Title: Living Together
More spring housecleaning on my part. This was sort of an "odd couple" thing that actually happened with a couple I know. I just turned one Vulcan.
Summary: Your popularity is grating on my nerves and I'm going to go out and have fun in a way that is guaranteed to annoy you.
Disclaimer. The usual. Gourd dulcimers are real. Apple Snails really do behave strangely. And crinoids are really wonderful things to have on your wall. The museum replicas, that is. Hops vines are a mixed blessing every summer. Pesky guests tend to try to braid them.
The large yellow apple snail rested on the floor, covered with what dust that had escaped the usual cleanings of the apartment. Leonard picked up the poor thing, and examined it with a sigh. It looked dead. Apple snails were gorgeous little critters, but occasionally, their little snail brains had a desire for adventure that led to smaller and worser options. This was why he insisted they leave the lid on the tank.
Spock was from a planet where snails were lumped under "fantasy beasts" and he just couldn't understand that anything would WANT to leave a watery environment. Forget explaining the inexplicable cosmic urge endemic to all Earth fauna that drove them to move to the next mud puddle, or perhaps go claustrophobic and leap into the breech. Vulcan animals weren't like that. Even the le-matyas were more "logical".
The doctor didn't have the heart to throw the light, bone-dry mollusk in the trash, so he dumped it, dust bunnies and all, back into the tank. If for no good reason it was alive, it would emerge. If it was dead, he would call it a proper interrment in its native environment. Anyway, the fish would eat him and that would probably be better for them than the dried, processed, vaugely-defined things they sprinkled on the surface every day.
He brushed his hands off and resolutely put his back to the tank, the yards of bright green waterplants, and the glimmering angelfish catching hypnotic sunbeams with their scales. He had spent a lot of time designing his apartment to his own suit, a remainder of his home without overdoing it; the result meant slate-gray walls lined with museum-replicas of fossil fish, starfish, clams, and graceful crinoids, still bent as though they could sway to some deep-sea current. The furniture had been modeled along the same blue-slate colors and shapes, smooth organics mixing with hard clean lines. There was no sign of a vidscreen, a computer, or anything more invasive than his sound system, which was usually primed to the sound of soft rainfall. The skylight was beaming yellow light down, mixing with the ropes of dark green hops vines full of spicy green flowers. The pinecone-like blooms shed pollen like pure gold, dusting the stone floor and filling the air with their indescribable perfume.
Well, anyway, that was what it was SUPPOSED to look like. When Spock had company over, which was often, the environment tended to change along drastic lines.
The human lifted his shoulders, all the better to sigh with, and let them droop. Furniture had been moved away--ok, hauled off and stuffed in closets might be a better description--the hops vines had been re-looped with unnerving Vulcan patience to grow upward in a perfect braid to the sky...stars, but Leonard hated to see that. That blasted vine was the source of more contention between himself and his "better half" than the usual logic/emotion conventions they spouted. Leonard liked the Thomas Jefferson attitude to plants, which was to nudge their natural growth but not interfere. Vulcans were masters of Zen, but they saw plants as malleable as rocks and cliffs and crystals and stuff, and whenever Spock brought home anybody from the Academy, be they in possession of but one drop of Vulcan blood, they were invariably drawn to the large vine with the uncontrollable urge to shape it to some kind of living sculpture.
Vulcans liked braids. They were neat, clean, and fulfilled an aesthetically pleasing function.
Vulcans liked to braid things.
Hops vines were hard to braid. The stalks were fairly flexible, but push one iota too far and they would snap. Hops were, in fact, a challenge to Vulcan fingers.
Vulcans liked a challenge. ANY challenge.
Vulcans didn't like furniture. Furniture was illogical. There were many Vulcans that didn't even employ beds, finding floors more efficient. Spock, at least, wasn't as orthodox as THAT. He shared Leonard's opinion on the uses of a firm, yet yielding mattress, especially if sleep wasn't all what you had in mind on them. It was amazing to Len that Spock considered himself decadent, and possibly a bit of a hedonistic pervert for sleeping on a real bed. But, if such a simple thing could make Spock feeling like he was "being bad," so much the better.
