Title: Very Perceptive Creatures
Author: Farfalla the Butterfly-Kitten
Email: blueberrysnail (at) yahoo dot com
Website: Jim is Spock's favorite tribble of them all
Pairing: K/S
Rating: PG-13
Summary: In the wake of the tribble adventure, Kirk and Spock discover their feelings for each other in the face of LOTS of adversity.
Note: This is my 100th K/S story!!! That's counting everything both on my website and things printed in zines, and not counting anything under 300 words, containing a threesome, or focusing on another Kirk or Spock pairing. Thank you to my darling Hypatia for beta'ing not just this story but probably a good three quarters of everything I've ever written. And thank you to anyone who's ever left feedback on my stories because it's been very encouraging :-)

VERY PERCEPTIVE CREATURES

Captain James T. Kirk stalked around the room, his hands full of furry little creatures. Everyone present was wound up tighter than a sharp guitar string, and all eyes were on the captain. A vital shipment of the Federation's grain had been destroyed, and whatever happened in the next few moments would determine whether or not the Federation's hopes for colonizing Sherman's planet had been destroyed with it.

Kirk held the tribbles up to the Klingon commander's face. They shuddered with agony, squealing like an analog tape rewinding. "You're right, Mr. Jones," Kirk remarked to the salesman who'd sold Uhura the original tribble. "They don't like Klingons." He let them shriek at Captain Koloth for another moment before drawing away. Call him a drama queen, but Kirk was irritated at the man. Among other beings present.

He approached Mr. Spock next. The tribbles trilled pleasantly when they encountered the Vulcan. It occurred to Kirk that if he were a tribble, he'd be doing exactly the same thing. Spock made him want to purr his heart out. "But... they do like Vulcans," Kirk remarked. "Spock! I didn't know you had it in you." Which was a complete lie, of course. Kirk knew full well how attractive and appealing Spock was. Unfortunately for him, though, Spock seemed to be uninterested in romance of any kind, with any being--so he'd decided that having him as a best friend was definitely a worthy consolation.

Spock seemed flattered by the tribbles' approval. "Obviously, tribbles are very perceptive creatures." He found it completely logical that the tribble liked him. Vulcans were, of course, a wonderful species. The thought flashed into his mind that he did envy the tribbles in Jim's arms just a bit--they were close to his beloved best friend in a way he rarely was. He had a few happy memories saved away of the times they'd embraced, on missions to keep warm, or when Spock had rejoiced at his seeming rebirth after the koon-ut-kalifee. But he also knew that Jim was heterosexual, so he had decided that having him as a best friend was definitely a worthy consolation.

"Obviously," Jim repeated. He walked away from Spock and toward Nils Baris, the irritating Federation representative in charge of the wheat--or whatever it was--that the tribbles had devoured. The tribbles purred again when they encountered Mr. Baris. "Mr. Baris! They like you," Jim exclaimed in mock surprise. "Well, there's no accounting for taste."

Then he confronted Arne Darvin. The tribbles in his arms went wild, squealing and carrying on as if Kirk was trying to shave them into nonexistence. "Mr. Darvin! They don't like you. I wonder why?"

Darvin's eyes flashed in panic.

It took Dr. McCoy only moments to discover that Darvin was a Klingon in disguise. Baris was nearly vibrating with anger as he ordered the guards to take him away.

There were a number of things Kirk and Spock needed to take care of before they could return to the Enterprise. First, they needed to inform Cyrano Jones that he was being legally compelled to clean up the mess he'd made by clearing the station of all tribbles present. They left him to the task, his shoulders slumped.

Kirk needed to meet with Mr. Lurry to wrap up both their reports on the affair, and Spock decided to take the opportunity to catch up with Mr. Baris before his shuttle departed from the station. He had been slightly embarrassed by Kirk's unwarranted display of crankiness with the man, and he hoped there had been no lasting hard feeling created.

