Continuing Tales

For the Rest of Us

A Star Trek Story
by Psicygni

Part 8 of 10

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"Stop it," she instructs. "No talking. I have too much fun with you and I have to finish this paper."

"You are able to finish it in the next thirteen minutes?"

"No. Yes. Almost. Shhh."

It's not his fault, since she's the one having trouble concentrating. She hardly wants to be writing about historical interpretations of Klingon adverbs and how theories of their etymology have changed over time. But it's finals and the heavy weight of the end of the term is sitting in a knot of tension behind her forehead.

"We really only have thirteen minutes?" she asks, scrubbing her thumb and forefinger into her eyes. "Until we have to leave for Thex and Schori's?"

"Yes, however it is not incumbent upon you to attend, if you need to finish your work."

"It's not due until tomorrow afternoon," she says, scrolling through her paper and glancing over everything she's written that day. It's an interesting topic and she's enjoyed it, and enjoyed it all the more when Spock met her with his own work in the café they always go to. And she got a lot done, really, and it wasn't until the last half hour or so that her brain seemed to finally give up after a long week of classes and an entire weekend full of work that she was trying to finish so that she could carve out the hours to go to Thex and Schori's. And to see Spock for something other than simply having him near her while she bends over padds of research and flashcards.

His hand covers hers and she toys idly with his fingers while she continues to scrutinize her padd like it will give her the answer of whether or not it's ok to set aside for the evening.

"It is."


He starts to draw his hand back, but she grabs at his fingers and won't let him.

"I apologize, I did not intend to so clearly discern your train of thought."

She looks down at her fingers tangled with his, his hand so much bigger than hers.

"That's kind of neat. You could… hear that?"

"It is considered rather rude to perceive other's thoughts without their permission."

"Oh." She runs her thumb over his. "Well, there is no offense where none is taken." She gives his hand a little squeeze. "And you think it's ok to not skip out on social events and not finish my paper? I don't think I've ever actually done that, I'm normally in the library editing things that don't need it, long past midnight. Gaila might have a heart attack or ask to see my ID."

"I hope not literally."

"Literally I'm normally in the library being neurotic over my work? That was literal. Not the part about Gaila."

She feels the warm tingle of his amusement flow through her hand. "I would not induce you to act in a way which causes discomfort or would interfere with your enjoyment of the evening, but if you believe your paper can be completed at a later time and would like to attend the gathering tonight then you should make the logical decision."

"You want to go," she says.

"I will stay here with you, if you would like."

"I want to, too, Spock. And isn't a Deltan coming tonight?" She passes her thumb over his again. "Gaila's always going on and on about Deltans so I'm not sure I could live down missing it."

She remembers, abruptly, exactly what Gaila says about them, specifically about their telepathy, and specifically about pertinent uses for such, and jerks her hand from his like she's been burnt, but not before she can be certain he didn't ascertain exactly where her mind wandered.

"Senva," he says and looks over at her to catch her staring at him, trying to discern in the dim lighting of the café if his cheeks are stained slightly green like she thinks they might be.


"She is the one hosting us tonight. She lived on Earth when I was in my fourth year at the Academy and has returned to attend a wedding."


"She lives on Mira Prime now. I believe she is training to be a doctor."


"She extended her trip to be able to rejoin the group for an evening."

"Didn't realize that," she says and is about to ask him if he is, in fact, babbling, when he speaks again.

"She and Thaalan were quite… close."

"No," she says, pausing in gathering her padds. "Really?"


"Really, really?"

"Schori knows more about the circumstances than I do," he says, sliding his own padds into his bag. It's weird to her, sometimes, that he's creating the very assignments that other cadets – some of whom she knows – will be completing for his classes.

"You're not up on all the gossip?"

"I admit that my knowledge is somewhat lacking."

She takes his hand again as they step out into the cold night air, raising her other hand to draw her scarf up higher on her neck, thankful at least that she wore jeans and a sweater instead of trying for a skirt in such chilly weather.

