Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Fic: Genesis (1/1)
LOOK AT THIS NOSE GODDAMN
eclecticmuse wrote in startrekfic
Title: Genesis
Author: eclecticmuse
Rating: PG
Pairing:   Spock/Uhura
Summary: Little snippets in the life of Nyota Uhura that culminate in the events in the Enterprise turbolift. SPOILERS.


Author's Notes: This is my first foray into ST fanfic and only my second fic ever so I am extremely nervous. I hope you enjoy! This fic is a result of me explaining to myself how Spock and Uhura came to be at that pivotal moment in the lift.

THANKS A MILLION to my lovely betas -- superkappa, camellie, weepwop, and stars_fell. I can't thank you all enough. You guys rock and all of your input was so wonderful. May Spock visit you in your dreams.

Uses some dialogue from the novelization. Also borrowed a line from another fic (WHICH I CANNOT FIND TO CREDIT D:). Contains a reference to both Doctor Who (if you spot it you get a cookie) and Laurie R. King's A Monstrous Regiment of Women (if you catch this you are my fandom soulmate).

-----

Genesis (noun): beginning – the time or circumstances of something’s coming into being.



For almost as long as Nyota Uhura had been with Starfleet, she had admired Spock. She admired his intelligence, his skill with computer systems, the way nothing seemed to ever ruffle his feathers. He was unflappable; she liked that.

He was patient with her. For all her brilliance she was not immune to the occasional mistake, and when he corrected her she never once felt like she was being spoken down to. He was also willing to debate topics relevant to and even outside the realm of her topic of study, something only a few of her professors did.

Because of all this she could say with confidence that Spock was by far her favorite teacher at Starfleet. She flourished under his tutelage. His cool efficiency was very conducive to productive work, she found, and was not distracting--unlike the vocal frustration, tiredness, and snappiness her other professors sometimes exhibited. Uhura did not see this as necessarily bad traits—they were simply human and did as human often do. More than once she found herself—with only just slight bit guilt—wishing all of her teachers were Vulcan. If she could do as well in all her classes as she did the one with a Vulcan for a teacher, she was sure she could graduate top of her class.

Not that she thought she couldn’t graduate top of her class regardless—it would have just been so much easier that way. Uhura was not one to back down from a challenge, however.

She found herself eagerly anticipating time spent with Spock, whether it was in class listening raptly to his instruction, or working as his teaching aide for Advanced Phonology. She enjoyed discussing the subtle intricacies of the Vulcan language with him and drew great satisfaction from answering his own questions on languages he wasn’t as familiar with.

It wasn’t until Gaila made an offhand comment that Uhura realized there might be a flaw in the works.

“You talk about him nonstop,” the other girl said. She was fluffing her curly hair in the mirror, preparing for a night out with one of her gentlemen friends. Uhura was sitting on her bed studying a text on Romulan phonology.

“What?” Uhura asked blankly. Her roommate had interrupted her in the midst of a ramble on the finer points of Romulan syntax, and the remark had thrown her for a loop.

“Spock,” Gaila replied. “You’re always going on about him. ‘Spock this’ and ‘Spock that’ and ‘Spock is so great, I wish all my teachers were like Spock.’” She capped her lipstick and swiveled in her chair to face Uhura, a knowing twinkle in her eye. “You don’t like him, do you?”

Uhura automatically dismissed her with an eyeroll and a “pfft”, but on the inside she was frowning. Was that what she really sounded like? Spock was merely her favorite professor and nothing more; he challenged her mind, pushed to her learn and grow, and she craved the knowledge he had to offer. That was all. That there might be something more … well, that would just be ridiculous.

“I don’t blame you,” Gaila was saying. “I don’t think a Vulcan would be my first choice, but on second thought it could be kind of hot. They can mind meld, you know, and ooh wouldn’t it be fun to see that hard exterior crack—“

“Gaila!” Uhura cried sharply, horrified. “I do not want to have sex with Spock. He’s my teacher, for goodness sake. Just … no.” She slammed her book shut. “End of story.”

Gaila shrugged delicately as she picked up her purse, but Uhura didn’t miss the smirk on her face as she walked out the door.

This would not do. Gaila was a good roommate and friend and not nearly as stupid as she made herself out to be, but if she had a weakness, it was gossip. Uhura did not need the entire cadet class thinking she had an absurd crush on her eminently logical professor. She had lofty ambitions and a very demanding course load--she didn’t have time for this kind of silly nonsense.

So Uhura internalized it, her admiration and respect, and went about business as usual. She limited her comments to others about Spock to the point of nonexistence, and if he caught wind of anything, he didn’t let on.

