Star Trek does not belong to me.

"See?" Nyota nudged Christine as Spock walked by with his food tray. "He's hiding it all inside."

The two women watched intently as the ship's First Officer settled himself at a table at the far end of the Mess hall, conveniently facing them, and began to systematically eat his dinner. To an untrained eye, he may have appeared his usual neutral, unshakable self; but his observers knew better.

They had good amounts of personal experience to draw from, after all, one having been involved in a romantic relationship with Spock for whole three months and the other having practiced admiring and selflessly adoring him from distance for three long years.

And she definitely wasn't about to stop now when he needed her the most. News traveled fast and everybody knew about Kirk's infamous fling with the Cardassian princess. Right behind his lover's back.

Poor Spock.

"Should I go to him?" Christine asked her companion, rather eagerly.

"No, Christine. You can't! Don't you see he's doing his utmost to suppress his feelings? You can't go poking the beehive!"

"Perhaps a few comforting words-"

"No."

Christine opened her mouth to protest but was halted by Spock who suddenly put his fork down and straightened his shoulders, at the same time lowering his head a little, moving it, minutely, from side to side.

"Did you just see that?" Nyota half-whispered urgently. "He's so tense!"

"He's trying so hard to seem calm and reserved, but once in a while, we get a little glimpse." Christine said wisely.

"Just imagine the maelstrom of unbound emotions whirling under the surface!"

Both women sighed in unison, imagining it.

Meanwhile, Spock resumed eating.

After some time, a burly man in a red shirt unexpectedly sat down at a table in front of them, effectively blocking their view. Nyota and Christine's expressions – compassionate and impassioned, respectively – quickly turned supremely irritated.

"Hey, Cupcake!" Nyota called out roughly. "Get lost."

"But I just wanna eat my -" But seeing Lieutenant Uhura's glare and being very well aware of her reputation for super fierceness, the man in question thought better of it and hastily cleared the field.

Satisfied, the women returned to the object of their interest who seemed to have finished the salad and moved on to the soup.

But then:

"No!"

"Oh. My. God."

Captain James T. Kirk came into view and stopped at Spock's table. They exchanged a few words, unintelligible even to Nyota's trained ears and then Kirk placed his tray down so it touched corners with Spock's, drew out a chair and -

"That obnoxious bastard!"

- sat down.

"I can't believe he's doing that, why is he doing that, why?" lamented Christine.

"Just when I was beginning to think he was finally growing up," Nyota's hissed, radiating pure hatred, "he shags that phony bitch and then comes strutting here, gloating in Spock's face ..."

"Yes, and I thought Mr. Spock would have good influence on him."

"He did. But it wasn't enough."

"What a mean man!"

"Yeah, but especially-"

"Poor Spock." Both women intoned heartfeltly.

Spock proceeded to consume his soup, while clearly being forced to react to whatever malicious words his fellow diner was hurting him with. What kind of conversation and how incredibly straining for Spock it must have been, the two women could only guess.

Then, as Kirk was saying something no doubt excrutiating, Spock stopped the spoon in mid-motion and, keeping his eyes cast down, actually frowned.

Nyota and Christine exchanged looks of eternal misery.

"Poor Spock."

"This seat taken, Spock?"

"It is not."

"Mind if I join you?"

"I do not."

"So you know what's been bothering me?"

"I do not."

"The weird looks I've been getting ever since we got back from Cardassia Prime. Do you reckon people are just jealous I hooked up with that girl or -"

"No."

"I mean she did have kinda weird-shaped face, I wouldn't exactly call her pretty per se, but – wait, did you just say 'no'?"

"Indeed."

"Wow, you sure are chatty today."

"I apologize, Jim, I had devoted the entirety of the day to assisting in reparations of the transporter console and I seem to have developed an ache in my neck, not to mention the strain in my eyes -"

"Spock. Are you actually bitching about work? If so, I really do have a bad influence on you."

"I am merely informing you of - - -"

"Huh? Of what? Oh good god, what is that?"

"Most likely a misreplicated carrot."

"Bleh."

"Indeed."

After Spock removed the misshapen mutation from his food, they ate in silence for some time. Then Jim nudged him, saying in a low, conspirational voice:

"What I said about the weird looks – see for yourself, at the table all the way back, Chapel and Uhura. Be casual."

Spock put down his spoon for the last time, pushed away the tray and lifted his eyes, looking straight across the Mess hall. Nyota and Nurse Chapel were staring back at him, intensely. He stared back.

Then, he did the eyebrow thing.

Caught, the two women at first widened their eyes, keeping them still fixed on Spock, then hurriedly diverted their gaze, started fidgeting, getting up from the table and nervously collecting their plates and at last, they left the hall, shooting surreptitious, yet still very obvious, glances back at him.

"What was that about?"

" ... "

"Spock, do you know what that was about?"

"I may have some limited understanding of it, yes."

"Well, do you care to share it?"

"They seem to have … fallen for the rumors."

"What rumors?"

"Well, the rumors."

"What the rumors?"

"The rumors concerning us."

"Us? Like, me and you and Bones?"

"No."

"Listen, are you going to tell me or – "

"For quite a pronounced period of time, there have been rumors circulating around the Enterprise about our … romantic involvement. Had I not intercepted a digital message containing alleged details of this -"

"Hold on. Are you saying people think we are … a couple?"

"I thought you were ... aware of this. Nonetheless, our supposed involvement is no longer an issue. I infer it is now believed that our relationship was abruptly terminated by your recent affair with Princess Consuela of Cardassia."

"Ah. Aha. Yeah, that does explain everything. The weird looks, the menacing whispers behind my back ... They thought we were an item and then we broke up because I cheated on you. Well that's just crazy."

"Is it?"

"Yeah, if we were an item, I would never cheat on you."

Thank you, Reader, please review :)