Continuing Tales

For the Rest of Us

A Star Trek Story
by Psicygni

Part 6 of 10

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"Does anyone have any more questions?" Pike asks, his hand hovering over the keypad to disconnect the presentation.

There are more, she's sure, but her classmates have quite nearly exhausted themselves from having a captain come in who was willing to answer anything they can think of to ask.

A captain and his first officer and Nyota's proud of herself for paying attention as much as she has, with Spock standing there at the front of the lecture hall.

She knows that if she asks him when she calls him that evening, he'll tell her all about his own perception of it, pick up the train of thought he had left off of the night before when he described being informed by Captain Pike that he was expected to attend the lecture. She can't help but think about that, now, studying the way Pike says something to Spock, softly, their heads bent together as the cadets around her start to stand and gather their belongings, Spock's slight ire at being pulled away from his work, combined with his own recollection of having active duty officers brought in for a talk when he was a cadet and how engaging that had been.

"Watch where you're going," Gaila instructs and Nyota feels herself get poked in the back, pushed forward into the crowd.

"Sorry," she mutters, carefully picking her way down the steps towards the front of the room, half of her mind on how to properly navigate them in the crush of other students, the other half focused on the fact that Spock and Pike have been surrounded by a pack of cadets and that she won't have a chance to say hi to him.

Not that the didn't talk that morning, quickly, when she ran into him in the mess hall, and not that they didn't talk the night before, and the night before that.

"Sorry," Nyota says, again, when she realizes that she's been focused on retracing those conversations, the warmth and delight they always leave her with, rather than not bumping into Gaila as they head down the hall.

"Cadet Uhura!" she hears from behind her and when she turns, she's maybe not expecting that he'd be the one calling to her, not with his tone crisp and professional, so different than how low and soft it is over the comm when they talk late at night, how lightly he speaks when they're among their friends.

"Hi," she says, then draws up short. "Uh, sir."

"I was able to procure tickets," he says, coming to a stop a step closer to her than another officer would stand. Gaila's disappeared from next to her, which is just fine because Spock is taking up her entire focus, anyway.

"What?" she asks because her mind is caught on the way his science blues hug his torso, the place where the collar of his black undershirt meets the skin of his neck. "Oh, for the-"

"Concert, yes," he says quickly and then his hand is on her elbow and her heart's hammering because he's touching her, soft and gentle and warm through the fabric of her sweater, and they're standing in the middle of the hall and she feels her attention snap away from his fingers on her arm and widen out towards her classmates, a handful of instructors, Captain Pike in the doorway to the lecture hall still being accosted by overly enthusiastic command track cadets.

She wants to be alone with him, in his quarters, at Thex and Schori's, in his office, in the break room, anywhere that there isn't the press of other cadets, and she wants, desperately, for him to never stop touching her like that, her mind centering in on then way his thumb has started moving back and forth, hypnotic and mesmerizing.

"That's great," she gets out, which is difficult since the connection between her mind and her mouth seems to not be functioning. Or maybe it's her brain itself, suddenly blank and fuzzy and full of a cloudy haze that seems to be directly related to his touch.

"Will you have too much school work?" he's asking when she tunes back into the meaning of his words instead of just the sound of his voice washing over her.

"It's on… when did you say it is?"


"Today's Wednesday." That gets her a smile, one of those tiny ones of his, one which makes her grin at herself and briefly cover her eyes with her hand. Her other hand, so that she doesn't dislodge the way he's touching her. "Next Wednesday, you meant. And no I should be mostly done with everything, at least until finals start."

The hall has at some point emptied around them and he draws her towards the wall, so that they're more out of the way and so that it's just the two of them there, the rest of the Academy seemingly far away just for that moment.

"Have you eaten?"

She just shakes her head because her stomach is making a game attempt to jump past her heart and into her throat, and just ends up feeling like it's lodged somewhere in her chest.

"Would you like to-"

"Mr. Spock," she hears and his touch is gone from her arm, cool air rushing through the fabric of her sweater to chill the place his hand was.

"Sir?" Spock's saying and he's still close enough to her that heat is pouring off of him, making her skin tingle and her mouth go dry.

"Do you have a minute to go over the schematics? I want to do it now so that I can go meet up with Admiral Komack this afternoon." Pike eyes flick over to her. "If you're not busy."

"Of course," Spock answers and he's so different like this, so brisk and decisive.

"Cadet," Pike nods, the greeting cursory and perfunctory and he begins to turn away when his eyes narrow slightly, his attention on her again.

"Sir?" she asks.

"So," Pike says slowly.

"Sorry, sir?"

"You're…" he says, then points back and forth between her and Spock. "Nice to meet you, finally."

