Immune to Its Effect
On the rare days in which Spock’s duty shift did not share Kirk’s shift, time passed illogically slowly and made the hours seem like days before he could return to his quarters, enter his passcode, and content himself with the presence of his intended. While on duty, professionalism must be maintained. But off-duty…Spock allowed himself a smile that most species would not even recognize as a smile, but any Vulcan would think he had gone certifiably insane. Off-duty with Jim was an entirely different matter.
He strode through the door to his quarters with every intention of indulging in a water shower that evening and then curling against Jim until he drifted into restful sleep. However, Spock sensed something off the moment he crossed the threshold. He heard an unusual sound that did not belong in his quarters. A strange sound like the soft mixture of grinding, snuffling, and burrowing all at once sporadically followed by a light noise similar to a tiny holiday bell. Spock activated his tricorder and cautiously approached the location of the mysterious sound.
He crept around the screen separating his living space and his sleeping alcove and froze. Jim lay on his bed. The sight itself was not unusual. The position at that moment confused Spock. Jim lay on his stomach, but his shoulders and up to his head were hanging off the edge. This did not seem comfortable. Even worse, Jim spoke to something in a dialect Spock had only heard described as “baby talk.”
“Is that a good snack? I know you’d probably want some yummy fish, but this chicken kibble is good too, right?”
Spock wondered if Jim had lost his sanity. He cleared his throat.
It did not have the desired effect.
“Spock!” Jim jumped, compromised his already precariously balanced weight, and fell forward off the bed. Something hissed. “Oh no!” Jim cried. “Did I squish you? No!” Jim scrambled into a cross-legged seated position with his back to Spock. “I’m so sorry! You were so happy with your dinner too! I ruined it. Well, actually that big, mean Vulcan ruined it by scaring me, but I’m the one that fell into your food and water, so it’s my fault, isn’t it?”
Spock approached. “Jim, what are you speaking to?”
Jim tilted his head back so that he looked upside down at Spock, who now stood directly behind and above him. “Uhh….don’t be mad, sweetheart.”
“I am Vulcan. I do not get mad.”
Jim snorted. “Right.” He looked down at the hidden thing in his lap. “Sit down, Spock.” Spock did just that. While somehow staying seated, Jim turned to face Spock and looked up at him anxiously before unfolding his arms from around the thing he held protectively. “Happy birthday?”
Spock did not exactly frown. “It is not my birthday. And that is a feline.”
Jim’s anxiety shifted instantly to veiled exasperation. “I know it’s not your birthday. I’m trying to lessen the shock of, well, trying to give you a kitten.”
This feline creature was a gift. Spock looked at the black fluffy juvenile feline. Being still young, its fur had little weight to it and it stuck up like his own hair in the morning, particularly after a passionate evening with the man nervously waiting for a reaction to this tiny creature he offered. Spock extended his index finger and held it out to the kitten. Still in Jim’s lap, it craned its neck as far as it could to sniff this new large biped. Seemingly satisfied by that examination, it looked at Spock and released a shrill mew.
“It didn’t hiss at you, so that’s a good—”
“Why did you acquire this feline?”
Jim stalled by slowly petting the kitten’s tiny head. “Uh…” He cleared his throat. “Well, I remembered how you were with that cat once. You know the one that turned out to be a woman with the blinding silver-diamond necklace?”
“Our mission involving the rocket launch and Gary Seven.”
“The very one, Mister Spock.”
Spock looked at the small cat then turned his puzzled gaze to Jim. “This recollection led you to believe I would like the company of a feline?”
Jim nodded, still petting the kitten, which seemed to have forgiven him for ruining its dinner since it swayed with each swipe of Jim’s hands and its eyes were closed in relaxation. “That and the Tribble incident.”
“The one in the rec room where you got really into petting one and said you were immune to its tranquilizing effects? Sound familiar?”
Spock did not want to admit it, but, “Yes.”
“Anyway, I thought that maybe you’d like to have a pet. And since dogs are much more active than cats, and you once said something about Vulcans having something in common with cats, I thought a cat would be a good choice, so…” He nodded to the drowsy kitten. “That’s where Petakov came in.”
Spock could not have prevented his surprise from showing in his face if he’d tried. “Petakov?” He looked at the cat, still sitting up with its eyes closed. It could have been meditating for all Spock knew about cat behavior. “You named it Petakov?”
“Is that alright?” Jim stopped stroking the kitten, and it promptly tilted off-balance without needing to press back against his hand.
Spock’s Vulcan-quick speed scooped up the tiny kitten in his hand before it fell over into Jim’s bent elbow. He lifted the kitten and placed it onto his own lap, settling the lethargic animal on its side, and proceeded to run his fingers down the sleepy kitten’s body from between its ears and down to mid-spine. Unexpectedly quickly, Spock’s always racing mind quieted and he fell fully into the relaxing, repetitive movement of petting this tiny feline. This consumed his entire focus.
“Do you like him, Spock?” Spock continued to pet Petakov as though in a meditative trance. Jim smiled to himself. “I guess so.”