"It's freezing," she declares. "What happened to summer?"

"A curious circumstance of your planet's orbit."

"Next you're going to tell me that this happens every year," she says, trying to both hitch her school bag up on her shoulder and pull her sleeve farther down over her hand to keep her fingers warm, which proves impossible without also letting go of Spock and that's just not happening.

"Let me," he says, stopping her for a moment and reaching with his free hand to take the strap of her bag and sling it over his shoulder on top of his own.

"Gonna carry a girl's books, Spock?"


"Oh, it's from hundreds of years ago. Never mind. Thank you." She sticks her hand into her pocket and burrows deeper into her scarf. "Tell me about Thaalan."

"As I said, I do not know much. And Vulcans are not particularly predisposed to sharing such information, regardless."

"Says the guy who brought it up. And anyway, you know that they're all talking about us, so it's really only logical to return the favor."

"They are?" he asks and she can feel a tickle of surprise from him.

"Definitely. But Gaila informed me the other night that apparently we're 'boring' and 'dull' and 'get along too well' to actually make it interesting."

"I see."

"Thaalan," she says, tugging lightly at his hand. "Spill."

"Spill what? I am not holding anything."

"The beans."

"Which beans, specifically?"

"Don't tell me you've lived among humans for so long and have never heard that phrase."

"I cannot tell you that, that is true."

"You're terrible," she says, tugging at his hand again and grinning.

"Thaalan met Senva at one of these very gatherings," Spock says and she has to smile again.

"Popular place to meet someone."

"Indeed," he says and she feels him squeeze her hand. Then he pauses, just slightly, before he continues. "Thaalan was expected – is expected, I should say – to marry an Andorian."

"And that was a deal breaker?"

"I do not know if their relationship might have continued despite such a fact, but Senva was accepted to an internship off-planet and they decided to not pursue the matter."

"Was he upset?"


"And now she's back? That's tough, to run into an ex. Unless he doesn't come tonight."

"His comments to myself and Thex have indicated that he is not displeased to encounter her again, nor he, her."

"But they're not… they can't, because someday he's supposed to marry someone else?" Nyota asks, feeling like that's really incredibly unfair.


"Can't he just… not? If he wants to be with her?" she asks, then pushes her hand a bit farther into her pocket. "Or maybe that's kind of a big decision for him."

"I believe that it is."

Nyota's quiet as they wait at a stoplight and only when they've crossed to the other side of the street does she look up at him again.

"Your parents do it."

"Do what, specifically?"

"You know what I mean. Have an interspecies marriage."

"That is correct," he says and it's funny because whenever she touches his hand she always feels something, some tingle or prickle or quiver of emotion that's different than touching a human's hand, or even the other myriad of species she's come into contact with while at the Academy, but now it's like nothing at all, just his skin warm and dry and none of that underlying sense of his thoughts or mood that normally skates beneath the surface.

"You would have to," she says slowly, looking up at him even though he's staring off down the street. But he hasn't drawn his hand away, either, and she just holds it that much tighter. "It would always be interspecies for you, you have no choice, even with a Vulcan."

"That is also correct," he repeats.

He still isn't really looking at her, so she tugs on his hand until he stops walking and she leans up to kiss his cheek.

"It's not a big deal," she tells him.

"It is. Or it can be."

"It's not. I think, frankly, that being different ranks is harder than being different species, which is temporary. Unless, of course, I don't turn in my paper tomorrow and fail my course and am a cadet for the rest of the foreseeable future."

"That would be unfortunate," he says. "And exceedingly unlikely."

She stands on her toes and presses a soft kiss to his mouth and only then does she feel a tremble prick across her fingers, the touch of his skin on hers heady and sweet.