"This is Cadet Uhura," Spock says, his fingers ghosting down the back of her arm.

"Nice to meet you as well, sir," she says, her hand quickly engulfed in the Captain's much larger one.

"So what're you studying?" Pike asks as they start down the hall. "Spock said you were in communications but what are you focusing on?"

"Xenolinguistics," she answers, trying to get her brain to snap back into focus, trying to narrow in on the discussion with the Captain.

"Studying anything interesting, in particular?"

"Most recently, I've been researching the differences in Klingon verb conjugations through different socioeconomic classes in their society."

"Huh," Pike says, coming to a stop at the front of the building, just before the doors. "Is that considered fascinating, Mr. Spock?"

"It is."

"Glad we have our comm officers to be thinking about things like this," Pike says to her with a wide grin, the corners of his eyes crinkling. "And sorry to steal him away."

"Not at all, sir."

She gets another smile from Pike and as he turns away a softer look from Spock.

"Have fun with the schematics," she tells him, quietly so that Pike can't hear.

"I will not," he promises, so seriously that she finds that it's her turn to grin.


"Quite," he answers and when his hand brushes over her arm again, she returns the gesture this time, the fabric of his jacket surprisingly soft, his wrist wiry and strong under her touch.

She watches them go for a long moment, just staring at him as they walk through the glass doors and out onto the quad, rather unable to look away so that she catches the moment where he looks back, turns over his shoulder to catch her eye, and she smiles all the way to her next class.

It takes about thirty seconds into the ceremony before Gaila elbows her in the ribs.


"-I know-"

"-It's all-"

"-Yep, I can see-"

"-An entire-"

"-An entire plate of chocolate," Nyota whispers back before shushing her roommate. "We're supposed to be listening, you know."

"It's more than a plate," Gaila breathes. "It's so, so much…"

"We must finish the harvest," Grippen says from where she's seated at the front. "To celebrate the new year's rains, we eat."

"Now?" Gaila asks, her eyes wide and bright.

"In a moment," Grippen says with a small smile, which is slightly disconcerting with how sharp her teeth are. "The year on our planet is measured by the weather. We do not follow the calendar that you all do, but align our months and days by when the rains come, when they cease again and when the sun arrives and our crops grow. Some years are long, some are shorter, and it is with great fortune that we are able to end the season with stores still remaining. Some years are not so, some years we wait out the rains in hunger and we go below the ground and sleep, our stomachs empty." Grippen smiles again and shrugs one scaly shoulder in an approximation of the human gesture. "Or we did. Now, we replicate food, but if it has been a poor year, we honor the traditions of our mothers and their mothers and their mothers by fasting, briefly. But this year has been bountiful, and this year the rains came when we have stores of food remaining, so now we eat, and we celebrate."

"It's ok," Thaalan says, later, his antennae still sticking straight at the mug sitting in front of Nyota. "Not great."

"I absolutely have to disagree with you on that." She has her mug cupped in both hands, the steam curling up from her hot chocolate carrying the rich, full scent of it and she raises the cup a little bit more so that she can breath it in more fully. The warmth washing over her face is a pleasant contrast slightly chilly air of Thex and Schori's kitchen, since so many people are heading out into the night that the door seems to be open more often than not. They're all sitting there, though, her and Spock and a handful of others, dragging the evening out and not quite ready to go home.

"It's delicious," Thex says, hiding a yawn behind his hand.

"I can't believe that something so similar to chocolate can be found on Gamma Sagittae Prime," Nyota adds in order to keep the conversation going, since she's just not really ready to head home quite yet.

"I believe the chemical make up is identical," Spock says and she looks over at him sitting next to her, watching him study the thick, steaming liquid in her mug.

"Do you wish you had a tricorder?" Thex asks, his hands laced over his stomach as he leans back in his chair.

"It would be most helpful in determining that fact."

"We should celebrate with Grippen more often," Schori agrees, coming to stand behind Thex and resting her hands on his shoulders. "Though Spock and apparently Thaalan will be sorely disappointed in their ability to eat anything."

"An entire meal made out of chocolate," Nyota sighs happily, letting herself grin at Spock. "You're right, it is delicious, Thex."

"I'm going to go find a steak," Thaalan says, his chair scraping over the floor as he pushes it away from the table. "Wanna come, anyone?"

"We are tired," Schori answers, her hands drifting down Thex's chest.

"You both are?"

Thex starts to answer, then glances up at his wife, and looks back and Thaalan. "Yes."

Thaalan rolls his eyes, his antennae mirroring the gesture.

"You used to be more fun, Thex."