To her dismay, though, Gaila’s insinuation had wriggled its way into her brain and planted a tantalizing seed. Almost against her will she found herself paying extra attention to Spock’s words, the way he spoke, the way he carried himself, his gestures and actions and demeanor around her. She even found herself giving special care to her own looks before a class with him or before going somewhere he might be: maybe some new lip gloss, or earrings, or just a splash of perfume when Gaila wasn’t looking. She thought about how she found a night spent discussing Romulan liturgical evolution with him more interesting than a night at a bar; how one of his rare half-smiles meant more to her than a ‘compliment’ from a rowdy cadet.

Before she knew it, she was most definitely infatuated with her Vulcan teacher.

Uhura was a little furious with herself—there was no way she was going to let Gaila know she’d effectively won. Her rational side knew there wasn’t much of a point to it all anyway. Even though she had inferred that Spock was half-human on his mother’s side, he seemed to take more after his Vulcan heritage and was the most stoic person she knew. If—and even if—Spock took notice of females in the first place, it would probably be another Vulcan and certainly not a lower student such as herself.

To combat this distraction—which Uhura considered silly at best and very juvenile—she attacked her studies with an almost religious zeal. Even if Spock never noticed her in that way, she felt grateful and fortunate just to have him as a teacher. His expertise had been invaluable to her in her studies, and it was all worth it just for the sparing praise he awarded her with after a job particularly well done.

-----

One Friday around midterm, when the first subtle hints of winter began popping in the air, Uhura was staying late in the lab finishing up a difficult analysis comparing the deviations of Romulan syntax to that of Old High Vulcan. She was aware her work that night had been less than stellar, but her mind was preoccupied. She told the computer to run the daily logs with a sigh.

“Miss Uhura,” Spock said. He was across the room doing diagnostics on a faulty panel; wires were trailing all around him from the innards of the computer. Uhura turned wearily to face him, rubbing her eyes; it had been a long day.

“I have noticed that your analyses tonight showed signs of carelessness and lack of thought. This is most unlike you.”

He didn’t outright ask what was bothering her, but by now he didn’t have to. They’d worked so closely for so long that he could tell when she wasn’t completely focused. Uhura sighed again and stood, crossing over to sit at the console next to him. “I’m sorry,” she said lamely. “I’ve just had a lot on my mind today. I promise I’ll do better on Monday.”

Spock carefully set aside his spanner and gave her an appraising look. “Distraction is also most unlike you. What is it that gives you such cause for worry?”

For the first time since she had met him, Uhura felt stupid in his presence. “It’s silly,” she mumbled, twisting her hands and hating the sudden onset of doubt. “Don’t worry about it.”

“The rare thing that causes my best student worry could hardly be classified as ‘silly’,” Spock countered. She flushed slightly at his veiled praise. “Perhaps if I knew the source of your discomfort, I could offer insight to a solution.”

Uhura didn’t respond immediately. She watched him work for a minute instead, his nimble fingers attaching wires and nodes with ease.

“I have a Chorale recital tomorrow,” she finally said. Spock nodded minutely, eyes focused on the panel. “We have a few every semester. I was assigned a solo for this one. What with the rigors of this assistantship, and everything else I have going on, I haven’t had much time to practice. I’m … afraid I’m not going to do very well. I don’t want to embarrass both myself and the Chorale.”

Spock fit the console panel back into place and touched it once at each corner with the spanner. Then he turned towards her, crossing his arms.

“Is your schedule too demanding?” he asked seriously. “I can see to it that it is relaxed—“

“No!” Uhura said quickly. She was more than able to deal with her activities; she had just been devoting more time to her core studies than extracurricular. “It’s more like … a lapse in time management. I ought to know better. I do know better.”

Spock nodded once, then steepled his hands as he considered her once again. “I have not heard you sing, but I have no doubt as to your proficiency with it,” he said, his gaze level. “You excel in everything you do, Miss Uhura. I find it illogical to believe you would not excel there as well.”

Other humans would probably call Spock’s compliments backhanded, but over time Uhura had come to understand and appreciate them for what they were. His calm assessment of her skills succeeded in calming her much more than Gaila: “Of course you’ll do great, Nyota! You are vice-president of the Chorale after all!” But Uhura knew she was not vice-president because she had the best voice; it was because she was one of the best leaders amongst the group, best able to organize and take care of the managerial duties of the Ensemble.

