get pinched.”
He got another eyebrow. “This is part of the tradition?”
“Yep,” Jim grinned.
The eyebrow was working overtime. “Most illogical.”
The two continued getting ready for their shift. “I suppose we need to feed the twins,” Jim said, referring to Dust Bunny and Snow Ball, Spock’s pet white tribbles.
Spock gave his partner a severe look. “I do not think they will require nourishment, not after the—I believe the term is pizza party—that you indulged them with last night. Pizza is not optimal nutrition for tribbles.”
“Oh come on,” Jim protested. “They shouldn’t have to live on cat kibble. Besides, love, you know as well as I do that tribbles can eat anything.”
“However, ‘can’ and ‘should’ are not the same thing,” Spock replied.
“You’re such a strict parent,” Jim teased. “All right, let the poor babies starve.”
“I will not let that happen, as you know.” Spock headed into the other room, where D.B. and S.B. had their playpen. A moment later, Jim heard Spock call out. He hurried in.
“What’s wrong, love?”
Spock look perturbed. “D.B. is missing,” he said. Jim looked into the clear plastic pen, and sure enough, there was only one white (albeit with a streak of red from a dose of pizza sauce) fuzzball inside.
“Are you sure D.B. is the missing one?” he asked. Frankly, Jim had a hard time telling the two apart.
“I am certain,” Spock replied.
Jim sighed. “Well, love, it’s nothing new,” he noted. “D.B. is always getting out of his pen and into trouble. I’ll put out an APB on him; somebody will find him and get him back to you.”
“I hope so.” Spock looked as sad as Spock ever looked. He really loved those balls of fluff. Jim gave him a reassuring hug.
“Don’t worry; he’ll be all right. He’s probably just out looking for more pizza.”
Throughout Alpha shift, Jim kept one ear peeled to inter-ship communications, hoping to hear of a D.B. sighting. No one had seen a tribble in the wrong place. Jim was worried for Spock’s sake. Spock’s love for his tribbles might be ‘illogical,’ but it was endearing, and it was one of the many traits Spock possessed that kept Jim so in love with him. Besides, the furor over Spock smuggling B.D. on board had been the catalyst for his relationship with Jim, so Jim had a soft spot for the little fur ball as well.
Toward the end of the shift, Jim ‘casually’ wandered by the Science station. “How you doing?” he asked softly.
“I am functional, Captain.” Spock’s reply was even, but Jim saw that little furrow in his brow that only appeared when Spock was worried.
“Hey,” Jim said softly. “Don’t worry. If I have to, I’ll order a ship-wide search and…” He heard the whistle on his chair comm. go off. “Back in a second.”
“Hey, Jim.” It was Bones. “Coming to the St. Paddy’s day dinner?”
Jim glanced up at Spock, who nodded. “Indeed, sir. There is no logical reason for us to miss it.” Translation: “I’m not going to sit in my cabin hoping to hear D.B. knocking on the door.”
“Yeah, Bones; we’ll be there. See you at 1900 hours.”
Main Rec was cheerful with the chatting of dozens of crew people, some human, some not, some Irish, most not, all wearing green hats, pins, shirts, or leis, eating and drinking at a great rate from the selection laid out on the long buffet tables. Thanks to the cook’s ingenuity, almost everything that wasn’t normally green had been dyed some shade of emerald.
“Hey, you two. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.” Bones came up to them, mint julep in hand. He looked at Spock. “Not wearing any green, huh?” He got a speculative look in his eyes.
“Doctor, if you attempt to pinch me, I will return the favor and you will be unconscious for up to 78 minutes,” Spock informed him.
Jim patted him on the arm. “Now, now. Nerve pinches are off-limits,” he grinned. “Why don’t you go fix yourself a plate?”
Spock nodded and moved off to the buffet. McCoy watched him go.
“Jesus, Jim, what’s up with the walking computer?”
“D.B.’s missing,” Jim explained.
“Yeah, I read the memo. Boy, when Spock loves, he really goes all-in, doesn’t he?”
Jim nodded, a quiet smile on his face. “Yes, I can attest to that.”
His friend regarded him affectionately. “You know, Jim, I never thought I’d say this, but I think Spock is the perfect partner for you. Your blood pressure’s down; your stress levels are lower, and you look so damned happy I could smack you.”
Jim chortled. “Gee, thanks—I think.” He looked around. “I guess I’ll get a bite to eat and—“
There was a commotion at the buffet, a combination of squeals and groans. Jim and Bones exchanged glances and hurried over.
“Spock? What’s up?” Jim asked as he reached the Vulcan’s side.
Spock turned, his eyes happier than they had been all day. “D.B. has been—found, Captain,” he reported.
There he was, right in the middle of the buffet, perched on (and steadily eating his way through) a platter of shamrock-shaped cookies. He was almost invisible in the middle of the plate; D.B.’s fur was a brilliant green.
Spock gently picked him up; D.B. promptly started purring. “I think he spent the day in the galley,” Jim observed with a grin. “Is he all right?”
Spock put his tribble to his nose and inhaled. “He is quite unharmed, Captain. The tint is food coloring, completely harmless.” D.B. hopped off Spock’s hands and landed on his shoulder, where he cuddled close to Spock’s neck, still purring.
Bones chuckled as he looked at the pair. “Well, I can’t pinch you now Spock—you’re wearing green!”
D.B. was Irish for the rest of the week, until the food coloring finally washed out of his fur. Jim was already making plans for both tribbles for Easter. He wondered if D.B. would look his best in pink or lavender.