"Finish your hot chocolate, no need to rush," Schori says, her hand light on Nyota's arm as Thex rises from his own chair and wraps his arm around her shoulders. "And please lock up when you leave."

"You don't mind-"

"Not at all, take your time."

"Last chance to ditch the warm chocolate- no, wait hot? Hot chocolate? It's not even that much chocolate, it's all dairy," Thaalan sighs.

"I'm good," Nyota says, raising her mug again and taking another sip. "Just doesn't compare to meat."

"What about bacon?" Thaalan wheedles.

"Close, but no," Nyota says because there's basically no way she's going to leave her mostly full mug behind and go home just yet, not if Spock is still sitting next to her like he is. Leaving Thex and Schori's will mean walking back to campus, and will mean saying goodnight to him, so she's staying exactly where she is, no matter how much Thaalan pleads.

"Boring," Thaalan declares. "Both of you. All of you!" he calls towards the stairs Thex and Schori disappeared up. He gives them one more roll of his eyes – and antennae – before he too leaves, another blast of chilly air seeping into the room as he shuts the door.

"How is your work?" Spock asks as soon as he's gone and she groans into her mug.

"Fine. I got everything done in order to come tonight, obviously since I'm here, but I can't remember the last time I spent so many hours in the library."

"Is that a hardship?" he asks and copies Thaalan in rolling her eyes at him, though she softens it with a grin.

"No. Yes. Stop it, just because I love that building doesn't mean being trapped in there is what I want to be doing every weekend." She takes another sip before replacing her mug on the table. "Though I'm mostly done. I have a couple papers due, but not for a while, so I get a bit of a break coming up."

"That is fortunate."

"Definitely. The same probably can't be said for those in your class, though. Did you assign ridiculously long papers to your poor students?"

"I am certain that my students are financially secure and futhermore I believe the papers were within one standard deviation of the average length expected by other professors."

"Above or below?"


"Knew it." She takes another sip of her hot chocolate, savoring the rich flavor. It's good, really, really good, and she can't help but grin at the way he peers at the liquid when she replaces the mug on the table. "So what exactly happens if you drink it?"

"It has a similar effect as that of alcohol on human physiology."

"You know this from experience?" she asks, only looking up from watching the steam twist to watch, instead, how the soft light falls across his face.

He glances at her before looking away again and she swears he's smiling, even if his expression hasn't changed.


"Because I would think that teenage experimenting is logical, right?"

"Vulcan adolescents often use such rationalization in the face of their parent's disapproval."

"So what you're saying is that you got wasted with your friends and your folks were…?"

"Dissatisfied," he answers and she laughs.

"Dissatisfied," she echoes, pausing to take a tiny sip from her cup. "Well, my parents were rather… dissatisfied we brought the human equivalent of hot chocolate on our camping trip when I was in high school."

"You do not seem the type to so willfully disregard parameters set forth by authority figures."

Nyota snorts and grins at him over her cup. "I just hide it well. Last year with Kirk, we-" She stops herself, takes another sip, and lets her gaze slip to somewhere past his shoulder. "Uh-"

"You and he?"

She draws in a breath and presses her lips together.

"I'm not, ah, really sure that…"

He waits for a long moment, probably seeing if she's going to finish that sentence, before just doing it for her.

"Not entirely certain that your actions were of the type of which you that you should be sharing them with an officer?"

She thinks about lightly saying 'precisely' or 'that was an admirably logical deduction' or brushing the whole thing off with a laugh, but something feels funny in her throat when she tries to do so.

So instead, she just nods and risks a quick look up at him. He's just watching her with that steady, calm gaze of his before he looks down at his own mug of tea.

"I had a recent discussion with Commander Ho, which I believe rather emulated the experience you had with her," he says, finally.

"Did you?"

"I did."


"I do not believe, based upon my understanding of our conversation, that she was suggesting in any way that disregard for prescribed appropriate conduct was occurring." It takes her a moment to parse his words, but when she does, she nods. "However," he continues, his voice quiet and slow and he still isn't really looking at her. "Such allowance and sanction does not render the disparity in our ranks… immaterial or insubstantial."

"No," she says, "It doesn't."

"Within the confines of that factor, do you still wish to…"

"To?" she prompts because he can't seem to actually articulate it, but her encouragement still doesn't draw any more words from him.

Which is fine, because she might be a linguist, but there aren't really words for the heavy sweetness that seems to hang between them whenever they're together, for the way her stomach flutters and quivers when she thinks about him, and she has only ever had one answer to his unspoken question.

"Yes," she says.


"That's what you want, as well?"

"It is."

She reaches out and snags the cuff of his sleeve between two fingers, giving it a slight tug before returning her hand to the warmth of her mug.