It's only later, when they're at Thex and Schori's, hanging up their coats and saying hi to everyone, that she realizes the actual amount of time that will have to pass before she's not a cadet, and even then she'll in all likelihood be an ensign, or at the very best and barring some unforeseen circumstances, a Lieutenant Junior Grade, assigned to a communications bay even if it's on the Enterprise. It would be a long, long time until she's earned anywhere near the amount of prestige and accolades he has in his own career and that thought, all the intervening years until she has any hope of being a section chief or bridge officer, makes her stomach flip around funnily, makes something in her chest constrict as she looks at him bend down and help retrieve part of Didiza that got smeared against the side of the couch. A long time, and yet thinking back on their walk, on that amusement and hot, happy delight that seems to pass between them whenever they touch, that didn't seem to bother either one of them, even a little bit.

"Listen," Senva instructs. "Feel."

Nyota's pressed against Spock's arm and both of them are crowded into the doorway of the living room since, as ever, there are hardly enough seats for everyone, even with Gaila curled up on N'Takim's lap. Schori's in the overstuffed arm chair near the window, her hand spread on her massive belly and Thex perched on the arm of the chair.

Thaalan is sitting next to Senva and Nyota doesn't think she's seen him take his antennae off of her all night.

"Feel what?" Gaila asks, then claps both hands to her mouth. "Sorry!" she whispers through her fingers.

"Each other," Senva explains, seemingly unperturbed, her fingers spread on her knees where she's sitting cross legged by Thex and Schori's fireplace. Her pale blue robes are spread on the floor around her, making a beautiful puddle of silky fabric on the floor. She turns to each of them, one a time, her eyes seeming slightly discerning large in combination with her lack of hair and her calm, serene expression. "On the sixth day of H'y'ni we gather together and solidify our bonds with each other, blending our minds, our memories of the year, combining our hopes and plans for the future as we do so. And we reach out to our families and our friends along our bonds with them, finding and remembering what their minds feel like. You know," she says, turning to Spock. "You have the bonds of your family."

"Yes," he says, nodding.

"And others, as well," Senva says. It makes his chin come up slightly, makes his entire body lock up, his frame tensing and stiffening. Nyota can actually hear the sound his throat makes when he swallows. "Perhaps the best parallel would be if you were to hold hands with each other, as many of you are not psi sensitive."

Nyota reaches for Spock's hand, intending to maybe take the opportunity to ask him what's wrong, but she feels a slight tap on her calf and Didiza has extended a long, purple tendril up to the hand she was going to grab Spock's with.

"Hi, didn't see you there," Nyota says, bending down and unsticking the bit of Didiza that was left behind on her pant leg. It's warm and wet and hard to hold on to, but as soon as Nyota passes it back to her, Didiza promptly resorbs it.

"Spock do you have-" she starts, because she's pretty sure he was holding a napkin, earlier, and her hand is still kind of goopy, but when she looks up to finish asking him, he's gone. "What-" Didiza's appendage points behind Nyota, towards the back of the house. "Sorry, I-" Nyota starts, but Didiza gives her a small pat on the leg again, which Nyota hands back quickly, and then she flows away, off to tap on Eraow's leg instead of Nyota's.

He's not in the kitchen, and she retreats, briefly, to grab her coat before stepping out into the backyard.

"Hey." She wraps her jacket tighter around herself and wishes she had bothered to grab her scarf. "You busy with super important first officer business out here?" He glances up from where he's studying one of the plants in the garden. She's sure he knows exactly what type of plant it is, and therefore it can't exactly merit his full attention no matter how closely he's examining it, so she's not really that surprised when he only shakes his head and doesn't answer her. "Are you going to come inside?" she asks when he remains silent.

"In a moment."

She lets the door fall shut behind her and walks the short distance to his side.

"You ok?"

"I am not unwell."

"You want to talk about it?"

"About what precisely?"

"Well, we could chat about that plant or why you're standing outside in the freezing cold instead of being inside with all of your friends."

He glances at her out of the corner of his eye, without turning to fully face her.

"It is an eriogonum fasciculatum. Thex planted it before I left on the Lexington and it has grown considerably."

"Plants do that, I hear."