The next night, as Uhura stepped forward for her solo, she received the shock of her life when she saw Spock sitting in the audience. She was surprised—as far as she knew, he didn’t attend campus events like this. If she had been a lesser woman, the sight of her crush—whose opinion meant more than she would perhaps like to admit—would have made her even more nervous. But she was not a lesser woman. Spock believed she wouldn’t fail so she would prove it to him, and everyone else as well. She threw her shoulders back and sang with all her heart and soul.

The following Monday Spock didn’t make any mention of her concert until they were leaving the lab for the evening. Before they parted ways at their customary spot—she to the cadet dormitories, he to the graduate—he turned to face her.

“You performed most admirably Saturday evening,” he said, his hands behind his back. “So you see, just as I said, it was illogical of you to worry.” Uhura could swear she saw the corners of his mouth upturn slightly.

She couldn’t help it—she actually blushed. “Thank you,” she said simply, and meant it. She wouldn’t gush or exclaim how she was so surprised to see him there or how she couldn’t believe it. That just wasn’t how they worked.

Spock inclined his head at her, and she thought she saw the ghost of a real smile on his lips before he straightened. “The hour is late, Miss Uhura,” he said. “The dormitories await. Thank you for your time and effort--it is most appreciated.”

It was his traditional farewell. Uhura walked back to her quarters with her feet on clouds. Spock was her favorite teacher, and her silly crush—but more importantly perhaps, he was also her friend.

-----

A friend that she could be quite defensive of, she realized later.

Uhura was not deaf; she heard the whispers, was keenly aware of them. Even in the enlightened mindset of the Federation bigotry was not unheard of, though it was mostly due to ignorance or an unfortunate upbringing than out of any real animosity towards a person. She knew of Spock’s mixed heritage and had gleaned from some of his more unguarded comments that he had probably not had an easy childhood due to it.

She herself was no stranger to bigotry. She had encountered some of it herself just once due to the color of her skin, but sometimes because of her gender. As a woman she felt she had to push herself farther, be smarter than everyone else and succeed at everything, just to prove her worth.

These were but minor stumbling blocks in the main scheme of things. Her first experience with how it could truly hurt had been through Gaila. Her roommate, cheerful and bubbly as she was, let the comments slide most of the time. One time, she didn’t.

Uhura would never forget the night Gaila came back to their quarters crying, shaking and bruised, sobbing about the male cadet that had shaken her and called her a green-skinned slag. Uhura’s heart had cried, and she had spent the night smoothing her friend’s hair back and drying her tears, tending to her light wounds and giving her words of comfort and strength. Gaila had not wanted to report the cadet, much to Uhura’s dismay; she said she feared repercussions. Uhura had wanted to go to the authorities regardless, but Gaila had trusted her. It was something Uhura still regretted all the same.

They had gotten along fine before that incident, but afterwards there was something new in their friendship. Uhura still bemoaned Gaila’s never-ending stream of gentlemen callers and Gaila still despaired over Uhura’s lack of them, but they had a much deeper understanding of each other. Uhura never let another remark about her Orion roommate slide again.

Thus Uhura was keenly aware of the whispers she sometimes heard in the library, in the halls, on the campus grounds. According to another cadet, Spock’s heritage made him an aberration on Vulcan. The small number of Vulcans in Starfleet to begin with made them ripe for speculation, and Uhura heard it all: Emotionless. Cold as ice. Arrogant. Impossible to please. Pointy-eared bastard. Half-breed, even. And other, uglier remarks Uhura didn’t like to think about because it made her blood boil. She wanted to yell at those ignorant mouth-runners, stamp her foot and scream that if they thought they could do better than Spock had she’d like to see them try.

But she didn’t.

She knew, somehow, that Spock would not appreciate her—or anyone else—coming to his defense.

They did not socialize much outside of class and their project—if anything Spock did could be construed as socializing—but sometimes if they finished their lab work before the cadet mess hall closed for the evening, they would eat a quick meal together. Uhura was aware that this generated a small amount of talk, but she was now beyond the point of caring. Let them talk, she thought rudely. I’m proud to be seen with him. They only wish they were half as brilliant.

Sometimes Gaila would be in the mess hall too, and she would make it her mission to flirt with the Vulcan: a salacious wink here, a slight reveal of out-of-regulation cleavage there. Spock was never anything but polite to her, asking briefly after her studies and never showing the slightest hint that he was interested or even aware of her advances. Uhura would stab her fork at her salad and grit her teeth until Gaila left with a happy wave and a “See you later!”

She couldn’t be too angry with her, though. Just as Uhura stuck up for her now, Gaila reciprocated. One evening after Spock had left their table Gaila’s crowd had descended on her, wanting to know all about the enigmatic science officer. To Uhura’s surprise, Gaila did not join in and in fact looked highly upset. “Drop it, guys,” she had said firmly.