He reaches for her mug and snags the handle in his long fingers. When he passes it back after taking a small sip, his fingers brush over hers, sending heat straight through her, and she hardly thinks it could possibly be an accident.

She never should have looked at that message. But she was nervous and a little on edge and Gaila had already to told her to stop changing her outfit and just pick something to wear and so it was either sit there and probably literally twiddle her thumbs until it was time to go meet Spock, or find something to distract herself from the tingly, jumpy feeling whenever she thought about the evening ahead of her.

And of course she just had to chose her padd, and of course she just had to check her inbox, and of course she couldn't resist opening the message from Professor Greaves and now she's trying to remember that she's supposed to be having a nice time, a night away from homework and classes and the Academy, an evening out – and an evening out with Spock, at that, which she's been looking forward to for days – and not staring somewhere past his ear as he dips his head and tries to catch her gaze.

"Sorry, sorry," she says quickly, tucking her loose hair back behind her ears. "Let's go."

"What is the matter?"


"Are you unwell?"

"I'm fine."


"I don't want to talk about it." He's still looking at her and she's still looking slightly to the side of that soft gaze. "I don't," she repeats, quieter this time.

"Very well."

She makes it half a block before she has to stop and blink against the way her eyes are burning and pricking.

"It's not a big deal," she says when he stops next to her on the sidewalk and waits patiently as she stares up at the dark sky and tries very hard not to cry.

"You owe me no explanation," he says so gently that it makes the back of her throat ache. "However, it must have some significance or it would not follow that it would be so distressing."

"It's me, I'm weird, this is just how I get," she says, trying to laugh at herself even as she drags her thumb under her eye. "It's not even-" she starts, attempting to say again that it's not important, not at all, but he's just so incredibly nice and kind and caring and who would have ever thought that a Vulcan – half Vulcan – would just stand there with that gentle expression, but it only makes sense because it's Spock, who helped her with all that stupid homework.

When she wipes her cheek again, her fingers come away wet and the breath she tries to draw in is shaky and shivering.

"Nyota," he says, softly, stepping closer to her.

"I got a bad grade."

"I see."

"I didn't mean to."

"Of course you did not."

"And I thought I did well – I told you that, the other day, after my quiz, but I didn't, and-" She tries for another breath but it catches somewhere in her chest. "And you helped me with everything and I thought… I thought that-" She digs the heels of her hands into her eyes and draws her shoulders up towards her ears and when she continues speaking she has to force the words past the hard knot in her throat. "I understand all of it when you explain it to me and I knew I did it right but I forgot that thing? With the vector calculation? And I checked my work, I always check, and I just didn't remember and I-" His hands close around her wrists and pulls them down with gentle, firm pressure, his grip warm in a way that sweeps across her skin. She can't look at him still, not really, and ducks her head to the side to wipe her face on her shoulder. "I'm sorry."

"Why are you apologizing?"

"You spent so much time helping me and I-"


"And I feel really bad because I tried, but I couldn't-"


"I thought that maybe I would do well but obviously-"

"Nyota," he says, his hands sliding from her wrists to capture her hands in his and a deep rush of calm emanates from the contact, spreading through her like sinking into a warm bath, or stepping out into the heat of the sun.

"What's that?" she asks, staring at her hands nearly completely engulfed in his much larger ones.

"I, ah-" he starts, starting to loosen his grip and pull away. "I did not intend…"


"You are exceptionally psi sensitive."

"I am?"

"It is…" He carefully disengages their hands and holds her upper arms, instead, heat seeping into her skin through her coat. "Distracting."


"Distracting," he says again.

She looks down at his hand, large and pale against her arm, then up at him.

"That felt… nice." His hands on her feel nice, too, except looking at them, at the way he's watching her only brings back that hollow, aching jump in her chest. "I-"

"Nyota, it is illogical to assume that you will not make errors on examinations."


"Much of the point of evaluations is to ascertain to what degree you have grasped the material."


"Furthermore, constant improvement and a commitment to such is the hallmark of an exemplary officer, not the ability to complete a task perfectly on the first attempt." His hands tighten slightly on her arms and he takes a tiny half step towards her. "Nyota, please do not distress yourself over such an occurrence."

"Too late," she says, rubbing her cheek on her shoulder again and wanting to raise her hands to wipe at her face, but it just feels so good to have him touching her that she doesn't move.

"You can retake the quiz, if you so desire."