"I was bonded. When I was seven." He has a peculiarly blank look about him, so different than how he normally is. "We dissolved the relationship when I left for the Academy, but such a link leaves residual traces in the mind, which Senva can discern."

"Ok," she says, taking a step towards him.

"I do not wish to speak of the matter further."

"You don't have to," she assures him, wondering if it would be ok to touch him.

"The dissolution of that relationship was a significant event in my life. I would not want… I believe that you should know that."

"I understand." She takes a third step towards him, so that if she shifted a little their arms would touch. She doesn't, though, just waits there next to him and looks down at the plant he was studying. "I bet that's pretty in the summer."

"You do not appear to be troubled by this information."

"I-" she starts, then pauses to gather the words she wants to use. "I have exes too, Spock. And I'll listen to you as much or as little as you want to talk about this, but if you say that you just wanted to tell me about the fact that it happened at all, then that's fine." She bumps her elbow into his. "I happen to be a fan of your formative experiences in your life, whether it was sneaking chocolate – which I want to see you do someday – or other parts of your past, because it's made you… you." She pauses and shrugs, looking up at him even though he's not looking back. "You're pretty great, what can I say?"


"Yep." She leans her elbow against his again and leaves it there this time.

"You were not privy to the conversation in which my relationship with my bondmate ended."

"She obviously didn't appreciate what an incredible person you are," she says, leaning more fully against him. "How illogical."

His arm curls around her shoulders and she stays there for a long time, leaning her head on his chest, his hand stroking slowly over her upper back, leaving lines of warmth through the thick fabric of her coat.

"Wanna get out of here?" she finally asks, her words muffled by his jacket.

They slip out of the party quietly – he's already wearing his coat and she stops to grab her scarf and their bags and then they're out on the sidewalk, the back of their hands brushing together, and then their fingers tangling as they walk.

She leans against his kitchen counter while he makes them tea, watching the way his hands move and the long lines of his body, trying to imagine anyone not wanting him.

"Yum," she declares, when he hands her a mug, sitting with her legs crossed on his couch and cupping it with both hands.

"My mother brought it with her from Vulcan."

"It's really good."

"There is a vendor at a market near the Embassy who has this variety in stock at times."

"Really? I don't think I knew that was even there."

"I will take you," he offers. "Whenever is convenient."

"That'd be fun. I have this paper left and a test on Thursday, then I'm done." She stares into her tea for a moment before glancing up at him. "Though I guess you have a lot of grading to do."


"Bummer," she declares, trying to shrug away how her stomach's sinking slightly at the realization that he'll be working even though she has a break.

"I believe that is an apt descriptor," he says, then pauses to take a sip of his tea. "Do you have plans for your vacation?"

"Might try to spend some time with this guy I just started seeing."

"Is that so?"

"Yeah, I'm pretty into him," she says with a grin. "I'll see if he wants to hang out at all."

"Hang out?"

She grins again, raising one shoulder to her ear. "You know, hang out. Watch a movie."

"Is that euphemism?"

"Could be," she says, running her fingers over his knee.

He looks down at her hand, then back up at her, arching an eyebrow in a way that makes her smile at him.

"Next Sunday is Christmas Eve," he says and it's quite nearly like a question, one she doesn't answer, just rubs at the fabric of her pants with her thumb and palms the hard, hot muscle of his thigh. "You should be aware that as of yet, I have been tasked with representing Terran celebrations."

"How'd that go?"

"I believe you can deduce the way in which we have never actually celebrated a Terran holiday as an indication of the effectiveness of reasoning that due to my half human genetics, I was qualified in any way to carry out any rituals or traditions."

"You never celebrated any holidays with your mom?"

"We did not." He pauses and she looks up from her hand on him to see that expression he gets when he's thinking about something, like his focus is drawing inward for a brief moment. "I find that as an adult, I rather wish I had known more about that side of my heritage."