It was so unlike Gaila that her companions were stunned into silence and they had slunk back to their own table. Back in their room, Gaila shrugged it off.

“You like him,” she said quietly. “No, don’t look at me like that, I know you do. So he must have some redeeming qualities.”

At Uhura’s surprised look, she smiled wryly and said. “Sex isn’t all I think about, Nyota.”

Spock never called Uhura by her first name.

-----

The semester was over too quickly and before she knew it, Uhura had completed her assistantship with Spock. She spent the last night of the term before winter break putting the finishing touches on a data pad detailing the entire project that she was due to deliver to her advisor first thing in the morning.

She was aware of Spock somewhere behind her the entire time, moving about the lab, saying nothing. She made her final edit, made sure it was saved, and slipped the pad into her pocket. Then she spun quickly in her chair to face Spock, a look of finality on her face. “Well … I guess that’s that.”

“Indeed.”

Spock was sitting at the same console he had been at a few months previously, when they had discussed her music recital. His hands were steepled again and he was looking at her keenly. “I trust my edits were satisfactory?”

Uhura nodded. “They were. More than that, really. They were perfect. I think Captain Becker will be pleased.”

“Excellent. Then we should adjourn,” Spock said, and stood. Uhura followed suit, but neither of them made to leave. Instead they both just stared at each other, and for perhaps the second time in their friendship Uhura felt a rush of stupidity. This felt so anticlimactic—that their close association should come to such a quick and impersonal end. After two straight semesters as his teaching aide she had gotten used to seeing him more often than just about anyone else. She wanted to say something meaningful, something heartfelt, but words had failed her. Silly Nyota, she thought. You’re acting like this is the last time you’ll ever see him.

“Commander—“ she began, just as he said, “Miss Uhura—“

They both stopped and stared again at each other, awkwardly. After a long moment Spock set his toolkit down on the console.

“I understand you are to be promoted to Lieutenant at the start of next term?” he asked.

Uhura was so thrown by the non sequitur she had to fumble for a moment to regain her thoughts. “Oh—yes,” she stammered. “Yes, I am.”

Spock seemed pleased. “Then let me congratulate you on the achievement,” he said. “You have earned it.”

Uhura nodded again; she knew she’d earned it. “Thanks, Commander.”

He closed his eyes briefly in acknowledgement. Then: “You may call me Spock.” At her raised eyebrows, he continued, “Are we not familiar enough with one another by now that we may dispense with the formality of rank? We are not yet in a professional environment.”

Uhura figured he had a point, and felt a rush of pleasure at being privy to this form of intimacy. “Sure … Spock.”

He was silent again for a long moment; he seemed to be on the verge of saying something important, though what that could be Uhura had no clue. Finally he nodded once to himself and took a step toward her.

“Then I think perhaps a more sincere farewell is in order. Allow me this opportunity to say that working with you these past two terms has indeed been a pleasure. Your expertise and knowledge of your subject have been invaluable to me and have taught me a great deal. You have been, as Humans say, a joy to work with. I thank you.”

Uhura was stunned. It was the most open Spock had ever been with anything for her, and the oh-so-human earnestness creeping into his voice stirred something deep in her heart. “Me too, Comman—Spock,” she amended. “I’ve learned a lot from you. I’m glad you picked me for the assistantship, and I hope we can work together again in the future.”

Yes, that sounded very professional. Uhura was proud of how even her voice sounded after her initial gaffe.

Spock inclined his head at her, and she thought she saw ... sadness? somewhere in his eyes. “I must confess that I will … miss … our collaboration,” he said softly. “It has been truly unique, Miss Uhura ... Nyota.”

She snapped her head up to look at him, her breath congealing in her throat. He was still looking steadily at her, his gaze unfathomable, but his eyes were a strange mixture of emotions she couldn’t quite identify. She swallowed thickly.

“Me too,” she said quietly. “I’ll miss it too.” And before she could embarrass herself any further: “So what are you going to do over the break?”

Spock blinked, and his eyes swirled back to their normal critical gaze. It was not a step backward, Uhura knew, but an acknowledgement of the moment: it would be kept, tucked safely away in his mind.

“Vulcan calls,” he answered. “My father has requested my presence for the holiday. And yourself?”

Uhura shrugged. “I planned on visiting my parents for awhile. I think my mother misses me more than she lets on.”