"I don't, I can't, I don't understand it and-"

"You do. You posses above average intelligence and-"

"C'mon, Spock, that's just- If I was really that smart then I'd have gotten it right the first time." She does step away from him, then, and rubs at the headache forming between her eyes. Everything feels achy and sore and they're supposed to be halfway to the concert, not standing on a sidewalk with more than a few passing pedestrians casting curious glances at them. She just hopes she doesn't know anyone who's walked past, the idea of Kirk finding her crying over a grade making something in her stomach clench.

"Nyota, a single score on a single quiz does not have the power to define your intellectual capabilities."

"But I don't get bad grades, it's not what I do, it's not me. That is the only, literally the only thing that I'm good at." She sniffs, hard, because her nose is all gross, and she lets her jaw tighten as she stares down the street that they're supposed to be walking down. She can picture it so clearly, how close they always walk to each other, the careful attention he pays to what she says, the gentle way he teases her that is so funny and so sweet and nothing she would ever have expected from him and yet makes every conversation with him such an incredible joy. And now, instead, he's standing there watching her cry and her chest feels like a gnawing, hollow emptiness. "I'm sorry, I'm ruining all of this, let's go."

"You are not ruining anything, and for someone who gives particular import to the correct use of the word 'literally', I find myself surprised that you would improperly exercise it in reference to your capabilities."

She drags her wrist under her nose and squints up at him. "What?"

"You have excellent skills teaching language tutorials, are able to quickly and accurately grasp foreign cultures, have the ability to discern subspace frequency anomalies without error, and are, I believe, peerless in your ability to learn and retain new languages."

"Well that's all… that's easy."

"Then why do you insist on defining yourself by your failure to achieve such a challenge as scoring perfect marks on a quiz in a subject that you admit is not your strength, and yet give no credence to the ways in which you excel? Certainly – and logically – those aspects of yourself far outweigh the results of your quiz."

She narrows her eyes at him. "You're just saying that to be nice."

"I am saying it because it is a fact, and if you do not wish to recognize it as such, that will not dissuade me from doing so." His hand brushes over hers so lightly that she might have imagined it if she hadn't seen his arm move. "I would impart the certainty of your accomplishments upon you, were I able to do so."

She tries to look up at him but can't, not really, not with the way everything feels watery and shaky inside of her.

"Guess Vulcans don't lie."

"We do not."

"So therefore, logically, I should believe you."


She lets out a shivering breath and studies the front of his jacket and thinks about how badly she wants to step forward and rest her head right there.

Instead, she presses her lips together and looks down the street again.

"I have a headache."

"Would you like to find some water?"

"No. Yes. I don't know, maybe." She shakes her head, but still can't look at him. "We're going to be late. We are late, probably."

"That is so."

She rubs her palm over her forehead and temple. "I'm sorry. You want to see if we can still go?"

"Are you feeling sufficiently emotionally stable?" he asks and she shakes her head again, which only makes it throb.

"No. But I don't want to keep you from enjoying the concert."

"My aim in suggesting the event was to spend the evening with you. I do not have a particular preference for how to achieve such."

She huffs out a quiet sigh, one that maybe almost borders on a laugh. "You can't be so nice to me, Spock, you're going to make me cry again."

"Why would such a statement induce a physical expression of sadness?"

"Humans," she says by way of explanation. She drags both of her index fingers under her eyes and wipes them on the hem of her coat, then crosses her arms tight around herself and rocks back and forth on her feet, daring a glance up at him.

He waits until she's looking at him before he speaks again. "I happen to be rather fond of humans. Certain humans, that is."

"Who's on the list?"

"It is a very short list."

"Shorter than my list of my favorite half-Vulcans?"

"Perhaps not that short." He touches her hand again, gently, with the back of his knuckles. "Would you consider another activity tonight in lieu of the concert? Unless you wish to return to your dormitory."

"No. Wait, I meant that I don't want to go back there." She doesn't at all, doesn't want to have to explain this all over again to Gaila, who already was giving her weird looks when she fell silent after reading that message containing her grade and then summarily refused to answer any questions about it.

"Would you be partial to the consumption of alcohol or ice cream? I understand those are two traditional foods in such circumstances."

She can't help but smile at that, his completely bland delivery of that line no matter how bright his eyes look as he says it.

"You been studying up on human rituals, Spock? How logical. And yes, they are, but no. I have a massive headache and it's too cold for ice cream."

"Tea?" he asks and she nods.


Their favorite café is closed, and the other one they sometimes go to is way too crowded and as soon as Spock suggests his apartment as a potentially suitable destination, she finds herself agreeing so quickly that she wonders if that wasn't exactly where she wanted to go all along.

She waits on his couch while he makes them tea and it gives her an opportunity to look around his place without the distraction of Gaila being there as well. It's beautiful, really, everything precise and simple and elegant, understated without being plain, and each individual object unique enough that she has to clasp her hands together so that she doesn't get up and start poking through everything.