"But I don't exactly see you as dressing up for Halloween," she points out since she doesn't really want to talk about the winter holidays. "So you might have to be selective about getting in touch with your roots."

"I am rather pleased to have passed by yet another Halloween this year with only a handful of coworkers questioning whether or not I would be partaking."

"You're lucky I had that terrible Interstellar Nav midterm due that Monday or I would have dragged you out to a party."

"Then I am duly prepared for next year, to make recommendations to your professors as to their examination schedules," he says and she laughs, a too-wide smile stretching across her face at the thought of her, and him, and a length of time together that stretches forward for a year, and then beyond that.

"Is all of this your way of saying that you want to learn how to make a gingerbread house, Spock?"


"Do you know what that is?"


"They're pretty illogical."

"I surmised as much."

"I spent an entire morning making a completely perfect gumdrop chimney for mine. I think I was six, maybe. Or seven. And my brother ate it while I was at soccer practice and I don't think I've ever gotten over that moment, coming home and it just being… gone."

"That sounds rather traumatic."

"You better be being serious, mister," she says, grinning at him over the rim of her mug. He fingers find her wrist and trace over it, the wash of warmth making her shiver.

"I have been told that Vulcans are rarely anything but."

"I don't know about that at all," she says lightly. "Though maybe that explains why I'm rather partial to half Vulcan, half-humans."

"Is that so?"

"I'll tell you if it is if you promise to dress up for Halloween someday."

"As what?" he asks and she grins at the note of trepidation coloring his tone.

"You can't be a Starfleet officer. And don't even pretend that's not your first choice."

"What if I wore a command or operations uniform?"

"Nope, no way, doesn't count."

"Duly noted," he says and she reaches out to touch the corner of his mouth where it's pulling up in a tiny smile. "However, as Halloween has already passed – a fact for which I am immeasurably grateful – you have the opportunity to choose a different Terran holiday if you would like, as a number are quickly approaching."

She stares at the way her hand looks against his skin, draws her thumb over his chin and under his jaw, looking at that instead of into his eyes even though she can feel him studying her.

"I don't know."

"You do not have to. Thaalan simply wished me to inquire of you whether you would be interested in sharing." He pauses, then adds, "I know you are busy with your exams. As it was my responsibility for so long, I am willing to offer my assistance in your preparations, if that is the source of your reluctance."

"Are you feeling like you're remiss in your duties?" she asks lightly, hoping he'll change to subject away from human holidays.

"I am simply seeking to ascertain the process through which one constructs a domicile out of gingerbread."

"It's a complicated process. You need very precise architectural skills and lots of frosting."

"It seems that it might be a daunting task." His hand has found its way to her knee his fingers lightly circle her kneecap through her pants. "Holidays often are, I understand."

She stares down at his hand, frowns at it.

"I get really homesick and sad and I don't want to be around everyone." She says without looking at him. "It's nothing, it's fine, I probably shouldn't even feel like that because it's my planet and you all are so far from your families and-"

"That does not render you not far from your own family," he says softly and when she looks at him, he's watching her closely, his eyes warm and soft. "Nor does it serve as a cause to invalidate how you feel."

"It's all too Terran, anyway, you all live on Earth and you don't want more of our culture, I'm sure."

"I am not as sure of that, as Thaalan is not the first to express interest in your sharing of a holiday with us."

"I'm busy, like you said, with school."

"If you do not want to host an evening at Thex and Schori's, it is not inappropriate to simply say so."

"Ok," she says, swallowing. "I miss my parents."

"I understand."

"I don't like the holidays."

"That is an acceptable sentiment." He squeezes her knee, his touch so gentle that she has to close her eyes, something thick and heavy forming in her throat. "What did you do this time last year? Was that, perhaps, something you would like to repeat?"

"I went to the bar with Kirk," she says, then quickly shakes her head, her eyes opening to look at him. "I don't like him, we're not friends."

"I see."

"We're not."

"Very well."

"He's annoying."

"I have been told as much, by yourself and others."