Spock nodded, and there it was again: the hint of a smile playing about his lips. “My mother yearns for me as well,” he said lightly. “She is always curious about my studies here at the Academy.”

Uhura found herself smiling; she was pretty sure there was a joke in there somewhere, and it was the first time she could recall him mentioning his mother directly. “And what will you tell her this time?”

He seemed to consider her question. “I think I will tell her of a most remarkable Human woman, not so unlike herself,” he said, the barest hint of a twinkle in his eye. Now Uhura knew he was humoring her, and she was entranced. “Intelligent and stubborn, yet highly logical for a Human,” he added. He tilted his head at her, and Uhura felt her tongue turn to sawdust.

If only you knew how illogical I feel right now, Commander
, she thought, but before she could contemplate that line of thought further a piercing whistle sounded: curfew was in fifteen minutes.

Spock snatched up his toolkit. “I see time has escaped us,” he said. “Please allow me to escort you to your dormitory this once, Nyota, and there I shall bid you farewell and safe journeys on your holiday.”

Acting on impulse, Uhura slipped her hand into the crook of his elbow as they walked out the door. Spock stiffened but did not pull away, and after a second he relaxed. If anything, he walked taller and with an almost proud lilt to his step. Uhura laughed in delight and as they walked across campus, she tried not to think about how she could feel the heat of his skin, even through the sleeve of his tunic.

-----

It shouldn’t have surprised her, but Uhura would have been lying if she said she wasn’t a little hurt by Spock’s return to form after the winter break. It was as if those shining few moments had never happened. He never mentioned their conversation and went back to calling her Miss Uhura (or Lieutenant), but she insisted on calling him Spock. He didn’t correct her.

He was still her instructor for one class, but they did not see each other with near the frequency they had the previous semester. His conversations with her outside the realm of academia were brief and perfunctory but always polite. At first his casual distance twisted something painful in Uhura’s gut but as she accepted that things were not going to change, it faded into a somewhat bittersweet ache.

She dated for the first time while at the Academy, that semester. He was a fellow cadet majoring in Engineering that she had met in the Chorale Ensemble, with brown hair and laughing green eyes. She knew deep in her heart that she was settling (and thought perhaps he knew it too), but he still treated her with respect. He taught her again to navigate the often-awkward dance of courtship and Uhura wished more than once that things were different, that she might be able to fully give her heart to this wholly deserving young man. He was good for her.

More than once, in the mess hall, Uhura saw Spock sitting across the room at the graduate tables. He was always alone. She thought sometimes she felt him watching her, talking and laughing amongst her friends and boyfriend. Once she caught his eyes; her smile faltered as he averted his gaze, but not before she saw something like regret written plainly in them.

Her mouth drew into a thin line, and she turned her attention back to her companions. She was doing nothing wrong. Spock had made it clear he was not interested in pursuing her in any way, and she would not let herself be made to feel guilty.

Uhura and her engineer boyfriend split shortly before the midterm break. They remained on friendly terms.

She had managed over the course of the spring to compartmentalize her infatuation with her Vulcan teacher, to tuck it into a safe place where it could no longer distract her. She knew the almost-might-have-been would be a light bruise on her heart for some time, but she would get past it. She knew she would. In the meantime she would learn to cherish the relationship she did have with her him: Spock was a trusted mentor and valued colleague, and dare she say it friend, even in spite of the space he had put between them since December.

For those moments when she got too lonely or her work too stressful, she would think back on her memory of being escorted across campus like a lady, listening to Spock tell her tidbits about growing up on Vulcan in his even, measured tones. She had wondered more than once what had transpired over the break to facilitate his change in attitude, but she thought she already knew the answer. His Vulcan side had evidently won out.

Uhura was able to admit to herself that she adored him, and she was confident Spock adored her in his own way, even if he couldn’t show it. Favorite teacher he might be, but he was a friend first, and if he ever needed support she would make sure he knew he had it. In her, at least, his favorite student.

--~--

Barely two months later, as Spock sat in the captain’s chair of the Enterprise staring sightlessly out of the front viewport at where his home planet had once been, Uhura felt her heart break for him. She knew—knew—that he was hurting far more than he would ever let on, and that his Vulcan sensibilities were struggling to stay in place.

When he stood suddenly and made for the turbolift, Uhura felt her legs move to follow him. She went automatically, without even thinking, and she had no clue what she would say or do after she hit the emergency stop on the lift control panel.