His bookshelf looks like something she could spend a couple hours riffling through, and he has actual paper books like Thex and Schori have in their house, and she's pretty sure she sees an original copy of the first Vulcan – Standard dictionary. She contemplates actually sitting on her hands so that she doesn't walk over and grab it.

His desk is pushed against one wall of his living room and there's a holo on it of a woman with dark hair and kind eyes, who's smiling despite her Vulcan robes and Nyota studies it from afar, hungry to know about his mother.

"She's coming soon?" she asks Spock as he places two mugs of tea on his coffee table and joins her on the couch. "For Arivn'van-kal'e?"

"Yes. The holiday occurs on Vulcan on Thursday, but I will celebrate it Sunday with everyone here."

"Are you still going to go with her to see her side of the family?"

"Indeed, I am meeting her in Seattle Friday afternoon. Though I will return on Sunday before her to prepare for Arivn'van-kal'e at Thex and Schori's." Nyota reaches for her tea and takes a sip of the warm, spicy blend he chose for them, feeling the last remnants of her headache ease and then fade as she does so. "She has professed great excitement at the notion of joining everyone for the celebration."

"Really. Good. That's great, I'm sure it'll be fun," Nyota says, quickly replacing her tea on the table.

"You will be there?"

"Wouldn't miss it for anything," she assures him. "And I'm still dying to know if there's actually baking involved in the preparations."

"If you are available that day, you might be able to ascertain such first hand."

"I'll clear my schedule," she says with a grin.

"Excellent." He takes a sip of his tea in that precise way of his, so economical and graceful that she wonders how anyone could ever think Vulcans stiff or tense. "Would you like to review your Interstellar Navigation quiz results? I do not know if that would put your mind at ease to work through the problems, or if you would rather avoid the subject for the evening."

"I want to – wow, maybe we should record this and play it back for Gaila because I think it's a first – I want to do something fun, instead."

"Fun?" He glances around his apartment, then back at her. "You may very well find that you have not come to a place with a particular propensity for such."

"I think you underestimate exactly how much I like conjugating verbs."

"As I have said, you are not normal."

"Literally?" she asks.

"Literally," he repeats and rises from the couch to walk towards his ka'athrya. "If you are so inclined-"

"Yes," she grins and he picks it up and walks back towards her. She can't help but watch him as he does so, the lithe, lean lines of his body and the ways his clothes fit him just so, his shirt tight across his shoulders, loose around his trim waist, the way his pants hug his long legs.

Her mouth feels a little bit dry when he settles the harp on her lap, and her fingers feel a little bit uncoordinated when she raises them to place them how his were when he played.

"Bring your elbow to your side," he instructs and his fingers are warm and gentle as he guides her arm into place. "And sit up straight."

"I am," she says, trying to straighten further. "Do you guys learn posture in school? Because I don't think my spine gets any longer." She feels the light touch of his fingers on her lower back, his hand slipping between the couch and her body and feels a flush spread through her down to her toes. "Spock."

"Yes?" he asks, his hand drifting up her back to press just below her shoulder blades. He studies her and she feels the moment stretch between them, hang there with a heavy, delicious tension, feels the warmth of his hand ease the last of the ache in her chest and draw the beginning of a smile out of her.

"I can't play if you're touching me like that."

"You cannot?" he asks, one eyebrow raised as he slowly withdraws his hand. She doesn't think she's imagining the slight green stain on his cheeks, nor the way her own face feels warmer than the heat of his quarters should account for.

"Nope. I'll probably drop this on the ground, and then where will we be?"

"Cleaning it up, I suppose," he says.

"Which would really put a damper on the evening."

"I believe that is an accurate prediction."

He reaches for her hands again, shifting how she holds her wrist and adjusting her fingers with the back of his knuckle.

"Hey," she says when he finally sits back, satisfied with her position, since she can't exactly think when he's touching her, let alone form coherent sentences. "Thank you."

"There is no need to-"

"No." She reaches out and touches his arm, just lightly, just a brush of her fingers over his sweater. "I mean it."

"You are welcome, Nyota," he says quietly, looking down at where she touched him and then back up at her.

She gives him one of his own tiny smiles, which broadens when she looks back down at the harp. "I moved my hand. Whoops."

"You did." He waits while she tries to get her fingers back the way he put them, but she can't do it, not with the way he's watching her.

"You're just going to have to help me again."

"Is that so?"

"It is. So sorry."

"You are not," he says as his hands rise to hers again and that heat races right through her.