"Ok, good, I don't want you to think I actually enjoy his company or anything."

"I trust your declarations on the matter."

"He's going to Georgia with McCoy this year for Christmas," she sighs. "So he won't be around."

"Is Christmas what your family celebrates?" Spock asks. "My mother was raised to celebrate Hanukkah, so to the extent that she even spoke of traditions typical of the time of year of the Terran winter solstice, that is what I am familiar with."

"We did Christmas," she nods. "My grandmother also celebrated Jamhuri Day with us, but we mostly did Christmas in our house."

"Hence the gingerbread houses."

"Hence," she repeats in agreement, unable to keep her self from smiling slightly at the word. "New Years," she finally says after he's spent a long time stroking just above her knee with his thumb. "I'll do New Years Eve, if that works, next Sunday."


"It's kind of a cop out, all we need is champagne."

"I have never consumed champagne, so I await the experience with great curiosity."

"It's good, bubbly." She picks at the handle of her mug, running her nails over it, down and then back up again. "Spock?"


"Are you going to… are you busy over Christmas or will you be around?"

"I do not have any prior commitments."

"Ok." She stares into her tea, watches the steam twist and curl as it rises. "Will you try to keep any prior commitments from coming up?"

"Of course. Is there something specific that you would like to do?"

"No. Pizza. Movie, maybe, like I said earlier." She squints over at him. "Do you even eat pizza or watch movies?"

"As I said, I am unfamiliar with the bulk of Terran customs, so perhaps you can educate me."

She nods, then sets her tea on his coffee table, takes his mug from his hands and puts it next to hers, and then leans over and kisses him.

He's so gentle with her, like she might break, so it's her who deepens their kiss, tugging at his lips with hers and letting her tongue slide against his.

Then his fingers curl around the back of her thigh, hot and strong, and she finds herself lifted into his lap, finds herself held there by that hand that is now smoothing over her ass and his other cupped around the back of her head.

It's so good like this, his hips trapped between her knees, his hands pressing her forward into his body, and his mouth wet and eager.

He nips at her bottom lip when she slides her hands down his chest, then back up, palming at his slim, strong body, and he holds her head still in his large hand, his tongue exploring her mouth when she slips her fingers under the hem of his shirt to splay over his taut stomach.

She draws back, finally, when she's breathless and about to start working his shirt up and off of him, and closes her eyes so that she doesn't have to look at him while she says this, since it's already hard enough.

"I'm going to go do the responsible thing and go home since it's the middle of finals," she says, then lets out an annoyed sigh. "Even though I really, really don't want to."

"Logical," he says and she can't help but look at how his mouth moves when he speaks, despite how it makes her want to kiss him again.

Instead, she sits back so that her weight is resting on his knees, and lets her hands slip down to hold onto his forearms, his own hands spread on her thighs.

"And to think that I considered Interstellar Nav the toughest part of this term, not leaving here tonight."

"A relative measure," he says and she grimaces and nods and then stands up and moves away from him before she can talk herself out of it.

He kisses her cheek once she has her coat on and her scarf wrapped around her neck, and it's a good thing because if they start kissing again, she's going to probably push him back into his bedroom and deal with the repercussions of that decision in the morning.

"I would tell you good luck on your finals, but it would be illogical to do so."

"Wouldn't want that," she murmurs, distracted since with him standing there so close to her, she's suddenly remembering the firmness of his body under her hands.

Walking home, she wonders if she's just going to be thinking about him all night anyway, if it wouldn't have been better to just stay, but he has work in the morning too, and new boyfriend or not, she isn't exactly one to have her responsibilities very far from her mind, and she hardly wants to be thinking of anything other than him.

Starfleet, she decides as she climbs the steps up to her dorm instead of drawing his body of her hers and letting him push her into his mattress, is pretty much the worst. Or would be, if it hadn't brought him into her life.

For the Rest of Us

A Star Trek Story
by Psicygni

Part 8 of 10

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