Baris was standing inside the empty storage compartment when Spock found him. "I can't believe they ate it so quickly," he muttered when he realized he wasn't alone. Then he turned and realized it was Spock. "Oh, it's you."

"Large swarms of small animals have often been quite successful at destroying crops, more so than large animals have," Spock pointed out. "The Biblical plague of locusts in Egypt--"

"Yes, I know about locusts." Baris waved him quiet, then put a hand to his head. "And then, all of them dead like that... that could have been a whole colony of our people. Dead, just like that pile of tribbles."

"It is fortunate that Mr. Darvin was apprehended," Spock agreed. "Sir, I wanted to speak with you about Captain Kirk--"

"Don't think I'm going to forget about the way he treated me just because he's the one who held those tribbles up to Darvin," Baris retorted. "He's on his way out, if that's the way he speaks to his fellow officers. And you! I'm surprised you put up with as much as you do. I've heard a lot of people call you the best first officer in the fleet, but he stares at you as if you were nothing but a Chippendale."

"Excuse me? What is a Chippendale?"

"A male dancer. Exotic dancer," Baris explained pointedly. "Oh, get with the program, Spock! He looks at your ass. He wants to jump on you. If I were you, I'd report him. He needs to be reigned in."

Spock's mind worked quickly. He certainly had no intention of informing Baris that he was desperately hoping the pissy Dane was right. Evenly, he asked, "Are you certain of this?"

"I'm certain, all right," Baris verified. "He's been undressing you with his eyes the entire time you've been on board this station."

"I see," said Spock. "In that case, I shall take the appropriate steps. Good afternoon." He hightailed it out of the storage compartment.

"Good luck, Mr. Spock," Baris called after him, satisfied that he would have, at least, some small measure of revenge on the annoying golden brat who'd been sassing him these past few days.

Meanwhile, Kirk had finished talking with Mr. Lurry and was emerging from the station manager's office when he encountered the leader of the Klingons, Captain Koloth. "Oh," Kirk muttered airily. "You again."

"Kirk," Koloth growled. "Do not think this will be the end of the Klingon influence in this system. You and your Vulcan girlfriend have only made our hunger for planets--"

"Excuse me?" Kirk interrupted him, his brow furrowed. "My what?"

"You heard me," Koloth sneered, using the same slow, deliberate tone with which he'd egged on Scotty and Chekov in the bar. "While you and your little love slave are off in your cabin playing house, we'll find other planets to colonize. Larger than Sherman's Planet, and more wealthy in resources."

"I don't suppose you'd believe me if I said Spock's not my love slave," Kirk tried wearily. His headache from the other day had apparently come back. The last thing he needed was some half-drunk enemy commander dangling his silly dreams in front of him in the form of insults.

"Oh, of course he's not," Koloth agreed in a voice of sweet sarcasm. "He just spends every waking moment gazing at you like a lovesick whore. We aren't stupid, Kirk."

Spock gazes at me? Kirk wondered to himself. "What Spock does with his eyes is his business," he said lamely.

"We Klingons don't let queers on board our starships, not as crewmembers," Koloth continued.

"Look, I gotta go," Kirk muttered, rubbing his head. He was suddenly remembering days worth of Spock gazing at him. He hadn't noticed it, because it had always been there. Always. Since nearly the beginning of their friendship. He would have actually thought it weird had Spock ever *stopped* looking towards him all the time.

But that didn't mean it had to be sexual, did it?

He'd always assumed Spock rejected romance along with every other human emotion, but... he was half human himself... that meant somewhere in the universe, one Vulcan had already romanced one human....

"We may still win Sherman's Planet!" Koloth called after Kirk as he walked down the hallway, lost in thought.

Well, Spock certainly isn't in love with anyone else, was Kirk's only answering thought.

He was so consumed by his racing mind that he didn't notice Spock right in front of him, rounding a corner, and they smashed into each other full-steam.