She can't really look away from his hand on hers, how it looks to have him touching her like that and she lets her teeth graze over her bottom lip, just barely biting back a smile.

His eyes dart over her face and she feels suddenly conscious of the fact that she was crying not so long ago, and that she never really bothered to look in a mirror afterwards because it was just Spock. Spock, who's now silently staring at her, his fingers resting on her knuckles and their knees close enough that they're almost touching.

"You look very beautiful tonight night, Nyota," he says and she feels herself flush, her cheeks positively burning at his words. "I had meant to inform you of that fact and summarily failed to do so." He hesitates before continuing and she can't help but stare at the way his lips part as he draws in a breath. "I would also take the opportunity to add that I find you beautiful most other times, as well," he says, then pauses again. "All other times." He stops again and frowns. "And I do not intend to convey that the sentiment does not include the fact of your considerable intellect, the esteem I have for your personality, or other admirable qualities," he says and she laughs and ducks her head.

"Thanks," she says quietly and when she looks back up at him, his eyes are on her, dark and steady, and his hand rises to push the hair that's slipped forward towards her face back around her ear. His fingers graze over her cheek as he drops his hand, soft and warm, and she feels her heart pound in her chest. "Thank you," she says, again, her mouth dry.

He just pushed her hair back but she feels nervous and jumpy, like everything inside her body has turn into something tremulous and shaky, and she can't help but repeat the motion, running her hand over her hair and through those few strands.

"You have moved your fingers again."

"I am literally not good at keeping my hand still."

"That is correct," he says. "However, that is the only thing you have proved to be so inept at."

"Good thing you're here, then," she says as he covers her hand in his warm, large palm and replaces it on the harp.

"It is fortunate."

"I guess I'll have to work to have your exemplary skills in that realm."

"Yes. May I kiss you?"

"What?" she asks, her gaze jerking up from his hand, so big and gentle on hers, up to his face. "I mean, yes."

He looks a little blank, like maybe he's shocked that he asked and when he doesn't move right away, she puts her hand on his shoulder, leans forward, and presses her lips to his.

It's soft and gentle and he's not overly responsive but he slowly presses back into her kiss, and when she pulls away and lets her eyes flutter open, he's staring at her so intently, so incredibly focused on her, that she doesn't think she's had anyone look at her like that, ever.

"Um," she says and watches her hand smooth down the sloping line of his shoulder. She can feel the hard ridge of his collarbone through the fabric of his shirt and the slight hollow below it.

"Would you like-"

"I was-"

She drops her hand from him to raise her fingers to cover her mouth like they somehow have the power to staunch her smile. They don't, of course, and she ends up pressing her hand to her chest instead.

He blinks and his tongue darts out to wet his lower lip, and when he exhales, she can see his breath shiver over it.

"I had though to offer you tea," he says and she watches his throat work as he swallows. "Except that we already are in possession of such."

"We are, aren't we." She swallows, too, and reaches for her mug because her mouth is suddenly incredibly dry, and she's hardly surprised to see the slight tremor that goes through the liquid in the cup at the way her hand is shaking. "I, ah-"

"Perhaps-" he starts, nodding to the ka'athrya and she looks down, half surprised that she's still holding it in her lap.


"If you-"

"My hand, right, I-" She sets her mug back down, wipes her palm that is suddenly sweaty on the bottom of her shirt and tries to replace her fingers where he had them earlier, except she can't because her mind is utterly and completely blank.

Which is fine because he's already reaching for her hand and she thinks his mind is a little blank, too, or maybe racing, maybe what's flowing through his fingers and into hers is a coursing, rushing happiness that echoes and builds upon what's surging through her stomach and chest and is making her smile so wide her face hurts.

"Like so," he instructs, adjusting her hand the way he wants it. He studies it for a moment, then looks up at her, leans forward and kisses her again.

She lets her eyes drift shut as his hands rise to cup her jaw, and she feels him exhale a quiet sigh against her cheek. His fingers are so gentle, so incredibly soft and light on her cheeks, and his mouth is too, his lips slow and tender and meticulous against hers, so that when they break apart she's left a little bit breathless.

Her nose bumps against his and she can't help but nuzzle into him, their foreheads brushing together, and his lips find the corner of her mouth, her cheek, her temple before he leans back and lets out a deep breath.

She just wants to look at him, take in those dark eyes and the line of his chin and the way his lips are slightly parted and the muscle that jumps in his cheek, just once, that hints at everything going on behind his calm expression, so it takes her a long time to find anything to say.

"I am actually going to drop this if you keep kissing me like that," she tells him, reaching out to twine her fingers with his.

His mouth twitches and she doesn't think she's the only one having trouble staunching an enormous smile, no matter how contained his expression is.