In the sudden silence she looked up at his face, searching, looking for anything that might betray a hint of his feelings. He was staring impassively at a point just over her left shoulder. It was this that finally succeeded in crushing her heart: the knowledge that he couldn’t, wouldn’t show his grief. She felt tears bubble up inside of her and it was suddenly hard to breathe. It was as though since he could not express his anguish, she felt it for him—his sorrow for his planet, his people, his mother.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered brokenly.

Still he did not look at her. She bit back a sob and fought the urge to rail at him until she couldn’t stand it anymore. “I’m so sorry,” she said again, and her hands came up to cup his cheeks, smooth over his brow; barely aware of herself, she was raining kisses on his cheeks, forehead, lips.

He was unresponsive and stiff and for a wild second Uhura thought that she was making a grave mistake, but as her arms wound around his neck to pull him into a hug, she felt his arms come up behind her to awkwardly grasp her shoulders.

She let loose a breath. Spock touched his nose to the crook of her neck for the briefest of seconds before raising his head again, their cheeks barely touching; she could feel his heart hammering painfully against his chest, against her own.

Drawing back just enough so that he leaned his forehead on hers, eyes shut, she cradled his face again. “Tell me what you need,” she implored. In that moment she would have done anything in the universe he could ask of her. Her favorite teacher, her friend, her beloved: she was desperate to take his pain, share it, ease it just a little bit, if she could. She could feel his shoulders trembling.

“What do you need?” she repeated. “Tell me.” She tightened her hold, desperately. “Tell me.”

His hands spasmed once against her shoulder blades. “I need …” His voice was ragged and wobbly, but Uhura could tell he was already turning inwards, his calm Vulcan veneer reasserting itself to present to the rest of the crew. “I need … everyone to continue performing admirably.”

Uhura felt her stomach drop even as she nodded tearfully, accepting his gentle redirect. She knew that right now, in this moment, that was what would serve him best. There would be time to properly grieve later; she had tried, at least.

He had stood back to release the emergency stop on the lift, but as it shuddered back into motion he looked gravely at her and she saw all the raw emotion he couldn’t verbalize in his eyes. It was hard to fight back the tears again.

“Okay,” she whispered, nodding again. “Okay.”

But I will be here when you are ready.

The lift doors hissed open and Spock brushed past her and out into the hall, not looking back. It took several deep breaths and half a cycle of the lift for Uhura to regain her composure enough to return to the bridge.

-----

A very short time later, Uhura honestly thought that she wanted to kill Jim Kirk. In the awkward silence that followed Spock’s resignation, she felt her heart break all over again.

--~--

Before he left to beam aboard the Narada, Spock had taken her aside in the transporter room as she affixed a translator to his uniform. He didn’t say anything for a moment or two; just held her lightly by her upper arms and stared at her. His eyes were intense, as if he sought to memorize everything about her before he left.

“This goes in place on your uniform, in the chest area,” she was saying, trying not to feel his eyes on her too much. “Far enough from your mouth to enjoy some protection, close enough to pick up speech and transmit replies.”

“I am aware of the instrument’s optimal location,” he replied. His eyes had not yet left her face.

“Yes—yes, of course you are.” She forced a smile onto her face. “We don’t have a full understanding of Romulan syntax—some of their words and names are hard to pronounce, as you know—but I’ve modified these translators to allow you to speak and to be understood conversationally.”

“Thank you, Nyota,” he said quietly. It was the first time he’d used her first name since that night in the lab, a million lifetimes ago. He opened his mouth to speak again but just as quickly snapped it shut. Then he touched his forehead to hers.

“I trust you will open all hailing frequencies as soon as you are able?”

Uhura couldn’t stop the ragged chuckle that burst out, despite the levity of the situation. “Yes,” she promised. “Yes, of course.”

He released her and gave her a wry smile. It was not the hint of a smile she had seen before, but a true quirking of his lips. Behind them, Jim Kirk came through the door and stopped at the console to have a quiet word with Mr. Scott. Spock gave him a brief glance and released her.

“Be careful. Come back,” she said thickly.

“I always endeavor to come back,” he murmured. “Especially when I have something to come back to.” He raised his hand to her face, his knuckles ghosting over her cheek, before he turned to the platform with purpose. Uhura followed him like a magnet.

She felt like, given all the variables of the situation and the likelihood of their mission’s success, that she ought to say something back—but the words died on her tongue. As Spock turned to face forward on the transporter, she stopped just below him, face helpless. Their eyes met and she sensed, rather than saw, something inside the Vulcan crack.

Decisively Spock reached for her, drew her up to the step below him, and kissed her gently.