"Oh!"

"Captain!"

"Ow, I--"

"Captain, I apologize. I--"

They were tangled up in each others' arms against the wall. "Are you all right, Spock?" Kirk asked, blinking rapidly.

At this point, Spock didn't need Nils Baris to tell him that Kirk was absolutely besotted with him. The human in his arms was breathing heavily, staring at him as if the answer to life, the universe, and everything were written inside his eyes, and his lips were parted slightly. And was he actually craning his head forward, if microscopically, offering himself for a kiss--?

Slightly nervous, Spock took the cautious way out. "Mr. Baris thinks you are sexually harassing me," he informed Kirk in an ironic purr.

Kirk's eyebrows rose in astonishment. "He should see us now."

"He was encouraging me to have you disciplined on the matter."

"Well, if you're going to have me dressed down for unwelcome advances, don't you think you'd better stop pinning me to the wall first?" Kirk shot back slyly.

"It does seem... difficult to prove that... this is unwelcome..." Unable to resist any longer, he lowered his head and drank of Kirk's kiss.

Kirk gripped him by the shoulders of his uniform fabric and kept him close.

When they came up for air, Kirk remarked, "Koloth thinks you're my love slave."

"There is no slavery on Vulcan," Spock reminded him. "But for you, I could make an exception."

"I've never owned a slave before," Kirk joked. "I'm not sure I'd know what to do with one!"

"You misunderstand me, Captain. You are to be my slave."

"O-ho, my Vulcan friend! I don't know about that." Kirk crossed his arms in a display of mock indignance. He was pleasantly astonished by Spock's ability to flirt so fluently!

"Perhaps we shall duel to settle the matter," Spock proposed. "I suggest chess."

"An excellent idea," Kirk replied. "Unless all the chess pieces have been eaten by tribbles, of course. And then, after chess, I'll have fun finding all your sensitive spots."

"I'm sure they are in all the usual logical places."

"Oh, I don't know," Kirk mused. "Some people are pretty ticklish in strange places, like...." Then, without warning, his hands darted out and he attacked Spock's sides with a morass of wiggling fingers.

Spock winced away and shot him a black look. He looked as if he might retreat, as Kirk continued to tickle him and make impish faces. But suddenly he raised his own hands and began to retaliate.

"Ack!" Kirk squealed, and darted through the station. Spock followed him, moving his fingers as if to play an imaginary piano.

Koloth saw them dashing through the hallway, first Kirk, looking over his shoulder frantically, then Spock following. "Well, well," he commented to nobody in particular. "Apparently Kirk forgot to pay his whore."

Kirk ran into the transporter room and hopped onto the pad. "Energize! Quickly!"

"Is everything all right, Captain?" asked the bewildered technician.

"Yes, yes, it's perfect. Spock's trying to tickle me!" His face glowed.

"Tickle...?"

"Energize!"

"Yes, sir."

Spock heard the beam take Kirk back to the ship as he finally approached the door to the transporter room. He hadn't really wanted to catch him on board the station, of course--this was NOT the proper place for such physical exploration as he was sure would immediately follow whatever tickling they engaged in. Just in case Kirk could still hear him as he transported, he called out, "Captain! I will catch up to you, inevitably!" Then he darted inside the room and onto the pad. "Energize."

The technician, completely wide-eyed at this point, simply obeyed without question. Maybe the tribbles had eaten everyone's brains...

Nils Baris was on his way to Mr. Lurry's office when he heard Spock yelling at the captain. Good, he said to himself. Baris didn't have any grounds on which to complain about Kirk himself, but he was sure the Vulcan had plenty of justified grievances. Extremely pleased with himself, he took a stick of gum out of his pocket and unwrapped it.

The wrapper was empty. A shred of tribble fur fell out of where the gum had been.

With a sad sigh, Baris put the wrapper into the nearest recycler and pursed his lips. You win some, you lose some...


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