"As we established, that would be unfortunate."

"If we established anything, it's that I can't concentrate when you're touching me like that," she says, letting her words drift off into another smile that tickle of his happiness pricks across her hand again, spreading out from where he's touching her until her entire arm feels tingly and light.

His head tilts and that light is in his eyes again and she is just so damn happy with him there next to her on the couch, his hand stroking over hers like he can't help himself, her skin still warm from where he touched her face, the memory of his mouth on her still fresh in her mind. And he is definitely smiling, his eyes dancing back and forth between their hands and her face, and it might be only the slightest uptick of the corner of his lips, but it's there and it fills her with so much warmth that she feels like her body isn't big enough to contain all of it, like at any second it will burst right through her, and she thinks she could probably exist in this moment forever, stretch it out and hang on to it with both hands, time drawn out and halted in the way he's looking at her.

She is completely able to concentrate on basic tasks like brushing her teeth. And washing her face. And putting on her pajamas and maybe organizing her desk and also putting away some laundry because she is alternating between having too much energy and staring blankly into space, which is exactly how Gaila finds her, chewing on her thumbnail, staring at the wall, and standing in the middle of their room holding a single sock.

"You're here," Gaila states. "And nice sock," she says gently, removing Nyota's thumb from her mouth and guiding her to sit on the edge of her bed. "Why did you leave here like you were about to burst into tears? Why are you smiling like that? What's going on? Why aren't you with Spock? Why do you have a sock? Are those two things connected? Did a wayward letter P get misplaced?"


"Nyota Uhura, what happened?"


"You two kissed."

She bites her bottom lip, smiles, covers half her face with her palm and nods.

"We kissed."


"Had tea."


"He taught me how to play his ka'athrya."



"I'm just saying, I don't know what that is so I'm going to assume it's a euphemism for some incredibly kinky and athletic sex thing I've never heard about. Didn't know you had it in you, Ny. I thought you were more of a 'hey, look, I had sex at the foot of the bed!' type of gal."

"No, it's a harp, Gaila, it's his harp that he has," Nyota says, running the sock through her hands before twisting it this way and that, her mind already retracing the way his hand always seemed to find her knee whenever she was playing.

"Wow. Boring."

"No, it was…" Nyota just smiles down at the sock and shrugs. "It was…"

"Why were you so upset earlier?"

"Oh, that was only…" Nyota waves the sock at the offending padd with her messages on it. "That was not a big deal."

"You were almost crying."

"It was nothing. It was fine."

"Fine?" Gaila repeats.

"Spock says I should remember all of my 'positive attributes' or whatever instead of focusing on one tiny thing I did wrong."

"Spock said that?" Gaila repeats, slowly this time. "Spock said that tonight?"

"Yeah, he was really sweet and-"

"Spock said that tonight and you listened to him?"

"And then he also said that-"

"Spock says once – once, Nyota Uhura – what I have been telling you for ages now and you listen to him?"


"Humans," Gaila mutters. "You are ridiculous."

"I am not!"

"Probably because Commander Hot – sorry, Spock – doesn't think you are?"


"And speaking of supreme hotness-"

"-That's really not-"

"I'm going to tell you what Schori told me. After Orion night? That night in bed, Schori said that Thex -"

"Gaila! I do not need to know about that!"

"-And here I thought that he was super tired when we left and that she was asleep. I'm so proud of them."

"You said that what you made us didn't have any side effects!"

"They didn't! I just can't help that they're totally into each other and a little oral pleasure went a long way. Get it? Food? Oral pleasure? Because speaking of, that is exactly what she said he-"


"What? At least it worked for them, unlike two other supremely frustrating individuals I know."


"I love all my friends, you're totally right, Ny, since I'm sure that's what you were going to say, even the ones who take their sweet time with things. That's you and Spock, if you hadn't figured that out."

"This is not any of my business! And that's none – zero, Gaila – of yours."

"False. She's the one who told me all about it. All, all about it, Ny. And also please stop destroying my sock."

"Your sock?" Nyota asks, looking down at it, where she's twisted it around her fingers. "It was in my closet."

"And it's dirty. You're gross, don't be gross."

"Please don't leave dirty socks in with my clothes," Nyota sighs.

"Please stop mooning over your totally handsome, totally sweet new boyfriend. And as punishment for stealing my sock, I'm going to tell you in excruciating detail exactly what Schori told me. Seriously, I think that when N'Takim's contract on Earth is up and he has to move back to Delta Caeli VI I'm going to find myself a Bajoran, because damn, Ny."

For the Rest of Us

A Star Trek Story
by Psicygni

Part 6 of 10

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