But bring over Vulcans, and Spock would be quick to hide any traces of beds, couches, and even futons. McCoy had refused to let him TOUCH the fold-up couch against the wall. He told them the dog needed to sleep on it because it was old and arthritic. Spock had told him they didn't own a dog. McCoy had shot back that the dog was on its way. Spock had wanted to know when. McCoy answered, none of Spock's business. The great thing with being bonded to a Vulcan, was they had an all-encompassing concept of irrationality. A human would have said, "You have really lost your mind this time, Len," and left it at that. Spock had gone off to meditate. It never occurred to him that Leonard was being ridiculous by calculation. And if you wanted your irksome Vulcan live-in to go away and meditate, then all you had to do was confuse them.
Leonard took another breath. Take away the furniture, and his apartment was a nice, clean, well-lit...cave.
Vulcans liked caves. They dwelled in them quite happily. And if they were from the Western Province (as over half of Spock's friends were,) they would raid the kitchen and cook up bland, insipid meals without touching anything stronger than the flavored salt.
He looked at the calendar tacked up on the wall. No Vulcans to be seen--they had finished wallowing in their self-absorbed meditation and were back at the Academy. Chances were, the next weekend would be swamped with the latest guests. Spock would come home with his attache case under one arm, and five or six distant-cross-parallel-twenty-times-removed-paternal cousins. Then OUT would go the furniture, and he'd be stepping around all of them as the sat around the firepot beast and meditated.
Vulcans liked cool, slate, gray and blue colors. Vulcans loved his apartment. They just couldn't stop fiddling with it.
A slight movement behind the glass got his attention. Unbelievably, the snail was emerging cautiously from behind its trapdoor. The doctor empathized greatly.
McCoy sank down in the one available chair, feeling happy for the snail but depressed about his life so long as his lover persisted in being on the A list. Vulcans could go without sleep for 2 weeks without hallucinating, and they carried that same lack of urgency in their upkeep of other things that was important to humans.
Being human, and of a much-shorter lifespan, Leonard had many other priorities than Spock, and those priorites were "the small things." Enjoyment of one's home, for example. Occasional quiet dinners with just the two of them. Being able to get one's friend, lover and bondmate to stand his brain in when he needed chemical formulae in a hurry. And best of all, throw as much spice as he liked into the stewpot and not have to worry about some pansy complaining that it was too hot to breathe.
But Leonard's finitely-compartmentalized brain couldn't recall the LAST time they'd had two uninterrupted evenings together inside of one week.
Ok, that was it. It was his place, and it certainly wasn't his fault that Vulcans just happened to visit Spock. Surely there was some way to let Spock know he didn't like the situation.
Spock came home early, his attache case tucked neatly underneath one arm. To his surprise, the apartment was swept clean and dry. The furniture was still neatly piled in the closet and his firepot beast burned softly, thick clouds of incense filling the air.
In Leonard's crisp hand were the words on the message padd:
AM GOING TO GET DRUNK WITH SCOTTY. HAVE FUN WITH YOUR BUDDIES.
P.S: KEEP THE LID ON THE FISHTANK, PLEASE, OR YOU WILL BE SLEEPING ON THE ROOF. THE APPLE SNAIL IS RECOVERING FROM MAJOR TRAUMA AND CANNOT ABIDE LOUD SILENCES. DO NOT INTERFERE WITH THE MUSIC SELECTION I HAVE PROGRAMMED FOR IT.
Spock blinked. He looked at the music system. He blinked again. Leonard had programmed the tracks to play home-grown gourd dulcimer rhythms every 45 minutes.
Spock looked at the snail. The snail continued on its happy existence, patiently vacuuming the bottom of the tank for algae.
"I believe," he murmured, "it is time I spoke with my bondmate." He prided himself on being able to understand humans to that extent; if his background with Amanda happened to be any indication, they needed to sit down and talk. If his mother's efforts to educate him were correct, this was a "cry for attention" moment.