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Length: ~450 words
Series: Star Trek (original series, non-reboot continuity). Takes place at a specific point in mid-season two (which should become clear at the end of the fic).
Characters: McCoy, Spock.
Rating: G.
Warnings: None.
Disclaimers: Not mine.

McCoy’s intense concentration was interrupted when the doors to his lab swished open. He turned and, to his great displeasure, it was Spock.

“Doctor,” he began droning, “I believe that the captain will want to see the senior staff to discuss the—”

“It’s 13 hundred already?” McCoy asked. “All right, just a second.” He continued running his comb through his small patient’s hair.

Spock raised an eyebrow. “And the thing which will be ‘just a second’ is…?”

McCoy scowled, a little ashamed to be caught doing…this. “Look, I asked Uhura if I could borrow it for study, and I thought the least I could do was make it look a little…well, presentable, before I brought it back. I thought it would just take a few seconds, but I…guess the time sort of got away from me. It’s a thing that happens to humans sometimes, as I’m sure you’ve noticed.  Look, everything is nice and smooth except this area here on the top of its head, or, maybe it’s the bottom, I’m not sure, so I’ll be done in a second.”

“Doctor, you may be interested to know of a theorem in topology. On Earth, it was first postulated by Henri Poincaré, and later proved by L. E. J. Brouwer in 1912, though of course on Vulcan this theorem dates back to the period of—”

“Spock, I said I would be done in a second, I don’t need a history lesson.” As he combed out the hairy area sticking up, two more appeared, and McCoy dutifully tried to rein them in, his annoyance at the vague sense Spock was leading up to a lecture about the value of punctuality making it harder.

Spock continued, “The theorem states that every smooth vector field on the surface of a sphere has at least one singular point.”

McCoy put the comb down. “Well, I’m sure that is very interesting, Mr. Spock, but if you want me to get to that briefing any time soon you’ll just let me finish this—”

“Letting you finish this, doctor, might take longer than you would expect. An equivalent statement of the theorem, in your Earth’s colloquial language, is that it is impossible, without creating tufts or cowlicks, to comb a hairy ball.”

McCoy stopped, and realized. “Oh,” he said. “Well why didn’t you just say that right away?” Anger turned quickly to embarrassment. “I, uh, guess we’ll go to that briefing then.” At Spock's half-smirk, McCoy put the tribble down, and swore that he heard a mocking coo from it as he and Spock left the room.
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