Uhura supposed it was a moment she would remember for a very long time. It was not unlike what she knew from old fairy tales, where time slowed down until all that was left were the two lovers suspended in space, but she knew better. She was not a damsel in distress and Spock was not a dashing young knight. If anything the kiss was bittersweet and spoiled by the knowledge that it might be the last time they ever saw each other.

She heard footsteps approaching behind her and knew it was Kirk come to take his place next to Spock on the transporter dais. His eyes were burning holes through her skull—he was completely and utterly baffled by the tableau before him.

Sorry Jim, brawn and bravado doesn’t always get the girl, she thought as she threw her arms around Spock’s neck. His hands were hovering hesitantly near her waist and though Uhura felt she could have remained there for an eternity, there were bigger fish to fry.

She disengaged softly from Spock’s hold and gave him one last meaningful look before turning to leave. Though she didn’t spare Kirk a glance, she couldn’t stop the smirk from showing on her face where he could see it, and she put an extra sway in her step as she left—though that was more for Spock and somewhat of a one-finger salute at Kirk.

Scott made a great show of muttering over his readouts as she passed by, but the instant she was out in the hall the smile slipped from her face and she had to lean against the wall for a second so she could process everything. This whole ordeal was frightening her more than she cared to admit, and it was not over concern for her own safety.

-----

What followed was easily the tensest hour of Uhura’s life. She was certain one could cut through the atmosphere on the bridge with a knife. True to her word, she opened all hailing frequencies the second the drill was disabled and began a rapid-fire series of communiqués with Starfleet headquarters below. The instant she heard Scott’s voice on the frequency saying he had a lock on both Kirk and Spock, she transferred her job to Lieutenant Hawkins. Duty be damned for once—she was bolting for the lift before Scott had even finished talking.

-----

Uhura came through the door to the transporter room just as Kirk, Pike and Spock were beaming aboard. The latter made a beeline for her the second he had fully coalesced, and took her hands as he continued out the door to the bridge, never slowing down. The fight was not yet won.

He didn’t speak, but the hand at her elbow spoke volumes. Uhura was grateful for it; she was dizzy with relief. She had seen the tiny ship on the main screen, dancing around the Narada’s rockets, heading straight for the massive ship. Its impact and resultant fireball were but a blip on the mining vessel’s hull, but it had turned her heart to ash.

Spock walked with purpose, and as they exited the lift onto the bridge he gave her elbow the smallest of squeezes before heading for the front, and she to her station. On the main screen, the Narada was writhing in the clutches of the black hole that was swallowing it.

Uhura slipped her earpiece back on. There would be time for other things later. Hopefully.

-----

As the proverbial dust settled on the Enterprise’s adventure, Uhura finally had a second to slow and reflect before the cavalcade of duty began anew. Back on the ground amongst the familiar normalcy of Earth, the past few days felt like little more than a dream—all of it. But that was not the case, and reminders of the turmoil were everywhere.

The bruises that Kirk and Sulu wore like badges of honor. The covered corpses of the losses the Enterprise had sustained in the medical bay. The empty rooms in the cadet dormitories. The lack of light in Gaila’s eyes; what the Orion girl had seen in the terrible moments before the Enterprise came out of warp above Vulcan, Uhura didn’t know. She saw it also in the way young Chekov’s face had lost some of its certainty and confidence. Even the lower water levels in San Francisco Bay; the drill’s beam had evaporated a good bit of it and scientists reasoned it would take some time to return to normal.

The next couple of weeks were a blur of debriefings, funerals, and ceremonies, and Uhura only saw her crewmates in passing. It was an odd mix of solemnity and celebration that she found jarring. Starfleet mourned the loss of a good portion of its cadet class, but it also celebrated the bravery and valor of those that survived. There was much to do to mitigate the loss of Vulcan and many of Starfleet’s best and brightest, but it would be done.

Finally things began to settle down, and one bright afternoon found Uhura sitting on the wall of the campus green looking out across the Bay. After days of being stuck in debriefing rooms and auditoriums she just wanted to feel the sun on her face. She was idly watching the small fleet of boats puttering about in the vicinity of the Golden Gate Bridge, where the drilling rig had fallen. Divers were checking the integrity of it; if it passed inspection, it would be left to molder as a sort of artificial reef. Making lemonade out of lemons, Uhura figured.

She didn’t realize anyone was behind her until she heard a soft voice: “Lieutenant Uhura.”

She looked around and there was Spock standing a few feet behind her, hands clasped behind his back. She stared at him for a moment, unsure how to respond. She was half-afraid the time spent apart had cooled whatever it was he felt, and that what they had shared on the Enterprise was nothing more than the conflicted feelings of a man who had just lost everything.

