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Chapter Text

Word spreads quickly aboard a starship, as the only entertainment aboard must originate within. And, while the crew of the Enterprise were the best at what they did, and the most loyal to their command team, everyone does love good gossip, and this situation was no exception, at least until the novelty of its ridiculous nature wore off. However, the crew as a whole were wise enough to stay well away from the Command crew, and scuttled warily into cross-corridors if the flash of blue and command stripes was even glimpsed down the hall. No one was stupid enough to cross Acting Captain Spock at this time, not if he wanted to live to see another planetfall.
The amusement factor wore off for most of the crew when rumors from other ships began to circulate, though. Despite their vast differences and the high mortality rate on the Federation’s flagship, they all did truly love their captain and first officer, and to have such a scandal attempt to besmirch two good names was the last straw for Kirk’s loyal crew. 
Perhaps a brawl at Starbase Nine involving crewmen from four different ships was not the best idea, Lieutenant Garrovick (who had self-professedly thrown the first punch after a crack about Captain Kirk) admitted after the fact, and it did get them a thorough dressing-down from both Spock and Security Chief Giotto – but it was downright satisfying. And they had proved again that their ship and captain were the best in the ‘Fleet; the others went back to their commanding officers too sore and scared to lodge official complaints against the Enterprise’s loyal crew.
And all this, over a tabloid which had somehow gotten wind of the Enterprise’s newest young resident (Spock was going to severely deal with whoever had taken and leaked the holopic of him cradling an infant Jim Kirk), and was billeting the baby as anything from Captain Kirk’s genius son by a secret marriage, to an indiscretion from their last diplomatic encounter, to his and Jim’s love-child, to quote the most lurid.
Spock had never before had a migraine in his life, but he was currently teetering on the edge of breaking that trend.
Retreating to Sickbay after dealing with his recalcitrant crew and the tabloid legalities, he slid gratefully into the chair Christine Chapel shoved his way with one foot, her hands being full of medical supplies for the damaged crewmen. Her smile was half-sympathetic, half-amused, that he would lower his control so far as to actually sit down without being forced to in Sickbay, but he could not bring himself to care overmuch at this time.
A chubby hand tugged on his uniform trousers, and he looked down to see a small face beaming up at him, some bedraggled plush toy held firmly in the infant’s mouth. Jim had discovered the joys of crawling the instant McCoy had set him on a blanket on the floor in Spock’s cabin for the first time. The child had been off instantaneously as if he were motorized, and it had taken them both completely by surprise. Now, Jim was underfoot every moment their backs were turned; he had long since deduced how to overturn his bassinet and free himself from its confines in true Kirkian escape fashion.
The sight warmed Spock just a little, though he well knew that particular small emotion was most likely the reason for this current scandal circulating through the tabloids. However, he would not vent his frustrations on such an innocent being.
“That is highly unsanitary, Jim,” he said, removing the much-chewed stuffed cat from the child’s mouth. 
Jim blew a raspberry at him and reached up for the toy, frowning in protest. Spock recognized the beginnings of a tantrum and hastily returned the anatomically incorrect animal, whereupon it was promptly stuffed back into the infant’s mouth with a beatific smile.
Then the little one was off again, crawling with a speed which was, actually, quite remarkable, across the sanitized Sickbay floor.

McCoy’s office door hissed open and a familiar figure barreled out. “Where the hel-heck is that kid?!” His bellow rattled a nearby instrument tray. “I turn my back for two seconds and he figures out how to throw that danged stuffed animal high enough to trip the door sensors!”

Spock blinked, and indicated the small legs which were disappearing around the corner into the next ward.
A moment later the nurse appeared around the corner, a miniature Jim Kirk scowling darkly from his perch on her shapely hip. She shot her superiors a severe look. “Doctor, it isn’t safe for you to let him crawl around like this, even if the floor’s kept sanitary by the computer controls,” she scolded, handing a protesting Jim into the physician’s arms. 
McCoy spluttered. “I’m gonna get you a leash, Jim-boy,” he growled, scowling back at the child, whose lower lip was starting to stick out in a full-blown pout, large tears welling up in those ridiculously expressive eyes. “Don’t look at me like that, it’s your own fault!”
“Doctor,” Spock interjected, seeing the sniffling begin to start. No doubt he was, as the humans said, spoiling the child, but he could not stand by and watch him be in distress.
“Fine, you take him,” McCoy growled, plopping the startled infant onto his lap. “Hope you have better luck. Next week he’ll be takin’ the replicator apart, you just watch, and don’t come cryin’ to me when he destroys your fire-pot tonight.”
Jim blinked, wide-eyed, and promptly threw the stuffed cat at McCoy’s head.
The doctor glared at them both. “Yours and the captain’s love-child, my sainted aunt,” he growled, arms folded. “That kid’s obviously one-hundred percent Jim Kirk, drama queen tendencies and all!”
Spock began to see what humans found appealing in the action known as a ‘headdesk.’