“Commander Spock,” she finally said, and turned back to face the Bay.

She missed the faint crease of his brow as he came forward to stand next to her perch. “I trust you have been well?” he asked.

Uhura shrugged. “About as well as anyone, I guess. Things have been so hectic lately I’ve hardly had time to breathe, let alone much else. I’m … glad it’s almost all over.” She chanced looking at him. “What about you?”

His eyes were on the boats in the Bay. “I am well,” he replied. “No lasting harm came to me on our voyage. Indeed these three weeks have been severe, but it was required. Nevertheless I, like you, am thankful for the respite.”

A lump formed in Uhura’s throat. No lasting harm. Physical harm, anyway. And when he turned to look back at her she could see proof of her thoughts hiding in the depths of his eyes.

She still wasn’t sure of him though. The use of her formal title made her wary.

She settled for nodding thoughtfully. “Are you going to stay with Starfleet, or will you rejoin your people?”

The look that passed over Spock’s face was curious, and his cheek twitched. “I will stay with Starfleet,” he replied firmly.

Uhura blinked—it wasn’t the answer she was expecting, but at the same time she felt a small weight lift from her chest. “I thought you would want to help rebuild your race,” she said bluntly.

The curious look was still on his face, but it after a second it dissipated back to his usual serene countenance. “I am a child of two worlds, Lieutenant. I believe the best solution for all would be for me to remain with Starfleet for the time being.”

They stayed silent for awhile in companionable silence, watching the boats on the Bay move about, each concerned with their own thoughts.

The sun was starting to dip low on the horizon before either of them spoke again.

“I have … missed your company, since we returned,” Spock said. He was inspecting the concrete wall on which she sat. Uhura felt her heart twinge as she looked askance at him.

“Have you?” she asked softly.

Spock raised an eyebrow at the wall. “I have,” he affirmed. “Though I am uncertain it needed saying.”

“I think it might have,” Uhura murmured.

At this, Spock raised his head to look at her fully. “I am afraid I do not understand.”

She sighed, and leaned back on her hands. “I don’t know what to make of you, Spock,” she said honestly. “You’ve reverted back to titles again, the same as after winter break. You’re nothing if not a mystery. I guess … I guess I just don’t know where I stand with you.”

The Vulcan’s eyebrows creased. “Do we not stand right here?”

Uhura couldn’t help but smile at that, and twisted so that she was sitting facing the campus green. “I meant … I’m not sure what I mean to you.”

“Ah.” Both his eyebrows rose this time, and he was silent for several minutes. Then he folded his hands on the wall in front of him and regarded her seriously. “Despite my heritage, I sincerely doubt I will ever offer you flowery declarations of love and commitment,” he said.

Uhura gaped at him. “I don’t want—“ she started, but stopped when she caught his face. His lips were twitching again and she was sure she saw a sparkle in his eye. She crossed her arms and looked at him in disbelief. “You’re teasing me!”

Spock shook his head. “It would be inadvisable of me to tease you,” he said. “I know those are not the things you desire. It is why I regard you as I do.”

Uhura did not deny that some obscure part of her makeup might have been pleased by impassioned declarations and tokens and kneeling on one knee, but truthfully, it didn’t matter so much. What she desired—truly desired—was right here in front of her: inscrutability wrapped up in an enigma, his mind and his thoughts more appealing than any dashing smile. She didn’t love (and she could admit that now—love) him for the man he had the capability to be—more human, less Vulcan—she loved him for who he was right now.

She hopped down from the wall so she could face him. “And how you do regard me, Commander Spock?”

If he could ever look exasperated, he managed it then. “Must I say it? I confess I might require a reevaluation of my prior assessment of your logic. I care for you. Nyota.”

The spreading smile on her face—she had known all along—was more reward than Spock could have hoped for. And when she kissed him, in front of everyone on the campus green, he let her.

It was the most bold he would likely ever be.

-----

If she was honest with herself, Nyota Uhura knew that this—her unconventional romance with her Vulcan superior officer—would probably not last forever. She did not harbor fantastical dreams of happily ever after, certainly not yet. Somewhere along the course of their lives and their careers something would inevitably cause them to drift apart.

Perhaps one of them would be transferred and the lack of nearness would fade their feelings back to the point of friendship.

Or one of them would choose career over love, as often happens.

Whatever the outcome, however, Uhura hoped it was without regret.


Crossposted to st_reboot and spock_uhura .

  • 1
Wow. That was so, so satisfying. Thank you for sharing it.

No problem--I'm really glad you enjoyed it!

  • 1
?

Log in

No account? Create an account